A few sentences on the most powerful concepts from each class.
Follows – instead of sinking back into the movement of a linear swing out on 3&4, bring your left foot around on the & to continue the circular momentum (most follows trail their left foot behind, almost rock stepping or paddle-stepping around, which maintains a good connection but requires the momentum to be restarted each time half-way through a swing out).
Leads – good exercise to expand repertoire: take a basic six-count move (try a side pass). Add on two beats to make it an eight count move, and then two more to make it a ten count move, and so on. Always start the same way (as if going into a basic side pass), and always end with a triple step. For this exercise to work, you have to AVOID the second triple step, which signifies the END of a move (and the rock step is thed beginning)
Using your entire body to dance – especially the middle of your body! Exercise: try doing the Shim Sham with and without your feet while always keeping the upper body fully engaged. Try the half break – it’s hard!
Be sensitive to your partner’s upper body, too – simple moves in closed position can be great fun, fantastically varied, and incredibly musical if you simply pay attention to little upper and lower body changes. Adds miles to your repertoire while keeping follows fully engaged.
(Organized as multiple mini private lessons, so a slightly different format – this is direct and personal feedback from him, so does not necessarily apply to everyone.) You are a great technical follow; you pay attention to a lead and contribute to the dance. However, you get caught up in following the lead exactly. Be more selfish in your dancing.
More thoughts on how this class changed my life in another post!
“BE A GORILLA, CLIMB THE TOWER, SNATCH THE GIRL!” Translation: dance with your whole body.
Your frame is perfect – don’t adjust it for the lead when he does a move, but keep it exact. Think on your rock step – if your arm adjusts even a micrometer, you’ve reduced the connection / tension that you were building for the next move and made it that much harder. Instead, keep your arm exactly where it is in relation to your body.
Rhythm, scatting, being selfish. Being able to say the rhythms your feet are doing (connect mind and body).
ALL of 7812 to really hang out and do whatever.
Good in a way I didn’t realize I needed, and almost dismissed at the beginning of the class (“I’m not a musician, I can be a good dancer in other ways, so I’ll take all this with a grain of salt and leave it for others who are more interested in this way of dancing.” So not true. More on that in another blog post?).
That’s the gist of every class. While each class can be narrowed into a couple sentences, I really feel like every class was a wealth of information. It was honestly an incredible and inspiring workshop to attend.