Posts

A Bit of Swing Dance History in a Beer Ad!

vintage swing dance

Still from the new Guinness ad

I’ve blogged in the past about my appreciation for dance in advertising, and now along comes one of the best yet.

[embedplusvideo height=”390″ width=”640″ editlink=”http://bit.ly/2f6ojJl” standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/VMBmJYBrigY?fs=1″ vars=”ytid=VMBmJYBrigY&width=640&height=390&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=&notes=” id=”ep6413″ /]

I confess I don’t really get what this has to do with Guinness, but more power to them. It’s pretty wonderful all on it’s own so I’m happy to spread it around.  The dancing is top notch, the message is timely, and the history is accurate.  If this kind of dancing excites you, and you live in the bay area, call Steps On Toes and learn how to do it.  The bay area hosts a vibrant Lindy scene. You can be part of it!

By LaurieAnn Lepoff

Like this post?  Use the form below to subscribe!

A Double Dose of Dance

the bar sans people

At Local Edition the dance floor is everywhere

A relatively new dance venue for the Swing crowd has opened in SF.  It’s in a Market Street bar called “Local Edition.   Only half a block from BART, it’s easy to get to from Oakland, and the music starts at 8:00 on Tuesday nights.  I can dance for a couple of hours, leave at 10, and be in bed by 11.  A live band attracts a good crowd of dancers most weeks.  The only drawback is the floor, which is unfinished wood, so rough that dance wax doesn’t make a dent. My plastic soled shoes that I use for dancing on concrete are perfect, though!

 

A couple of weeks ago while I was waiting at the BART station, a Hip Hop duo was playing music and dancing.  I was reviewing a new balboa move and appreciated the music.  When the train arrived, the dancers got on too.  Using the hand holding bars, they performed an acrobatic routine with considerable skill before passing a hat.  They were the second hip hop train performers I’ve ever seen on my BART travels.  I felt blessed to have been on the right train to catch the show and it made my day.

 

There has been some controversy about dancers on the subway systems of America.  Not everyone likes it and some consider it too dangerous.  A subway crowd is a tough audience.  These people did not opt for a show so they have to be good enough to please an audience that has it’s own separate agenda.  In this video, the dancers are good enough to win the attention of their audience.  Busking is hard work and there are no guarantees.  Check out this New York crew: [embedplusvideo height=”509″ width=”640″ editlink=”http://bit.ly/2a6DPm9″ standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/YJdpRpHEf-A?fs=1″ vars=”ytid=YJdpRpHEf-A&width=640&height=509&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=&notes=” id=”ep9098″ /]

 

New York sports a lot more of these subway dancers than we do here in the Bay Area.  In this video on BART, the dancers are not nearly as spectacular as the New Yorkers we just saw.  The unforgiving audience is totally ignoring them.

 

[embedplusvideo height=”390″ width=”640″ editlink=”http://bit.ly/2a6EfsB” standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/8va49TcudTc?fs=1″ vars=”ytid=8va49TcudTc&width=640&height=390&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=&notes=” id=”ep7244″ /]

 

My Tuesday night experience was somewhere in between.  I loved it and so did some of my fellow travelers.  Others ignored, or even frowned at them.  I hope if any of you are lucky enough to catch this kind of spontaneous performance will at the very least give the dancers your attention.  

 

And if you’re in the Bay Area and want to catch some great music and watch some dancing, or join in yourself, check out the swing nights at Local Edition.  Don’t dance yet, but wish you could?  Give Steps On Toes a call and get started now!

 

By LaurieAnn Lepoff

LIke this post?  Use the form below to subscribe!

 

Happy Birthday, Frankie Manning!

a workshop with the late Frankie Manning

Teaching with Frankie Manning–joy personified!

Today my friend and mentor Frankie Manning would have turned 102.  If you’re a dancer, you would have been delighted if you used google and noticed the google doodle honoring Frankie’s birthday.  Several people brought this to my attention, which is all to the good, because although I missed the pleasure of seeing it  by chance, it’s just as likely I wouldn’t have noticed.  From now on, I’ll pay more attention to the doodle when I’m using google!  
If you are curious about my relationship with Frankie and want to see him in action, go back to this post I wrote a year ago at this time.  Enjoy!

