Posts Tagged ‘Swing dance workshops’

  1. A Newbies’ Guide To DJam….. and what is Lindy A?

    December 23, 2016 by Joo-Lee

    If you’re new to the world of swing dancing, you may have heard other dancers talk excitedly about DJam, an international swing dance camp. But what exactly is a dance camp? Are there tents and campfires, and most importantly, do the dancers actually go camping? If you love camping then I am afraid you won’t find log cabins and singsongs (well, not at most dance camps anyway); a dance camp is usually just a weekend of learning through structured classes, with social dancing in the evening to enjoy your new-found skills.

    Now that we’ve got that cleared up, it’s time to talk about DJam! A blissful weekend of dancing, learning, meeting new people and having fun, DJam is a swing dance camp held in the stunning Beamish Hall Hotel in County Durham each year.

    Most dance camps are attended by experienced dancers. That’s because experienced dancers know that to improve their dancing a lot, they need to start learning from world-class teachers and dance with a wider range of dancers. They know that if they only ever dance with a small group of people and never venture outside of their local class, their dancing progress will plateau. As organisers of DJam, we also teach a local weekly class which attracts a regular influx of beginners so we know the worries that new dancers have when thinking about improving their dancing and how they don’t feel confident enough to come to DJam or come on their own. So I’ve summarised some information here to help all new dancers to get a flavour of DJam. At the time of writing, we have just 10 places left in the Lindy Hop beginner level ‘track’. So…..what is Lindy A? What is a track? What happens at DJam? If you’re a new beginner, read on……

    At DJam, there will be several tracks meaning different classes in different styles. Once you’ve decided on your track eg Lindy Hop, the next thing to do is to choose your level and Lindy A would be the beginners level where no previous dance experience would be required. Your teachers will know that everyone in your group will be new and possibly nervous! DJam teachers are hand picked not just for their dancing and teaching skills but also for their warmth, friendliness and care for new dancers.

    The teachers and the DJam Team are very approachable and will be happy to answer any questions about dancing; even if the questions may seem basic, for example, what to wear to the evening socials, how to ask for dances, what time the cabaret or competitions are on, what’s for lunch, anything!

    When you arrive at Beamish Hall at the start of the DJam weekend, you’ll be made to feel welcomed by the organisers & volunteers. You will be given lots of information and introduced to other beginner dancers, who won’t know others either so they’ll be just as nervous.

    The DJam schedule is packed with daytime classes, evening parties & various social activities. You can choose to do as little or as much as you want. In addition to your own track, meaning your set of Lindy Hop beginner classes that you have booked for in advance, you can also drop into taster classes. Taster classes are designed to give a little taste of other styles of dance and a whole host of interesting topics, for example. Blues, Balboa, Shag, Aerials, Swing Music. You don’t need to book for taster classes in advance. Once you’ve arrived at DJam, just take a look at your schedule and see what looks the most interesting to you.

    Your Lindy A classes will consist of a small group of dancers who will learn ‘from scratch’ – how to dance, what to do at social dances, how to understand the etiquette of social dancing, how to move well, how to dance to swing music, how to lead, follow and dance with people you don’t know etc. In short, your dance skills and knowledge of dancing and swing music will be transformed and you will feel a lot more confident when you next go dancing.

    You can choose your ideal ticket from a number of options and we call this a ‘pass‘,  so you can come for just Saturday or just two days or make the most of it and come for the whole weekend or even stay over at Beamish Hall Hotel. The DJam team, the volunteers and I will make sure that you feel included, enabling you to make the most of this opportunity.

    As the deadline for booking is fast approaching and there are only 10 places left, book now or contact me, Joo-Lee, for more information.

    More info:

    Deadline for booking: 30 December 2016

    See you at DJam!

  2. Progressing with Lindy Levels

    September 11, 2014 by Joo-Lee

    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 to be the first to hear about upcoming dates.