Is there something you’ve always wanted to try but didn’t have the opportunity, couldn’t find the means (or the guts), or just didn’t know where to go?
I’ve always been fascinated with swing music and have always wanted to dance to it. This fascination dates back to my childhood, when my parents would listen to swing music and watch musicals starring Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse, Donald O’Connor, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers and other dance heroes of yore.
This idea of dancing to such old music in a public place has been an old yearning that couldn’t seem to catch fire, because who dances to Big Band music anymore? But thanks to some Swing enthusiasts here in Basel, the fire finally ignited. A dance duo named Elio and Janet teach Lindy-Hop dancing through dance workshops and weekly Swing Parties.
Just over the weekend, my friend Sarah and I signed up for the Total Beginners Swing Dance Workshop, a 2-day, 3.5 hour session, where we learned the basics of Lindy-Hop. We started with standing in a huge circle (about 45 of us), then we were made to find the “bounce” in the beat of the music. There we were, a big group of adults bobbing up and down around this huge circle. Then we learned the basic 8-count dance step: the backbone of all the combinations we were to learn. When we got the bounce and the beat and the combo, it was time to find a partner and bring everything together. We danced to intervals of 2-minute swing music, at the end of which we high-fived that partner goodbye and moved on to the next guy. By the end of the day we were bobbing and turning and swaying and swinging all across the dance floor!
Throughout the course of the day, nostalgic memories of watching old musicals and listening to mommy and daddy’s swing records swirled across my mind. The combination of those memories, the happy music, the dance combinations, plus the fact that I was finally doing something I’ve always wanted to do equated to sheer joy (not to mention sore legs the next day)!
If there’s something you’ve been wanting to do for ages, now is the time! Research online to get leads, ask around, read your neighborhood bulletin board (I found the ad to this workshop in a cool coffee shop in town), and drag along a friend who’s as game as you are (thank you, Sarah!).
We’re already nearing the second month of 2014, but it’s never too late to start something new!
PS: If you’re in Basel and want to check out Lindy-Hop, go to www.lindyhophotclub.ch
PPS: The goal is to dance like this!