sWinging It – Week 2

sWinging It

Learnin’ to Lindy where everyone’s friendly

Week 2

Must get fitter. I resolve to use the stairs when going to my flat (it’s on the 6th floor) and to practice the Solo Jazz routine every day. My wife has a Spotify account so getting hold of the track from last week’s lesson was easy. I end up doing the Jazz routine morning and evening because it’s really fun. I’m not sure my resolution to use the stairs makes it through the week.

The beginners’ lesson was, yet again, very enjoyable. I recognise a couple of faces. ‘Man in shorts who’s good and clearly helping the teachers by being a follow/lead was there again’ I need to find out his name, or at least start thinking of him as just ‘man in shorts’. There also seems to be a lot of new people (and some from last week are missing). I completely fail to retain anybody’s name again but my basic steps seem to be getting better. I can definitely think rock-step, triple-step, step-step, triple-step to a beat. I’m also executing some of the moves ok, although by the end of the lesson I’ve forgotten what the start of the routine is, maybe I should be practicing memory exercises as well as my dancing… I’m still enjoying myself and that’s the main thing.

Solo Jazz was run by Leanne (I remembered! – although I probably spelt it wrong). It was a routine called The Stew. Now, before the lesson I thought I might try some social dancing after this, because I did actually feel fitter this week. I did not do social dancing. By the end of the session we were moving at what felt like 300 miles an hour. By this point I’m not even sure I’m on time to the music (probably not!). I’m tired and my brain is saying just… keep… kicking… I was, however smiling (in between jagged breaths).

One great thing about the Solo Jazz session (other than The Stew, which is definitely great) was getting run through ‘the festival toilet pose’ to make sure I’m standing properly. I won’t go through it here – Leanne gives a very good explanation. Suffice to say I can easily remember it and I am now trying to use the festival toilet pose when practicing.

I went home after Solo Jazz. I was tired, but could have done the social dancing. I was also, however, covered in sweat and didn’t want to inflict that on anyone.

 

Dan

 

Who is this guy?

Dan has been learning Lindy Hop from scratch with the fine people at Manchester Lindy and has recently started talking about himself in the third person. When Dan is not dancing he is working in Manchester as an IT contractor or at home with his wife and child in the South of England.

If you are at the Freemason’s Hall on Tuesday and are brave or foolish enough to fancy a dance with Dan, look for the balding man with the ginger and white beard (or the only one that will admit it). Dan does not know how to say no so you are guaranteed success!

sWinging It – Introduction and Week 1

sWinging It

Learnin’ to Lindy where everyone’s friendly

Who is this guy?

Hello. I’m Dan.

I’ve been learning Lindy Hop from scratch with the fine people at Manchester Lindy. I’ve enjoyed it so much I wanted to write about it and they very kindly let me. When I’m not dancing I am working in Manchester as an IT contractor (or Data Monkey as some call it), or I am back at home with my wife and child in the South of England. I try to make every Tuesday at the Freemasons’ Hall (I don’t know when I’ll be working somewhere else).

If you are brave or foolish enough to fancy a dance with me, look for the balding man with the ginger and white beard (or the only one that will admit it). I don’t think I’ve said no to anyone yet!

What’s this all about?

This blog is about my personal journey learning Lindy Hop (and Solo Jazz!) with the great people at Manchester Lindy. It’s a mind dump, so will be full of thoughts and feelings and anything I have (hopefully) discovered along the way. You will not learn anything about dancing reading this (I’m the one learning). I may even ‘discover’ misconceptions – please, please, please call me out on those!

Finally, it’s about me learning to dance at Manchester Lindy so I am highly likely to mention (by description or first name) people there. If you don’t want to be mentioned please contact me (danielbrianpotter (at) gmail.com) or Manchester Lindy (manchesterlindy (at) gmail.com) and I will make sure you aren’t included (and remove you from anything you were in).

Week 1

I’m excited. I’ve just found out where I can go learn Lindy Hop. I’ve always wanted to but never been able to make it work. As a bonus they teach Solo Jazz as well! I’m away from my wife and child in the week so this is something I can practice on my own. It’s a nice evening at the start of September. I’m going to go and give it a try.

The beginner’s lesson is fun. Two people are teaching so everyone sees the movements of both parts of the partnership. They refer to themselves (and us) as a lead (I knew that I’m not clueless) and a follow (OK I didn’t know that…). The follow teacher has loads of cool tattoos (Editors note: Thanks Daniel!) but looks friendly and often does some cool twisty thing with her legs whenever the lead sends her away from him. That looks great but back in my world I’m discovering it’s actually quite hard to fit three steps into two counts (sensibly called a triple-step). Especially so when you are also thinking about everything else you should be doing. I am, however,  having lots of fun learning.

We are all paired up with a follow (I’m a lead). The follows get moved on every now and then so I end up practising with a lot of different people. We are learning  a lot of moves and stringing them together into something we could practice on the dance floor later. I introduce myself to a lot of people during this. They all seem friendly as they tell me their name. I forget them all. I don’t expect anyone to remember my name. I’m so busy watching, trying moves and enjoying myself I can’t even remember the teacher’s names.

I go to Solo Jazz after the beginners’ class. It’s run this week by a short lady who sounds Scottish (at least to me, which means she is probably Italian, German, or maybe, Welsh). Of course I don’t remember her name (editors note: That’ll be Amy). We learn a whole Solo Jazz routine. I’m knackered by the end of it. After drinking several cups of water I manage to ask the name of the song so I can practice at home. “We cats will swing for you”, she says. I thank her. I want to go to the social dancing but I’m dripping with sweat and feel like I’ve run a marathon (it’s not the lesson – I’m unfit). I go home and promise myself I will do some more exercise. I’ve had great fun and I want to do it again next week without feeling an imminent heart attack.

 

Dan