On Being A “Lindy Legend”

Me on the panel

Expounding as one of the Bay Area Lindy Legends

My Lindy History

Last week I got to be on a panel at an event at City College in SF called “Bay Area Lindy Legends”.  More than a couple of decades ago, few people in the bay area had heard of Lindy Hop and you certainly couldn’t go Lindy Hopping if you were the rare exception who had.  My colleague Belinda Ricklefs and I were practice partners back then.  We both taught by ourselves and got together every week to work on material that needed refreshing and sometimes learning new dances.  We had been exposed to Lindy, liked it, and longed for a community of dancers.  When we began to build the community, spurred by the desire to dance with anybody besides each other, never in our wildest dreams did we imagine the scene that exists today.

Frankie Manning

We couldn’t foresee that we would become friends with, and teach with, the charismatic embodiment of joy Frankie Manning in the last 15 years of his amazing life as the ambassador of Lindy Hop.  One of the people who invented the dance, a living history book, Frankie died just shy of his 95th birthday, still dancing until his last year when his knee finally made it too painful.

A Supportive Lindy Community

We built our community with care, making sure it would be one with a cooperative spirit, where everyone would help to promote one another’s classes and workshops and dances, hoping that when it got too big for us to have any control over it, that it would take that positive spirit with it.  Now that we have one of the biggest communities, and hardly anyone knows me from Adam any more, I can stand back and think we gave it a pretty successful shove in the right direction.  I’ve visited Lindy dances in other countries and states, and ours is the only one I know of that has visitor jams where we single out and make out of towners feel welcome.  

 

So I was honored to be on the panel and proud of my part.  I teach a lot of different dances, but Lindy is the one I dance most often for my own enjoyment.  It’s a highly creative, music oriented dance with a welcoming friendly community of people.  If you like swing music and joyful dancing, and you live in the Bay Area, take advantage of the wonderful opportunity you have here.  It wasn’t always available and it will only be here as long as the dancers continue to support it!

 

By LaurieAnn Lepoff
Like this post?  Check the box below to subscribe!

A Focus on Dance in the Bay Area: Lindy in the East Bay

The Breakaway Opening Night

The Breakaway: Oakland’s Newest Dance Venue

Until now this blog has been focused on anything having to do with dance, and it will continue to do so.  However, it will also have a local focus on the San Francisco Bay Area where I live and what’s happening in my own community.

Swing Dance in Oakland

Today’s entry is about Swing Dancing in the East Bay.  Swing is a broad term that includes many types of dance including Rockabilly, Lindy Hop, West Coast, and Jitterbug.  Today I’m talking about Lindy Hop and East Coast Swing (also known as Jitterbug), which are danced in the same community.

Ever since Lindy became popular again a couple of decades ago, the scene has been mostly in San Francisco and it’s been difficult to gather much of a crowd for a regular dance in the East Bay.  San Franciscans are notoriously loathe to cross the bridge and East Bay dancers are afraid no one will be there if the SF crowd won’t come.  Hence, a self fulfilling prophecy fulfills itself once again.  That may be changing however as a year long newish venue is taking hold and a brand new promising one is getting started in Oakland.

The Terrace Room

The Terrace Room, an upscale restaurant with a breathtaking view of Lake Merritt, has a live swing band 2 or 3 and occasionally 4 Fridays a month from 7-10.  It’s within walking distance of BART and attracts a decent crowd of dancers, even from SF, most of the time.  There is no cover, but the dancers know to support the venue by ordering drinks or food.  The schedule is published at the beginning of the month at  http://www.theterraceroom.com/go/events-2/.

The Breakaway

 

The Breakaway, a labor of love put together by a group of young East Bay passionate swing dancers, just had it’s grand opening in a new venue in West Oakland, The Starline Social Club.  The Grand Opening sold out almost immediately and was a huge success. Unlike the Terrace Room, which is just a place to dance and socialize, the Breakaway is a place where students of all levels can sign up for on-going lessons and curious beginners can check out a drop in lesson before the dance.  Check out their schedule at

http://www.starlinesocialclub.com/new-events/2016/3/22/swing-dance-tuesday-the-breakaway

or check out their facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/breakawayswing/

My fingers are crossed that the opening success is a sign that there is a need for what is being offered there, on our side of the bay.

