Have a read of Dinomania’s Thoughts on good follows… who has collated responses to a post on Vernacular Jazz Dance. I think there are some really important points raised here. I don’t buy the argument (not discussed here but heard elsewhere) that dancing with beginner leads makes you an awesome follow. I think that dancing with beginner leads makes you good at dancing with beginner leads. Being able to make beginner* leads feel comfortable, confident and welcome on the social dance floor takes skill and it’s a skill that’s hugely important in building a friendly and inclusive scene. However, I am increasingly of the opinion that the skills that make most beginners want to dance with you (such as compensating for unusual leads, looking like you are having a good time no matter what, deliberately sticking in the odd rock step to get back on the beat, or following certain parts of their dancing with everything you’ve got) are skills that make many advanced leaders run a mile because you can’t respond to their intentional unusual leads and it doesn’t give you any experience in choosing to follow/not follow deliberately very light leads where the lead is giving you a choice or very complex moves where the leader wants you to do something very specific.
I also don’t buy the argument that it’s “always the leads fault”most of the time something is wrong with the partnership. Goodness knows how many times I had done something odd or stopped myself in move and ‘broken’ the dance momentarily.
A recent Bug’s question of the day asked “Why do people get so upset if organizers make money on events?” Coming from a scene where almost all regular Lindy dances/events are run on a for profit basis it’s strange to think of people putting in all that effort for no financial return. Lindy scenes run on a for profit basis may not create the best dancers** but given that 2 London clubs are celebrating 25 years of existence and 2 others are in their 10th anniversary year they are obviously doing something right.
How Leon Got His Groove Back (and how you can, too). Is a post from ballroom dancer and Boston area instructor, Leon Turetsky which lists 5 ways he re-energizes himself. I like the following quote:
“There were times when I even questioned my dancing ability and whether I should continue dancing at all…This pattern kept repeating itself until one day I realized that these feelings occurred because I CARED about my dancing. Not because I needed to quit.”
Finally here’s a video from the European Swing Dance Championships, Lindy Hop Bloopers, because it’s nice to be reminded that everyone else is not perfect.
* Or perhaps leads who aren’t interested in moving beyond the basics and just want to have an enjoyable dance.
** This is a topic worthy of its own post. There are lots of good things about the London scene but I think the scene suffers because business owners (rightly) focus on where the money is. It’s easy to get new dancers to sign up for a six week course but almost impossible to get dancers who have been dancing for a few years to sign up for a 4 let alone 6 week course to develop their skills.