Swivels to suit your body shape?

Lindy hop followers swivellingJo Hoffberg has pulled together a large collection of photos of followers swivelling to analyse their lines. I think these are just photos showing the styles Jo likes but even so the range of body positions is considerable. Interesting how subtle changes in body position and alignment can really draw attention to a dancer’s hips, legs or feet.

I think getting swivels to look good is hard. How many times have you watched social dancers swivelling and thought that’s really not a good look for you. Tall skinny women who end up looking like a spider collapsing, women whose bodies move so little that their swivel is little more than a pathetic twitch of the hips, followers look like they have wet themselves and so on. A swivelling style that looks cute on a follower who is 5ft tall and curvy might well look a bit awkward on some one who is 6ft tall and skinny as a rake. Really low down and very grounded swivels might look fantastically powerful on an athletic follow but if you haven’t got the leg strength to get up smoothly afterwards it’s going to spoil the effect.

I love watching women who swivel and really make use of their bodies and the range of movement available to them. Keeping your hips level whilst swivelling seems to be in vogue at the moment but I can think of a couple of followers with fantastic curves who really emphasise the movement of their hips and it looks fantastic on them. I can also think of one lady of more advanced years with limited movement who emphasises the stepping and weight change aspect of her swivels to great effect.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if someone could up with a swivel style guide a bit like the ‘which jeans suit my body shape’ guides you get in women’s magazines as a short cut? We might want to look like Laura Keat, Bethany Powell, Isabella Gregori, Frida Segerdahl, Jo Hoffberg or [insert your favourite follower] when we swivel but, just like wearing skinny jeans, their style is not necessarily one that we can pull off.

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7 responses to “Swivels to suit your body shape?”

  1. Lindsay Longstreth says :

    While I enjoy and admire each teacher’s swivel I have no desire to copy their style. I like how you said it might be related to body type and I agree. However, it is a fear of mine to be compared to any rockstar follow. Simply put, I want my body to move the way my body does…with quality and style…but never a carbon copy of anyone else.
    Thanks for the post! Love it.

  2. Lauren says :

    I too enjoyed reading this. This post, combined with your post on doing vs teaching, and Lindsay’s comment above, tie together a few things I’ve been mulling over lately, in particular to what extent do some teachers ask students to mimic their style, without thinking about how that student might be physically different to the teacher? (I encountered a swivel-related teaaching point that I felt didn’t “go” with my physique). I think I’ll just nick Lindsay’s idea of “moving the way my body does, with quality and style” as motto for the future – that sounds great!

  3. Laurel says :

    Yes. I wish there was a guide like that… it would be so much fun to read or even just to research it!

  4. sarahsellaphix says :

    It’s fun to think about these things and compare, but just like clothes, celebrity mimicry in dancing is fruitless. Dancing is only wonderful on the inside when you always be yourself. Looking good isn’t the same as feeling good. Swivel however you damn well feel like it! Sure, try new things, get a crazy hair cut, hop onto a fun trend, but at the end of the day, just dance your ass off.

  5. LG says :

    Interesting perspective! I came across this as I’m a guy but I often like to dance follow, and was trying to find some sort of instructions on swivels.

    This is an interesting perspective I think. Of course, being a guy I have a much different build from any of them, and I think it maybe can be harder for a swivel to look good on me, but I’m trying to develop my own. I never thought of “moving the way your body moves.” I guess I’ll just have to learn to adapt to my masculine figure, try some different stuff, the like. Thanks for this.

    • sleepingglitter says :

      I think some styles of movement definitely look better on some people than others. I always remember a balboa teacher of mine saying only Moe Sakan can do that with her arms and pull it off because she’s tiny, it suits her personality and it just looks super cute when she does it… but on everyone else it looks like they have got chicken wings for arms and it’s not a good look. She was right, I never seen anyone do what she was talking about and make it look good.

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