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Want to get into lindy hop? (x)
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"The Bare Necessities" by Louis Armstrong.
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charchargr said: I know it's not a lindy specific question but what is the difference between East Coast and West Coast swing?
Alright. here goes.
This is a bit of a long answer. So, obviously it’s not just that one is done in the east and one is done in the west.
Instead, we gotta talk history and stuff. So the dance started with lindy hop (lindy hop evolved from a bunch of other dances and stuff, but for your question, we can start at lindy hop). Lindy hop was popular before and up to WWII, when it pretty much died out because of the War and no one having time to do the thing anymore. But there were a few who kept doing the dance, but modifying it to suit their purposes. There are minor alterations that are talked about a little bit in this TEDTalk. (Not everything in this is gospel, but on the whole, it’s pretty solid when talking about lindy hop.)
But back to your question. So there was one group, made up mostly of ballroom dancers. (And when I talk about ballroom dancers I tend to get snarky, I’m not trying to be rude or mean or anything, I just have a very different outlook on dancing than they do and it is difficult for me to talk about it without it being snarky.) Ballroom dancers tend to have a “jack-of-all-trades” mentality when they dance, where they want to learn 4178393874 different dances. This means that they end up dancing several dances moderately well, but they are not particularly fantastic at any of them. As a result, they tend to “dumb down” their dances a bit, and East Coast Swing is the result of this dumbing down. They simplified the dance so that they could learn it in a week and add it to their repertoire. These people were on the East Coast, and thus the dance was named East Coast Swing, because it was very different from what was going on elsewhere. (Again, I’m sorry if this comes off as snarky or rude, I am not attempting to put anyone down who enjoys ECS.)
West Coast Swing took a very different path. A small group of dancers altered the dance along the same path that the music took, and so as the music evolved so did the dance, and it traveled along the same musicological path as funk and soul, which (to my understanding) is what WCS is danced to today. This group was mainly in the west coast, and so West Coast Swing.
Both of them are still (or at least should be) danced to music that has swung rhythms, but the music is vastly different. much as the music of lindy hop tends to be different from either one.
Thanks for the question! That was a good one!
boguskudos said: What do you think about the idea of teaching everyone how to lead and follow? I've heard of a couple venues teaching the follows how to lead because there's usually more follows than leads and then everyone gets to dance more.
I absolutely love that idea. For a bunch of reasons.
First off, my scene also tends to have more females than males. So to keep the girls from leaving because they don’t get to dance, we make it very clear that the dance is not gendered, and encourage everyone to learn both roles. (There are several points in Frankie Manning’s autobiography where he talks about himself following, and Norma Miller talks about girls leading in hers, so even the people in the 1940’s did not think of the dance in a gendered way.)
Learning both roles makes you a better dancer in general, and I can personally say that once I started following, my leading got way better, because I understood what follows need to feel from their leads. And I feel sure that the reverse transition is similar.
In terms of gender norms and making people feel more comfortable, it’s great, because I know a lot of people who are simply more comfortable following than they are leading, even though they are guys. Also, as a college scene we tend to get a lot of homophobic freshmen, who see us ignoring the “traditional” roles, and they begin to be much less homophobic and stuff. Which is great.
For a person who can speak about this much more effectively than I can, check out ambidancetrous.
Anonymous said: When I first learned swing, I learned east coast as a female follow. Sometimes a lead would ask me mid-dance if I knew Lindy and I would say No, but I can fake it. I would add 2 steps to catch up and try to keep up. I didn't learn Lindy for years
If I’m dancing with a follow who has good connection, I’ll “teach” him or her 8-count mid-dance by just telling them to stick in two extra steps like that. But really that’s all lindy hop is, is just sticking in those extra two steps, so as long as your connection is good, you were doing lindy hop. So props to you nonny!
Hey guys! I have a rare (and unexpected) day off from work, and I want to talk about dancing. So feel free to send me questions or stories or whatever you want.
"I’m Painting The Town Red" by Billie Holiday.