Swing Discussion Boards > A Running Lindy Diary

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by leee, Apr 11, 2013.

  1. leee

    leee Well-Known Member

    I hope you all don't mind if I start a thread that documents this Lindy journey I'm starting on, it's mostly going to be a place for me to vent and get things off my chest and occasionally rejoice (having done ballroom for a little bit, I know this part of the drill, at least).

    So, for starters, I set off last week with what seems like a fairly popular series of Lindy classes at a place that's not my "home" studio. As I mentioned elsewhere on DF, I had a great time which was topped off during the social afterwards by a regular asking me for a dance (was quite flattered etc.).

    This week felt a little slow -- I'm in the beginning class, though I've taken some privates at my home studio in LH, so unsurprisingly, I felt a little restless during class. Of course, I get the expected ego check during the party -- I found it quite difficult dancing with what seemed like the more advanced follows, and from a combination of my lead and my nerves (KNOWING that I was dancing with more advanced Lindy dancers)(and on the nerves tip: I actually recognized someone from outside of a dance context, and I wanted to bring it up, but I was so consumed with trying to get through the dance that I went back to the "Can't talk and dance at the same time" stage), I kept reverting to ECS (bad ballroom!) and then fumbling the timing. So, from the high of week 1, to the frustration of week 2 -- my own thing to work on in the ensuing classes: patience! I should know by now that as much time as I've put in so far (nothing compared to a lot of people here, of course), when branching out to a different style, patience is an indispensable virtue, and that those pretty, pretty moves are the reward. (I just have to fight my impulse to respond that I've already paid some dues in privates -- easier said than done, of course!)
  2. Siggav

    Siggav Active Member

    I'm a follow (mostly anyway) but so right there with you on the nerves when dancing with more advanced dancers. I had the good fortune to be able to dance with an international teacher fairly recently and the dance started out fine but then I missed a lead, he lead some spinny thing and it just went wrong and I got the biggest adrenaline spike and then spent the rest of the dance recovering from that. I'm actually proud of myself in that I managed to recover from it and when the song was just about finished I was back in a more relaxed having fun mode but still, gah!

    Doing beginner classes when you don't quite feel like a beginner is really good though and assuming the class rotates a lot you'll be helping the follows in your class a great deal. A lot of complete beginner leads are so preoccupied with their feet and learning the basics of how dancing works that they're no where near actually leading yet so it takes the follows a while to realise what that lead/follow thing is all about. Having a few a bit more advanced leads in the class really helps, or I found that anyway.

    Looking forward to hearing about the rest of your journey and how things go, please keep updating this thread!
  3. leee

    leee Well-Known Member

    Siggav, thanks for the reply! I look forward to the process, as slow as it might feel at the moment. While a few of the things you mention are familiar, it's always nice to hear them from someone outside of my own head, sort of positive reinforcement and encouragement that I'm on the right track, generally speaking. I probably just need to relax and take things easy. Your point about giving some follows a more experienced lead -- I actually have never thought of the matter like that! Valuable insight.

    One thing I did forget to mention in my OP is that one of the experienced dancers complimented me on my facial expressions! Namely l IR looked like I was having fun, even I was consumed with giving a good impression, lead-wise. Normally the face is the last thing I worry about, so I guess in this respect I'm farther along than I realized!
  4. leee

    leee Well-Known Member

    We finally got to the swing out tonight! Unfortunately I've built up some habits from ECS that may be making my lead a little unclear. (This is the point where I remind myself this is the first time I'm making the swing out from real Lindy people.) I start my rotation during the first triple step, which I think saps some of the momentum from the follow?

    Left the party earlier this week, I've been kind of frustrated with finding follows who are the appropriate level for me, not stop advanced that they react to every rough tic I might send out, but with enough experience to follow.
  5. bookish

    bookish Active Member

    Yay! Lindy is a fun ride.

    Don't be too afraid to ask more advanced follows. Of course I say this having waited about 6 months after I started taking lessons to ask some advanced ones who weren't my teachers, sigh ;)
  6. leee

    leee Well-Known Member

    Paradoxically, I've been finding that dancing with some long-timers can be really difficult! I've been keeping to the patterns covered in class so far, which has been much easier with fellow dancers in the same class, probably because their repertoires are more limited and they do what they know. Whereas with the advanced dancers, any hiccups in my lead might signal a pattern that I have no idea about.

