‘Health & Fitness’ Category

  1. When Can I Join The Intermediate Class?

    February 6, 2017 by Joo-Lee

    So you’ve been attending beginner classes on and off for a while and you’re wondering when you can join the Intermediate Class? Here is everything you need to know!

    I’m often asked by dancers if they can join the Intermediate Class as the class time suits them better or they have previous dance experience in another style and therefore consider themselves to be able to pick up new steps quickly or they feel it’s been some time since they’ve started beginner classes, and although these are all valid reasons, there are certain skills and qualities that I look for before inviting dancers to join the Intermediate Class.

    It is worth noting that progress is not always related to the number of weeks or months that you have been dancing in the class. Progress usually relies on both attendance and engagement, so if you turn up to class regularly and engage as fully as possible, then your dancing will improve quickly, whilst if you attend class sporadically, you have to leave early and you rarely dance with other students, then your progress will be slower. It is important to really focus on building your basic Lindy Hop toolkit, so that you don’t struggle or hold others back in the Intermediate Class.

    What do I need to know about joining the Intermediate Class?

    When joining the Intermediate Class, you will be joining a group of experienced dancers who have been working on their dancing for a while. They are also keen to keep improving all the time, and although you can expect everyone to be very welcoming and encouraging, please bear in mind that when you rotate partners all of you will affect each other.

    If you’re interested in joining the Intermediate Class, then practice, attendance and enthusiasm are key. My advice would be to stay back after class to practise with other dancers and to ask for feedback from your teachers as regularly as possible to build your foundation before moving to the Intermediate Class.

    The focus of learning to dance at Lindy Jazz is personal development; to build our skills, confidence and to gain more joyful dance experiences. Our focus is not social status so you will find that we are not concerned about which ‘level’ we might be. Within the Intermediate Class, you will find that some dancers are more advanced, more skilled and more experienced than others and everyone has different aims and learn at a different pace.

    What skills or qualities do you look for when inviting someone new to join the Intermediate Class?

    Every scene or community runs classes in their own way, and at Lindy Jazz, we have some expectations of what we’d like to see before you join the Intermediate Class. These skills are taught at our weekly classes and weekend workshops, and we encourage you to attend these classes before jumping into the Intermediate Class.

    1. a clear and consistent pulse (or ‘bounce’)
    2.  relaxed arms & shoulders that ‘stretch & release’ without over-extending
    3. a ‘free foot’ when shifting weight
    4. triple step footwork with ease
    5. Charleston footwork with ease
    6. an open attitude to feedback
    7. a positive response to mistakes e.g. joy instead of stress
    8. regular attendance at intermediate and beginner classes – every week if you can
    9. regular attendance at weekend workshops – at least once a month if you can
    10. regular practice – staying back to practise social dancing every week and practising your drills for 5 minutes every day if you can

    When I see dancers meet most of the above expectations, I will invite them to join the Intermediate Class. Sometimes, I may invite them to join the warm up drills at the beginning of the class and then to observe the rest of the class, sometimes, I might ask a lead-follow couple to stay with each other instead of ‘rotating’ for a couple of weeks until their basics are secure.

    Every class is different

    Please remember that there are no set rules in the ‘world of Lindy Hop’ and that every class is run independently so the expectations as explained in this blog post are created as a guide for classes at Lindy Jazz. Having said that all Lindy Hop communities are united along similar key philosophies which are joy, fun and friendship through social dancing, so keep dancing!

    Lindy Jazz classes are on Tuesdays at Gosforth Parish Hall NE3 1YT

    19:30 Intermediate Class

    20:30 Beginners’ Class

    21:15 Social Dancing & Practice

     


  2. Do I Need To Learn Routines?

    December 9, 2016 by Joo-Lee

    Screenshot 2016-08-24 13.22.45

    New beginners often ask us to teach them a routine or a sequence when in fact, it’s easier to dance if you learn the skills to dance rather than try to memorise a lot of moves. So often we see new dancers  busy learning a whole bunch of moves. My question is, “Do you remember everything? Do your moves work when you social dance with dancers who haven’t done that exact class and those exact moves?” Perhaps what you’ve just learnt doesn’t work because you haven’t had the chance to consolidate anything and your body hasn’t had the chance to learn how to move. Then at social dances, you end up forgetting your moves.

