June, 2022

  1. Who’s Watching You?

    June 27, 2022 by Joo-Lee

    Whether you’re a new Lindy Jazz member taking your first steps towards learning to dance, or you’re a more experienced dancer, your number one fear is probably that everyone in the room is looking at you. Your mind will tell you this, but the reality is that everyone in the room has their own worries and concerns, and they’re actually worrying that everyone is looking at them!

    To Any New Dancers, This is My Message to You

    There are a few situations where people will look at you;

    If you are an extremely good dancer and you’re showing off a bit and performing;

    If you are trying to attract attention.

    Otherwise, people are probably not looking at you, I promise!

    So Where Does This Fear Come From?

    We might have seen someone drunk and dancing at a nightclub or a wedding. They might have made a fool of themselves and you saw people sniggering. Then that implanted the fear and thought in your brain, “ I MUST not put myself in a position where I make a fool of myself.”

    However, a swing dance class is a completely different situation. Everyone is there for the same reasons; you’re all like-minded people who want to take your first steps to learning to dance.

    Explore, Practise, Dance

    When you take a Lindy Jazz course, there is no need to actually dance, believe it or not.

    There are 3 stages in the course:

    • Explore
    • Practise
    • Dance

    People often worry that they have to be able to dance immediately. In fact, on our courses, you’ll notice that we don’t seem to be dancing as such, particularly in the first two weeks. The aim is that you’ll be able to dance by week six, the final week.

    In the first two weeks, it’s all about following our instructions step by step and trying out moves. This is what we mean by exploring. You follow the instructions without the need to assess yourself or get it right.

    Stop Assessing and Start Enjoying

    The thing that stops us from being able to dance or enjoy learning to dance is constant assessment. We constantly assess ourselves because we are imagining that people are assessing us.

    We should simply turn up to a class and be students. We shouldn’t be wearing the hat of a student and the hat of an assessor because that gets way too complicated!

    My advice for brand new dancers is don’t be afraid because there is no tiger in the room. What you do have in the room are like-minded people who simply want to learn.

    Dealing with the Unfamiliar

    A lack of familiarity is also a common trigger for fear. If something is new or unfamiliar, it’s very natural for us to fill that gap or lack of information with the worst scenario possible.

    So if you are feeling afraid when you first join a class, write a list of questions and send them to me. They might look like;

    What if I make a fool of myself?

    What if I don’t catch up?

    What if I don’t understand?

    What if my feet won’t move?

    What if I can’t get it right, ever?

    Make a list and get it all out of your head!

    To The More Experienced Dancers, I Want to Say This

    If you’re a more experienced dancer, you may feel more familiar with everything now however, a new situation could trigger some fears. It could be something like dancing in a new environment. We recently went to a picnic and danced to a live band. How did that make you feel?

    If you are an experienced dancer who feels at ease in the safe environment of our local community centre, did you feel safe getting up and dancing when there were strangers milling around?

    Don’t Let Fear Stop You From Experiencing the Joy of Dance

    I used to think that I had to dance well when I was in the presence of others. But after years of dancing for fun, I no longer worry about that.

    I know that I’m not attracting any attention because everyone is there to enjoy themselves and after the event, they have to go home and deal with life and all of their commitments and concerns, just like me.

    So whether you’re a newbie or a more experienced dancer, I want to say that no one is looking at you, they are looking at themselves and worrying about themselves.

    Don’t let this fear stop you from learning to dance or learning to dance in new places.

    Having the skills to dance and being clear on the moves will add to your confidence. In all of our classes, the aim is to give you step by step clear instructions so you are left in no doubt about the moves.

    At Lindy Jazz, we take the mystery out of dancing and we aim to build your confidence. If you are looking to build confidence and to enjoy Swing dancing, then sign up for our next course!

  2. What to Expect On Your Lindy Jazz Course

    June 16, 2022 by Joo-Lee

    So you’ve signed up to a Lindy Jazz course and you’re really excited to get started. Or maybe you’re a little nervous, which is completely natural. What often helps get rid of the nerves and helps you feel prepared for your first live class is knowing what you need to know beforehand.

