BENEFITS OF SWING DANCE
FOUNDATIONS OF LINDY HOP/RETRO SWING :There are no rules in retro style swing dance as there are in Ballroom. However, there are foundations that every student must build on to learn how to comfortably dance with a partner. There are also essential rules of ettiquette or dancer rights and responsibilities that apply to all forms of partner dance. Follow these rules to make retro swing dancing fun for everyone!
FOUNDATION#1 Principals of Leading and Following:It is permissable for a guy or a girl to initiate the invitation to dance at a swing dance. Next, it is necessay to establish who is leading and who is following. The lead`s job is to initiate the dancing and to spontaneously create the order of patterns or moves wanted. Usually the best way for a lead to take charge is to start the dance in closed position where there are more points of contact to lead the follow. There are 2 basic positions for swing partner dancing: closed and open. The lead generally comes from the hand on the follow`s back in closed position. If the lead uses the correct connection with his partner and focuses on a smooth body lead, the follow will not feel uncomfortably pushed, jerked, pulled or squeezed. The follow must not anticipate but rather use the points of connection to repond smoothly to the leads that are initiated. Several connection exercises are given in the first classes to lay a good foundation for leading and following. The follow learns to be sensitive to all the points of connection by closing their eyes to concentrate on the leads that are initiated. The follow`s job when dancing is to mentally focus on the leads being initiated, shutting out all distractions. In open position the lead is established by squaring up with the shoulders and hips to the partner to maximize the effectiveness of a body lead even though the only connection may be with one hand. A follow must remember at all times to continue in the basic step pattern regardless of the direction they are being led to move. The lead should continue with his basic footwork even when giving the follow a turn. A follow does not like to be started in a basic pattern to be cut off early by a lead who lost track of their footwork and who forgot to finish the count for the pattern. To summarize: In a well led and followed dance, all body movements will look and feel natural not stiff or jerky.
FOUNDATION #2: MusicalityThe dance is intended to compliment the music in mood and rhythm. In the beginning stage it is more essential for the lead to have musicality than the follow. The follow`s job is to follow the beat initiated by the lead; not the music. If they are dancing together off beat to the music then it is the lead`s fault. A follow may tell the lead they are off beat if the lead does not notice it. The lead can always stop and restart on beat. To get on beat the lead needs to have a basic understanding of swing music. Listen to swing music and you will clearly hear upbeat immediately followed by a downbeat. A variety of swing music is used in the dance classes to give the leads lots of practise finding the up & downbeat. Lindy Hop is a downbeat or earthy dance style where styling emphasis is placed on the downbeat. The dance and the music starts on the upbeat. Counting the beats in swing music can be simplified to 2 beats: 1 is the upbeat and 2 is the downbeat. Leads will want to start all their basics on the upbeat or 1 ct. Thus restarting a dance after stopping is as easy as counting to 2. It is musical ettiquette to begin a partner dance after the intro to the swing tune is over. You can mess around on the intro. Beyond this basic musicality there is no right or wrong with swing dance moves the lead chooses to do. A lead can create their own idea of having fun to the music as long as they stays on beat! Doing a move or combination of moves inbetween lots of basics gives the lead enough rest time to keep on the beat. Listening to lots of swing music will improve the musicality of both lead and follow. The music has breaks that can be used by the lead for a flashy move or a follow shine. With practise a lead will sense when a song is coming to a close. A good lead matches his dance to fit the mood of the music. A dramatic ending calls for a dip or at the very least a return to closed position. Faster music calls for more kicks and faster single rhythm footwork. Slower music calls for smooth triple rhythm to fill it out. Regardless of the speed of the music street syle swing wants to be circular. Even a lead doing beginner basics will look good on the dance floor if he keeps the dance circular and dynamic-not static in a slot. More advanced musicality is taught in the triple rhythm classes.