Sunday Swing

The long standing Sunday Swing at the Lake Merritt Dance Center is still going, but is down to twice a month and may not continue after one of the instructors, Chuck Dee, moves to Oregon, and the event’s originator, Belinda Ricklefs, retires. Meanwhile, you can find the schedule for Sunday Swing at http://www.sundayswing.net/instructors.php.  And for an interview with Belinda see my previous post http://www.stepsontoes.com/2013/12/how-most-dancers-age/.

Bay Area Lindy Legends

And speaking of Belinda, if any of you are local and interested in how Lindy Hop got started here in the Bay area some 20 years ago, Rebecca Shannon is hosting a panel discussion at City College on March 26 at 4:00.  She’ll be interviewing Belinda and me and a small group of dancers who started the Lindy Hop community back before anyone in the Bay Area had heard of the dance.  We’ve got stories to tell and we’re thrilled that folks want to hear them.  She’s calling it (her words, not mine) Bay Area Lindy Legends. There’s a dance afterward, so we won’t go on forever even though we could!  Don’t miss this chance to get those questions answered!

 

by LaurieAnn Lepoff

 

Like this post?  Check the box at the bottom to subscribe!

 

Dance and the Benefits of Oxytocin

 

two women dancing together

The author having a blast! What can be more fun than dancing?

Oxytocin is the hormone our bodies make that makes us feel sociable.  It’s what gives us the desire to collaborate with each other and to help other people out.  It’s what makes mothers feel connected to their babies and what bonds lovers to each other.  It’s one of the all time  great feel good hormones.  Women have the power to make more of it than men, another fabulous perk of the gender, but men make it too and all of us can consciously seek out ways to get more of it.

 

I first heard about Oxytocin at Rise, a conference of an organization called Braveheart Women, whose goal it is to bring women from all over the world together to collaborate and support each other to the end of no less a goal than saving the planet.  Founder Ellie Drake created an exercise designed to raise the level of Oxytocin in a room of 800 women who were mostly strangers to one another.  After this remarkable activity, we felt like an enormous family, emotionally connected to a room full of sisters whom we all wanted to support and trust.

 

One of my heros, the Dalai Lama, said that is the world was going to survive, it was up to western women to save it.  My guess is that it is our combination of access to global connection through technology, access to free time, and yep, oxytocin.  That’s what makes us WANT to understand people of other cultures instead of eradicating them.  I hope we’re up to it.

 

Clearly right now the world is mostly up to seeing other cultures as enemies and trying to eradicate everyone it doesn’t understand, so perhaps we need more oxytocin and less testosterone in the foreign office.

 

Well, how did we get into this mess and how do we get out of it?  In a so called primitive African culture a western visitor held a contest for a group of boys.  These people were impoverished, by our standards, and had very little.  The winner was given a delectable treat  which he divided and shared with the other boys.  The perplexed westerner asked why he didn’t keep it for himself.  The equally perplexed boy said what would be the fun in that?

 

There are a lot of wonderful amazing things about western culture for which I am very grateful, not the least of which is leisure time, Lindy Hop, and indoor plumbing. But we have gotten so far removed from our own basic natures that greed is more natural that our natural intstinct to share pleasure with others.

 

Human beings are social animals and we thrive on human contact.    People need to touch each other in order to be physically and mentally healthy.  That very touch, the source of Oxytocin, is becoming more and more scarce in a society that is becoming more and more technical. People need to touch each other in order to be physically and mentally healthy.

 

Respected family therapist Virginia Satir is famous for saying “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.”  She said that in 2012 and it’s been said so many times it’s become trite. You might say, especially if you’re single and don’t have a cat, “I don’t get 12 hugs a day and I grow.  I don’t even get 4 every day and I’m still alive so obviously it’s not only trite, it’s bullshit.”

But here’s the thing.  When you experience real growth, you might look back on your hugless existence and say “I can’t believe I called that surviving.”  It’s all a matter of degree.

Because  I’m a single woman, it’s hard to get enough hugs every day to thrive even though I do have a cat.  Two cats even.  And I’m an introvert.  I envy those people who can stand in a public square with a sign that says “Free Hugs!” but Nooooooo.  That’s way too extroverted for me.  Plus, I like people and I’d like my hugs to be connected at least most of the time to actual relationships.  If not deep friendships, at least people I know or have met and feel some kind of connection to.

Partner dance to the rescue!

