From October 2014 we’re introducing dance levels at Lindy Jazz Club, mainly in Lindy Hop. The reason behind this is so that people can feel clearer about where they are with their own dancing and where they would like to progress to.
All sorts of things affect our progress when we learn anything, especially with dancing. Recently I read a book called “The Inner Game of Music” where the author talks about a formula called: “Performance equals potential minus interference”.
We all have a huge amount of potential to be great dancers. Sometimes we go to more workshops in order to increase our level of performance when actually one of the things we can look at is our interference or barriers, things that stop us from learning, such as, time; self-belief; fear and health.
We’re not judging people’s dance ability from a competitive or performance perspective. We don’t want our dancers to ‘prove’ they’re good at dancing; we just want them to develop an awareness of their own ability, which is the reason we’re bringing in this idea of levels.
Here are Andy’s thoughts on levels.
“Every workshop we do helps us with some essential skills, taking us another little step along the way. It’s very easy to think that you can go to a workshop and suddenly go from say a Level B to a Level C but we can’t expect to come out of the workshop elevated in our dancing, or at least permanently elevated, no matter how the workshop has changed us in the short term.
The thing with advancing in Lindy or any other dance form, I believe, is that it takes solid practice. Most of us have busy lives and we don’t have the time to devote to practicing day in day out, so our progress is actually quite slow. With nicely defined class levels people can have a degree of confidence in knowing where they are in terms of progress”
As the community grows we need to meet the expectations of different types of dancers. In a partner dance class you are dancing in the rotation, so what’s important to us is that every dancer develops their own clear awareness of where they are, so as not to hold themselves or their partner back.
If you are, for example, a Level C dancer, you may expect everyone in the Intermediate class to be able to swing-out with a Texas Tommy variation and be expecting to learn further variations. If the teacher then has to explain the swing-out from scratch it could take another hour, by which time there is no time for any variation.
There is no perfect system. Lindy Hop was a street dance people taught to each other and was never designed as a dance form to be taught in classes. This idea is not designed to make people feel that they are being labelled a ‘good dancer’ or otherwise, it’s about being able to identify where we are with our skill level and then aiming to improve that level and reach our potential.
So, take a look at the ‘Lindy Jazz Levels’ and see if you can identify all the skills that you already have, the skills you wish to review or any new techniques that will take you to the next level.
Register your interest in the workshops by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to be the first to hear about upcoming dates.