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Top 10 Swing Dance Tips for Newbies

25th Aug 2016

Top 10 Swing Dance Tips for Newbies

Swing dancing is one of the best types of dance to learn, for so many reasons. It’s extremely sociable and energetic, and it isn’t too hard to get good at either. It’s pretty likely you’ll find a swing dance session near you, but what do you need to know to get started? We’ve put together the top 10 swing dance tips for newbies, so you don’t need to feel like a total beginner.

1. Invest in some lessons

If you’re worried about showing yourself up in the first class, then how about investing in some private lessons first? It will give you a good idea of what to expect when you get into a busy, sociable class full of swing dancers. A bit of one-on-one time with an expert will help you get the gist of the moves. You can then enter a class full of people and not be tripping over everyone’s feet. Of course, some people are just naturally great dancers and won’t need loads of private lessons. However, if you want to learn the basics, then a couple of hours should do it.

2. Learn the basics

Before you try and become a swing dancing pro, you’re going to want the learn the basics. Only once you have these down solid should you even consider trying to learn the more complicated moves. Over the next few tips, we’re going to look at some of the basic moves, to give you a bit of a head start. Practice them everywhere you can and don’t give up. Swing dance in your bedroom, around the lounge, and before you get in the shower. When you’ve got the following basic moves perfected, you can then move onto things like aerials.

3. Learning the Lindy Hop

This is one of the basics so, like we said, make sure you’ve got it solid. Start with both feet in the center. The first move is a rocking step backwards, stepping back onto your left foot. As you go to step back to the center, move forward and quarter turn to face the right. Bring your feet back together and then step left, turning slightly in the same direction. Put your right foot behind your left, with your toes on the ground and heel to the sky. Pivot on both of your feet to turn your body, both feel should then end up side by side slightly pointing outwards. Take two steps to the right and repeat the whole process, beginning again with the rock step.

4. Extra Lindy Hop tips

If you’re the follower in this Lindy Hop, then you’re going to be doing exactly the same as above, except mirrored. While there are no set moves to try out with your hands, it’s good to add a bit of a flourish. You’ll find that you naturally get into a rhythm and want to swing your arms around anyway. Well, they don’t call it swing dancing for nothing.

5. Learning the East Coast Swing

Another form of swing dance is the East Coast Swing. This one can get a little bit more complex to learn, so we’d recommend looking for some useful videos for practice. However, let’s run through the basics. It starts with two small steps to the left and then two small steps to the right. Once you’re back to the starting point, you want to rock step back onto your left foot. Rock back once and then forward again, before returning your feet to the starting position. These are the simplest of basics because there’s plenty more to learn. Make sure you know this first, before moving onto anything more complicated.

6. Go socially dancing - all the time!

If you want to become the best at swing dancing, then you’re going to want to get as much practice as possible. Right? As we said before, this is a really sociable dance to learn which gives you an excuse to get out as much as possible. Find out when (and where) all of the swing dancing classes are. Look for workshops and weekend camps, where you can spend more time in the ‘swing of things’. The more time you spending dancing - and socialising - the better you will become. Naturally.

7. Dance with as many people as possible

It can be easy to slip into the habit of dancing with the same partner week after week. However, if you want to become the best you can be then we advise swapping partners. You may find that a new partner can teach you a thing or two! You’ll also have to get used to somebody else’s rhythm, which will make you a better dancer in the long run.

8. Video yourself

It may seem a little bit cringe, but it can definitely help! Make sure you video yourself when you’re practising at home. You may even want to leave your phone on the side at class so you can video that too. You’ll then be able to watch the footage back and see what you’re doing right. And also, what you’re doing wrong. Use these videos to ask your teacher for tips on improvement.

9. Listen to swing music

If you want to be one of the best swing dancers in the business, then we suggest you listen to a lot of swing music! In fact, even newbies just starting out will find it advantageous to keep listening to swinging tracks. You’ll quickly be able to pick up on the different structures in each track, along with the rhythm and the breaks.

10. Look the part

Last, but certainly not least, make sure you’ve got the outfits and the costumes to really look the part. One of the reasons swing dancing is so popular is because it means you get to dress up. And everybody loves the Lindy Bop look! Fringe dresses and boleros are always a show stopper. Want to go all out? Perhaps for a show? Go for a sequin fringe dress instead! You’ll not only look the part, but you’ll feel the part too.

These top 10 swing dancing tips should get you started. It’s now done to your skill and dedication to get you through. Happy Lindy Hopping!