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"Swing Essentials" class - Accretions

Fata Morgana
2006-06-23 13:20
"Swing Essentials" class
Public
ballroom, stanford
I'll be teaching a seven-week "Swing Essentials" class at Stanford this July and August (a reprise of "Swing Essentials" classes I've taught over the years for UCBD). Feel free to join! It's a beginning class but I hope to cover a lot of ground. You'll learn the basics of East Coast Swing, Jitterbug, (ballroom) Jive, Lindy Hop, and West Coast Swing, and how to use the same concepts and moves in all the styles. The cost is $30/students, $60/nonstudents for all seven weeks (a steal!). No partner or experience is necessary! You can preregister online, or come to one of the first two weeks of class to register at the door (come early!).

I'm teaching with my colleague Simon, a great blues and lindy dancer, who has been very involved with Friday Night Blues in San Francisco. He brings a very different perspective to dancing and teaching. While most of my training has been formal and competitive, his training has been on the social dance floor (though he's also done swing performances) and he's a very "intuitive" dancer. He has a lot of teaching experience too, so I think we'll make a great team (even if we don't always agree :~)).

As part of the class, I highly encourage students to attend outings to local swing clubs. The best (if not only) way to really learn swing (and all dance, in fact) is to get out there and do it. These outings will also serve as an introduction to the local swing community and to other swing resources. I'll coordinate the details of these outings through the class mailing list. (If you're in the class but not on the mailing list, email me and I'll add you: ljswingmorganyaorg.) Note that most of the optional outings are to Swing Central. This event draws a big crowd, and repeated visits give everyone a chance to get to know a particular swing community. But going every week, and also visiting other swing clubs in the area, may be too much of a time commitment for some students, so I've prioritized the outings into official ones and optional ones. I'll also show up 30 minutes before classes 2-7 to answer questions and review steps from last week, and recommend that students attend, since we don't have time for much review in class.

In the true spirit of collaborative learning, I'm "open-sourcing" my proposed syllabus, which I also hand out to students at the beginning of the class (and again in revised form at the end, based on what we did cover). I do want to focus on teaching the technique and the "feel" of swing dancing more than the memorization of specific moves (but I also want to keep everyone moving during class!). I'll revise this post as the syllabus changes.

SBDT Swing Essentials
Wednesdays, 7-8, July 5 to Aug. 16, 2006
Bechtel International Center, Stanford Univ.
Teachers: me, Simon
http://www.sbdt.org/classes
TENTATIVE SYLLABUS

Meet in front of the gym half an hour early each week for practice, review, and questions.

Weeks 1 and 2 (7/5-12): East Coast Swing
Concepts: timing, hold, lead/follow, balance

  • Jitterbug or one-step
  • East Coast Swing or triple-step
  • Outside turn
  • Inside turn
  • Inside turn, switching places
  • Stop-and-go
  • Back-hand pass
  • Cuddle/Sweetheart
    • Roll off the arm ending
Outing 1: 7/11, 9-11:30, Swing Central ($6)

Optional Outing: 7/18, 9-11:30, Swing Central ($6)

Week 3 (7/19): Ballroom Jive/Jitterbug
Concepts: tension/compression, musicality

  • Review: Outside/inside turns
  • Review: Stop-and-go
  • Review: Cuddle
    • Improvisation from cuddle position
  • American Spin
    • Right-to-right ending
    • Left-to-right ending
  • Butterfly to hand-to-hand (ECS step)
Outing 2: 7/19, 9-12, Stompy Jones at Steppin' Out ($10)

Optional Outing: 7/25, 9-11:30, Tin Cup Serenade at Swing Central ($15)

Weeks 4 and 5 (7/26-8/2): Lindy Hop
Concepts: connection, pull, centripetal force, improvisation

  • Basic rhythm in ECS style
  • Throwout from closed position
  • Eight-count basic ("whip")
  • Lindy circle (back to closed)
  • Charleston kicks
Optional Outing: 7/29, 9-12:30, Doghouse ($10)

Optional Outing: 8/1, 9-11:30, Swing Central ($6)

Outing 3: 8/2, 9-12, Steve Lucky and the Rumba Bums at Steppin' Out ($10 $5 with a coworker)

Optional Outing: 8/8, 9-11:30, Swing Central ($6)

Week 6 (8/9): West Coast Swing
Concepts: improvisation, musicality, "attitude"

  • Prep step (modified ECS basic)
  • WCS basic or "sugarpush"
  • Outside turn or "sugartuck"
  • Right-side (under-arm) pass (w/ optional extra spin)

Optional Outing: 8/15, 9-11:30, Swing Central ($6)

Optional Outing: 8/16, 9-12, 9-12, Stompy Jones at Steppin' Out ($10)

Week 7 (8/16): Catch-up, review, and technique

Outing 4: 8/21, 9-12, West Coast Swing at Steppin' Out ($10)

