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.
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
- Back-hand pass
- Roll off the arm ending
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)
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: 8/1, 9-11:30, Swing Central ($6)
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)
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:
- Swing Central (Redwood City): Tuesdays 9-11:30, lessons before. http://redwoodcityswing.com
- Steppin' Out Productions (Sunnyvale): Lindy Wednesdays 9-12, WCS Mondays 9-12, lessons before. Live bands 2x/month. http://steppinoutproductions.com and http://trevorandmegan.com/events
- The Doghouse (351 Shotwell in SF): Saturdays 9-12:30, three rooms, lessons before. http://doghouseswing.com
- 9:20 Special (2460 Sutter in SF): Thursdays 9:20-12:30, lessons before. http://920special.com
- Lindy in the Park (Golden Gate Park in SF): Sunday afternoons, outside. http://lindyinthepark.com
- Bay Area Lindy List: http://lindylist.com
- SF Swing: http://sanfranciscoswing.com
- Bay Area WCS: http://jennykevin.com/swing.html