Summer Classes!

The last block of the school year came to an end. We will continue with drop-in summer classes each week!

It means that you can just show up and take a class if you feel like you fit the level description for that particular week.

The classes take place at Borgerstraat 112, Amsterdam 20:00 – 22:00. The class fee is €15,- (cash only).

We will create a clearer schedule soon but are struggling a little bit with the website 😉 Below you can already find the subjects, teachers and level descriptions:

July 18th: Accents & musicality with Valery & Gary
Level: Basic social dancing skills (and up).

July 25th, Absolute beginners class Lindy Hop with Kelly & Pieter
Level: This class is meant for those who are absolutely new to Lindy Hop.

August 1st, Tandem Mania 3.0 with Yara & Praveen
Level: You should be comfortable with the connection in the Tandem Charleston, know at least one basic entry- and exit.

August 8th, Lindy styling for beginners with Kelly & Sander
Level: You have danced for more than two months.

August 8th, Absolute beginners class Lindy Hop with Dolinde & Misha
Level: This class is meant for those who are absolutely new to Lindy Hop.

August 15th, Playing with the Shim Sham + st. Louis Shim Sham with Sander
Level: material for different levels will be offered, but definitely not advanced.

August 22nd, Tap in Lindy with Dolinde & Andrew
Level: Intermediate and up.

August 29th, Power moves from the greats with Yara and Andrew
Level: Intermediate and up. This will be a challenging class.

September 5th, Swing out Training session with Valery, Yara, Misha and Ben
Level: This class is open for all levels. You need to know the basic swing out from open position. You can come with a partner or small group of dancers with a similar level so you can rotate within your group.

Blog post

Sometimes teachers talk about physics in Lindy Hop classes and I never know how serious it is. Is it just a metaphor or there is something real about it. An article in The Guardian claims that dance=physics.

The title is “The science and magic of Lindy Hop”. In particular, it says

“Great partner dancers may not know it but they are masters of space, time and Newton’s laws of motion”
“When Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers danced cheek-to-cheek in a close turn their two bodies achieved a beautiful line impossible for any individual. Dancing like this is a conversation in physics, where the bodies of both dancers are required to master the forces involved. In close hold, bodies are joined at the hip and hand. The follow exerts an equal and opposite force through arms and body in response to the lead. These equal and opposite forces, in accordance with Newton’s Third Law of Motion, allow the follow to dance in synchrony with the lead: as a mirror image. This symmetry can only be broken if the pairs of forces become unbalanced, causing one or both of the dancers to accelerate away from the other. For example, the lead may provide a subtle signal indicating to the follow to reduce the resistance, accept the transfer of momentum, and move away into a backwards step.
This, and all forces, cause a transfer of momentum (which is the product of mass and velocity). So, when the lead applies a net force, momentum is transferred to the follow. The more of the lead’s mass (body) moves as the force is applied, the greater the transfer of momentum and so the more the follow’s mass will move. Also, the longer it takes to transfer that momentum the smoother the ride. This is the difference between the slow gentle acceleration and deceleration of a careful driver, and the painful jarring of rapid acceleration or an emergency stop. The constant contact and gentle tension between the bodies of dancers means that momentum can be transferred at any time and over any time period.
This is beauty of partner dancing. When dancing alone you are constrained by your abilities and by the physical reality of friction and gravity. These forces are reliable, adaptable and predictable, but unchanging. When dancing with a partner these forces are countered by two different minds and bodies, each with its own interpretations, motivation, timing, strength and style.”

So, what is nice about science, is that you don’t have to believe everything other people say. Three physicists tried to test the hypothesis that good dancers optimize their Lindy Circle better than bad dancers in the article “Optimization and Pose Selection for a Lindy Hop Partnered Spin”.

“Swing dancers often talk about using the laws of
physics in performing their physically rigorous jumps, lifts, and
spins. Do expert swing dancers physically optimize their pose
for a partnered spin?”
“We did not find a difference between the fraction of optimality
achieved by beginners and expert dancers. The rotational
acceleration achieved by the dancers was roughly a factor
of ten less than the predicted optimal acceleration.”

So, maybe dance=physics, but so far there is no evidence that this is the case.

Swingstreet goes to SOOP on June 29th

Swing Out Of Pocket (SOOP) is Amsterdam’s oldest weekly social dance.

We dance here to live music almost every Friday evening. A great place to practise everything you have been learning in class or just to have a drink with other Swing dancers!

If you have never been before this is the moment to go! We encourage you to come with your whole group so you get to dance with each other, meet the other students and see what all the fuzz is about 🙂 Your SwingStreet teachers will be there.

21:00 – 01:00
@ de Kompaszaal: KNSM-laan 311, Amsterdam.
Live music by the Compass Ballroom Stompers!
Entrance fee: €5,- (cash at the door)

Free Shim Sham class and social for Swingstreet students!

