Thoughts on swing dancing and Lindy Hop, one word at a time…

What Basic?

During the Balboa Rendezvous this past April, I absorbed a lot of new information during the workshops. However the time that I learned the most important lesson of the weekend was not during the actual workshops, but after the Q & A session watching many of the original Balboa dancers during their jam in the Balboa Pavilion.

The one thing that stuck out to me (besides watching a 97 year old man tear up the dance floor) was the fact that none of them used the usual up-holds or down-holds in repetition the way most people are taught during most Balboa workshops, each of them had their own unique steps.

Take a look at this clip provided by of Bobby Mcgees, a venue for Balboa dancing a few years back in Southern California to see my point:

One thing I have been doing in result is trying to dance without relying on a certain “basic pattern” for Balboa, constantly switching between different variations of holds.

Sadly though, this had lead to me being annoyed when people claim there is a basic for Balboa or ask me what the “basic step” is.

4 responses

  1. There was no basic because the dance was not “taught” in a formal way.
    A “Basic” means that you are teaching someone a basic step.

    The two “original Bal teachers” Maxie Dorf and Willie Desatoff both had their own opinion on teaching a “down-hold” or “up-hold” as the basic movement.
    I teach my students both right off the bat and consider it the Coke-vs-Pepsi of Balboa.

    I highly recommend you watch this interview series on Youtube between Dwight Lupardis and Peter Loggins –
    As well as this history lecture by Peter –

    May 18, 2010 at 6:52 pm

  2. Rich, thanks for the great links.

    I used to post on Peter’s forum when it still existed so I have seen both of those. I should have probably fleshed out my blog post to incorporate that information.

    The interesting thing I see among most beginner to intermediate leads is even when they are taught both they pick one type of hold (up or down) and stick with it.

    May 18, 2010 at 7:45 pm

  3. I think this is a clear case of walk-before-run.

    When one’s a novice, one needs firm rules.

    May 28, 2010 at 8:57 am

  4. David L

    Lindy Hop has the same problem. What is the Lindy Hop basic? I think it comes down to the difference between the modern scene and the original scene. Bobby White has some great thoughts on the advantages and disadvantages of both scenes here.

    June 30, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s