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

Steppin’ Out On Your Own: (Intro to Solo Jazz & Charleston)

Why Solo Jazz & Charleston?

If you didn’ t catch it in my last post, solo Jazz & Charleston is awesome in my book. Here is the video I linked in the previous post as one of the examples why:

If you still aren’t convinced, here is some benefits of learning to dance solo.

  1. Your quality of movement increases, which allows for your partnered dancing to improve.
  2. When people do routines like the Big Apple/Tranky Doo/Shim Sham you can join in. If you don’t know them, it will be easier to learn them with some training in solo dancing.
  3. If you don’t have a partner to dance with, problem solved.
  4. Lastly, if solo Charleston circles open up you can join in.

How To Learn Solo Jazz & Charleston

This short guide is written assuming you are at least a beginner/intermediate dancer who has taken at least one partnered Charleston class.

1. Turn On Some Music & Dance

The number one way to improve at dance in general is practice. It may be awkward at first, but you can trust me the best way is to get better is going through the motions until they start to feel natural. When you are out in public and see someone dancing solo, join them. However, do not make the novice mistake of taking up a ton of room and running into people.

Pro-Tip: Do this in front of a mirror or video tape yourself to see what works and what doesn’t.

2. Build Up An Inventory of Jazz Steps & Moves

While being able to improvise on the fly is important, it is also nice to have a variety of steps/moves to fall back on as well. There too many to list fully here, however below are some for you to try:

Pro-Tip: When practicing these try to figure out where these fit in with the music instead of doing them at random.

3. Learn Some Swing Dance Routines That Incorporate Solo Movement

Examples are the Big Apple/Tranky Doo/Shim Sham as listed above. The material you learn in these routines can be incorporated into both your solo and partnered dancing.

Pro-Tip: When you have any routine down where you can do the absolute basic version in your sleep, attempt to make it your own.

4. Attend A Solo Jazz/Charleston Focused Workshop

It’s hard to find them, but if you do take one. It makes you do step number one in this guide consistently during a weekend. In addition you will have amazing dancers to throw ideas at you, learn from, and possibly give you feedback. You’ll see a considerable improvement in your solo dancing.

Pro-Tip: http://www.stompology.com/ is an amazing event in Rocahaha

So…

Why are you still reading this? Go turn on That’s a Plenty and start jammin!

 

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