Last edition, Buzz Blogger Kris gave us some insight on coming to Swing Dance with a ballet background. No matter what your dance background is, there are likely to be unique challenges ahead. Here’s my perspective on starting swing dancing as an adult, having never danced a step in my life.

My hips can do WHAT???
I was astounded when I realized that my hips, physically, could move in three dimensions. This wasn’t just me learning a new skill, it was me learning a new fact about the human body. It was like discovering I have gills. I still get a giant kick out of doing the mess’ around for that exact reason.

I have to move my ARMS too???
Lindy Hop classes tend to focus on how well you’re connected to your partner, and on how your feet are moving across the floor. There are a lot of Lindy Hoppers out there who have worked really hard on those concepts, and are great social dancers, but find that getting that last limb involved is the trickiest part… I am one of those dancers, I feel your pain!

K, got the shoes, and the tights, and the water bottle, and the snacks, and the kitchen sink…
Yikes! Never in my life has going out socializing required so much stuff. Indoor shoes. Dance shorts for under your dress. Extra t-shirts on warm nights. Tights. Water. Snacks. Mints. In the summer: A fan. In some cases: costumes. No wonder I leave my stuff all over the place! I guess it’s not as much as some sports, but more than your average night hanging out with friends. If dancing is a new hobby for you, remember to pack accordingly! Invest in a stylish, massive, 1940s inspired tote bag (haha good luck).

Those first few classes…
If you’re brand new to dance in general, it might take you a bit longer to master those basic Lindy Hop steps. That’s totally normal – right at the beginning, someone with a lot of dance experience might have an advantage. That said, Lindy Hop has a lot of unique techniques, and you might find some things easier if you don’t have habits from another dance form. Perseverance pays off, there are many amazing dancers who had a rough go of it in their first few weeks.

Look Ma, I’m doing it!
Perseverance pays off, and the feeling of accomplishment you can get from a great social dance is truly amazing. And once you’re out social dancing – you’re a dancer! Try this out – say to yourself “Yup, I’m a dancer”.  Weird eh? I’ve been dancing now for almost nine years, and I still find it a bit surreal to say that out loud. Becoming a dancer (and a dance instructor) was hugely different from anything I ever expected to do with my life, and I still sometimes can’t quite believe it.

Moral of the story is, whether you have a lifetime of dancing under your belt or you’re not quite sure which one is your left foot, there’s a place for you in the Lindy Hop!

Have any experiences you’d like to share? Post in the comments below!


Shannon Refvik
The Buzz Blogger