sWinging It – Week 14

sWinging It

Learnin’ to Lindy where everyone’s friendly

 

Week 14 (Lesson Week 11)

I’m typing this out quickly before my Tuesday evening starts. I’ve noticed something about what I’ve been typing recently and also what I’ve been dancing. I think they are linked. I’m going to see how it goes tonight (so I’m typing this out now in order not to get any retrospective bias in here) but here’s the context.

I wasn’t completely honest last week. I said I enjoyed the social dancing and, on one level, I did. That said, after some reflection at home a couple of days later, I realised that I was unhappy with a few of the dances. They were really bad. I’m risking a telling off from Chris here by apologising to any follows that got a raw deal last Tuesday but I justify myself by claiming I wasn’t even really dancing (which you don’t apologise for!) but just stupid practicing. I can do that at home.

I realised this when I was practicing my Solo Jazz and really not enjoying it. It was also going badly. I knew I could do better. I had done better. The only time I was enjoying dancing on my own was when I was just randomly dancing to some other music. The rest had gone stale.

And I think the last few blog posts have probably been a bit stale too. I think I’ve been overly focused on technique in my dancing and my blogging. I’m not leaving room for anything else, including enjoyment (how sad). So I had to go and re-learn a lesson I had taught myself without noticing (and then forgotten without noticing) way back around week 4. At the risk of invoking that word, it is probably the first and most important lesson in musicality (IMHO).

Listen to the damn music, and feel it!

I tried it at home. My Solo Jazz suddenly feels awesome again. I did it at Basement Blues* on Monday and it felt awesome too. Working on technique has its place. I’ll work it to death in the classes and clinics etc. But when I’m dancing, for now, it is going to stay at the back of my mind.

I’m trying it tonight. I’m excited. First ever lesson excited.

Let’s see how this goes…

 

 

Oh yeah! Every dance I had last night was fun! Oh some things got messed up (I’m only 3 months in!) but every dance felt good. Some highlights are:

A dance with Katy (Patient Lady – now with correct name spelling!) where we both just changed the footwork timing & styling together (turns out it’s easy when you listen to the music). Also throwing in a Texas Tommy from the class earlier and getting a surprised smile (maybe I’m getting closer to that awesome great satisfactory dance I boldly promised some weeks ago?!)

Dancing with Beck** and ending the song bang on time with a kick the dog. You know the dance went well when you are high fiving at the end! Paula – I found the end of a song! (Woooo! I’m so proud – Paula) Still struggling with the drawn out endings but I’ll get there.

So I feel like I have recovered my mojo. That is a real relief!

Other great things from this week include:

As said above, learning a Texas Tommy. My favourite part of the lesson was Andy W showing how to switch from the right hand to the left at the end of the move. You probably had to be there but I found it really funny! I can’t (won’t) tell you how but it’s a masterful sleight of hand.

Solo Jazz with Kate and Mike! I had heard tales in Pedro’s just that evening of Mike’s scatting whilst teaching. Now I have experienced it first-hand. It made some footwork and timing that was more complicated than normal SO EASY TO LEARN. I am now a big fan of scatting to help with dancing. It hasn’t happened yet but this will likely be something else I end up doing on the streets in broad daylight. Yet another reason for the commuters to fear me.

So back on the up after a little dip.

Roll on next week!

Dan

*This is a blatant plug but you should try Basement Blues if you can make it to Bridge Street Tavern on a Monday night (starts 8.00 to 8.15). I was hesitant because I thought it would be way out of my comfort zone but I’m enjoying it. Half the people there you would recognise from Lindy and the rest are really nice too. Plus, because it’s small at the moment, you know everybody by the end of the class which is nice!

**It turns out Beck was too active on Facebook to get an alias – I recognised her. I think this may have disappointed her a bit. She thought she could be ‘Leopard Print Lady’. She is now.

Tell me more of Dan’s great triumphs!

I can say llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch without spitting on anyone – we moved to North Wales when I was seven and I had to go on intensive language training. The taxi driver made us sing it. They are serious about their Welsh there.

