Swing Lesson Series

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Event Dates

This event occurred
in the past.

Occurs On...
Thu, 27 January 2011
  from 6:30-7:30pm
Thu, 03 February 2011
  from 6:30-7:30pm
Thu, 10 February 2011
  from 6:30-7:30pm

Instructor: Darrell Dieringer
Cost for the lesson is $2 for members/$4 for non-members.
Location: The Crossing (1127 University Ave)
**Always check TITU the day of the lesson

Offered By: UWMBDA

The class will emphasize good habits and good leading/following for the popular dance Swing. This class assumes participants have little to no experince with dancing, and will move at a pace appropriate for New Dancers. You do not need to enroll with a partner. Expect frequent partner changes and numerous group activities and exercises.

Note: Each of the 3 lessons in the 3-week series will build on what we learn the first week, so you will learn faster if you can attend the first lesson.

Gift certificates or discount specials issued by the studio may not be used for the activity described above. Contact the organizer directy for information about the activity and for enrollment or participation reqirements.

written by:   [ About ]   [ Contact ]
Published: 28 January 2011 at 1:49pm
Last Edited: 28 January 2011 at 1:49pm

Class Notes

The class notes for Swing Lesson Series

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Class Notes

Week Two

Ballroom dancing is fun and exciting, but it can also be unfamiliar or even intimidating for many people. It is fun and exciting, at least in part, because you get to meet many new people. It can be unfamiliar or intimidating for the same reason.

When you dance with someone, you are trusting them to take care of you on the dance floor – avoid collisions, avoid injuries, and avoid creeping you out.

It is important for all dancers – even new dancers – to understand that in addition to the moves and dances, you have a responsibility toward your partner.

When I described the Three Socially Acceptable Regions of Contact, it was to more solidly define what constitutes acceptable contact. When you dance with someone, you are invading their personal space. However, with that privilege comes the responsibility that you not creep them out in the process!

No part of partner dancing should involve either partner feeling creeped out at any time.

** Neck Pass and Belly Pass **

Using the Alternating Right Side Passes from last week, you began to modify your dance connection (letting go with one hand or the other). That, combined with using Contact at the Waist or Contact at the Shoulder, you learned a set of new moves:

  • Belly Pass for the Lead
  • Belly Pass for the Follow
  • Neck Pass (aka Shoulder Pass) for the Lead Only

There is no Neck Pass for the Follow because it is not nice to closeline your partner!

** Good Habits and Foot Placement **

I reminded everyone to:

  • Use small steps
  • Keep both big toes on the floor at all times
  • Land with your feet together when turning

See you next week!

Week One

Each week I will post the highlights of what we covered in class. This is not meant to be a dance manual or a substitute for attending class. Instead, it is here to help you remember what we did in class.

In order to learn to do something new with your bodies – like learn to dance or learn a new style of dance – you need to engage in new activities. The warm up is designed to be just such an activity.

The warm up is the most important part of any dance class – it is the time when you train your body to move in new ways. In addition to promoting greater leg and back strength, general flexibility, and avoidance of injuries, you will develop numerous isolations and greater coordination though the exercises in the warmup.

Even though this is a short three-week class, we can cover a lot of important material.

** Tuning-In With A Partner **
You used a “high five” to get the sense of how a good dance connection should feel. Being about an arm-length away from your partner (so either person could touch the other person’s shoulder) is an appropriate and respectful distance to be from your partner (more on that next week).

** The Swing Basic **
I gave you a couple ways to count the basic.

  • Slow Slow Quick Quick (SSQQ). In ballroom dance terminology, a Quick requires half as much music as a Slow (or a Slow takes twice as long as a Quick). For Swing, S=2 beats, Q=1.
  • 1-2, 2-3, 5, 6
  • Half-note Half-note Quarter Quarter
  • Step Step Rock-Step (my preferred way)

It takes six beats of music (1.5 measures in 4/4 time) to go through the Basic once. Two times through the basic require 3 measures of music. This is intentional and by design.

Leads always do the rock-step with the Left Foot. Follows always do the rock-step with the Right Foot.

** Lead’s Cuddle and Follow’s Cuddle **
You did Right-Side Cuddles. If you stay in a Cuddle, it should look cute, not like a Heimlich Maneuver.

** Alternating Right Side Passes **
If you begin doing a Cuddle, but let go with the Down Hand (the hand that started out at waist level) and change places, it becomes a Right Side Pass. If the Follow passes the Lead, immediately followed by the Lead passing the Follow, it is called an Alternating Right Side Pass.

The Alternating Right Side Pass is a very useful move for Swing. It can be modified into countless other Swing moves, which is what we will begin to cover next week.

** Good Habits **
In addition to the moves, I began to introduce some important concepts – keeping both big toes in constant contact with the floor and taking small steps are very important.

Furthermore, staying no more that one arm-length from you partner is critical. It is very easy to devolve into Arm-Yank Swing, which is not comfortable for anyone.

When doing moves like the Alternating Right Side Pass, it is important to land your second “Step” (remember, Step, Step, Rock-Step) immediately adjacent to your first “Step”. You will, of course, need to rotate on that foot in order to face your partner (Leads and Follows alike), but the second step should then land next to the first step.

Next Week…

  • Review
  • Neck Passes and Belly Passes
  • The Three Socially Acceptable Regions of Contact

New Feature: Sarah Calhoun – my pro partner – and I have published a number of Music Playlists to help make it easier for you to practice at home or anywhere else with an Internet connection.

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