I want to get into lindy hop but there aren't any classes I could go to and any events are too far away. Any tips on how to learn on my own?
All right son. Sit down and let me tell you a thing. *cracks knuckles*
First off, I am so in support of learning Lindy Hop, whether you have to learn it yourself or if you learn directly from the ghost of Frankie Manning. So,
Now, the next thing I have to say is that Lindy Hop is a partnered dance, so learning with at least one other person is definitely going to help. So find someone who wants to learn it with you. Hell, find a group of people to learn with. The more people who want to learn, the better off you’ll be. Start a club, if you can. If you can’t, just get a group together at your house/apartment. Learn it together. Most of the pro Lindy Hoppers learned not just from the old-timers (Frankie Manning, Norma Miller, Steven Mitchell, etc. [More on these people later]), but also by just getting together and watching videos and trying things out and collaboratively learning to dance. This is not to say that you can’t learn by yourself or that you have to learn with a group, but rather to say that you will have more fun and learn more quickly if you can do it with a group.
So now, how do you actually go about learning the steps? Luckily, you’re better off than the people who learned before the Internet (just for some perspective, some of them would have to fly to New York for a showing of one of the old documentaries or videos, try and remember as much as they could, fly back, and work on it. Needless to say, that was expensive, and took a very long time.)
You have the luxury of having tons of material online. So here are some of those resources:
LindyHopMoves : This is a totally free resource! They have collected tons of videos, some of them lesson recaps, some of them are actual short lessons. All of them are awesome.
iDance : If you’ve got some money, many of the international instructors produce videos for iDance, many of them in series. I can strongly recommend Kevin St. Laurent and Jo Hoffberg’s “Intro to Lindy Hop” series as a great place for beginners to start.
LindyLibrary : This is a YouTube channel that posts videos from a lot of the major events: Jack & Jills, Showcases, Instructor Demos, etc. While I don’t think there are any lesson recaps, these videos are still great to watch for inspiration and new moves to try out. And also, just hot damn check out the dancing.
Swungover : Bobby White’s Lindy Hop blog. He talks a lot about dance culture, floorcraft, P90X, the old timers, and many of the modern dancers who are doing cool things today.
SavoyStyle : While I only recently learned about this website, and I don’t think it’s been updated recently, it’s still got some pretty good resources, specifically clips from the old movies and documentaries which feature Lindy Hop.
This video : This one is solo jazz. It’s tons of fun, and really spices up your partnered dancing. But the great thing about solo jazz is that you don’t need anyone to practice with. See image.
The next tip: practice in front of a mirror, and video tape yourself. It’s stressful, but taping yourself is a good way to A) track your progress and B) see what you look like and compare it to what you want it to look like.
When learning, it’s also a good idea to learn both roles. My dancing got way better after I started learning to follow. It allows you to feel what the other person should be doing/is doing, and makes correcting your own dancing so much easier.
Also, listen to swing music. Constantly. The dance goes to the music, after all. My blog is a pretty solid collection of swing music, but there are others. Yehoodi Radio is wonderful. I don’t use Spotify, but I know there are several people who have put together really good playlists on there.
Now, some names to google.
Old Timers: Frankie Manning, Norma Miller, Steven Mitchell, Al Minns, Shorty George, Leon James, Irene Thomas, any other names that you come across while reading about/watching them. These are the patron saints, the founders of our dance. They are the ones that we are all striving to look like. So watch them dance, and try to look like them.
Modern Dancers: Kevin St. Laurent, Jo Hoffberg, Michael Jagger, Evita Arce, Michael Faltesek, Casey Schneider, Bobby White, Kate Hedin, Sharon Davis, Andy Reid, Kelly Arsenault, Nina Gilkenson, Laura Glaess, Todd Yannacone, Dax Hock, Laura Keat, Nathan Bugh, Sarah Breck, Jeremy Otth, Mike Roberts, Mickey Fortanasce, Mikey Pedroza. These are many of the national/international instructors that are teaching the dance today. Watch them dance, and try to look like them too.
I know you said that many of the events are too far away, but try and make it out to one or two of them. I don’t know where you live, but Lindy Focus, The Snowball, and Herrang are all excellent events that draw people from all over the world, so if you can manage to go to one of them, that would be fantastic. They’re all large enough events that if you only go to one event a year, those are the ones you should go to.
There are never enough Fred Astaire movies. When i think of the words Suave & Class, there’s only one face that comes to mind. When i get better, i so want to get into dancing. i don’t care that i cant, and my body isn’t right for it. haha.