I didn’t pick up a Welsh accent during my 11 years there (I love the South Wales accent but the North Wales accent is not good).

The idiot who picked on me for pronouncing lemon like an English person got a lower grade than me in the Welsh first language GCSE. I’m better than him in his own language.

Sometimes it’s the little things that keep us going…

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Answers (or at least, philosophical thoughts) for Dan’s questions

Answers,

(or perhaps just philosophical thoughts?)

inspired by Dan’s questions

(to accompany Week 9 of sWinging It)

Hello!

One of the great things about Dan’s blog (a real-time report on being a new dancer) is how it’s making us old dancers think about things in a new way. It reminds me of a parent pointing out a field of cows to a toddler, it’s no longer just a field of cows, it’s COWS! LOOK! COWS! Lots of COWS!

(True story: when my son was about 3 (he’s now a whopping almost 16-year-old) I was on a train journey, looking out of the window at some COWS whilst nudging and pointing excitedly. Of course, I had forgotten that my son was at Granny’s, and I was traveling alone, and the person I was nudging was not a sleepy preschooler, but a be-suited and now bemused business man. Oops.)

Anyway, that digression aside, here is a whole bunch of thoughts that came about due to Dan’s Week 9 questions, thought by me, Paula.

Essentially, all of Dan’s questions take us meandering off down the same road, so rather than answering them in the order they were posed, I’m going to witter on in the way that makes the most sense, to me anyway.

I’ve embedded the most important video illustrations, and the bold words are links to further videos or extra info (as if this 3,500 word essay isn’t enough)!

Dan’s questions:

What is ‘musicality’?

What is a ‘break’?

Why does Jazz start on the 8 and Lindy Hop on the 1?

Read Dan’s questions in more detail over here: Swingin’ It – Week 9

Let me preface this with a disclaimer – modern Lindy Hoppers are incredibly fortunate that many of the original top dancers from the 30’s and 40’s lived long and healthy lives (probably not a coincidence, dancing is great for a person, mind, body and soul) and this, combined with some incredible community historians, such as Peter Loggins and Bobby White, and some wonderfully committed and motivated dancers worldwide has given us a huge pool of knowledge to draw on. Nonetheless, finding answers to specific questions can be still rather difficult, mostly due to the maddening answers that our beloved, much treasured old timers have given us – for example, when asked about specific musical counts for steps and patterns, Norma Miller is credited with the perfect (yet entirely non-satisfactory) answer, “The only Count I know is Basie“.

So, the following is a mish-mash of partial secondhand knowledge and partial idle thought, filtered through the mind of a garish tattooed lady, sprinkled with love and respect for a dance that has been a part of my life for more than a decade, and a part of dance life for more than 8 decades. Think of it, as is best with most vernacular subjects, as philosophy rather than fact.

Let’s start with what Jazz music actually is, or at least, what it was when our beloved dance was born. This in itself is actually quite a hard task, and again, Wikipedia doesn’t help much: Jazz.

Still, we’ve got to start somewhere, and here will do. We can disregard the bebop bit, and the freeform stuff that comes after (even the most musical of dancers will be challenged to dance to THAT!) but from NOLA through the big band era, the music informed and inspired the dance (and indeed the dancers informed and inspired the musicians, too).

The bit from the Wiki above that we should *probably* be paying most attention to, is Swing rhythm, and syncopation. You can find many detailed, complex and confusing explanations of these terms online, but they are mostly aimed at musicians and are difficult to access without tons of prior knowledge. For new Lindy Hoppers, both the Swung rhythm and the syncopation of the music that Lindy Hop is danced to is actually illustrated in the basic footwork (and the almighty triple step must take a bow here). This is why Lindy Hop teachers sing the footwork directions, which probably sounds a bit weird at first (I promise it makes sense though):

rock STEP tri-ple STEP, step STEP, tri-ple STEP

The words (and their associated movements) in capital letters are actually a way of communicating Jazz syncopation – the emphasis is on the  “back beat”,  aka the “down beat” (when a band’s conductor would swipe their baton downwards) aka the “even numbers”.  The tri-ple illustrates (in body movement and words) the way “Swung” notes are “tied” together.