    I’ve put together this blog as a ‘what to expect’ guide for everyone (beginner or experienced dancer) who enrols on one of our courses.

    Before You Get Started

    You don’t need any dance experience to join this course. However, you do need the following;

    Good health– Just like you wouldn’t want to go for a run or go the gym when you don’t feel 100%, don’t attend class if you’re unwell. Rest up and come back when you’ve recovered.

    Good mood– Sometimes you’ll be coming to class after a stressful day or getting stuck in traffic. Take a few moments to centre yourself and prepare your mood and mindset before you start dancing.

    A lot of patience– Be patient with yourself if things don’t go the way they should. Be patient with your teachers if something doesn’t make sense. Be patient with other class members if they are not on the same wavelength as yourself. Things don’t always click straight away, but you’ll find that they will fall into place gradually over the course of the 6 weeks.

    Good hygiene– Wear a fresh top / shirt for class and sanitise your hands before dancing. This keeps things hygienic, safe, and pleasant for everyone.

    Try to Find Time to Practise

    You’ll get online videos that you can practise along to in between lessons but this is not compulsory. I do encourage people to try and find 5 minutes a day to practise so they remember the moves more easily.

    But if you don’t have time to practise, don’t beat yourself up about it.  Just turn up to class with an open mind and a relaxed mood. This will help you to take in the information more easily. Worrying or ruminating on the fact that you haven’t practised can slow down your learning and stop you from taking things in.

    Different People, Different Levels

    Everyone’s dance experience is different so don’t compare yourself with others in the class. Everyone learns differently, so you may find that some of the lesson material suits you but it doesn’t suit others. All we ask is that you be patient with others if things aren’t quite clicking for them, just as you would expect them to be patient with you.

    On the other hand, if it’s you that’s new to dancing or new to the topic, don’t try to keep up with others if they’re doing something fast or fancy. Just focus on what you’re doing, do what you can, and follow the teachers’ instructions. Don’t ask your dance partner for advice during the lesson as you both might end up missing something important.

    What If I’m an Experienced Dancer?

    If you’re an experienced dancer, it’s important to keep your mind open to learning. Don’t assume that your muscle memory is 100% consistent. You may have come across some of the concepts before, but working on your foundational skills will prevent you from forgetting them as you advance.

    Everyone may have different levels of dance experience but we all have the same goal, which is to have fun learning to dance. So relax and enjoy, and let the teachers take care of you.

    Keeping Things Safe

    For this course (June 2022), we are asking everyone who comes to a class in the hall to do a Lateral Flow Test on the day of the class and to share your results in the Messenger chat or via email at joolee@lindy-jazz.co.uk

    Dance Class Etiquette

    There are some simple social dancing rules of conduct to remember to keep things flowing and pleasant for everyone.

    • Before dancing with someone new, introduce yourself;
    • At the end of a dance or a practice, say ‘thank you’ or ‘high five’ your partner before moving on;
    • We all dance with each other as this is a social dance. However if you prefer to stay with your partner and not dance with others, we encourage you to smile and say ‘hello’ when others move past you to change partners.

    The Lindy Jazz Course- Summary

    • You don’t need any previous dance experience to join this course;
    • Everything will be explained from the beginning;
    • If you forget something, you can check the videos in between class;
    • If you don’t understand something, you can ask in class, pop a query in the Messenger chat or email info@lindy-jazz.co.uk.

    How Can I Progress My Dancing?

    After each 45 minute live class, you can stay to watch or try out the Advanced Class to see if this might be for you in the future.

    I hope this blog has told you everything you need to know, but if you have any more questions, we’d be happy to answer them. Just drop us a line at info@lindy-jazz.co.uk.

