...of wisdom or my opinions.
No Partners Needed
That is right, you do NOT need a partner. Just bring yourself and a smile. We actually encourage participants to rotate partners throughout the beginning lesson to improve their technique and meet others who are interested in this fantastic hobby. If the thought of rotating is a bit intimidating, try it first, then email me and we'll discuss - we want you to feel comfortable during the lesson and during the dance. Back To Top
We have a group of about 12 Leads and Follows that will give you personal attention on a Thursday night for $5 for 1/2 hour of personalized attention. I don't actually teach private lessons; I simply don't have the time. Most dancers are happy to give you pointers, but you'll likely have to ask - as etiquette is to NOT correct someone at a social dance. Back To Top
Got a Wedding Coming Up?
We will prepare you for your first dance with the simple connection exercises and dance moves in Lindy101 to make it through a fox-trot paced song. We even have a CD of example songs for a Lind101 graduate. Stick around for 18 weeks - you'll have enough experience and confidence to feel smooth the day of your wedding. Between those 3 courses, you'll learn numerous dance moves, some styling, form, connection to your partner, and musicality. You'll even learn an impressive finale with an honorable dip. Back To Top
We have, at any given time, over 100 experienced dancers in classes and at the dances. Our group is the perfect addition to your event. A few enthusiastic dancers on the dance floor of your benefit, corporate event, or party, is sure to bring others onto the floor. We will even provide a mini lesson for the other guests or a dance mixer to encourage others onto shy, singles onto the dance floor. This service is available to draw from several different age groups (teens, seniors, mid-life, 30-somethings or a combination). Please contact us for availability - this service is very reasonable and is usually available for simply a complementary entrance to the Lindy Revival dancers. Back To Top
The Benefits of Dance
Make Magic - dancing is a social and acceptable way to hug music and listen to people's rhythm - you think I am joking? I am not. Dance has the magical ability to touch the human soul.
Confidence building - dance teaches you to feel more comfortable talking to others at events or nightclubs. In fact, knowing how to dance is an essential requirement at weddings, night clubs, or social clubs.
Full body workout - whether you are looking to burn calories, tone muscles, increase flexibility or just improve posture, dancing can help. Lindy Revival has many testimonies for a full size lost in a semester. Lindy Hop (especially Lindy201) provides for a good cardiovascular workout.
Therapeutic - our fast-paced life doesn't often give us enough time to release our tensions. Dance helps relieve stress. Back To Top
Should you keep taking classes, forever? Yes! You're the newer student's inspiration. And higher-level students are actually HAPPY to work on basics! Why? Any move learned is really more of an idea that is made one's own. So, start playing with WHY movements create a dance. Start creating your own beginnings and ends. Work WITH the music and create musical flow, in each and every dance - whether it is with a seasoned dancer or a beginner. Back To Top
We were ALL Newbies Once!
Remember that first time you entered the building? Welcome the new guys. Dance with the 101's. Include all ages in your dances after 8pm. We all just want to have great dances in Williamsburg, so be part of the WELCOME WAGON Back To Top
What is the music like during the class or at the dance?
You'll hear music that swings, and surprisingly, that is a wide range of music. You’ll hear classic big band like Count Basie and Benny Goodman; Rat Pack favorites like Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr.; vocal legends like Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong; and some rockabilly, beach music, R&B, and new voices like Diana Krall and Michael Buble.There is definitely something for everyone. Back To Top
Are you afraid that the music is TOO fast for beginners or TOO slow for dancers? Goodness no! Obviously, at some point, slow music becomes boring to Lindy Hoppers, but like with any other sport, beginners need to be able to practice slowly and gradually speed up. The DJ’s are very sensitive to those needs of the beginners AND dancers and will play a range of tempos from slow to moderate to fast. So just give it a whirl and try -- or watch and be inspired. Back To Top
This is a come-as-you-are affair, but we know that guidelines and suggestions are helpful. Flat, comfortable, closed-toe shoes are preferred for beginners (we'll show you what kinds of shoes WE wear). Shirts: cover your shoulders, gentlemen and cover your back, ladies. (The men touch the women's backs and the ladies lay their hands on the men's shoulders. Sweaty skin of a stranger - yuck!). If you wear a skirt, be sure to wear things underneath that are meant to be seen! (Do I have to spell this out? Wear dance bloomers that cover everything!). Other than that, please be yourself: Sweats, 50's clothes, Swirly Skirts, Jeans! Personally, I wear a lot of microfibers and polyesters. They dry out quickly, don't feel wet, and don't show sweat. Back To Top
Suggested Dance Shoes
DON'T spend a bunch of money, at least until after you've danced twice and checked out what WE wear. Lindy Hoppers often just wear sneakers or bowling shoes, although most of us have made the investment in a good pair of Lindy Hop shoes.
The Lindy Hopper's Number One Choice is
I usually have more than one pair of Aris Allens with me for you to look at or try out. Or find a GREAT pair of comfy, flat shoes and glue (contact cement) suede to the bottom. Back To Top
Do your best to arrive at least five to ten minutes early to class; it will make your adjustment easier, it can be very intimidating to walk into a class already in progress. Each class will start on time. Onlookers are welcome at anytime, feel free to bring husbands, wives, and grandparents, etc. Back To Top
Handwashing and Hand Sanitizing
In the spirit of keeping us all healthy, we will continue our policy of hand washing for all prior to the start of class. Restrooms are located in the foyer, as you walk in. If you do not arrive in time to get to the restroom, hand sanitizer will be provided at the front of the room for use before class or at any time. Let’s stay healthy! Back To Top
You can re-take a level (101 or 201) with no charge, if you have taken and paid for it one time. Back To Top
There is a Practice CD - play your CD’s at home or in the car as frequently as possible, especially during the Lindy101 semester. The more familiar you become with the music, the more comfortable you will be on the social dance floor. CD's are available at Sign In / Registration for $5. Back To Top
First and foremost, have fun and PARTICIPATE! Everyone feels shy just like you, but set a good example for others by setting aside your discomfort and joining in. There is no wrong way to express yourself and you will not be graded. Right?
PLEASE NO TALKING! This is the hardest part of class. We try to make this 30-45 minutes of the week a TOTAL immersion in music and dance. The more we communicate musically during this time, the more you will learn the language of music! Be patient with yourself and others. Instead of talking during this time, try watching and listening. Silence between moves or lessons is desirable. Back To Top
Practice without a partner
If you don't have a partner, learning how to partner dance can be difficult. But, I started without a partner, too, so I came up with a list of things to think about or try, when practicing by yourself.
- Dance continuous triple step, step step, triple step, step step. Limit your bounce to the knees - don't let your shoulders/head bounce up and down. Remember that there is a party downstairs, NOT upstairs (thanks Donald!)
- Practice doing steps while moving forward, backwards and sideways.
- Practice changing your foot placement during triple steps (triple with right front in front, then try it with left foot in front, then with your right foot slightly crossed over the left foot or crossed behind on the first step).
- Substitute kick-ball change-step for triple step in your basic.
- Substitute double kick for triple step in your basic.
- Practice "anchoring" during the basic (leaning forward on the first triple, sitting back on the second triple). Substitute swivels in place of the triples.
- Practice the eight-count basic, adding variations (double kick 5-6), add syncopations (& 5 & 6), add kick-ball changes (to the 5-6 and 1-2).
- Use a mirror and practice the "piked" position - butt out, chest forward, back straight - this will sort of feel like you are starting to sit down.
- Learn Lindy-Based Line Dances as it helps you practice essential movements of Lindy Hop: Shim Sham, Big Apple (many different source tapes abound), & Jitterbug Stroll. Back To Top
Learning Musicality - Perfect Practice Makes Perfect Dancing
Practicing helps you to solidify the steps in your mind and rapidly improves your dancing. Try to practice at least twice a week. Practice your steps without a partner. Learn to control your own body and not to rely upon anybody else. Learn your very own musicality - just listening helps you learn to hear "phrasing" (eight-count sections of the music) or to hear the Swing Chorus (AABA – in sections of 4 eight-count). An excellent tape to learn about dancing to the music is Secrets of Improvisation. Another way of playing with music is to hear the "breaks" and think about (and test in a mirror) what you can add to your basic to accentuate those moments (a pose, a "stop", a down, knees out - play) Back To Top
The best and fastest way to develop your Follow skills is to 1) Learn Swivels 2) Learn Switches 3) Social Dance!!
- Ask one of the more experience ladies (301 students usually wear a WHITE name tag) to show you what swivels or switches are. Swivels are the 7&8 and the 1 and 2 of your Swingout or Basic. Switches are different than swivels although they still move your hips a LOT; they start with a tiny kick-ball change into the swivel. To practice Swivels, hold onto a ballet bar or tie a string to a 2-liter coke bottle, practice switches around a round table without pulling over the bottle but keeping the string taut. Keep shoulders parallel with the bottle and keep arm "quiet". Practice swivels, switches and posture with tension (like you would give a partner) on a doorknob or with that same filled 2-liter bottle. Back To Top
The best and fastest way to develop you Lead skills is to learn and practice routines. Stick with practicing routines until you master them and their timing. Then add your own personal styling (styling never interrupts the Follow's groove or lead) to the routine. Back To Top
Dance Etiquette NO's and Notes
I get an earful every night - if you don't want to be discussed, at 10 pm, read my Do's and Don't's
- Ladies - ask the guys to dance - EVERYONE is terrified of not being as good as the one they ask (Leads & Follows alike) - so learn to conquer your fear and ask anyone
- Dance with a newbie - even if they say "I cannot - I don't know anything." dance and smile and DON'T teach them. They are fragile - and - they are tomorrow's dancers.
- Stand in and support at the Beginner's Lessons - good frame is needed to support the strugglers.
- Pay for classes or pay the cover! Promoters (i.e. WENDY!) LOSE money every week creating a fun environment for YOU!
- Don't EVER bring water or an open container on the floor. Shoes are expensive and don't slide if floor is wet or sticky.
- Applaud the band or DJ and look at them, after their set.
- Take your dance partner to the edge of the dance floor and thank them, before looking for your next dance partner.
- Don't stand ON or walk ACROSS the dance floor - you're in someone's groove.
- You do NOT have to accept a dance with everyone that asks you (there are some people that I never dance with, but if I DO say no, I say it with grace "I am going to sit this one out" "I am not feeling well tonight" "My shoulder hurts - I am giving it a rest") and then sit out for that WHOLE dance. When you accept a dance - dance graciously - it is 3 minutes, so SMILE, and give them the confidence to ask another - it is the only way that we'll have GREAT dancers, next year. Don't ever tell someone "no" when they ask you to dance and then dance with someone else - it is RUDE.
- Bring an extra shirt, powder, deodorant, and breath mints - think about how YUCKY it is, when your partner forgets the same.
- NEVER do aerials at the dance! They are dangerous - save them for a jam or performance. Back To Top
Get out of town
Dance with other dancers in other scenes. Dance with a variety of skill levels. You will be a stronger dancer if you learn to Lead (or Follow) anyone. AND please do it with a smile! Learn Jazz Routines, take a class in another type of dance. As you become a well-rounded dancer, see how your Lindy Hopping improves! Maintain a strong dance frame, whether a Follow or a Lead. Just SOCIAL dance - this is the easiest and quickest way to get real good REAL FAST. Stick around; the ride is FUN! Back To Top
Who Needs Lessons?
You do, I do, and your current instructor does. I won't have an instructor in my classroom that doesn't bring value to learning. Healthy, young minds - believe that ANYONE can teach them SOMEthing, so leave your ego at the door and check us out - even if the teacher has never left Hampton Roads, won a contest, and only danced a year, they can still break down a move, technically, or explain and demonstrate the lead, give you time to practice it again and again, and move on when most of the class actually DOES it, not just sees it. So give our lessons a chance - you'll be happy you did - and so will your partner! And as if that's not awesome enough...
Reasons you should take all 18 weeks, as a Lead:
10. Because you need to meet more women.
9. Because you want the women you meet to think you're HOT and talented.
8. Because you'll be cooler than the guys who don't dance.
7. Because it takes more than a swing out and a dip to make a lady swoon.
6. Because taking 18 weeks of dance will be so much more fun than the plans you haven't yet made.
5. Because Dance Dance Revolution is NOT couples dance practice.
4. Because chicks prefer good leads over stalkers.
3. Because you're sick of feeling like a beginner on the dance floor.
2. Because the ladies are sick of you looking like a beginner on the dance floor.
1. The more you learn, the more you find there is to learn! Back To Top
Here’s the method that Rebecca Brightly used for pretending not to be shy:
"1. Make a goal for the night. Maybe it’s “stay at the dance for 10 minutes after the lesson”. Maybe it’s “talk to 2 new people”. Make it achievable and measurable, and only push your comfort zone a little each time.
2. Prepare topics of conversation you think others will find interesting. “So I just bought a new Macbook Air…” Sometimes after dances you can have a quick chat with the person you just danced with. Many swing dancers are kind of geeky, and you probably are too. If you are terribly shy, refrain from cracking nervous jokes or talking about obscure trivia. It can come across as awkward.
3. Use open body language. This is as hard as anything. Uncross legs and arms. Sit or stand upright. Make eye contact and smile at people who walk by. Open body language shows others that you are friendly and open to socializing.
4. Put yourself in a place where people might come up and talk to you. A moderately to highly trafficked area is best. If you want someone to ask you to dance, stand right at the edge of the floor (closer…closer…). Use your open body language and glance at people as they walk by. Try to have a pleasant look on your face. Yes, some of us have to practise this.
5. Don’t forget to thank your partner if you enjoyed the dance. “Thanks, that was fun. Let’s get another one later in the night,” is my standard for big dances where I don’t know a lot of people. The second sentence is optional, and it’s more daring. Use it first with dancers you feel most comfortable with. Eventually you may feel comfortable asking for two dances in a row! Crazy, I know. But when you’re really jiving with someone, it’s nice to do two in a row.
6. Make eye contact with your partner while you’re dancing! I’m amazed how hard some dancers try to avoid it. Some people go too far the other direction and outright stare at their partner. A good rule of thumb is to at least glance at your parter regularly throughout the song. Four times total is not regularly. I’m talking at least 8 meaningful instances of eye contact.
Lastly, don’t see the lack of instant success as a sign nobody likes you. You are a work in progress. Own it.
(Although people tell me I seem outgoing, I still like to go home and recharge my batteries after a night out. I’m still introverted)"