So it’s the musical elements of Jazz syncopation and Swung rhythm that make up the Lindy hop basic step and that’s why the sound of Swing music and the basic step fit together so well. The dance steps are the physical manifestation of the music.

This is why some purist old fogies, including me, disapprove of dancing Lindy Hop to the “wrong” music. You see, dancers will naturally adapt their steps to fit the music they are hearing, and this sufficiently alters the dance to make it stop being Lindy Hop and start being something else – check out West Coast Swing videos on YouTube to see what happens when you dance Lindy Hop to other forms of popular music – give it a few years and it becomes a dance all of it’s own, which isn’t a *bad* thing, but it is a thing, and a very specific thing at that. Here’s another example, Take Some Crime:

I actually love this dude’s dancing and have spent quite a bit of time watching his videos – he dances to current music, including some Electro Swing, he even uses elements of Solo Charleston – but what he does isn’t Charleston, and in fact he’s given what he does a new, specific name, “Criming”. He’s incredibly hypnotic to watch, and I truly adore what he does, but he is also a very good argument against the inclusion of Electro Swing on the Manchester Lindy playlist – and perhaps also a very good argument to get out of my fogie-shaped rut and go to an Electro Swing night sometime?

When one plays music to emphasise the opposite, the up beat (on-beat, or the odd numbers) you get a completely different feel, it’s more upright, less laid back, and definitely not Jazz (check out some Polka music and Polka dancers for an example).

When we clap along to a Jam circle, we also do it on the even numbers, because we are further emphasing the important part of the Jazz rhythm.

Here’s a fantastic clip of Harry Connick Jr showing exactly how to cope with folk clapping on the odd beats to Jazz music:

Remember, friends don’t let friends clap on 1 and 3!

clap-on-1-and-3-orange

Click to buy (totally unconnected vendor!)

Ultimately, Duke Ellington sums up all of my above waffle with this very succinct answer as to why Jazz musicians and Jazz dancers emphasise the even numbers, “Because clapping on 1 would be considered aggressive.”

So, why do we start Jazz on the 8 and Lindy on the 1?

Well, authentic Jazz shares it roots with rhythm Tap dance – and Tap dance is essentially complicated clapping with your feet – tapping to swing music emphasises the back beat because again it emphasises the laid back nature of Jazz music.

The most obvious way to do this is to start on the last beat of the intro, the 8 – and that’s what we do in most Jazz choreography – we learned this from the classic routines, like the Big Apple and the Tranky Doo, passed onto us by the old timers, and we generally  continue that tradition when we choreograph today.

So the real question isn’t, why start Jazz on the 8, but “Why start Lindy Hopping on the 1?”

The music we dance to is in 4/4 time so as Lindy Hoppers we take two of those groups of 4 and add them together to come up with our 8 beat basic (i.e., the Swing Out, the defining step of Lindy Hop). Musicians often freak out about the 6 count basic when they start learning to dance because it doesn’t seem to fit, but just add enough of them together until it becomes divisible by 8 (6×4 =24 8×4=24) and you’ll be ready to start on the 1 again – yes you’ll be triple stepping and step-stepping in the “wrong” places, but that’s easy to solve – just stop thinking about it in terms of right places and wrong places and in fact, forget about the 6’s and 8’s too – total anarchy!

But we’ll not stop thinking and we’ll not stop counting, we’ll just make the maths as easy as possible and start thinking of EVERYTHING as groups of two beats, with the emphasis back beat (the evens).

After we GET STARTED dancing is continuous, we don’t stop on the 8 and start on the one, we dance through the 8 and into the one

1           2         3-a     4        5         6      7-n        8

rock STEP, tri-ple STEP, step STEP, tri ple STEP

and to push that a little further (going BACK TO THE FUTURE or perhaps FUTURE TO THE BACK!)