    I also have been wary of using the moves I learned elsewhere at this new venue! Mostly out of concern that they don't translate, though if I think hard on it, I don't see the downside of trying them out and seeing what happens.
  7. jwn57030

    jwn57030 New Member

    I say go for it. Try out your new moves at different venues as long as you can reasonably lead them. If people don't do them at the other venue it will make you seem more experienced and interesting. Also if you have to "translate" them it will help you develop more skill.
    leee likes this.
  8. leee

    leee Well-Known Member

    Oy! This makes too much sense, stop that! Because how else am I going to learn to lead (and assess my current standing) than to try out the patterns?
  9. leee

    leee Well-Known Member

    Did not stay long for the party, owing to not feeling well -- though of course I felt fine while dancing, of course.

    The class beforehand was notable for two things. First, 2:1 guy to girl ratio. Second, because of the severe gender imbalance, some off duty instructors jumped in, and when I danced with one, she obliquely said that dancing with me during the swing out made her feel pretty. As she's teaching the next class series, I will keep this note in mind in determining if I sign up.
    twnkltoz likes this.
  10. leee

    leee Well-Known Member

    And only do I realize I could've responded, "I don't think you need any help looking pretty."
    twnkltoz likes this.
  11. leee

    leee Well-Known Member

    I didn't go last week and wasn't sure if I'd do this month's series because it's 6 count Lindy, and I'm already pretty familiar with ECS, but at the last second, I decided on going and now I'm glad that I did, if only for the party, because now that I know which patterns are part of the Lindy curriculum, I feel a lot more free about what I can dance, that I'm not hemmed in by what was covered in the classes and that it's OK for me to dip into the ECS well.

    Tldr: a fun time was had by all.
    bookish likes this.
  12. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    I just discovered this thread, but I'll have to follow along now! I've been at it about a month now, but of course I have the easy road because I'm a follow. I was nervous about dancing with more experienced leaders at first, and when they asked me I'd say, "I'd love to, but I don't know much!" They laughed it off and led me through all kinds of stuff I didn't know. I finally just stopped saying it.

    Watch your partner's faces. If they've got that big "I'm having such a good time!" smile and give you a genuine thank you at the end, you're probably doing just fine. There are a lot of crossover moves from ballroom ecs, and at least around here, they don't seem to be a very judgemental crowd. They just want to have fun and dance.
    leee likes this.
  13. bookish

    bookish Active Member

    Glad you're still having fun with Lindy. As you get more into it, consider going to a workshop weekend somewhere. They usually have around 8 hours of workshops available at different levels, which generally go beyond what local classes can offer, hours of social dancing with tons of good dancers in attendance, some competitions/performances, and live music. There are also exchanges, which are just social dancing the whole time.
  14. leee

    leee Well-Known Member

    Hah! Cart before the horse! That said, you've put the bug in my ear, and I certainly will keep an eye out. I expect most of these events will be an hour away from me, though.
  15. leee

    leee Well-Known Member

    I've been following your thread too!

    Not sure yet if I've gotten those reactions yet, though it may be down to my tendency to put my foot in my mouth. (If I were really stiff, I'd say that I've been putting both of my left feet in my mouth.)

    PS -- I want to apologize to any grammarians reading this for the subpar quality of my prose in this thread; it seems my Lindy journey overwhelms my writing faculties.
  16. bookish

    bookish Active Member

    Smiles are good, but I try not to over-interpret the lack of a smile in a partner. I was really self-conscious about that for a while, but figured out that people sometimes are just absorbed in their own issues.

    IMO Lindy is more about how you do moves than which ones, and calling it an 8-count dance vs. 6-count is not really right. Lots of 6-count patterns work fine. Just don't do The Pretzel!!!
  17. leee

    leee Well-Known Member

    Self-consciousness is the gift that keeps on giving, no?

    Is the "It's not the number of patterns it's how you lead the ones you know" philosophy one of those slippery zen-like koans that are, for certain types of people, really achievable after some level of mastery? Anyway, no worries about the Pretzel, I don't even know what that is.
  18. juwest333

    juwest333 Active Member

  19. leee

    leee Well-Known Member

    Forgot to mention! Went to my regular ballroom thing this week, and they played a very fast swing song for which I happened to be partnered with a really wonderful follow who, even though she doesn't Lindy, was able to follow not just the kick basic and swing outs but also a lot of the less obvious patterns I tried leading (e.g. jig kicks and tandem Charleston, which I almost can never pull off with non-Lindy people). SO FUN.
  20. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    Awesome!!! I'm counting the days until Tuesday, when our next swing dance is. Hoping to get a private lesson in from my buddy who is the big shot around here so I can bone up on bal and shag.

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