probably nuts and berries

I’m actually beginning to think there are a few key schools of thought in lindy hop at the moment:

– the ‘naturalists‘ (ie think of them as the nuts-and-berries dancers, after the Sydney School of architects) who like natural movement, see aesthetics as a product of function, eschew jargon, and valorise jazz music. They mightn’t always use historical steps, and are very much into the ‘spirit’ of jazz dance (ie improvisation and self expression) and big into solo dance. They do pilates and/or yoga and talk about neutral spines.

– the ‘rhythm first‘ group who are often hardcore historians, but also really into dancing as an extension of jazz music. They tend to do solo jazz, tap, and lindy hop as connected dances, and they focus on polyrhythms. They also avoid jargon, and use some of the nuts-and-berries’ ‘natural movement’ tools. But they can be quite prescriptive when it comes to ‘preserving history’. They can be on the edge of exoticising African American and African dance and body types and are epic OG name droppers.

– the ‘technicists‘ group who are really into verbiage and understanding how lindy hop works with their brains. There’s a lot of talking in class, and a lot of ‘figuring out how it works’. The music is less important than connection, and there is a strong vibe of ‘get it right’ technique. These guys tend to overlap with the blues scene, and there isn’t a lot of solo dance.

I think I tend to use a bit from each group, depending on whether I’m teaching, in class, or social dancing. I love to know how things work with my brain, and pilates is very important for teaching me to use my body and avoid injury. But when I’m social dancing I just want to DANCE and I don’t think about the technicalities. When I’m teaching lindy hop to beginners I mix a lot of these things, but use very little of the technical stuff.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *