Apart from Blues Baby Blues being Swing Patrol’s second biggest event of the year AND one hell of a party it also has a lot to offer your Lindy Hop dancing.
Blues is fantastic for lindy hoppers because it teaches you skills that most lindy hoppers need but don’t get to spend time on. Get ready to learn to:
- control your momentum – dancing is not just ‘fast’ and ‘stop’. Learn to dance the the whole range of tempos in between!
- for followers, learn to wait and truly follow, never anticipating your leads next move.
- finish your movement and go to the end of your lines – because we have 4 beats to finish that lunge, whereas lindy hop is kind of crazy and you have to hold onto your hat.
- use your whole body when you dance, not just your feet – blues dancers think from the body first and then work outwards, whereas lindy hop is often taught as a footwork pattern. You may never learn how your arm position can affect your whole body, or how to throw in a shimmy halfway through a swing out – until you take a blues class!
- play with different rhythms – if you are trying to learn how to break out of set rhythm patterns then blues will give you amazing practice! Blues dancers use triples, but we often vary the timing of each step. We also use shuffles, boogie steps, one and two-step patterns, and a whole range of solo movements that Lindy hoppers will recognise, from mooches to camel walks. Your core vocabulary will go from ‘swing out’ to ‘swing out with unlimited rhythm variations’
- nail phrasing and musicality – it might look like we are making it up because there is no set footwork pattern, but most blues dancers are listening hard to the music to make sure they are getting the phrasing spot on. Standard blues phrasing appears all over swing music, so getting the structure will improve your musicality leaps and bounds!
- master polyrhythms – can you step in triple time and shimmy in double? How about clapping on 1 and 3 while shuffling on the offbeat? Blues dancers learn to master the art of contrasting rhythms, a skill that’s invaluable for all dancers.