It’s been a week off of dancing every day. It’s been a crazy week in my life. I am not sure that I have ever been sicker, at least in a very long time! I will attempt to tell you about my dancing endeavors before the sickness happened, and then make some goals for the week ahead, and the weeks to come.
Last weekend James and I went to Heartland Swing Festival in Des Moines Iowa. We have been working really hard to compete in a couple of competitions that were happening at the festival. We arrived just in time on Friday night to attend two classes before the dance.
1. clean and controlled swing outs are way better than fancy tricks (at least in the first round)
The instructors recommended that for the first round of a Jack and Jill contest, you prove to the judges that you have controlled swing outs at various speeds. They both really focused on that fact that the leader should be leading swing outs more than anything else. You can do footwork variations and such, but if you don’t have a controlled swing out, the judges will not even look at you.
The one critique that the female instructor had for my swing outs was that I try and make the swivels more in place instead of traveling forward. It was pretty easy to fix, but it will be a conscious effort to do that every time. We spent a good portion of the class doing swing outs with the different people in the class.
2. Don’t do Charleston
Now, they didn’t rule charleston out for the entire Jack and Jill, but they recommended that you not do Charleston. Because of rule number one, if you are doing charleston when you should be swinging out, the judges will not even look at you. That kind of stinks as a follow, because there is nothing you can do if the leader decides to do that.
3. Be as musical as possible
Musicality is hard. They talked a lot about doing three swing outs and then a variation, or a freeze. We talked about having the freeze go up, or the freeze go down. We also talked about adding a jump freeze. Basically it’s the very beginning of phrasing your dancing (something James and I have been trying to conquer for a while now!). I will try to take some videos of this part so you can see what I mean.
I am sure there were other things we learned in that class, but I will have to consult James to see what those things were.
We took another class on Friday night called Tap Your Lindy. We didn’t stay for the whole class because we needed to get ready, but we did get a couple of great things to take away from it.
The first thing we worked on was shuffles. It’s important for those that don’t know tap to get some of these basic steps. We then worked on putting a shuffle ball change in place of beats 1 and 2 on a swing out. I had done this before, but it was a good review.
The other various we learned was for beats 7-8-1-2. Basically you do a swing out as normal, but on beat 7- you shuffle with the right, 8- shuffle with the left, and 1-2- shuffle ball change. I will video these too so you can see what they are like.
I am pretty sure that’s all that we learned in that class. But I will edit the post if I need to so that it’s all there!
After the classes we went back to the hotel and got ready for the evening. The Jack and Jill prelim’s were first, and then the any swing prelims. I don’t think that I have video of the Jack and Jill stuff, but I do have our any swing videos that I will post. We didn’t place in either competition, so we didn’t get to do the finals, but we danced our best. We have improved a ton from the last competition that we did (Cowtown) and we will continue to get better. I don’t believe that you can succeed without failing first, so every time we compete we get better!
Here are some of the comp videos for your enjoyment. More about HSF later!