Understanding Levels

Understanding Levels

Wondering what classes or workshops are suitable for you? Here’s our handy guide.

Level 0-1 – Beginners starts from the very beginning, introducing 6 count footwork and lots of basic 6 count moves, 8 count footwork and  lots of basic 8 count moves, 6 and 8 beat Charleston variants (including hand to hand) and what to do with them, and a whole heap of hand holds, patterns and lead/follow possibilities.

We run a cycle of 12 week cycle of Level 0-1 classes but you can start ANY week.  Most folk will have to complete the 12 week cycle AT LEAST TWICE before moving up should already be enthusiastic social dancers. If you aren’t sure it it’s a good time to move up or not, ask a committee member or regular teacher for a social dance, or book a free ‘Swing Surgery’ slot (first Tuesday of every month).

Level 2 – You’ve taken at least 6 months of classes, covering all of the 12 week level 1 curriculum and you can now confidently lead or follow it on the social floor, heck, you are even able to mix them all together! You now want to learn a bit more, really dance to the music and have some fun, maybe whilst impressing your partner? 

At this stage you’ll be expected to know a couple of Jazz routines, especially the Shim Sham (but standing at the back and copying is totally acceptable)!

Level 3- You have the BUG. You social dance regularly, have attended weekly classes for around two years and have a good appreciation of the fundamental stuff. You are now able to incorporate musicality into your dancing and not just do steps. Your repertoire of moves is no longer your priority-  the physics of lead and follow is. You are ready to work on the nitty gritty. Level 3 isn’t WHAT to do or HOW to do it – it’s WHY. 

By now you’ll be practising Jazz steps in the mirror and be able to remember and confidently perform routines such as Mama’s Stew and Shim Sham.

Levels 4 and 5 – Manchester Lindy offer occasional workshops with International teachers for Level 4+ (advanced dancers). You’ll have been dancing at least 4 years and you’ll be just as happy spending an hour working on your Rock Step as you are Leading or Following  at super fast/ lingeringly slow tempos. You’ll also have a good understanding of rhythm in dance,  including a variety of syncopated footwork variations and be experienced in solo Jazz. 

Level 4-5 dancers are expected to know classic routines such as the Tranky Doo and The Big Apple Contest and happily show ’em off whenever the opportunity arises!

 Note: Descriptions of levels are inspired by advice given by top international Lindy Hop camps worldwide. The time frames are there as a guide only, there are always exceptions to every rule. Grounding in other dance forms both solo (such as Tap) or partnered lead/follow (like Argentine Tango) will sometimes mean faster progression is possible, however, technique and vocabulary differs from dance to dance, so always ask for feedback from your regular teachers before moving up.

The most useful piece of advice comes from Herrang (arguably the biggest and best of all the dance camps), “Don’t be in a rush to get to advanced level. Self criticism is the most useful tool of any dancer. Master each level before you try to advance to the next”.

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