Outing 5: 8/22, 9-11:30, Swing Central ($6)

Selected swing clubs and resources:

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rubrick
rubrick
2006-06-23 23:01 (UTC)
(no subject)
Hey, after you teach, you should come hang out with the juggling club (which happens to meet at Stanford Wednesday evenings from ~7:30-11:00, often followed by food). Our summer location is a little uncertain at this point; we normally meet in a dining hall building which is closed for the summer. We'll be meeting somewhere, though.
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Fata Morgana
chimerically
2006-06-23 23:28 (UTC)
(no subject)
Could do! Does the fact that I don't know how to juggle matter, though? Hmm, how about this: I'll learn to juggle if you learn to swing dance ...
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rubrick
rubrick
2006-06-23 23:39 (UTC)
(no subject)
Sounds fair. :-) I don't know if taking your class would be feasible for me, though. I'd be happy to exchange private lessons. (I'd be getting by far the better end of the deal, of course, at least until you got to the club-passing stage; teaching beginning dance requires a lot more expertise than teaching beginning juggling.)

I've actually learned the very basics of west coast swing on at least two occasions (when, as you might guess, I was dating people who danced), but never really used it or went further.
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Fata Morgana
chimerically
2006-07-28 21:28 (UTC)
(no subject)
Gah, still haven't made it out ... I want to, really! I'm usually just so tired after teaching. Maybe next week or the week after ...
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rubrick
rubrick
2006-07-31 16:50 (UTC)
(no subject)
I'm back in town, and should be at juggling this week. Feel free to just say hi and watch for a bit if you're tired.

I'm also of course happy to come by some other time for a juggling/dance lesson swap.
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andromedagal
andromedagal
2006-06-23 23:05 (UTC)
(no subject)
Sounds like fun! I especially like the encouragement of outings. Do you think an absolute beginner could jump in on the second week? I might be able to train him up a bit if he's keen, but we'll be away the first week.
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Fata Morgana
chimerically
2006-06-23 23:27 (UTC)
(no subject)
Sure! I can even give a quick catch-up lesson, either just before the main lesson or at Swing Central the night before.
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rubrick
rubrick
2006-06-23 23:45 (UTC)
(no subject)
My invitation to hang out with jugglegeeks afterwards (see above) of course applies to you, too. You should at least stop by and laugh at us when we say things like "wait a minute, if you turn those multiplexes into simuls, it turns into a three-person inverted Moose!"
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Fata Morgana
chimerically
2006-07-06 21:35 (UTC)
(no subject)
I'll be outside the building half an hour early for review, if you want to come next week. They're taking new students next week too, but I don't think they will be after that. Be forewarned, it was very crowded last week, but we still had a lot of fun and most students seemed to be catching on very well.
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threadwalker
threadwalker
2006-06-24 03:52 (UTC)
(no subject)
Hope I can get Topher to this!
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Fata Morgana
chimerically
2006-06-24 06:48 (UTC)
(no subject)
Yay! That'd be fun! There will be more during the year, too ...
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Fata Morgana
chimerically
2006-07-06 21:37 (UTC)
(no subject)
I'll be driving from Yahoo! Mission College to the lesson, if he wants to carpool. We'll leave at or shortly before 6 each week. He can sign up next week, too, though be forewarned that the class is pretty crowded (but we were short leaders last Wednesday). I can tell you more on Saturday.
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Darcy
darcydodo
2006-06-24 17:41 (UTC)
(no subject)
Gosh, I don't really think that commuting to South Bay for this would be entirely feasible... also, I'll be Ruddygore-ing for some of it. Oh well, I'll learn eventually. (She says.)
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Jeff
lbchewie
2006-06-24 19:30 (UTC)
(no subject)
I don't think I can make the lessons, but some of the SF- and East Bay-based outings sound nice. I'm sorely out of practice, though I loved the programmes you've put together in the past. Even if I'm unable to make it out to your events, I'm sure they'll be a roaring success!
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Jeff
composerjk
2006-07-11 02:10 (UTC)
(no subject)
The syllabus looks fabulous. I especially love the planned outings. I'll try to show up, though likely a little late, as I mentioned. I don't yet know about the salsa classes, especially since I may want to end up back at Steppin' Out for Lindy. Now to figure out how to fit dinner in there. ;)

I'll be at Swing Central tomorrow. I hope some folk from your class make it, too.
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(Anonymous)
2007-01-16 17:54 (UTC)
From Leo in Seattle
Hi Morgan, I don't know if you remember me, but I'm a ballroom dancer in Seattle. I think you used to dance with Jonathan Crawford? Anyway, just wanted to say hello and give you my contact info if you ever want to chat. I'd love to hear how you're doing. I saw some of your dance pics and they look great (I like the dresses too). I'm still dancing, competiting in champ standard. Hope to talk or see you soon.

Leo

leobossa@earthlink.net
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