Ninjammerz photo shoot at beach.
Exceptionally late update, but here’s Fast Lindy Friday.
And it’s the Ninjammerz. Because holy crap, the Ninjammerz are amazing. Dax and Sarah are no longer staying at my place but I can’t stop watching videos of them and their crew. So. Have at it, internet!
Me: “You don’t mind if I stay up late watching videos of you two dancing, do you?”
So Dax & Sarah are crashing at my place. It’s awesome. My girlfriend and I took them out to dinner and we spent the whole evening talking Lindy Hop theory. The two (and the Ninjammerz crew in general) share a certain philosophy that I’d been thinking about but never actually really formed words about.
Dancers come into the Lindy Hop scene wanting to replicate so many of these moves, some of them classic, some of them new school, most of them incredibly flashy. From my own personal experience, I learned the same way most newbies learn: here’s the basic step pattern. Here’s where your arms go. Here’s how you lead the move. Here’s how you follow. Now, do it on the social floor!
It’s a flawed system, but effective. But it also prioritizes the flash before the technique: in fact, I’ve only just begun to concentrate on what it really means to lead from the body. And it feels like I’m starting all over again.
A lot of conversation in Lindy Hop circles is about connection being “strong” or “light.” The opinion I was forming before talking with Dax and Sarah tonight was that I shouldn’t care whether I’m being either—what matters is that the connection is clear. The descriptors “strong” and “light” refer to expectations that you have but what your partner might not: my idea of a strong lead might be considered light by a follower. But if your connection is clear, if you’re truly dancing as two connected bodies rather than as a mere leader and follower couple, so many things happen.
The video above is a performance, yes, but several of these moves can be led socially, given clear communication between the dancers. So much goes into understanding how to control your own movements and how to respond appropriately so that you send the right signals and eradicate superfluous or confusing ones.
Interestingly, Dax said that (as opposed to what I said earlier in this tumblr), the way to mastery isn’t through instruction but from love and practice: the best dancers don’t get where they are because they take a certain number of classes, decide they’re ready, and then step out onto the international scene. They get there because they take what they’ve learned and then, with their partners, take it to a whole new level by discovering just how their bodies really move and work.
I need to get back out on the dance floor. Right now.