There is a constant struggle with drop-in classes to keep the regular students learning and entertained while also making sure the new people learn the basics and do not feel overwhelmed. New students come to club every week, which is truly wonderful, and I hope I am doing a good job at structuring the lessons for them. After the live band dance we got another handful of new students so I spent most of class reviewing lindy hop basics. For those who already knew these steps, I added a good way to transition from 6-count to 8-count (a send out).

I am always impressed at how quickly new students pick up the steps that some students have already been working on for several weeks. I applaud their efforts and enthusiasm for the dance and trying something new.

The club is toying with the idea of having two simultaneous lessons during the first hour beginning next quarter. The room we held the live band dance in has a divider which means the beginner lesson could happen at the same time as the intermediate lesson. This would allow time during the second hour for either social dancing or a joint lesson like the big apple, shim sham, etc.

The disadvantage of this is that there would be no intermediate “ringers” in the first class to help the new students learn. I have always liked this aspect of club even though most beginner lessons do not have it. However, one good thing about the switch to simultaneous lessons is that it would give some of the more experienced dancers a chance to teach the beginners. Teaching can help your dancing tremendously and it would be great to give some of the students that opportunity.

For the second hour of week six Colin and I taught what I called “moves with unusual timing.” Looking back at it, it was actually variations on basic turns with unusual timing. We prepared four moves but only taught two. The reason for this, as I told the students, is that I would rather them get two moves down really well than only sort of be able to do four. The other two will be taught at a later time.

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2 Responses to RIT Swing Dance Club: Week 6

  1. Apache says:

    Hey Jessie, I would just like to say I have been keeping on eye on your college related posts ever since you linked me to this wordpress. It is interesting getting a perspective on how another college campus runs their club.

    Unless if I inferred this wrong, you teach Lindy Hop off the bat for the RIT swing dance club. How do the students in general take to it? In addition what are your opinions about it?

    At PSU (Penn State University) we run two classes simultaneously, an introductory/beginners class then usually a series that runs for about two-four weeks. Usually we get a lot of drop-in first time people for our introductory/beginner lessons and teach 6-count moves known as East Coast Swing to some. I have wanted to teach Lindy Hop off the bat but many people not just in my local scene, but also reading through Yehoodi’s posts in the past have been against it saying the difficulty tends to scare off first time dancers. So I would be interested in hearing your perspective.

    • Jesse Hanus says:

      Hello,

      Glad you’re enjoying the posts! It’s nice to hear from other people who are involved in college swing clubs.

      Actually, until this quarter I usually waited until the seventh week (out of 10) to teach lindy hop in the beginner class. However, I found that this did not give them enough of a grasp on it to jump into the second, and more intermediate, class the following quarter.

      This quarter I moved it up to the third week. I still taught basic 6-count swing before that. I do believe it is the best place to start because it gets them learning basic dance concepts in a simple framework. It also gets them dancing (and fairly comfortable with it) quickly.

      There is still the issue of drop-ins. Like I said, I love getting new people. The problem is that some of them are learning lindy hop during their first week. I haven’t really found a solution to this yet but I am looking to address it. If you have any ideas let me know!

      As far as how people take to it, some really enjoy it and do very well learning lindy hop right off the bat. Others become frustrated and may not return. This will happen with 6-count too, just maybe less. Also, they tend to focus more on the complex footwork and positioning than things like connection, lead/follow and frame. In my opinion, priority has to be given to those who are coming to club every week. I want new people to stay but I can only do so much.

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