Work in progress
I expect to write several articles (and a book) sometime soon.
If there is much interest in a particular topic, I may complete
that topic sooner. Please send me email :-)
What is Traditional Social Dancing?
What is Swing Music?
What is Swing Dancing?
What is Swing?
What is Lindy Hop?
Is Dancing Sport?
(Is sport business?)
Everyone's a Teacher, and that which is least mastered is most dogmatised.
Learning Lindy Hop
Introduction and History
Connecting with your partner
Connecting with the music
Connecting with the Universe
Hints for learners
The music is most important. Try to understand it, better and better.
Your partner is the most important person.
When teachers demonstrate, watch the teachers carefully; when
dancing with your partner, give your partner your total attention.
Dancing is not steps. It is connection with partner, music, and
There are no rules, There are only principles, which are entirely
natural. If it feels unnatural, don't do it.
Don't measure your progress by how many moves you know. Measure
it by how much your partners enjoy dancing with you, and you with
Don't try to absorb everything. Take as much as you can master,
and leave the rest. Teachers must address many learning styles,
skill levels, and peculiar needs simultaneously. Just take
Beginning students should try to dance with more skilled students.
Beginning students with difficulties should especially avoid
dancing with newcomers. This will infuriate your teachers, and
make the newcomers hate you.
Don't monopolise partners. Change partners every dance.
Hints for teachers
Respect the students' passion for the music and dancing. Use
their natural way of moving. Don't turn them into step-children.
Students have differing learning styles. Address them all. For
example, use absolute, relative, jibgle, and musical rhythm cues,
step cues, right/left cues, etc.
Students have differing strengths and needs. Don't teach them what
they know. Do give them what they need.
Catch bad habits early.
Don't explain what you don't understand. Just show it instead!
Watch your words. Students will hear what you say, not what you
Always show the big picture before doing details.
When teaching sequences to be memorized, such as performance
routines, teach in reverse sequence|
Hints for helpers
The best help you can give is to be the best partner you can be.
Pay total attention to your partner.
Don't "teach". Especially if you are not a *very* good dancer,
or if you have not had any dance teacher training.
How you were taught, how you learned, or how you now think of
something may not be the appropriate way to teach a particular
student. A student may be confused or overwhelmed by a method
that isn't the one they need, given their learning style, etc.
Especially do not monopolise a partner to "teach" her.
If you notice problems with your partner(s), let your teacher(s)
If you would like to learn to be an effective helper, ask the
teachers what you can do to be helpful. Some dance communities
and teachers don't appreciate others commenting on their dance
habits. Others do. Find out whether a particular partner is
intersted in comments from you, before you offer them.
Essential answeres -- under construction
Hints for dealing with the media -- under construction
Hints for musicians
Hints for organizers
Dancers need to drink water. Lots of water.
Dancers breathe. A dancer easily breathes 5 times as much as
someone just sitting there and smoking. Dancers detest smoke.
Dancers are very particular about music.
Swing Venue Failure Formula
-- Venue manager is doing this to make money fast
-- Venue manager thinks he wins by destroying the "competition"
-- Venue manager thinks alcohol sales are his money maker
-- Venue manager exploits dancers as freak-show entertainment for drinkers
-- Dance floor is concrete, slippery and sticky from spilled drinks, and
with broken glass.
-- Dance floor doubles as major traffic hub between washrooms and bar
-- Walls, ceiling, furnishings, floor are hard, and the sound is managed by
rock-music technicians, destroying the quality of the music.
-- Organiser/teacher wants to exploit the "Swing Craze" to attract people
and then try to sell them something other than the Swing music and the
dance that resulted in the "craze"
-- Organisers/teachers are driven by ego, greed, and ambition
-- Organiser thinks Neoswinq is the thinq
-- Organisers are empire-builders rather than community builders
-- Relationship between organiser and venue manager is not a partnership,
based on mutual responsibility and benefit
-- Dance teachers are incompetent, teaching steps instead of dancing, unable
to build community, using music unlike the band's music, teaching dances
that don't fit the band's music, turning newcomers off dancing.
-- Band is not a Swing Jazz Dance Band - perhaps a "hypehenated" Swing band
(Rockabilly, Jump, Rock-, Ska-, Punk-, 70's concert big band, Be-bop)
-- Same Band plays same set list each night
-- Band is too sure what dancers need
-- Band cannot tell difference between excellent dancers and drunken yahoos
-- Band is a show band, not a dance band
-- Dancers are selfish, cliquish, and unwelcoming
-- Dancers move like lemmings, going where "everybody" goes, rather than
where they themselves feel like going.
-- Every Dancer is a "teacher"
Toronto (416) 323-1300