Learning lindy hop fast is everyone’s dream. While faster is not always better, it CAN be better if you do it more systematically.
Right now, you’re probably doing the “grab bag” approach. You’ve taken the intro lindy hop classes in your town, you take workshops here and there, probably social dance a lot. Perhaps you’ve even taken a few private lessons (good job!).
Before long, however, you will hit an invisible wall where progress feels excessively difficult.
The wall (or plateau) feels frustrating because you don’t know how to get past it. You are missing information, and you don’t know what it is.
Want to fill in those missing pieces?
Pop Quiz Time!
What are the 3 foundational steps of lindy hop? (Hint: These are the 2-beat movements that comprise nearly all lindy hop moves.) What is the function of each foundational step? Can you distinguish the common variations of these steps in order to accurately lead and/or follow them?
Every beginner should know the answers to these questions.
Unsurprisingly, many lindy hoppers are missing this crucial information, and a lot more. We haven’t even started talking about music or partnering skills.
The problem is that your information is disorganized. If you’re disorganized, it’s impossible to find out what you’re missing.
The brain absorbs organized information better than disorganized information. Brains love patterns; we NEED patterns to learn. That’s why you quickly forget a random string of numbers, but you can easily remember a string of numbers that follow a pattern.
Lindy hop is much more complex than counting by twos, however. In order to understand it, we need categories, hierarchical structure, analogies, and parallels drawn between seemingly disparate concepts.
If you don’t know much lindy hop, you need someone to help you figure this out. That’s what your teacher is for!
If you’ve been lindy hopping for a year or longer, I’ve got a special treat for ya. Read on!
My Little Odyssey
I spent 8 years of my life trying to organize everything I know about lindy hop. It took a long time because frankly, not a lot of dancers have a comprehensive understanding of lindy hop.
So I had to look outside of the lindy hop community to find what I was missing. I took years of other dance, fitness, and movement training to get that outside-the-box insight I knew I needed.
There was a LOT more to learn than I realized. Eventually I came up with a well-organized structure for studying lindy hop.
And BOY, has it helped me! My technique and partnering are better; I’m more creative; my stamina and dynamics are great; and I can clearly communicate to my students so they can learn faster.
Getting organized is one of the best things I ever did for my lindy hop.
With a little help, I think you can do what I did, faster than I did. Personally, I don’t want you to spend the next 8 years trying to sort through everything you know about lindy hop so you can finally figure out what’s missing.
Here’s the part where you get a treat!
For my Lindy Hop Basics 1 workshop, I created a companion guide to give out to students. It’s pretty darn in-depth for an intro course. It covers:
- Swing rhythm
- The 3 foundational lindy hop steps & their 19 most common variants
- Visual & physical connection
- Matching vs. complementary movement
- 10 basic moves (including which step variants you should be using)
- Sequences & exercises to practice
It’s a 12-page pdf, and you can download 5 pages of it for free!
How to Use the Companion Guide Sample
I purposely chose not to include everything because I want to challenge you to fill in the blanks yourself. After reading the companion guide sample, here are some questions you can work on answering:
- What does the correct triple step rhythm sound like? Set a metronome and practice your triple steps. Can you do the rhythm accurately, or are you fudging? Where are you fudging, and what will it take to fix it?
- What do you think are the 19 most important variations of the foundational steps?
- Pick a few basic moves (like an underarm turn or circle). Name the foundational steps that make up the move. Which movement attributes describe each step? Do the moves and see if you’re actually doing your footwork correctly. If not, work on it.
- How are the arms used differently in open position vs. closed position? How are they used similarly?
I sincerely hope you have fun with this and feel you’ve gotten value from it. If you want to continue your learning in a more organized fashion, keep reading my blog and take classes or a private with me.
If you’ve had any “aha!” moments, spread the love! Share this post so others can benefit from it, too.
And if this all flew over your head, you really need to move to Seattle so you can take our Lindy Hop Intensives. :-)
Photo credit: Horia Varlan (puzzle pieces)