This Friday Sander will teach you the Shim Sham! A short and fun solo-routine known by Swing dancers all over the world.

The class (19:00-19:45) will be open for all Swingstreet students who don’t know the shim sham yet or would like to recap it.

The rest of the evening the Batjanzaal (Swingstreet east) will be open for practise. Meet the students in the other beginner levels or plan a practise with your own group 🙂

When: Friday June 15th 19:00 – 21:00
Location: Batjanstraat 68, 1094 RC Amsterdam

Blog Post – Floorcraft

If you’ve ever been social dancing, you’ll have some idea of what I’m about to explain. If you’ve been to an international festival you’ll have a better idea of what I’m about to explain; and if you’ve been to a festival like Lindy Shock, then you’ll know exactly what i’m talking about.

That is, floorcraft.

Floorcraft is about being able to social dance on a crowded floor and enjoying yourself without continually bumping into other couples, having your ankles stepped on, and generally just making the best of a tight situation while also keeping things friendly.

For me, floorcraft is broken up into three distinct areas: Awareness, Technique and Etiquette

You can’t avoid running into someone if you don’t know they’re there. If you have the habit of dancing while looking at your own or your partner’s feet, then it’s going to make it a lot more difficult to know what’s going on around you. So make sure you keep your eyes up and be aware of your surroundings.

Leads, when you’re sending or swinging out your follow, have a look at where you want them to go before you do it. Is there someone else in the space already? Or perhaps another couple also about to swing out into that space, then either redirect your move to another open area, or turn it into a more closed move like a circle.

Follows! Your lead can’t see everywhere at once, if your lead sends you out and you can see the risk of colliding with someone, then either stop yourself or change the move into something that will prevent the collision.

Most importantly look out for each other, I know I tend to make all sorts of ridiculous faces when I can see my follow might hit another couple and although it may look ridiculous, it at least tells them to be a little careful in the next few counts.

When on a crowded dance floor, certain parts of your dance technique become more important, other parts you may have to significantly alter to ensure a safe experience for everyone.

Taking smaller steps and keeping your feet under your body is probably the easiest thing you can do, and probably has the most impact. It will most likely help your general dancing significantly as well, so it’s also good to practice it when not a crowded dance floor. By keeping your feet under your body it minimises the chance of stepping on someone else, and of being stepped on. The same goes for kicks, you may be throwing out some amazing charleston, but keep your kicks low and pointed at the floor so you don’t take out someones eyes (yes both of them) with a wild swing.

Keep your arms close and try to avoid large flailing movements, if you do want to keep your arms out, keep them steady and relaxed instead of swinging, as it means you’ll be less likely to hit someone with any real power.

Learn dance moves that are in closed position. There is a good chance you won’t have space to swing out even if you want to, so having some extra moves up your sleeves that don’t require so much space will keep your dancing enjoyable even when you feel restricted. I really felt this at Lindy Shock in 2017, realising most of my repertoire was swing out variations I made a point of ensuring I learned a few other moves after the festival.

Control the distance between yourself and your partner. Again, another aspect of your dancing that is not only good for a crowded dance floor, but good for your technique in general. If you find yourself generally at full arms lengths when in open with your partner then start working on controlling your distance between each other instead of letting fate decide. It’ll make your dancing look better, your fast dancing more controlled, and you won’t run into anyone!

Practice changing the direction of your dance moves. This needs some practice, but being able to change a move mid-step will definitely save you on numerous occasions. It requires the leading and following to be a little more sensitive for it work properly. But it can also be a fun way to mix up your dancing.

Last but not least, is your floor etiquette. Even if you’re the most careful dancer in the world, you’re still going to occasionally run into people, so what should you do when this happens?

Apologise! I can’t stress this enough. Even if you don’t think it was your fault… Even if you KNOW it wasn’t your fault. If you run into another couple, just look to see who it was, give them a wave, and say sorry. You probably don’t need to stop dancing but it’s a nice courtesy. There’s a very good chance you will run into these people again, so keep things civil.

If the other couple walks off the floor after the collision then potentially one of them might be injured. If it looks really bad (and it might be worse than you think), then it’s probably worth stopping your dancing and going up to see if they’re ok. If it’s less severe then wait until the end of the song and make a judgement then.

If you’re dancing and have the same person or couple repeatedly run into you and they don’t seem to care one way or another then feel free to say something to them, it can be frustrating but try and keep it polite. You don’t want to start any feuds on the dance floor.

These are just a few of the basic parts of floorcraft that will improve your experience, and the experience of those around you on crowded dance floors (did I mention to make sure you keep your feet under yourself?)

If you like to see a bit more about this, here is a great video by ‘Swungover’ where they go through a lot of the aspects I’ve mentioned above, and even show you some examples in their dancing.