    When learning a social dance such as the Lindy Hop, it can be easy to get stuck in a rut by just dancing patterns and routines, rather than learning to move naturally and confidently so that you don’t need to think and concentrate hard when you dance. If you develop the skills to move well and train your body to do what you want it to do, then you will be able to carry out new and exciting moves. I truly believe that we all need to learn how to move easily before being concerned about how many moves we can pull off on the dance floor.

    Using the building blocks and drills taught in class will give you structure, certainty and security when you dance. These are short phrases that you can practise over and over again until you develop the muscle memory for the basics, such as the pulse and rhythm. However, if you are new to this and have got used to set moves and routines, you may find it to be very unfamiliar but if you are able to spend 5 minutes a day practising these simple techniques, you will soon find dancing easier and more enjoyable.

    Then you might be asking yourself, “Will I have enough moves to get through a whole song without being boring to my partner?”. Well, the constant repetition of techniques like triple steps and Charleston kicks in class is not meant as a pattern for every dance, but rather they should be practised as useful drills that can help you to develop muscle memory, so that, with practice, you will be able to simply enjoy dancing without thinking consciously about the actual steps. When you start to intuitively dance like this and let your mind relax, then you will find it easier to move to the music in a fluid manner, which in turn will give your partner a really good dance too. In other words, knowing a few rules without being rigid with the rules can give you a lot of freedom!

    There’s no right or wrong way to dance, so if you prefer to dance a set of routines that you know, then that’s absolutely fine. As you gain more experience, you will find yourself naturally being able to take on these amazing and exciting skills.

    So if you’re keen to take your dancing to the next level, and wondering what skills you need to learn so that you get a strong grasp of the techniques to social dance with confidence,  then why not join us on Sunday 8th January for one of two excellent workshops, and give it a go?

     

     


  3. Share With A Beginner

    August 24, 2016 by Joo-Lee

    The Expert In AnythingI’ve been working on something new and I can’t wait to tell you about it!

    It’s mainly for beginners but if you’re not a beginner, it’d be fantastic if you can help by sharing this with your friends who are new to dancing. So, what’s going on…..?

    Well, it’s been a busy summer with quite a few of you coming for one-to-one private lessons. Beginners want to have a sense of control so they don’t feel embarrassed when they attend their first class, whilst experienced dancers usually ask for a check up and tune up, where they can get feedback and make better progress. So, it’s great to teach so many private lessons. However, as my schedule is getting a bit crazy (in a busy & exciting way), I have decided to create Swing Dance Beginner, an online course so more dancers get the chance to build some brilliant basics.

    This course is perfect for beginners who may be concerned about feeling embarrassed when learning to dance ‘in public for the first time’. By learning online in the comfort of your own home, you can learn how to do the basic steps  and build your confidence before you join a class.

    If you are no longer a beginner but you want to build strong foundations in your swing dancing, or perhaps you’ve missed a few classes and need to catch up, this course will not only show you what the moves are but will teach you how to do them step by step.  You can also use the video lessons on this course to practise in between lessons and if you do this,  you will soon become a more confident swing dancer.

    Registrations will be opening on 12 September so check it out here and be among the first dancers to join this new course!

    Plus…….. If you Invite Your Friends to join the Swing Dance Beginner online course, you will receive £10 off any one of the Lindy Jazz courses.

     

    Happy dancing!


  4. Five Mistakes Beginners Make And What To Do About Them

    August 7, 2016 by Joo-Lee

    Mistakes (3)

    Beginning to learn to dance can be a scary and worrisome time and I often try to think about how beginners feel when they’re just starting out, and try to see things from their viewpoint to help make things less daunting.

    Before you attend your very first dance class, you’re probably asking yourself:

    • Will everyone else be super advanced?
    • Will I fit in with the rest of the class?
    • Will I be able to keep up?

     

    These are all extremely valid questions, and when it comes down to it, we all feel the same the very first time we try something new. You don’t want to feel like you’re floundering, or make yourself look like a fool in front of the whole class, but it helps to know that lots of people feel this way no matter how confident they look!

    Did you know that overthinking things and worrying excessively can stress you out and can actually impact on your dancing abilities? The following are just a few traps that beginners fall into when they first come to a class:

    1. Creating tension
    2. Trying to prevent mistakes
    3. Looking at what others are doing
    4. Trying to assess your own progress
    5. Trying to memorise the moves

     

    These are all common mistakes, and ones that are easily fixed, so here’s some advice on how to cope when you find yourself falling into one of these traps:

    1. When you worry or overthink what you’re doing you create tension and your brain can freeze up, causing your muscles to get stiff. This is not ideal when you’re trying to dance, and will make your ability to learn a lot more challenging. So try relaxing, just go with the flow and you will find yourself catching on in no time!

