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 is were we push the boundries of a traditional Swing Out. We use the basic shape of a Swing Out, but then vary the counts and the rythms to create new variations. We hope you will take these concepts and create your own.
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.
Orignally taught to the invitation group at Lindy Shock (a dance event in Budapest, Hungary), this seemingly simple exercise combines a ton of skills that are difficult to accurately execute. The first 3 videos show the basics of each ryhthm used. The 4th video goes indepth on the technique reguired to lead and follow rate of roation and be 100% accurate with this move shape. Both sides of the body should be drilled equally to make you a more wholistic dancer.
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.
Jo breaks down some sweet variations for followers to use during Swing Outs. 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 variation.
It’s all in the transitions! Spending time to thoroughly know the entrances and exits to each move can make all the difference when you get to the social dance floor. Naturally you need to know the basic partnered charleston figures before you worry about transitions.