(7-n)              8       1         2      3-a       4           5    6         7 -n

(tri -ple) STEP rock STEP tri-ple STEP step STEP tri -ple

and further back in time again

6           7-n         8         1         2      3-a         4       5

STEP tri -ple STEP rock STEP tri-ple STEP Step

And you can actually make any combo of two-beat movements and put the emphasis on the back beat (and remember, emphasising the back beat is the aim of the game)

1          2       3-a             4    5-a       6       7-n      8       1-a      2         3         4        5

rock STEP tri -ple STEP tri-ple STEP tr-iple STEP tri-ple STEP step STEP step

Heck, we can throw in a kick-STEP or step-KICK or kick-KICK or a kick-HOLD or a hold-KICK or even a walk-WALK or a walk-PAUSE or hell, a pausePAUSEpausePAUSEpausePAUSE

And that’s why we can do Charleston and Lindy interchangeably:

RockSTEP kickDOWN kickHOLD kickDOWN

and in fact (and this comes with experience) we can lead any combo in any order, and the reason it fits with the music is because we are still emphasing the back beat

rock STEP kickDOWN tri-pleSTEP walkWALK

So we can start anywhere, really, and the original dancers probably did prep on 7 to start on 8, at least some of the time, but they were dancing almost exclusively to LIVE music, and the dance was new and had no habits or convention.

However, because social dancing is team work (all be it a small team of two) and we want to be able to dance with as many other people as possible, regardless of where they learned to dance, and because we need to give beginners some kind of structure, and because we started to teach Lindy Hop in a dance studio/classroom environment in the 1980s (when the original dancers were located and persuaded to pass on their knowledge by interested dancers from a number of disciplines, dancers that had learned in studio based backgrounds) we started to arrange these groups of two into patterns of 6’s and 8’s (and less commonly, 10’s, 12’s and even 7’s).

(crikey, that was a long sentence!)

If you are going to start a pattern that takes 8 beats to complete, and you are introducing it to a beginner, or lots of beginners, it’s simply more efficient to start on beat 1 and end on beat 8. The alternative, starting on the 8, could still be taught (and as an example, a Lindy Turn, or Swing Out would be ‘step, rock-step, tri-ple step, step-step, tri-ple’) but a) it makes my head hurt and b) we’d all topple over after ‘tri-ple’.

So the answer to the question is, as I see it:

Both Jazz and Lindy Hop emphasise the same musical beats (the even numbers) but for ease of teaching we made Lindy Hop patterns start on the 1. Jazz still starts on the 8, because it is most often taught as choreography.

I finished typing this bit with a giant grin, easily mistaken for a grimace. I’m not sure if there IS an appropriate emoticon,  I’ll leave you to imagine it.

So what is ‘musicality?’ well, it’s the ability to interpret the music you are hearing and give it physical form through your movement, and emphasising the back beat is one of the surest forms of doing this, when dancing to Swing music.
Musicality is one of the skills that separates good dancers from great dancers and it comes very easily to some people, and others have to work very hard at it. Some people will never really get it, but will learn to fake it pretty well. Others will find they get lots of Lindy enjoyment without it, and won’t mind too much if they never get it. The great thing about Lindy Hop is there is space for all comers!

Here’s a clip of a currently competing couple, Nicolas Deniau and Mikaela Hellsten (who I hope we will be able to entice to Manchester at some point). I think Nicolas and Mikaela have amazing musicality skills (although I have no idea how easily it comes to them :P), I’ve chosen this particular video because they are dancing to a Western Swing-type track (a bit like the kind of arrangements the Swing Commanders do) and I’m hoping that it being right on the outskirts of the normal range of songs we play at ML will help to highlight how they are picking movements that are the physical manifestation of the music:

(I also love how happy N&M always appear to be!)

Now the above is a choreographed routine, so they’ve likely spent many hours on picking those movements and refining them until they are as perfect as I believe them to be, so here is a video of the same couple social dancing to a live band, where their on-the-spot musicality skills are put to a real test:

Pretty impressive, I’m sure you’ll agree!