    2.  Take it from me; it’s absolutely impossible to prevent mistakes so why even try? Mistakes are a normal part of learning any new skill, so you shouldn’t worry if you miss a step or two. It’s not like you’re training to be a heart surgeon, dancing should be a fun and entertaining experience, so don’t take it too seriously.

    3. It may be tempting to look at what everyone else is doing during the class, but your instructor is probably the only one who is doing it right! If you are busy looking at everyone else, you can find yourself not really knowing what version of the dance is correct, so simply focus on the teacher and you will find it a lot easier to learn.

    4. Not everything in life is about grades and exams, and trying to assess your own progress while dancing can be extremely distracting. You don’t get tested in social dancing classes as it’s all about having fun, so just go for it! If you do want to know how you’re doing, you can ask your teacher for an update.

    5. It’s simple; you don’t need to memorise the moves. If you try and concentrate too hard on remembering what comes next, your brain will be working too hard and you’ll seize up. Instead of over thinking, try to feel the moves and let it flow naturally.

    As with any new class, everything will seem unfamiliar and confusing at first, but the more classes you attend, the more familiar you’ll get with how everything works. When you see experienced dancers out there enjoying themselves effortlessly at a social, you might be asking yourself what’s their secret? Here are the secrets! Experienced dancers attend regular classes, dance as much as possible outside of their weekly classes and they focus on what they are doing whilst staying as relaxed as possible. Most of all, they love dancing and find it a joyful experience.

    I really hope that you found this article helpful, and that you’ll feel encouraged to try a dance class. In fact, attending a free class is a great way to find out if you’d like to learn more so look out for free classes that will give you a chance to try a taster.  If you’d like to get to grips with the basics of swing dancing, then check out these beginner-friendly events in Sunderland and Gateshead.


  5. Sitting Out Is Not Missing Out

    June 14, 2016 by Joo-Lee

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    Is injury causing you to miss out on the fun, friendship and learning that you enjoy? Injury can be so frustrating!

    However, it is really important that after an injury, you prioritise your recovery and allow yourself to get better.  This may be weeks or even months before you can dive back into dancing. However, there is no need to sit out and miss out.

    You may be feeling down about not being able to dance but there is no need to stay away and miss out totally. Sitting out during a class can be so frustrating!

    This is not uncommon and has happened to other dancers. Not to worry! We have a plan to keep you learning and enjoying the fun and friendship that you enjoy every week.

    Is sitting out better than staying away?

    This all depends on how much you want to want to learn. If you have an injury (or even if you are OK), sitting out to observe a class can still give you lots of information. But what should you be looking for?  To help you we will give you some written guidance with useful bullet points to get you started. Observation skills are a key learning tool and, after a while these will develop and you will gain more and more from watching other people dance.

    Try to focus on one thing at a time. Start by watching one body part. For example, what are the dancers doing with their arms? Are they relaxed and connected? Next, watch their feet. How far apart are they during triple steps? Then watch their shoulders. What are the signs of tension and what is the result of tension? How about their bounce? What happens when someone does not bounce at all?

    Learning to dance covers so many aspects, from learning about the music, to watching videos, to watching a class in action. So watching a class in a focused way is a great way to learn and I would encourage everybody to do it at some point even if they aren’t injured.  It’s easy to be so busy dancing that you rarely get to just sit and watch.

    What Will You Learn By Watching People Dance?

    This is a good question!  Peter, whilst recovering from an injury (I hasten to add this is due to more adventurous outdoor pursuits!) instead of staying away he came to classes regularly and observed the dancing. Here are his comments on the experience.

    Yes, it sucks being injured! But I felt I got a tonne of information by watching people. It was interesting to see just how different people lead and follow. And I’m not just talking about how different levels dance. I’m talking about how all dancers of all levels dance so differently. Although I think I’ve also realised this by starting to follow (trying to anyway!). You could blindfold me and I could tell exactly who I’m dancing with, as they are all so different. One of the most important things I learned though was, as obvious as it sounds, was if ya gonna lead, lead! Don’t half lead. Lead with confidence, even if you lead with confidence and something doesn’t quite work it’s better than not really leading in the first place.”

    As keen Lindy Hop dancers we all love watching YouTube clips of impressive dancers from all over the world.  Let’s take some time in the coming weeks to watch a class or watch some social dancing. I am sure we will discover many things that we are not aware of when we are busy dancing.