Learning Basics with Jump Joint Swing:
Progressive classes are available from September to MayOur classes are very friendly and a lot of fun. We demo, teach and, dance with you at the weekly class and swing dances with your goals in mind providing the progressive dance course that suits you best. Single time Lindy is recommended before learning triple time Lindy Hop. Jump Joint Swing aims to preserve the origins of swing dance thru Lindy Hop and all our students are encouraged to pursue this true essence of swing dance. This improvisational partner dance style is easily achieved after 3 months of Easy Beginner Lesson instruction! Not only is Single Time Lindy (think Jive) fast, fun and easy, but after one lesson you will be out on the floor dancing. Why single time Lindy first? We use Single Lindy to communicate the rhythms of swing music to our students. Without understanding the rhythms it is hard to dance to the music and keep on the beat. It is very important for a lead to have some basic musicality before stepping out on the dance floor. Girls really appreciate a guy who feels the beat. After musicality, lead and follow communication is the next important ingredient. I use Single Lindy as a swing form that strips all the frills away to focus on your basic lead and follow skills. Professional swing dancers regularly take time to work on the above principals of musicality and partner communication with the very basics. Triple Lindy is included in our Beginner curriculum and is easy after the Single Lindy lesson. Progressive class students are encouraged to practice swing dancing 2 minutes a day listening to swing music- feeling the pulse. Practice immediately after each class and retain 90% of what you learn! Practice doing the basic single or triple step without a partner- When practicing with a partner-remember it is not just about the hand connections- it`s mainly a body weight connection!
FOLLOWING TECHNIQUES:Relax the hand and arm in a turn. Relax the shoulders. Keep the shoulders back using the muscles in the back- knees slightly bent. Follows follow (with their body) the hand that is connected to the lead. Keep the hand in view at all times. Consistent Arms on every axis (x,y and z), Don’t Anticipate – Feel the change and respond, Keep your feet underneath you, Plan to take small steps and allow the lead to determine how big they become, If a lead gives you momentum in a direction, keep that going until you feel otherwise, even if he turns you..(Don’t stop and turn…turn while moving). Try to be cute…it takes the attention off the lead.
LEADING TECHNIQUES:Leads- please don`t squeeze her hand! Clear leads, (strong but not jerky) Keep the upper body quiet (quiet hands – cut out excess movement) Try to have nice lines with your arms. Adjust your dancing to your partner, be flexible Know your footwork so you can focus on your strong clear and smooth leads. Try not to be too flashy let your follow shine…they will be watching the follow anyway. If something goes wrong…..it’s your fault.
PULSE YOUR BODY TO THE BEAT OF THE SWING MUSIC:Dance with your whole body to the Swing Beat. Pulse to every beat of the music.
Lindy Hop - started in the late 1920’s in Harlem, New York, a place where partner dance thrived and jazz music flourished! Both East and West Coast Swing originate from this joyful dance.There is single, double and triple rhthym Lindy Hop. Retro Swing or Lindy Hop is a street style of partner swing and is composed of a lead and follow. It is a very subjective style with the lead creating his own moves to the music. A thorough understanding of the basics of lead and follow and musicality is essential to looking good on the social dance floor. These important basics are covered in the Retro Swing classes. There are 2 styles of Triple Lindy Hop: Savoy according to Frankie Manning and Smooth or Hollywood style according to Dean Colins. Retro swing is the Savoy style. See the following for more details on Lindy Hop:
Lindy Hop is the original swing dance from the 30's, 40's, and 50's danced to Big Band Swing, Jump Blues, and early Rock 'n Roll. Characteristics of "the lindy" include swivels, aerials (air steps), kicks, rhythmic footwork, and energetic turns. The look of Lindy Hop is down low with bent knees and waist and open arms. One can pike forwards or backwards depending on style. Lindy Hop can be danced very fast (300bpm) or very slow (90bpm) and everything in between. Lindy Hop evolved into West Coast Swing during the 60's and 70's and changed as the music changed. In the late 80's and 90's Lindy Hop was rediscovered and made trendy with the help of original Lindy Hopper Frankie Manning, vintage video clips, neo-swing bands, and movies like Swing Kids, Malcolm X, and Swingers. Now you can dance the Lindy Hop in any big city in the world. Other terms for Lindy Hop are Jitterbug, Jive, Jump, and East Coast Swing. East Coast Swing is the 6 count pattern that Lindy Hopper's do that many ballrooms teach as a separate dance. Lindy Hop nowadays has many related dances that are an essential part of your swing vocabulary including Balboa, Bal-Swing, Collegiate Shag, Shadow/Tandem Charleston, Front Charleston, and 20's Charleston. There are also some swing line dances and routines that are known worldwide such as The Shim Sham, The Big Apple, Dean Collin's Shim Sham, The California Routine, and The Jitterbug Stoll. Lindy Hop is a street dance in that it's ever changing, done mostly socially, and is open to lots of inspiration and new steps. To become a Lindy Hopper you should take Lindy Hop lessons and most importantly, GO DANCING! It's fun, you never need a partner, and you will make many friends. Get involved.
