There's a skill that some lindy hop leaders have. Usually it's leads who have danced for a long time, and/or trained under dancers like Steven and Virginie. That skill, gentlemen, is taking movement through your legs, through our arms, and to my hips. Which is where my skill comes in. I love few things as much in lindy hop as a dance that lets me give the leader real stretch. I don't mean leading the direction my hips are facing (I'm definitely not asking that you direct my swivels in swingout).
There's a continuum of stretch, and the places it goes. There's a level where there's no stretch asked for/given- when the leader and follower are nearly exactly in sync. That's a place I'd rather not go- but there are, of course, leads who lead that connection, so what's a girl to do? There are leads who have stretch that goes through the arms, maybe even the back. Here, you can see a lag, a separation- tension and compression happen. But then there's my favorite- when a leader can use his hips to use my hips. Straight up, it's just an advanced skill- you can't get this at most weekly lessons in most cities. So most leaders just can't do it.
[For my Philadelphia chickies, who may be thinking, "so why haven't you taught us this," let me point out that before I can guide you to the good stuff, you need to have really solid compression and tension stretching skills. Which is also hard to get. To be honest, I'd love to teach way more of this, but I think it's better taught with a lead and follow, so I'll keep bringing in out-of-towners (like Reuel, and Dan) to teach this stuff, and working on it as a lead. Meanwhile, go take classes from Steven and Virginie! Do it!]
I took the first three classes on Saturday as a lead, and man, I'll tell you- it's so hard being a leader imitating Steven. Don't get me wrong- it's incredibly hard to be a follow imitating Virginie, but at least that's my native language. I had a leader mention to me last night that he finds that learning dance is getting harder and harder- I told him that I think that means he's doing it right. Taking an intro to lindy hop from S+V reminded me that the more deeply you get into the dance, the less likely it is that a lesson will be "too easy." Trying to step into the movement of two advanced dancers, in one hour, is incredibly challenging- and hopefully, rewarding.
So I totally sympathize with leaders who haven't got the hips yet, but I also want to encourage you to keep at it. The social dancing at the Saturday late night was some of the most fun I've had with lindy in months. So keep on using me... until you use me up.
de duh, de-duh deeeeh duhdeeduhdee duh.
duh duh duh duh duh.