If you can’t turn, you can’t dance. Leaders are especialy guilty of terrible turning technique. If you want to lead turns properly, you need to understand and know how to turn yourself. Followers are forced to survive turning moves because they are so prominent in the dance, but most follows lack proper technique and plateau quickly. If you learn this technique, you dancing can easily advance to the next level.
If you can’t turn, you can’t dance. Single foot turns are super fun and impressive and don’t require a partner for training. Practice in the kitchen, practice at the bus stop, practice while waiting in lines at the supermarket. Practice, practice, practice!
What? Charleston requires spinning? Indeed it does. Expand your charleston 2 fold by learning to spin and kick at the same time!
Texas Tommy is also called ‘Apache’ or ‘Hand Shake Behind the Back.’ We ultimately don’t care what you call it. We predominantly use the name Texas Tommy because if pays homage to the fact that the orginal Texas Tommy dance came out of San Francisco, California and traveled to New York City via two visiting dancers during the early Jazz era. In good lindy hop tradition, the key element of the dance was then borrowed/stolen for Lindy Hop. Now we have a ton of variations based on the original concept. The most important thing is that ithe way it looks is different than how it feels. That illusion is part of the magic, but also part of the danger. It’s too easy to make this a painful move so focus on the friendly/soft technique from the beginning to really make this move work on the social floor.
The global phenomenon of Lindy Hop means that there are lots of style and technique variations of the Swing Out. Our experiences of dancing and teaching in over 30 countries we have helped us understand the major variations and how to make them compatible with each other. We believe that lindy hop is one dance that can be shared by everyone regarless of your style choices or regional variations. Let’s all dance together because we all live in the same world.
These are super fun. Once you’ve mastered each variation you can mix and match them fluidly. In modern times Swing Outs are usually taught as a 360 degree rotation, but traditionally a Swing Out could be underrotated or over rotated depending on the tempo, space on the dance flloor or dynamics with your partner. If you plan to perform or compete, mastering these techniques can be super helpful.
Here’s a plethora of drills and concepts to help you better relate your dancing to the music. They are designed as technical exercises to push your understanding of how musical structure and dancing structure can be intergrated.
This Challenge incorporates standard charleston figures and lead and follow partnered charelston figures. We suggest you move through this progressively so that the higher level figures make more sense. Many of these moves take inspiration from orignal 1920’s Charelston and work well for Great Gatsby and Prohibition themed parties and performances.
Follow slide variations. You will need a slippery floor and slippery shoes to make these slides impressive. In general, these slides are independent from your partner so they are great for being musical and flashy even when your leader is boring and not leading interesting variations.
Leader slide variations. You will need a slippery floor and slippery shoes to make these slides impressive. In general, these slides are independent from your partner so they are great for being musical and flashy even when your followerer is boring or not ready for fancy variations.
Get ready to lead and follow turns in 3 different rythms (half time, full time & syncopated) and on both sides of the body using the Yo-Yo shape. This assumes you are comfortable with the solo traveling turning drills found in core technique.
This is a great shape of a move that can easily interchange 3 major ryhthms we use in Lindy Hop (half time, full time & syncopated). Start by getting the shape with each ryhthm independently before you move on to intermixing the rhythms. Once mastered, you will have the ability to be more musical with your dancing becasue you will be able to instantaneously adjust your rhythm during a social dance to match the music more precisely and creatively.
A fun cross hands hold position that can use the 3 major ryhthms we use in Lindy Hop (half time, full time & syncopated). This Challenge will give you a lot of variations that you can create with your partner and the ability to be more musical with your dancing.
This is an important skill set to have as a Lindy Hopper because side by side Charleston is used so frequently. The exciting thing about this challenge is gaining the ability to actually lead and follow the difference between single and multiple kicks. Traditionally these moves were primarily visual or semi-choreographies, but now you can use physical connection to gain more control, be more precise and most importantly, be more musical.
This Challenge expands on the simple concept of a cross over step, but goes into the details on how to actually lead and follow it with your partner. Take your time and understand the connection principles before you race ahead and just mimic the shape. The goal is control and connection with your partner that will make social dancing more exciting and your musicality more robust.
Here’s a solid 3 variations to make leaders’ Swing Outs look more stylish. The emphasize is on solo practice intitially so you learn how to control your body. Only after it feels successful solo should you then attempt these with a willing partner.
Jo uses the Swing Out framework and some set styling options as a way to establish a base of movement so followers can eventually create their own variations. It’s important to practice the movement solo initially before attempting with a partner. Once you have a willing Leader, ask them to lead short sequences of just Swing Outs so you can really burn into muscle memory each new variation.
Lasy Fast dancing can look simple, but the technique is critical to making it feel comfortable. To be succesful with this, foucus on getting the mechanics right. We view this as early style lindy hop when the traditional jazz music was using more of a two beat feel and was typically played at upper tempos. With two beat style jazz music, we are less inclined to triple step, but often we are ‘lazy’ about using full charelston kicking for the entire song. Hence lazy fast dancing can be a comfortable method for long nights of social dancing.
A classic short piece of choreo (32 bars) from the famous Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers. This is a must know for any lindy performer or competitor. As the story goes, the Savoy Ballroom based lindy troupe from Harlem, New York City was hired to be in a movie that was being filmed in Hollywood, California. So they spent time rehearsing in NYC before departing. They had to practice the routine they were going to use in California. You know, the “California Routine.” It’s now a classic and several versions exist. Level 5 is the primary version Kevin and Jo use. Level 3 & 4 are adapted versions for lower tempos and for when you don’t have a partner you can do aerials with.
This is 32 bars (16 Eight counts) of Lindy Hop choreography that Kevin and Jo created while being stuck in Vilnius, Lithuania when their next gig was cancelled due to an earthquake in Italy. The format takes inspiration from the California routine. It’s full of cool moves and can be used as a building block for bigger routines. Feel free to modify it for a particular song or use it as a training choreo with your competition or performance partner.
The Sham Sham has become a global Lindy Hop phenomenon. When in doubt….Shim Sham! We have 3 versions for you to learn based on your current skill level or if you need inspiration in deciding what to teach your students. Originating in the tap dance community in the 1920s from Leonard Reed and Willie Bryant, Lindy Hoppers have since modified it to work for “soft shoe” dancing. The primary version used in the global Lindy Hop community was introduced by Frankie Manning to NYC in the 1980s.
A short and slow routinelette as a little challenge to get your grove on. It’s only 4 eight counts long. Once your comfortable with the pattern, you can then use each of these moves independently in your social dancing.
A fun 4 eight count routinelette. Learning little set sequences can expand on your vocabulary and musicallity when social dancing.
A 4 eight count routinelette with a fun partner clap with an upbeat tempo.
Moves Moves Moves! At some point every dancer goes through the “how many moves do I know?” stage. It’s a crucial part of the learning process. Even if you don’t like the move, it’s important to know that they exist. This can especially be true when in the following role as a way to avoid injury when dancing with a leader who might be dancing beyone their abilities.
Now comes the flashy moves. Theses are the type of figures that seem to fit better when only be done once in a social dance. Basics should be repeated and they ground the dance. Dips and Tricks add the occasional excitement and flavor, expecially useful during musical climaxes.
This assumes you know all the level 1 and 2 partnered charleston figures. Getting ready for some fun variations, high energy dancing and potentially sweat!
These are great moves to have at the ready for authentic solo jazz competitions, jam circles and for use in creating vintage inspired choreographies of your own.
Another set of great moves to have at the ready for authentic solo jazz competitions, jam circles and for use in creating vintage inspired choreographies of your own.