Partner dancing is like a musical hug, but that’s not the only reason it’s an Oxytocin raiser. Even dancing by yourself to music you love will raise your oxytocin levels.  Dancing is joyful and joy is big trigger.  Combine the joy of dance with the touch of partner dance and you have a double whammy of Oxytocin.

And of course you have community.  When you go dancing regularly, you get to know the other people who regularly dance in the same places.  You connect over a shared activity. And it’s an activity in which you are constantly touching one another physically, in a natural, organic way.

I know it works, though, because of the way I feel when I do it.  In a word, joyful.  At Frankie Manning’s memorial service, the minister cited this quote in the bible: “The purpose of life is joy”.  I think God said that, but I can’t find it so I’m not sure.  The minister said that Frankie, who never went to church, was a deeply spiritual man because as the “ambassador of Lindy Hop” he spend his life spreading joy.

When I think about world change, I think first about joy.  Joyful people want others to feel joyful.  Sharing joy creates joy.  Dancing with a partner is not fun if your partner is not having fun.  It’s all about connection.     Go out there and be joyful and together we just might make a real change!

By LaurieAnn Lepoff

like this post?  Use the form at the right to subscribe!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go out there and be joyful and together we just might make a real change.

In Honor of Frankie Manning

a workshop with the late Frankie Manning

Teaching with Frankie Manning–joy personified!

This is the week Frankie Manning would have turned 101 had he lived and I always like to leave a tribute for him every year.  I was privileged to have been friends with this wonderfully positive and highly charismatic man for the last fifteen years of his life.

 

Frankie was one of the people credited with creating the Lindy Hop, and due to his delightful personality was in many ways responsible for the resurrection of this joyful dance in present times.  After being pulled out of retirement in his 70’s, he began traveling the world teaching workshops and spreading the popularity of Lindy Hop world wide.  He was modest and unassuming, always grateful to his students and the burgeoning Lindy community for bringing back this dance that he loved and giving him the opportunity to spend the last years of his life spreading it’s joy.  “I’m happy to be here”, he would say at every workshop.  “But at my age, I’m happy to be anywhere.”  And right up until the end, he was.

 

I met Frankie on his 80th birthday at a big celebration in New York City.  Practically everyone who danced Lindy in the bay area was there.  About 5 out of 6 of us!  We were exposed for the first time to dancers from all over the world, and to exciting new (to us) styles of the dance.  We fell in love with what was known as Modern Savoy Style and brought it back home.  As our community grew, Savoy style was what was mostly danced here.

 

When Frankie came to the Bay Area for the first time shortly after the New York workshops, I got to teach with him for the first time. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.  It was one of the high points of my life and although it was the first of many, nothing beat the high of that first time.

 

He was a piece of living history, a joy to know, an honor to call friend, and I’ll always feel lucky to have crossed paths with him at the end of his life and the middle of mine.

 

I’ve included two clips to give you a glimpse into the joy he brought into dance and the charm that was always the hallmark of his teaching style.

 

Here he is dancing the Shim Sham Shimmy with his son Chaz Young at the Herrang Dance Camp in Sweden.  He was in his mid eighties believe it or not at the time!

[embedplusvideo height=”509″ width=”640″ editlink=”http://bit.ly/1coorB3″ standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/5t7ls-TSOeM?fs=1″ vars=”ytid=5t7ls-TSOeM&width=640&height=509&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=&notes=” id=”ep6922″ /]

 

This clip gives you a window into Frankie’s style and sense of humor.  To Frankie every woman was beautiful, and he made every woman feel beautiful and special.

[embedplusvideo height=”509″ width=”640″ editlink=”http://bit.ly/1coorkz” standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/SxbbmTdGKYo?fs=1″ vars=”ytid=SxbbmTdGKYo&width=640&height=509&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=&notes=” id=”ep5401″ /]

by LaurieAnn Lepoff

Like this post? Use the form at the right to subscribe!by LaurieAnn Lepoff

Dancing in Atlanta

Real southern food!

Enjoying the local fare with dance partner Jose and his husband Jim

A couple of decades or so ago I taught a series of monthly country western workshops with a close friend.  I usually teach alone because a teaching partner automatically cuts the take in half, but I loved teaching with Jose so I mostly did it for fun.  There was an expensive Japanese restaurant in the neighborhood where we had our workshops.  We loved the food there, so after we finished our class, we’d go there and blow our earnings on dinner and catch up on our lives over the previous month.  Then Jose’s day job took him out of state and our teaching team was history.