Swing is written in foxtrot time 4/4 or cut-time and can be danced to any foxtrot tempo, however, the more syncopated tunes are more desireable. The shag was actually the first dance to be called jitterbug and its slow slow quick quick rhythm has set the basic pattern fo all the others. The single lindy has the same rhythm pattern.
Single Lindy: Cue: Slow slow quick quick or Side Side Rock Step
Double lindy is very adaptable to slow or fast rhythm and has proveen to feel good with modern swing tunes even though rock and roll has gone the way of all fads. In 4/4 or cut time, the action is an even six pattern. All are quick beats. The accent in the movement falls on beats 2, 4 , 2
Double Lindy: Cue: Dig Step, Dig Step, Rock Step
The triple rhythm is most often danced to slow sophisticated tempos. The quick beat may be divided into two counts, one and.
Triple Lindy: Cue: Shuf - fle Step, Shuf - fle Step, Rock Step.
The triple rhythm should be small shuffling steps, keeping the feet close to the floor. Weight is on the ball of the foot.
The important difference between foxtrot and swing is the syncopated quality which varies with the individual dancer and is a matter of style. A 1-2 beat may be taken as a step hop, as a kick step, as a touch step (dig step) or merely as a step bend. It is essential that the basic rhthm pattern be maintained by both man and lady, in open or closed position. The step should be small and under the body as a narrow moving base. The body should be free from tension but not saggy. Good swing requires a magnificent alertness to maneuver the open jitterbug variation. This must be reflected by a firm body and a calculated resistance in the arm and hand which will respond to a lead of the man`s hand in any direction. Swing steps do not carry the dancers around and around the floor( in a line of dance as in ballroom or in a slot as in West Coast swing)), but appear as a series of rolling and turning figures covering a circular space in one area. A subtle smoothness of movement is a joy to see as two dancers swirl and roll through an elaboirate combination of open steps to the off-beat rhythm.
Frankie Manning and the Savoy style:
EAST COAST SWING is taken from Jitterbug or single time Lindy Hop- From the 1940’s through the 50’s, Jitterbug swing was all the rage, and it’s back in style again! It is easy, high energy, fast and fun. Jive and Ceroc are example of swing dance styles that came from East Coast Swing. Find out more:
AERIALS - Moves with a partner that require precise timing, teamwork, and technique. They include for example piggy back, Russian split, hip jump, and duck and dive. They also include tricks, dips, and drops. Most aerials are only acceptable inside a jam circle. Watch the pros in action:
BALBOA - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fPXn9Es240&NR=1
Maxie Dorf & Lolly Wise added breakaways and swing turns to the Balboa, which nowadays is often referred to as Bal Swing. Balboa can be danced to any speed of music, from slow songs to very fast ones at 300 beats/min. Pure Balboa is probably the easiest way to dance to fast music & enjoy it! Balboa was very popular among the college Kids in the mid 30`s and is presently enjoying a resurge in popularity-even in Vancouver. http://www.stevedandrebecca.com/performances.asp (click the top link)Balboa videos
CHARLESTON - Lindy Hop evolved for the most part from 20`s Charleston. Please see www.jitterbuzz.com/less3.html for more info.
20`s Charleston Cow Tail: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTycDNiL2Xk
Jam Circles & AERIALS - A circle of dancers clapping and giving encouragement and support to a couple in the middle. The middle dancers are free to do any flashy stuff to show off their dancing! Jamming is a performance skill! A good entrance & exit with a partner as well as aerials and flashy dance moves are highly admired by the crowd surrounding the dancers. Musicality and good lead follow technique will enhance the performance. Entrances, exits, flashy moves, musicality, hitting breaks, and techniques for dancing to faster tempos.*Jam Material: This is any dance move that needs more space than is available on the social dance floor, but can be done inside a circle of swing dancers with one or two couples in the center of the circle. Also includes flashy moves that are acceptable on the social dance floor.
Aerials 2007 curriculum with Kerry Ward: Basic Prep technique 1, 2 and Down, Up: 2 kinds Timing together Use all your points of contact: teamwork. Maintain your frame. Know Commitment/Attitude/Trust
Fall 2006 Cirque du Swing workshops:
Waterfall: He has his L arm up reaching toward the ceiling with a flat back platform. His R arm is bent. Facing his R shoulder and using basic entry she jumps onto his back landing on her stomach going under his L arm- reaching with both arms for his neck to wrap around. As she slides fwrd across his back he take her legs with his L arm and her neck with his R hand and he stands up without letting her touch the ground until the landing infront. She arrests her descent at the top of his legs. He lifts her with 1 hand on the back of her neck first and then the other under 1 leg as she comes between his legs in the fetal position. She lands infront.
