Hello intermediate and intermediate-advanced Lindy Hoppers!
Sugar Swing is gearing up for its next year of classes of 2016-2017, and there are some things I thought to inform you about that you may not have heard. And some direction! Now that you are past the beginner stage, you might be wondering where to go from here. There are many ways to learn; classes are popular because they are relatively inexpensive, provide consistent progressive learning, are social and interactive. You should also consider private lessons, workshops, watching videos & lots of dancing, regular practice, and lots of social dancing.
Lindy Hop 2/3: Harlem Roots
It’s for higher level intermediate and intermediate-advanced dancers to progress in Lindy Hop. We’ve decided to put together this class with the vision to accomplish a few goals. First, to give more Lindy Hop classes to those that want a higher level than Lindy Hop 2. Second, to train our dancers in specific areas of vernacular jazz through the use of related dances to Lindy Hop. You’ll get a sampling of Tap, for example, to train your ear for rhythm, weight shifts, and timing. Snake Hips will encourage full-body movement on rhythm. Slow Drags focuses on improvising, relaxation, patience, and partner connection. All that, put together, will really push you to the next level!
Another route you must consider for progression is solo jazz. We believe that no lindy hopper can call themselves advanced without the ability to dance solo jazz. If you are a quick learner and have a handle on the shim sham or similar jazz routine, go into Solo Jazz 2. If you are starting out, go into solo jazz 1. Why solo jazz? It allows you to focus on good quality body movement, improvisation, and clear rhythms because you don’t have to worry about leading or following.
It’s an alternative way to dance to the same swing music as Lindy Hop. It’s quite lovely, but also tricky. Right off the bat, you’ll get trained for much better partner connection, spinning/turning, and clear weight changes. But the great thing about Balboa? It’s a pretty dance that you can do, no sweat, to faster swing music.
Dancers who spend time with tap, like several months or years, inevitably become highly advanced in their Lindy Hop. It’s training your ear and body for precision and clarity in your dancing, along with exposure to more complex rhythms. If you’re in it for the “long game”, then make Tap your best friend. Or, conversely, if you struggle sometimes with staying on beat, then a class or two of tap will clear up that ailment.
Lindy Hop 3
Where is it? Well, we aren’t offering it Fall 2016, but maybe in winter 2017. We adjusted how we do levelling, so you can’t just do Swing 1 -> Lindy Hop 2 -> Lindy Hop 3 anymore. In short, we believe that most dancers who’ve completed Lindy Hop 2 should be branching out before entering Lindy Hop 3, and it appears that there aren’t enough dancers who’ve branched out enough to offer a Lindy Hop 3 class.
Instead, we recommend Solo Jazz 1, Solo Jazz 2, Tap 1, Tap 2, Balboa 1, Balboa 2, and Harlem Roots.
Volunteering for Classes
We ALWAYS need help for our Swing 1 classes! Why volunteer? Many reasons. First, you get to play a part in helping beginners learn to dance. Second, you review all the basics, for free! Third, you get to meet many new people and make more social connections. Four, if you have ambitions to perhaps one day teach, it’s a fantastic way to observe how classes are taught.
One little note. We treat volunteers as students in the class, as we have TAs and instructors to teach the beginners. As we’ve had some issues in the past with volunteers treating it like they are TAs… it’s not quite that. If unsure, just check in with your instructors!
50% off Lindy Hop 2
There is nothing wrong with repeating a class, and it’s actually quite common. Most Tap 1 students, for example, repeat their 12-week series before going into Tap 2. If you don’t feel confident with the material you learned, go ahead and take it again!
If you are unsure what ‘level’ you are at, then go ahead and ask for a level check with any one of our weekly instructors. 5m before or during a social dance is all it takes! They will give you decent insight.
Sometimes our students are really unsure what class to take next, since we offer so much. You’re also welcome to ask any of the weekly instructors for our opinion of what may be best for you.
More on the performance side of things, this is considered a ‘level 3’ offering. It’s 2 hours every Sunday night where our coaches teach a variety of solo jazz and lindy hop routines for performing. We host auditions in September (coming up soon), January, and May. Everyone is welcome to audition, contact us for when the next audition is happening!
We expect, for example, our Mad Cat Swing team members to be actively social dancing at least 3x a month on average. Also, as per our new level progression system, you cannot progress to Lindy Hop 3 without being an active social dancer.
Keep in mind that social dancing is very very important to the development of your partner dance skills. In fact, it is AS IMPORTANT as taking classes or practicing! Of course, you can simply keep taking classes without social dancing, it’s just that certain skills will take much longer for development.
If you haven’t heard the big news, we have two legends of Lindy Hop coming to Lindy Harvest this year. Norma Miller and Chester Whitmore!! 96 years old and still active, Norma is in two of the most popular Lindy Hop features of all time: A Day at the Races and Hellzapoppin! She danced at the Savoy, was buds with all the great band leaders including Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald. Phenominal. Chester Whitmore is a true legend too. He’s worked with so many big names in Hollywood over the years, along with many of the tap and jazz greats, ranging from Michael Jackson, Gregory Hines, the Nicolas Brothers, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly… the list goes on. Even played drums for Lionel Hampton. Sorry, I’m REALLY excited for this… if you can make it, do come! Yes, 4 tracks of classes, two live band nights, 5 nights of dancing, performances, 3 contests, 7 guests and instructors… http://lindyharvest.sugarswing.com/