Swing Dance

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Solo Vernacular Jazz/Swing Dance Lessons

Solo vernacular jazz dance was organically created at the rent parties and social ballrooms in Harlem, New York during the American Jazz Age as an extension of the culture, music, and lives of the African American and BIPOC communities living there. This dance style, and the posture, movement, rhythm, and musicality within it, was the pre-cursor to other solo and partnered dances like the Charleston, Lindy, Jitterbug, and modern Jazz dance. It is common to see historic vernacular jazz routines and improvised vernacular dancing done at swing dance events all over the world. 

Studying solo vernacular jazz dance will help you learn and finesse some of the most important skills you need to become an outstanding dancer, and also an enjoyable dance partner regardless of the partnered dance style.

In these solo vernacular jazz dance sessions, we will - 

1. Warm-up for every class by learning and doing swing dance footwork rhythms in a variety of patterns. You won’t even need to think about your feet when you are partner dancing.

2. Become more self-aware by developing better balance, proprioception, and spatial awareness. Solo or partnered pivots, turns, and spins will soon become a breeze. 

3. Build agility, coordination, muscle tone, and endurance. Although we will spend the majority of each class dancing, we promise not to use fast tempo songs and to let you pace yourself. 

4. Learn two to three classic swing dance routines that do not require a partner. We will be sure to point out all of the things in the routines that you can apply to partnered dancing.

5. Connect to your/our heritage and become a part of living history. Vernacular Jazz Dance is an evolving American art form that is based on real people, situations, and traditions. Knowing these stories helps us understand the why of the moves and choreography and therefore makes our delivery of the movements more sincere and from the heart. 

6. Allow every class member the freedom to express the moves in creative ways that feel good to their specific bodies and minds. The idea of individual and improvised expression is a key tenet of both jazz music and dance. 

7. Provide a Google link to the written general choreography, songs used for each routine at a variety of speeds, and videos of the choreography. 

 

Remember, these classes focus on solo dancing and no partner is needed to attend. Also remember that these classes will better prepare you for partnered dancing. We hope that you will join us and reap the benefits of the therapeutic and long-lasting endorphin release that jazz music and jazz dancing can bring you. There is a maximum of 8 people permitted per class.  

Tuesdays

Solo Vernacular Jazz Dance Fundamentals 7-7:50 - This class is for students who want to develop their solo swing dancing skills by learning some of the more simple, classic, non-partnered vintage jazz routines. 

No partner is needed for these classes as they are carried out with a group of dancers in formations that are specific to each routine. This class is for dancers of all skill and experience levels. The teaching pace will be moderate as the explanations given for each move, transition, timing, etc. will be quite detailed. Each class will begin with a fun and easy solo jazz warm-up. In this fundamental series, students may learn and expand upon at least two of the following routines. - The Shim Sham, The Jitterbug Stroll, The Charleston Stroll, The Madison. We may even sneak in a more modern Urban Line Dance. Most of these routines are one wall or four-wall repeating dances.  At the end of this series, students will feel confident dancing all of the routines they have learned.

Thursdays

Solo Vernacular Jazz Dance Intermediate 7-7:50 This class is for dancers with a little more experience who would like to sharpen their solo swing dance skills by learning some of the more difficult, detailed, and/or long, classic, non-partnered vintage jazz routines. 

No partner is needed for these classes as they are carried out with a group of dancers in formations that are specific to each routine. This class is for dancers who are looking for more of a challenge. Students do NOT need to take Solo Fundamentals to be in this class but, they should feel comfortable dancing at least a few vernacular jazz steps and understand the general guidelines for swing dance. The moves, movement quality, lines, shapes, timing, transitions, and movement options will be explained in full detail but, not at a breakneck speed. In this intermediate series, students may learn and expand upon at least two to three of the following routines. - The Dean Collins Shim Sham, Al & Leon’s Shim Sham, The Big Apple parts 1 & 2, Tranky Doo, Mama’s Stew, Trickeration.  At the end of this series, students will feel confident dancing all of the routines they have learned to tempo.

Fall Winter Sessions

Fundamentals

· 10/6-11/3

· 12/1-1/12 (no class 12/22, 12/29)

· 1/26-2/23

· 3/9-4/6

Intermediate

· 10/8-11/5

· 12/3-1/14 (no class 12/25, 12/31)

· 1/28-2/25

· 3/11-4/8

 

Fees: Member $80, Resident $85, Non-Resident $90