Hip Toss: Entry with standard aerial handgrip: He brings the girl in -guys hip goes directly infront of her back.. He puts her R hand aX his chest and he puts his R hand aX her chest onto her L shoulder. His L palm is facing away from his chest as it holds her R palm. She brings her feet up in a pike position. as the guys pops her up. She does a back flip onto her feet.
Monster back flip: guy thinks L hand to her L: put her arm around his neck, his arm around the waist or stomach With her legs bent she rests her back on his shoulder before the toss over. He looks fwd not back at her. He brings her in, down and up and over.
Piggy Back to Walk Over: Girl behind the guy: She lands in piggy back with her hands on his shoulders and her feet flexed and legs parralel to the floor and her stomach comfortably away from his back so he can reach fwd to grab the soles of her feet. He brings her feet down and up and behind his back so she can stand leaning her thighs against his back for balance. She uses his shoulders to stand. She Looks fwd with arms out to her side. When ready to exit she leans fwd over his R shoulder and angles her body toward his left side and walks off with back straight. On the exit as she leans fwd he wraps his r arm around her waist and then grabs her extended L arm at the elbow. He grabs the arm and feeds her out with his l hand. She does not rotate her hips! Her feet are scissoring down-her body staying straight. No Backbend-she walks off.
Swingout with Toss-Use triple jump jam cirlce entry. Think about Platform, connection and timing.
Step Over: 1 Leg over to jump down infront to jump up over the head to behind the back. Guy is a firm platform for the girl to step up on. She stands on his R side at R angle to him. Both hands are joined in a Xed arm hold with the joined L hands ontop (his L elbow points front and his L palm is up and over his R shoulder. His R palm is up and his R upper arm is in line with his R thigh.) She steps up onto his R thigh with her R foot and sweeps her L leg over his head and jumps off landing directly infront of him. He then lifts her with the joined hands to land her directly behind him. The hands maintain contact. She must not let her legs go fwd on the lift to avoid pulling the guy off balance
The Fly: From a swingout he changes the hand grip to connect his left to her right hand in a secure tight hold. Using the standard aerial prep: 1, 2 down up: She lifts off from her right foot using his head to push her body up with her left palm and bending both knees.As he rotates her around his right arm to land infront of him she extends her legs and her right arm in the air then bends her knees and bounces on the landing using the hand connection to push away from the lead. Just before lift off she should see his head just below hers with his eyes looking up at heras he wraps his right arm to lift and rotate her.
LINDY HOP IN CHOREOGRAPHY:
George Gee Make-Believe Ballroom Orchestra performs "Wednesday Night Hop" for the Lindy Chorus at Roseland Ballroom in NYC at Frankie Manning's 88th ...
***WATCH ORIGINAL VIDEO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RjmD7V0sdY
The Lindy Chorus was choreographed by Frankie Manning to work with standard 8 bar Big Band songs, and, in particular, Andy Kirk's Wednesday Night Hop. This piece requires a partner and for Frankie's 85th Birthday Celebration in May of 1999, over 100 couples will hit the floor to do this piece to the live music of George Gee's Make Believe Ballroom Orchestra.
32 beats intro, open position, no steps
Charleston, apart (second time through, swing low)
Hand to hand Charleston
* Repeat pattern above with the additional notes in blue*
Variations on the Lindy Chorus:
1940s Jive Stroll: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDvrT6wPat4
Jitterbug Stroll https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcJbrWd1oxM created by Ryan Francoise.
In the late 1920s and the 1930s, at the end of many performances, all of the musicians, singers, and dancers would get together on stage and do one last routine: the Shim Sham Shimmy. Tap dancers would perform technical variations, while singers and musicians would shuffle along as they were able. s a result of this conglomerate background, there is not one universal "shim sham" there are several variations. When a group of people do the Shim Sham (especially a group of people from different cities), their steps will be largely similar with some variation and even some improvisation. One particular routine is quite common, and can be learned by intermediate dancers in a social setting. There are a number of alternative choreographies—one developed by Frankie Manning another by Al Minns and Leon James (also called the "Savoy Shim Sham"), and a third by Dean Collins
The Shim Sham routine created by Leonard Reed and Willie Bryant in 1927 uses four popular steps of the period: the Shim Sham, the Pushbeat and Crossover, the Tackie Annie or Tack Annie, and the Half Break. Originally called “Goofus” and done as a comedic farm dance to the song “Turkey in the Straw,” the dance was performed by Leonard Reed and Willie Bryant around the South while they were touring with the Whitman Sisters Troupe. The dance was then taken to the Shim Sham Club in New York, where the farm theme was dropped and chorus girls were added to the dance. The chorus girls further varied the dance by shaking their shoulders while doing the first step, and soon the dance became known as the Shim Sham Shimmy. Leonard Reed Shim Shams
The Shim Sham is 10 phrases of choreography (each phrase lasting four 8-counts), so it does not usually take up an entire song. After the Shim Sham was over, the dancers then would exit either stage left or right, depending on what was agreed upon for that show.