Choreography has always been a part of Lindy Hop, and this is reflected in the most often-used competitive categories today, which go from as close to random as you can get, to the absolutely rehearsed (although how much choreography is too much choreography is yet to be decided, search the internet for improvrespect for a recent debate and read about competitive divisions at the biggest event of the Lindy Hop year here) but (and I believe this is a paraphrase of another old timer quote, but 20 minutes of questioning Uncle Google have been fruitless) the best Lindy Hoppers make choreographed routines look as spontaneous as social dancing, and social dancing look as seamless as choreography.

So how do we develop musicality skills that enable our social dancing to look as seamless as choreography?  Well again, we’ve established some short cuts to help with teaching musicality skills (and faking them), so here’s a few that newer dancers will come across in classes, and some that can be done at home too.
First things first, learning how to identify the 1 helps enormously. It’s less important for Followers than Leaders in the very early days, but later on, being able to identify your position within a musical phrase will give you freedom to execute learned variations and improvise new ones. For some new dancers, finding the one is so obvious they’ll wonder why I am even mentioning it, for others it’s more akin to finding a needle in a needle stack, so for their benefit I present Where Is The One? ( a video playlist created by Nathan Dias, click his name to find out more):

After you’ve located the one, you can learn to count phrases. Music of the period was written to (what was presumably at the time, a winning) formula, and almost all of the music you’ll hear at a Swing dance will either be

Swing phrased

(aka AABA or 32  bar form – which lends itself well to 8 count patterns  – read about it here: Christian Bossert on 32 bar form)

or

Blues phrased

(12 bar form, aka “Call and Response”-  which lends itself well to 6 count patterns – see a web slide show on both over here).

Learning how these structures work is one of the best ways to appear musical, even if you aren’t.

Something that may particularly appeal to Followers in the early days (and Leaders a bit later, after they’ve found THE ONE and learned how musical structure works) is identifying the tone of the song. Try listening to a bunch of songs at home, and giving each one a descriptive word, or group of words. Is it happy? Subdued? Smooth? Bouncy? Wild? Languorous? Miserable? Can you dance in a way that fits the same descriptors? Try it out!

Or how about identifying your favourite instruments and seeing how you can fit your movements to those? When I’m leading, I tend to be most inspired by the drums, bass and if there is one, the tuba. When following, I LOVE the clarinet, and am more likely to respond to the vocal.  The trumpet tends to make me misbehave regardless of the role I’m dancing!
One fairly sure-fire way to hone your musicality skills is through solo movement, and in fact, it’s one of the biggest drivers we have for offering Jazz, Charleston and other associated solo stuff from day 1 (other similar dance groups don’t tend to prioritise Jazz to the extent that we do). It’s a bit of a trope that ‘Solo Jazz makes you a better Lindy Hopper’ and we rarely go into why that is – I know for me, the main benefit has been to my timing and rhythm i.e. my musicality  (and of course, it also helps with shapes and lines too).

This rather neatly bring us around to the subject of Breaks, and what they actually ARE – like most topics in swing dance, there is a dance definition of break and a music definition of break and they may or may not be closely related.

In dance terms (and I certainly have more dance-knowledge than I have music knowledge) I presume the Jazz break (often first encountered as the  Full Break and Half Break (I recognise those feet!) versions in the Shim Sham, although there are other break varieties in the Big Apple and the Tranky Doo, too) comes from Tap dance.

Time Steps are one of the defining elements of Tap dance – they come in a variety of types, single, double, triple etc. and they all follow the same structure, one thing happens a bunch of times (usually alternating on the right and left feet) and then something else happens. The something else is referred to as a ‘break’.

In this example there are 8 ‘single buck time steps’ followed by a break. If you can’t immediately discern where the difference happens, try listening to it rather than watching it (clue – the break begins at 0:25!). The reason the dancer breaks there, and not elsewhere in the song, is because the music is also doing something different:

The classic Jazz routines take a mostly similar structure – something happens a few times (usually to sets of 8 counts) and then something else happens (to one set of 8 counts, or perhaps to seven counts with a pause, to reflect the music).

