A few simple moves that I can’t do

These are from the Uptown Swing Youtube channel.

Changing Places with Belt Loop
Notes: Six count footwork. Changing places with belt loop.

Notes: Eight count footwork. Underarm turn onto leaders back.

Notes: Six count. Open on rock step and follower spins over right shoulder.

29. October 2013 by Steve Johnstone
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Festivals and Performances and Birthdays

The problem with going to dance festivals, choreographing and learning routines, and organising birthday parties is that while it’s all very fun exciting, you don’t really have time to do anything else.

18. April 2013 by Steve Johnstone
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Cool Moves

So I’ve decided to add some new moves to my repertoire from YouTube, and in doing so was trying to figure out how best to watch a move enough to try and imitate it. Thinking that a lot of animated gifs exist, I went in search of a site that would allow me to convert some videos. http://imgflip.com was one of the first hits, and seems to do the job perfectly. And so begins the cool move project.

From http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puexHLZ8KQg Michael and Frida

28. March 2013 by Steve Johnstone
Categories: Dancing | 2 comments

Solo Dancing

Yes, yes and yes. Also I would absolutely love to go to Stompology.

22. March 2013 by Steve Johnstone
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Videos of Me Dancing

Well there are now a couple of videos of me dancing around and about so I thought I’d post them up here.

I’m the one in the aviator sunglasses, blue shirt and waistcoat. I start about 1:30 in to the right.

I’m the guy dancing. Pretty obviously. I excuse my poor dancing on being a bit nervous in front of the crowd. Having an attractive follow helped though.

17. February 2013 by Steve Johnstone
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Watching Music to Improve Listening Skills

A few days ago I found Nathan Bugh’s website that has a few very informative articles on swing dancing. I struggle to find the beat and figure out what’s happening in the music quite a bit, so I was particularly interested in the piece about beat perception entitled Where’s the Beat?

At the end he recommends watching bands to see if you can discern what instrument is playing each part of the music. Today I was fortunate enough to find out that Jerry Almonte of Wandering and Pondering has a Youtube playlist of bands playing at Lindy Focus. Great to listen to and certainly a fantastic source for doing a bit of active listening.

11. February 2013 by Steve Johnstone
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Lindy Focus Showcase – Jeff and Liz Camozzi

In Lindy Hop, showcases are choreographed routines and are usually a great place for dancers to play around with the music and really explore micro-musicality. The following video is one of my favourites. The dancing is super gentle and smooth, and the relationship between Jeff and Liz is absolutely beautiful to watch. Watching them makes me smile so much every time. And the ending is pretty special too.

15. November 2012 by Steve Johnstone
Categories: Dancing, Showcases | Leave a comment

Blues Dancing

This weekend I traveled up to London to do a blues dancing workshop called “Blues in a Day”. This was the second blues class I’ve had, and covered some of the same basic rhythms, as well as expanding it and showing how some of the jazz steps can be used in blues. First we covered walking the blues, which is down into the ground and pushing up. A key point of this was to drive momentum from the torso rather than the legs. Which I always try and remember but can’t seem to quite turn from theory into practice!

The blues “basic” (which isn’t really a basic but is an established pattern) is the push and collect. This starts with the weight on one leg, and then push up and across onto the other leg, and collect the first leg next to the second. This is done with a little pulsing bounce so that it’s push bounce collect. Or dah-dahdee-dah.

We also covered a couple of moves which was a triple step with the last step being a cross, so right left right finishing with both partners facing the lead’s left. And either finishing by collecting and going into the basic, or repeating and going into a dip.

The final sessions were focused on the call and response and improvisational aspects. These were more of a just make it up as you go along style, so not much really to say about this.

I found it very interesting to note that there’s a lot of lindy and jazz moves that can be used in blues. However the teachers did note that there shouldn’t be many spins, as the follower should be controlling her own pace a lot more rather than being pushed around. Something that I pretty much immediately forgot when social dancing after the class.

Edit: An example of the push and collect is in the following video.

05. November 2012 by Steve Johnstone
Categories: Blues, Dancing | Leave a comment

Video: Teacher Demo (Skye Humphries & Marie, Andy & Nina) at Sinera 2012

Jerry Almonte from Wandering and Pondering posted this video on his Facebook page (Both blog and fb page I highly recommend subscribing to btw). The dancing in this video makes me smile both from the quality of the dancers and the simplicity of it. It’s also good to see teachers dancing to some slower tempo music.

04. October 2012 by Steve Johnstone
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International Lindy Hop Championships 2012

Last weekend (August 23rd-26th) the International Lindy Hop Championships (ILHC) were held in Washington DC. As far as I know this is the biggest and most highly regarded Lindy Hop competition in the world. As such, the standard of dancing is always really impressive, and luckily enough the standard of recording those dances is also high.

The highlight for me is always the Jack and Jill competition, where dancers are randomly paired up. This is pure social dancing at it’s best. This year the winners were two of my favourite Herräng dance teachers too (Peter Strom and Jo Hoffburg), so I was extra happy. Below is the video of their dance. Enjoy!

29. August 2012 by Steve Johnstone
Categories: Dance Competitions, Dancing | Leave a comment

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