Today in the Lindy Hop scene, once the Shim Sham choreography is over, dancers typically grab a partner and break into lindy hop for the remainder of the song. During this portion of the song, the band or a DJ may call out "Freeze!" or "Slow!" instructing the dancers to either stop where they are or dance slowly, then call out "Dance!" to tell everyone to resumes normal dancing. The Frankie Manning version adds a Boogie Back/Boogie Forward phrase and Boogie Back/Shorty George phrase to the end of the basic choreography, then repeats the basic choreography before the Lindy break—but in repeating adds a pause or break at the end of each 8-beat phrase/dance move. Only after the repeats are ended do the dancers break into freestyle Lindy Hop.
The Shim Sham goes best with swing songs whose melody lines start on beat eight, as does the choreography. An obvious choice is The Shim Sham Song (Bill Elliot Swing Orchestra), which was written specifically for this dance and has musical effects (e.g.breaks) in all the right places. However, today the Shim Sham—particularly the Frankie Manning version—is danced more often to "'Tain't What You Do (It's The Way That Cha Do It)" by Jimmie Lunceford and His Orchestra, or "Tuxedo Junction" by Erskine Hawkins. In fact, it is typical now at a Lindy dance party for dancers to start up a Shim Sham whenever "'Tain't What You Do" is played. There is also a recording "Stompin' at the Savoy" with the George Gee band where Manning himself calls out the moves.These are the 4 steps of the original 32-bar Shim Sham:1) The Shim Sham & The Break, 2) Push and Cross, 3) Tacky Annies, 4) Half Break ( see descriptions in order below).
|1||8e1||stomp brush step||RRR|
|2e3||stomp brush step||LLL|
|2||4e1e||stomp brush ball change||RRRL|
|2e3||stomp brush step||RRR|
|3+4||repeat with sides reversed|
|5+6||repeat bar 1-2, ending with:|
|6||2e3||stomp brush touch||RRR|
|7||8 1||stamp toe||RL|
|2 3e||step hop step||LLR|
|2 3||step step||RL|
|17||e4e1||stamp stamp brush touch (crossing behind)||RLRR|
|2e3||stamp brush touch (crossing behind)||RLL|
|18||4e1||stamp brush touch (crossing behind)||LRR|
|2e3||stamp brush step (crossing behind)||RLL|
|19-22||repeat twice, ending with:|
|22||2e3||stamp brush step||RLL|
|23+24||Break as before|
|25||8 1||stamp step||RL|
|e2e3||shuffle ball change||RRRL|
|27+28||break as before|
|29-32||repeat 25-28, ending the break with:|
|2 3||jump out, jump in||BB|
"fall off the log - shuffle - step step - shake shake, step - step - shake shake"
Created in a club in Chicago (De Lisa) in 1940. A dancer named Trankey Doo
performed this choreography. It was added to and embellished into what we
have today and is done to any song with classic swing structure.
Leon James and Al Minz would do this in their repertoire as they traveled and danced.
(we know 2 versions: Frankie Manning & from The Spirit Moves)
The following info is compliments of the cat. The Tranky Doo was originally choreographed by Pepsi Bethel. Frankie Manning made his own version. http://en.wikipedia .org/wiki/ Tranky_Doo
And here's a Yehoodi thread that contains some links to various modern
performances, as well as a step list by Mike Faltesek:
http://www.yehoodi. com/phpBB2/ viewtopic. php?t=65572
The Tranky Doo is Lindy Hop Jazz choreography. It first appeared at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem during the 1940s. It was choreographed by Pepsi Bethel.
At that time, it was danced to Tuxedo Junction. It was common to Lindy hoppers like the Shim Sham.
Notes From Swing Brain: (called “Trun-key Doo” on the spirit moves) This dance was choreographed by someone named Frankie Manning while the Congaroo Dancers were playing the Club de
8 COUNT MOVE
THE BIG APPLE from the movie "KEEP PUNCHING"