I was so wrapped up in organizing this past weekend’s Swing Dance for Life dance benefit, that I haven’t had much time to blog.
No matter, I had such a great time at the event, especially teaching workshop classes with Idalia and Audrey, and I figured it might be interesting to share some of the inspirations for some of the class material that we taught.
Harlem Hot Shots: Daniel & Asa
Audrey and I taught an intermediate/advanced class that we called “Small & Crazy / Big & Crazy”, and my personal inspiration for the class came largely from a class that I took at the Herrang Dance Camp with Daniel Heedman & Asa Palm, two Swedish Lindy Hoppers, who are also members of the renowned Lindy Hop dance troup, the Harlem Hotshots. In the class, Daniel and Asa gave wonderful demonstrations of using one’s whole body to improvise and transform simple, understated movements (many borrowed from the Frankie Manning playbook) into living, breathing works of art. Their class honed in on the idea of quality vs. quantity of movement, and we modeled our own class on that too. Here are some clips of Daniel and Asa:
Groovy Lindy Hoppers: Paul and Sharon
Meanwhile, Idalia and I taught a class on the topic of connection: i.e. how one moves one’s body in a way that clearly, comfortably and efficiently communicates the lead and follow with one’s partner. Whenever I think of connection, I think of two of my earliest Lindy Hop teachers, Paul and Sharon, who were world renowned for being masters at demystifying this sometimes opaque subject. One of their magic keywords was “gush”, which they used to describe the spongy, elastic quality of stretch-iness that one seeks in one’s swing dancing. You can see for yourself how grounded and comfortable their movements are, in this video:
You can see for yourself how grounded and comfortable their movements are.
There’s also a great interview with Paul and Sharon about mixing swing dancing and romance that makes an interesting read 😉