Où est la salle de danse? – Why learning to lindy hop is like learning a language

Mudflappers Peter and Nat demonstrate you can lindy hop anywhere.

Mudflappers Peter and Nat demonstrate you can lindy hop anywhere.

It’s not long until fellow Mudflapper Jenny Millman and I begin teaching our six-week course ‘Learn to Lindy Hop’ at the Idler Academy. Being a lindy hopper and being an Idler go hand-in-hand, as these classes will show.

You only have to a watch a short vintage clip of lindy hoppers dancing on a film like Hellzapoppin to see that the Lindy Hop oozes with cool, but the great thing about this and other forms of swing dance is that it is a social dance. What this means is that if you learn a few basic moves, and you find yourself in the vicinity of someone else who knows some basic moves, you can get up and start dancing. The threshold for participation is low and the fun you can have is endless. All you need is a song on the radio and someone to dance with and you can get instant pleasure, making it an ideal leisure pursuit for Idlers.

Learning to Lindy Hop is a bit like learning a new language. You begin with learning some words and phrases, and, sure, you have to practice these for a bit using corny holiday-based role-play exercises, but pretty soon, you can start improvising and finding things out about the person you are talking with. In Lindy Hop, the moves are the vocabulary, the rhythms are the grammar, the lead and follow technique the conversational etiquette and the music… is what you talk about. Over the course of six weeks we’ll be teaching some basic vocab and grammar, which we will practice in role-play (où est la salle de danse?) and we’ll be playing lots of music, so that before they know it our students will be conjugating their way around the dance floor.

Learn to Lindy Hop kicks off on Wednesday 22nd October. For more info and to book a place visit the Idler Academy website.