In terms of non-choreographed dancing, whether that be solo or partnered, the aim is to figure out when something different is going to happen in the music, and reflect it in your movement. This is the phenomenon known as ‘hitting the break’.
What the break actually is and where it falls, is up to you to decide – sometimes it’s obvious, like a dead stop, or an almost dead stop (a famous song for this is Watch The Birdie) and sometimes it falls neatly into the musical structures described above – but it may be something much more subtle, and if you are dancing with a partner, you might not necessarily identify the same ‘break’. This is not a problem and although in the earlier dancing days, the Follower may be looking to the Leader to identify a break for the both of them, later on, the Leader may well find the Follower’s movements indicate a break is about to happen and the Leader can respond to that indication – this is one of the many skills in partner dance that is summed up by the idea of it being a physical conversation between two people, rather than a one sided lecture from the Leader.

As to whether it’s too early to be asking these questions? Yes! No! Maybe! And perhaps, all of the above?

Lindy Hop and its relatives are wonderful dances because you can dabble in them just enough to have fun for a short period, or totally geek out for a lifetime – whether it’s too early or not probably depends on where you will fall on the spectrum – some folk won’t ask these questions at all (they are probably still trying to find that tricky, elusive ‘1’) and that is perfectly OK.

As you can imagine, I suspect I fall on the geeky, in depth, lifetime, end of the spectrum, and that was the geeky, lifetime Lindy Hopper equivalent of nudging a stranger in the ribs and shouting “LOOK! COWS!”

Peace, love and Swing Outs

Paula

 

 

 

 

 

sWinging It – Week 8

sWinging It

Learnin’ to Lindy where everyone’s friendly

Week 8 (Lesson Week 5)

Two months of Lindy have flown by and have been marked this week by… a FAIL. A fail of the social kind (the worst 😦 ).

I nervously walked up to two ladies who were sat down. They both looked at me as I was about to ask one of them to dance and… I asked if either would like to dance. This was pointed out to me (in a very nice way) as bad. A no no. If I had been thinking at all I would have realised (before I said it) that I was basically telling both of them that neither was particularly special and was also labelling myself as needy to boot. My finest hour…

I could just not write about this (convenient being the story teller) but I set out to write about the good (mostly), bad (rarely) and the ugly (hopefully never again). Also:

1) If you have done this and feel like an idiot. You now know you are not the only idiot.

2) If this stops you from being an idiot, then bonus.

3) Most importantly, to say thank you to the two ladies. I basically insulted them and they were really nice in the way they set me straight on how to, actually, you know, be polite. They still danced with me. They also seemed a little worried I was upset (I was horrified – with myself).

People like that are what make Manchester Lindy just a really nice place to come to.

Lesson week 5 (run by Ben and Meg) was sort of Charleston and 8 count refresher but also about moving between the two. This was good because, amongst many other things, I have been wondering a lot about how you signal moving from 8 count to 6 count (and back), and 8 count to Charleston (and back). One of those I can now practice until I have it down cold.

Lindy Circle* was also covered. This move was one that I really was not good at, so I was pleased it was revisited. I can now reliably get a full 360 turn if I want (teacher tip – little steps!). For me I feel like I am really invading my follow’s personal space when it goes right. Either this is correct and I will eventually feel more comfortable doing it, or, someone will tell me how to do it without being creepy and I can have another embarrassing confession to make!

Solo Jazz was run by Paula + a lady I don’t recognise (I think she’s Kate but I could have just made that up) (Editors note: you did, it was Beck – and that was her very first time as a teaching assistant! She was awesome! Paula). We learnt the first 40 seconds of the Tranky Doo. This doesn’t sound like a lot but in 45 minutes this is (to me) a real achievement! Also, Paula announced that she had decided, after reading this blog, that she needed to be as hardcore in the Solo Jazz class as Amy (Paula is the editor so she has the power to read blog future). What have I done??!!! If this carries on there will be casualties.

I loved learning the Tranky Doo! It’s really fun. The shuffle just feels fun to do and it is the only routine I know of that features Zombies. Paula suggested shouting out the names of the moves as we did them to help remember. During practice I had no spare brain power to do this but at home I have concocted a story including the names of the moves to help remember the order** – it works for my brain. We performed this again during the social (it is definitely a thing now – yeeeess!). They may or may not have videoed it. If I am on the video then look for the person that does it wrong about half way through. I did recover (phew), so not all bad.