  3. Am I Turning the Right Way?

    June 14, 2022 by Joo-Lee

    Our members often share videos of themselves dancing so they can get individual feedback. What’s great is if they pop the videos in the group chat, along with any questions they have, the feedback can benefit everyone.

    Asking the Right Questions

    One of the most common questions we get is about the direction for turning.

    “Am I supposed to turn  clockwise or anti-clockwise?”

    That is a closed question, which means I have only 2 options; clockwise or anti-clockwise. Neither would be a good answer.

    I would always say if you want a better answer, ask open questions like;

    “How should I turn?” Or,

    “What is your feedback for me regarding my turning?”

    This opens up more options for a better answer.

    Focus on Rhythm, Not Direction

    We all tend to ask questions according to our own focus because we are so influenced by what we think is important. For example, if you think that everything should be uniform, you might ask, “For the sake of uniformity, should I turn clockwise?”, but the focus is not necessarily about uniformity in terms of steps.

    Our focus is usually about rhythm. The reason we sometimes turn in a different direction or get confused is not because of steps. It’s because if the rhythm is slightly off this can result in our weight being shifted onto the other foot and we then turn in the other direction.

    Remember, Lindy Hop is mainly about rhythm. If your rhythm is a little inaccurate or if you are slightly ahead or behind the beat you may feel confused. Then it’s tempting to think that it’s all to do with the direction of the turn when it’s really about the rhythm.

    If Your Rhythm is Off, So is Everything Else

    So bear in mind, it’s not always to do with which foot or which direction. It’s more to do with our basic understanding of rhythm. So in you are ahead or behind the beat, you may end up on the wrong foot and this may cause you to turn in a different direction.

    So what should you do? Check your rhythm and focus on the rhythm. Keep bouncing, keep counting, and everything else will come!

  4. Why Do People Want to Learn Fast?

    June 9, 2022 by Joo-Lee

    Why the Secret to Being a Great Dancer is Slowing Down

    We used to run workshops called Fastrack workshops, which were designed to transform people from okay dancers to amazing swing dancers in a short amount of time. Well, in theory, anyway. We soon realised that encouraging people to learn fast wasn’t turning them into the confident accomplished dancers they wanted to be. In fact, it often had the opposite effect.

    Why Do People Want to Learn Fast?

    It’s usually because they are short on time and they want to ‘get things done’ quickly. They want to take the shortcuts and tend to need instant assurance that they are going to be able to dance well, instead of taking small steps in each lesson.

    Not taking the time to learn the essentials and build a good foundation can become your main obstacle to becoming a confident dancer.

    The Problem with Wanting to Learn Fast

    It takes time to acquire skills but it’s always time well spent. When you learn fast, you tend to ignore and bypass a lot of the essentials; from the need for building a good foundation to the need for repetition and regular practice.

    When you try to rush learning how to dance, it’s a bit like painting by numbers. Yes, you’ll have a picture at the end, but you won’t have learned any skills. You won’t know how to use light and shade, or make a painting come to life. None of that impressive artistic stuff.

    Like with learning anything, it’s about taking the time to enjoy the process. When you’re in a dance class, it’s the taking the time to enjoy every moment that will help you become a more confident and stylish dancer. While the process will take longer, it will be much more joyful and fruitful. Dancing should be something for you to lose yourself in and enjoy, not just another thing to ‘get done.’

    Build Skills That Last

    When you start a new dance course, how do you feel at the start? Anxious? Excited? Confused?

    Do you feel anxious because you don’t know whether you’ll be able to learn well?

    Well I want you to believe in yourself and realise that you don’t need to do know everything right from the beginning.

    Often, I’ll start teaching one of our 6 week courses and I’ll notice that at the start of the six weeks, many of the participants are anxious. But by the middle of the course, they are really getting into it, and by week five, they are extremely happy!

    Just start as you mean to go on; be happy and open-minded instead of anxious and see what a difference it makes to your experience, and your dancing!

    Want to experience the REAL joy of dance, without the rush rush rush?

    Join our next 6 week course here.