Social Dancing – What’s It All About?

February 16, 2016 by Joo-Lee

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If you are new to Lindy Jazz or brand new to swing dancing, you may wonder why we ‘rotate’ partners in class and why we dance with different people. You will also notice that although some people come with a partner, many of our members come on their own or with a group of friends.

If you’d imagined that partner-dancing involves dancing with one partner all evening then it may come as a surprise to you that you don’t need to bring a partner to join our class and that we ‘rotate’ partners after every few minutes during the lessons.

Of course, visitors who are new to social dancing and would feel more comfortable staying with their own partner all evening are allowed to, but we find that within a week or two they soon relax and enjoy meeting and dancing with other members.

At Lindy Jazz and most swing events all over the world, social dancing is about dancing with a partner in a ‘freestyle’ fashion to music you would hear at most social events. The term ‘freestyle’, commonly used by Modern Jive dancers, means to dance freely as you wish without having to memorise a choreographed routine. In the swing dance community we often use the word ‘improvise’ when we don’t memorise a routine. Usually the term, ‘social dancing’ is used to refer to dancing with different partners and meeting new people through dancing in a sociable way.

So what is the difference between dance performers and social dancers? Typically, dance performers dance to entertain and they would learn and then perform the same routine to a song, with a partner they have chosen in advance. Social dancers would focus on learning skills and moves so they can dance  ‘freestyle’ to music they hear at the social events they attend. For example, when they hear the band play a song that they like they will ask someone for a dance. They also dance with a variety of partners as this provides an excellent way of socialising and meeting new people.

In your Lindy Jazz classes you will be learning some exciting moves and fantastic skills that will lead to some incredible dance experiences. Just ask any dancer who has been dancing for a while and who has attended weekend workshops and amazing swing dance festivals such as DJam you will soon find out why everyone who loves social dancing always look so happy and full of life!

These moves and skills that you learn are like learning a new language. You are not learning just a few set phrases from a phrase book in preparation for a weekend break. You are learning a wonderful new language, starting with the basics so you can build strong foundations and be able to truly understand how to feel the music, connect with your partner and communicate your personality through this incredible medium of dance. If you learn a set of moves in order to memorise a routine to dance with your own partner, that is fine of course, but you are performing, not social dancing.

If your aim is to learn to social dance and be open to the possibilities of meeting new people, coming up with new moves and dancing to music you have not chosen in advance then be patient and focus on enjoying the classes and practice afterwards.

If you are new to social dancing, don’t worry about perfecting your moves with one partner. You may find that although your dancing works with that one partner, they may not work with others unless you practise with other people too. The more people you dance with and the more often you dance, the faster your progress will be and more confident you will feel about social dancing.

It goes without saying, the more people you can dance with the more fun you will have!

If you are excited and want to learn more, why not book a private lesson with a teacher you enjoy working with or schedule a 10-minute call to find out more about private lessons.

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