Other than my moment of shame, social dancing was again good fun. There are now a small group of beginners that all started around the same time as me and come pretty much every week – we seem to have found each other. This is really nice because I can practice with people at or around my level. For me this is a comfortable break from the great, but sometimes scary, experience of dancing with the more advanced follows. It’s worth noting I’m still enjoying dancing with absolute beginners (says the guy with only 8 lessons under his belt…). It’s not like I can’t do with extra work on my pulse and my rhythm and my connection and…  But there are things I can’t do with people who have attended a couple of weeks. I wouldn’t subject a complete beginner to my very dodgy swing-outs – especially given how keenly I still remember my first session of social dancing!

Nice moment – one of the dances with another beginner in my ‘started same time’ group was declared as awesome (by her not me – but I thought it was awesome too!). It’s a great feeling when you have what feels like a good dance!

That said my best moment was being told by Meg during a social dance that she could tell I had worked on my footwork. Yes!!!! Obsessive practice is paying off!! And I got to dance with Paula for the first time! Good times.

At the end of the evening, as I was being really slow getting ready to go***, I was asked to the pub by Adrian and Valadee (almost surely spelt wrong). Considering I’d never met them this was really nice. Six of us went out for a drink and some pizza and I really enjoyed myself. It’s a nice comedown from the dancing and made even better by friendly company!

Sadly I won’t make it next week because I’m in Rome. I haven’t figured out yet how to get to Manchester for Tuesday evening and back to Rome for Wednesday morning without my wife and child noticing. So there may be no week 9 or, if there is, it will be full of my rambling dancing thoughts (more than usual) rather than any real insight into what happened in lessons.

Dan

*The names are all so obvious that I am only now calling out ones that I feel aren’t particularly descriptive of what you actually do.

** Some things I will not share here and my primary school level Tranky Doo memory story is one of them…

*** I loiter until the very end. I think a small part of me is saying. “Maybe they will stop packing up and put the music back on?”

Who is Dan?

I’m writing this on Back to the Future day. So if my plan worked then Gray’s Sports Almanac has been replaced with a note that Marty McFly will take back to me in 1985. The note will tell me to find somewhere to start learning Lindy and I will be an awesome dancer.

Given I am 4 years old in 1985 I probably ate the letter. This means my 2015 self is not an awesome dancer. I am most likely a humdrum IT contractor with a wife, one child, two cats and no social dancing etiquette. I am, however, starting to feel like part of an awesome dancing community.

XMAS SPECIAL with The Stirling Austin Swing Band!

The Stirling Austin Swing Band
The Stirling Austin Swing Band

Manchester Lindy’s original swingin’ night out – XMAS SPECIAL!

Amazing news! On Tuesday 17th December 2013, we’ll be playing host to some very special guests… the highlight of MCRLX 2013…

The Stirling Austin Swing Band!

Get down to Freemason’s Hall and you’ll be hopping’ to some of Manchester’s finest musicians! Two live swinging sets and Manchester Lindy’s regular DJs in between – can’t ask for anything more.

1st live band set at 8.45pm …don’t miss it!

https://www.facebook.com/stirlingaustinbands

http://stirlingaustin.com/

(Just one class this week, Level 1, 7.45pm in the Lodge Room with Don, in the main room we’ll be social dancing ALL EVENING)

Just £5!

Dress fancy – two tickets to Mersey Swing’s Winter Ball will be presented to the best dressed! https://www.facebook.com/events/214108128762773/?source=1

We’ll also be selling cakes for the British Heart Foundation and we might even be persuaded to run the silliest Jack and Jill (or Jaquelyn and Jill, or Jack and John) in the North West (slo-mo? Musical Statues? Dance like an animal?)

Doors open 7.30pm

Freemason’s Hall, Bridge St (off Deansgate) M3 3BT

Facebook event page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/187427491459985