Dance partnerships never die!

Our friendship, however, remained intact, as did mine with his spouse Jim, who shares my love of gardening and old musicals.  Last weekend I finally visited them in Atlanta, combining my visit with the renowned Peach State Country Western  Dance Festival.

During Jose’s time in the Bay Area, Country was very popular.  There were C/W dance bars everywhere.  I taught a lot of country and went dancing frequently.  Now the country scene has all but disappeared here, although it appears to be thriving in Atlanta.  (I noticed differences, though. At least in the competition scene, the ballroom influence is so strong I could barely tell the difference.  In the early days of Country, the dancers prided themselves on NOT being ballroom.)  It begs the question: why do some dances disappear and others stay for good?  Why are some a flash in the pan, like the Lambada, only to be gone a year later, while others are around for years and still thrive in some areas but are gone from others?  And others disappear for a while and then come back with a resurgence a few decades later, like Lindy Hop.  Lindy is popular in the Bay Area, but fragile.  It takes work on the part of the dancers who love it to make sure the scene thrives.

Salsa in the South

I managed to get a little Salsa dancing in as well, to my delight.  Jose is from Cuba and still my favorite Salsa partner.  Salsa is a dance that seems to be popular everywhere and here to stay.  It’s hard to imagine a stronger dance scene than Salsa, yet it’s a relatively new dance.  By that I mean that I was a young woman when Salsa was a new dance.

I never expected Country to leave the Bay Area, but even the gay community is not supporting Country dancing as much any more.  We may soon see the end of it all together.  Jose suggested the theory that it may be the music.  There is little distinction between Country and Pop today, so there is not as much reason to do a different dance.  That may be, but doesn’t explain why it’s still popular in the South.  It’s an interesting question.  Why do you think some dances come and go while others seem to be here to stay?  I’d love to hear your ideas!

 

by LaurieAnn Lepoff

like this post?  Use the form at the right to subscribe!

Dancing Ambassadors

 

conference photo booth

Posing with another host at the Airbnb conference

I didn’t get Fridays dance blog written because I spent all weekend at a very inspiring conference for Airbnb hosts, of which I am one.  For those of you unfamiliar with the phenomenon, Airbnb is a company that matches travelers with people who rent out places to stay.

Dance Lessons for Internationals Tourists

Hobnobbing with other hosts, I met a young woman who has a large place in SF that houses about 14 guests at a time.  We talked about organizing a group dance class for her guests and taking them to Lindy in the Park.

Friendly dancers welcome visitors

I often take my guests, most of whom are visiting from other countries, to LITP.  They get to try out a very fun dance, meet a group of very friendly dancers, and go out to eat afterwards.  We engage them in conversation and they get to know the dancers and the dancers get to know them.

 

Dance is truly an international language.  My guests, as well as other international visitors to LITP, often say it was the highlight of their visit.

 

Someone said they wouldn’t be surprised if Airbnb won the Nobel Peace prize some day.  I can see that, and I also think dance communities have a hand in the movement for world peace.  After you’ve shared a dance and a meal with someone from another culture, somehow the idea of shooting at them just doesn’t make sense.

 

by LaurieAnn Lepoff

Like this post?  Use the form at the right to subscribe!

Why Do Dancers Like Flash Mobs So Much?

In this charming video a group of swing dancers gather around a street orchestra to perform a charleston routine.  It’s a simple routine that repeats, they do it well, and they are enjoying themselves immensely.  It’s a great choice for a flash mob because for swing dancers it wouldn’t take long to learn.  They know the steps already and just have to learn what order to do them in, but they have to be pretty skilled for it to look this good.

[embedplusvideo height=”390″ width=”640″ editlink=”http://bit.ly/ZyF8o4″ standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/7XerRz0ZFu8?fs=1″ vars=”ytid=7XerRz0ZFu8&width=640&height=390&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=&notes=” id=”ep6345″ /]

Dancers looking good

And it does look good, doesn’t it? It looks good because they are experienced dancers and because they are having fun.  It’s fun to watch people have fun and this would have been almost as fun to watch if they were less skilled but still having a blast.

Dancers showing off

So why is it so much fun to do?  Because dancers love to show off.  There are exceptions to this of course.  I’ve known good dancers who are shy and don’t like to be in the spotlight, but for the most part it’s energizing to feel the appreciation of onlookers.  Doubly so when it’s a surprise.  A show that people pay to see has a much higher risk level.  It’s still fun and energizing, but everybody is there already with an expectation that this will hopefully be good enough to be worth the ticket price.  A flash mob comes out of nowhere and feels like a gift out of the blue to people lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to witness it.

Musicians like to show off too, so when dancers and musicians combine their talents this way it’s a guaranteed success.

Flash Mob or Lindy Bomb?

A close cousin to a flash mob is a bomb.  I’ve never heard other kinds of dancers use this term but it’s common in the Lindy Hop community.  When a group of swing dancers put up a boombox and break out dancing in a public place, it’s called a Lindy Bomb.

A flash mob is choreographed.  Whatever the material, it’s planned out in advance and everyone learns a part or does the same routine.  A Lindy bomb could be spontaneous, starting with a small number and growing as people join in, or it could be planned out by a particular group, but there is no choreography.  People just dance as they would in a club.  They’re just doing it in a public place where it’s not expected to happen.

Anyone can join a Lindy Bomb if they know the dance.  Any level dancer can participate.  The fun for the audience is seeing a bunch of people suddenly breaking out in a joyful dance.  If you are dancing Lindy, even if you just started, let others know you’d like to participate in the next Lindy bomb.  And if nobody has one planned, consider organizing it yourself.  It’s a guaranteed fun-for-all!

by LaurieAnn Lepoff

like this post?  Use the form at the right to subscribe!

New Ideas in Competitive Dance: Part II

Erin and Frankie

Erin Stevens from the Pasadena Ballroom Dance Association teaches a jazz step with the late great Frankie Manning

Dance Inovatin from Israel

The second innovative dance contest idea comes from Israel where there is a solo Lindy competition.  Yes, Lindy is a partner dance, but there are many jazz steps incorporated into the dance, which allow both partners to be creative while still dancing in partnership.

 

Jazz Dance Routines

It’s also common for teachers to put together routines so that students can practice the jazz steps.  Sometimes such a routine, like Ryan Francois’ Jitterbug Stroll, will catch on and become a popular dance in Lindy communities world wide.  The most widely known such routine, The Shim Sham Shimmy, is a classic tap routine adapted by Lindy Hoppers in the 1930s and still danced in many places today.

So again I’m surprised no one has thought of this earlier!  I’m also surprised it hasn’t caught on elsewhere since this is not the first year the Israelis have held this contest.  Check out these fabulous dancers strutting their stuff sans partners:

[embedplusvideo height=”388″ width=”640″ editlink=”http://bit.ly/1jNvkN0″ standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/8B5j1pIcvXs?fs=1″ vars=”ytid=8B5j1pIcvXs&width=640&height=388&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=&notes=” id=”ep4494″ /]

by LaurieAnn Lepoff

Like this post?  Use the form at the right to subscribe!

 

New Ideas in Competitive Dance

I’ve never been much of a fan of competitive dance, but even I was intrigued by two categories I recently heard about in the Lindy Hop competition scene.

Jill and Jack Dance Contest

The first is a Jill and Jack, in which, like a Jack and Jill, partners are selected at random.  The twist is that women have to lead and men have to follow.  This is always an option in a traditional Jack and Jill (no rules determine gender when you sign up as a lead or follow) but this is the first I’ve seen in which all leads were women and all follows were men.
It’s not uncommon in the Lindy community for advanced dancers to dance both parts, so I’m surprised nobody has thought of it before.  These dancers in the 2014 O-Town Showdown in Ottawa are great fun to watch as they show off their skill in this twist on the traditional Jack and Jill.  I expect this to catch on elsewhere!

[embedplusvideo height=”388″ width=”640″ editlink=”http://bit.ly/1jNtqfc” standard=”http://www.youtube.com/v/2xMaYAuqZBc?fs=1″ vars=”ytid=2xMaYAuqZBc&width=640&height=388&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=1&chapters=&notes=” id=”ep5234″ /]

Next week I’ll tell you about the other unique contest in the global Lindy Hop world!

by LaurieAnn Lepoff

Like this post?  Use the form at the right to subscribe!