Monday, April 16, 2007

First Trip To Lindy Groove

Was originally planning to attend Atomic Ballroom's Club Dance classes (combining ballroom, latin, and swing moves with contemporary music), but made a late decision to head to Pasadena's Lindy Groove instead. Made it in time for the Intermediate lesson by Dave Graybill. He starts us off doing standard swing outs, then apache swing outs. The first move was an apache swing out with a catch of the follow's upper right-arm on 7, and moving into what I think of as the cabbage-patch reverse swing out. After that, we did the beginning of a standard swing out, but on the four count, the leads step under their own left arm, switching the right foot out for the left, then spinning the follow outside into side by side Charleston position. Pretty cool stuff, but I'll have to work on it.

Saw Jeremy and Laura, whom I know peripherally as Atomic regulars and team members. I'm probably barely on their radar, six weeks into my swing education.

I get in a bunch of dances in a row to start off the evening. There are lots of follows willing to dance, which makes for a really enjoyable time. SL, who originally inspired me to get into swing dance, is a regular at LG, shows up, and I get to show my zero to "solid in the basics" progress. I ask her for honest feedback, and after some searching, she points out that I still bring my left arm/hand up while dancing, but complements me in general. She hints that I might be a bit swing out heavy, which is probably tougher on follows. She's funny in her subtlety, though. "Do you know the Sugar Push? Maybe you could throw that in to take a break..." I remember thinking about how good a dancer she was back at ABC, but after learning more about the structure of swing, I'm even more amazed. She has an amazingly "solid" feel as a follow, which makes me reflect on how most beginning follows at Atomic don't follow-through with their momentum during the middle section of swing outs.

I get the "point out" tour of the best regulars at Lindy Groove, and it's an intimidating bunch. Quite a few people who perform, teach, and tour/teach dance at LG regularly. If the high-end dancers at Top Cats Monday are mostly advanced (with a sprinkling of master level dancers), then the high end at LG is mostly master level dancers. Even the people who aren't at that level have amazing musicality in their dance. It's a humbling experience to be faced with exactly how far I have to go. There are all kinds of stylings that get added on to the end of swing outs for two or four counts, body rolls, lead spins, etc. So much to learn!

Last dance was to Jamiroquai's Virtual Insanity, and the people there (the true hard-core at that point), really went to town. I danced with SL, and was lost for a bit, but went to a blues rhythm and got on track. Managed to work in a couple swing outs as well, once in the groove. Tried to really get into the musicality with some body rolls and hitting the musical breaks. Nice. More for me than her. I couldn't stop thinking "charity dance."

Saw Nicole (Atomic regular and OC Swing Sunday class) after the wrap-up and significant other(?)[1] in the parking lot on the way out. Apparently she makes the trip every week. We didn't dance that night, but she says to "save a couple dances for me" at Atomic. For sure.

[1] Update 20071102
It was Henri. And I have no idea whether they're dating, but I kind of doubt it.

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