Stealing in Partner Dance


lindy hop stealing routine

A dancer waits in the wings to steal the girl!

Stealing is the art of slipping gracefully into someone else’s dance and stealing their partner. Ideally, you do this so artfully that the stollen partner hardly knows how it happened and the former partner can’t figure out why they are suddenly alone. It’s a version of cutting in, but more playful and requires considerable skill. In this delightful routine, the stealing is choreographed but the steals are real and can be used socially as well.

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By the way, this routine is also a great example of excellent use of aerials in a dance routine. See previous post Using Aerials in Swing Dance.

In the Lindy Hop community, birthday jams are a great place to practice your steals. In a birthday jam, birthdays are celebrated with a jam. If it’s your birthday, you are in the center of a circle and you dance with a number of partners who cut in on each other after a few bars of music. You could just sidle up to the couple and wait until the birthday dancer notices you and turns away from their current partner to connect with you, but you could also slip in with a steal. If you blow the steal it’s no big deal since most people don’t even try. It’s a tad embarrassing when it doesn’t work, but it’s REALLY FUN when it does! It’s also fun when it’s your birthday to experience an elegant steal. I’ve had my share of steals I’ve screwed up (that’s what the word “oops” was invented for) but well worth it for the appreciative looks on my partners faces when I slip in with a perfectly executed one.
If you’re at least an intermediate level dancer comfortable with your floor skills, try practicing a few steals. Assuming you’re careful of who you cut in on so you’re not stepping on anyones toes, it can add a new level of fun to your dancing. Give it a go and tell me how you like it!

by LaurieAnn Lepoff

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