There was a question recently posed on the Lindy Fridays Website asking novice dancers to write about why they go to Lindy Hop – I guess to explain to others why they should start.
Well, I am definitely still a novice – though 6 or 7 lessons on I do feel like I’m not completely hopeless, and I’m really enjoying the classes each week. So here’s why I ended up going, and why I’ve stuck around.
Almost a year ago, someone I used to know well posted this on Twitter:
“If I danced, it would be like this:
Well, if you’re not taken by the fun and energy of this video then perhaps this kind of dancing isn’t for you. But I thought it was amazing. Don’t get me wrong – I never in a million years thought I’d do it myself! (and should point out, I still can’t move like this!)
I’d never had a real dance lesson in my life, and even when we were out dancing in Hifi or the like, I’d be acutely aware that I looked like a fool ‘trying’ to dance, rather than someone with coordination, and end up nervously swaying, clinging to a drink! I guess my only saving grace is that I at least have some rhythm/timing, otherwise I’d be both hopeless at Lindy and at my chosen profession!
So anyway, that video obviously planted a seed..
A few months later, that same person who tweeted the video expressed to me a half-fantasy about learning to Lindy Hop together. I was both taken aback (if you knew the situation, you’d know why!) and intrigued. It wasn’t something that I’d entertained in my mind really, apart from the odd thought that maybe starting dance-classes might help with general confidence/stage presence when singing..
Then I found out about Lindy Fridays. (In truth, I had already heard about them from my friend Elly who’d gone along once, but I guess I wasn’t quite ready then..) It was merely days after the admission of the half-fantasy above that I found out the next Lindy Friday Session was a free one. Unfortunately we were no longer in a position where we could go together, but this wasn’t going to stop me! Sometimes it’s good to push yourself beyond your comfort zone and jump in at the deep end (..add other cliches here..)
So I grabbed my friend Chloe and we headed to the Carriageworks one Friday in December.. And here’s what I found:
* A large (and growing) group of enthusiastic and friendly dancers who, whatever their ability, just want to get better and help you to do the same – You don’t stick out like a sore thumb if you’ve not done it before, and you’re never put on the spot and made to feel uncomfortable or go beyond your current abilities by social dancing etc. if you’re not ready.
* An activity that is so much fun that if you don’t keep a massive grin on your face throughout, I don’t know how! – My face hurt afterwards from smiling and giggling so much!
What’s really lovely as well is that, rather that going to an aerobics class, or something similar and overtly “This is Exercise“, it’s a couple of hours being active without necessarily noticing the ‘workout’. And (bonus for me) you’re not having to listen to the latest pop/dance tracks whilst you do it – can’t beat a bit of swinging Ella/Nat King Cole/<insert wonderful jazz musicians/bands here> to move to!
But beyond that first class, I’ve discovered other things that make Lindy Fridays even more appealing.
It’s a not-for-profit group whose constitution explains exactly what they’re about – promoting Lindy Hop dancing in and around Leeds. The money that you part with every week goes into creating more opportunities to dance, and even the brilliant instructors don’t get paid for teaching – it’s just for the love and experience. I think it’s a very special thing to know that the people are doing what they do for it’s own sake, and for nothing else. 🙂
The community of dancers found there are really that – a community. They hold many socials and workshops/classes and are really supportive of each other, both in dancing and other things. Jo – founder of LFs – wife Vicky, and new born daughter Isla, even turned up to my gig at Harvey Nichols yesterday to have a listen and show their support. Not only is that just lovely, but it shows they really care about the people who are turning up to their classes, whatever they do.
I’ve now started to find my feet (excuse the pun) in the social dancing between classes too. I’m still not confident enough to ask people to dance, but there are some lovely folk who ask me, and despite my natural embarrassment/reservations about my following abilities, I get up and enjoy it, and am hopefully gaining confidence with each dance.
I’m pretty certain that, slowly but surely, I am making some good progress – and some new friends along the way, and I feel very lucky that Leeds has such a wonderful scene and that I know about it. 🙂
Long may it, and my role within it, continue!
My Aim (Though I may regret airing this so soon in my ‘Lindy Life’) : LINDY AT THE LIGHT 2011. – Eeek!