Swing your partner ‘round and ‘round, or don’t. Swing dancing, though typically done with a second person, can be practiced on your own. In fact, you can perfect several dancing techniques without a partner!
If you’re interested in learning how to swing dance, these tips can help you prepare for your first lesson too.
What is Swing Dancing?
Swing dancing is a popular dance form typically performed to American music, such as jazz, blues, rock ‘n’ roll, country, pop, and more. Typically swing dances are characterized by a lively beat, and quick feet and body rhythm.
Dances in this style include East Coast Swing, West Coast Swing, Jive, Jitterbug, Lindy Hop, Country Swing, and Hustle. It’s fast paced, loads of fun and a great way to exercise!
First developed in American in the Jazz Age (1920s-1940s), the term “swing” comes from the type of beat jazz percussion was playing. A “swung” beat plays with the length of the space between beats.
With such a rich history rooted in American culture, the dance form is alive and well today. It is even ‘swinging” back into popularity! Modern bands like Maroon 5, Katy Perry, and Muse all have classic swung beats that you can swing dance to no matter where you are.
What Can You Practice on Your Own?
When it comes to dancing, footwork is essential. You don’t need a partner to practice your steps either. We recommend holding out your arms too so you can get a feel for where your hands need to be as well!
When you’re on your own, you have the ability to go at your own pace and repeat as many movements as you need to. You can count out loud and play the same tune over and over, and you can do it until you feel comfortable with your footwork.
You don’t need to be dancing to practice better posture. While you’re at home, you can rethink how you sit: straighten your back, puff your chest out a little and lift your head. Making dinner is the perfect time to work on your standing posture as well. You can work on un-rounding your shoulders, tucking your pelvis under, or just lengthening your spine.
A second part of your posture is focusing on your walking. As you move, you can practice rolling through your foot and delaying your body flight.(creating a floating transition by shifting your weight so your momentum carries through).
Balance is key to dancing elegantly and it is one of the easiest things to practice on your own. Try standing on one leg for 30 seconds at a time. Keep your gaze fixed on a static point to help you. If you’re uncertain with your ability, stand next to a wall or chair to help keep your balance.
When you’re more confident, move your gaze around the room while standing on one leg.
To take it one final step further, you can balance on a smaller object, like a brick, or a more unstable one, like a pillow, to help you learn how to shift your weight. Also remember to stay comfortable and safe when doing this and to keep something nearby to help steady yourself. Never put yourself in a dangerous situation when practicing your balance and always stay close to the ground. If you’re on an unsteady surface, try to practice with padding around you.
Your partner will thank you if you develop your understanding of rhythm on your own. More specifically, learn how to count music.. This is the biggest and perhaps the most important step in musicality!
Learning how to do this is simple: put on your favorite song and count to the beat. Try stepping to the beat too so you can have an understanding of how it affects your movements.
Where Can I Learn How to Swing Dance?
If you want to learn to dance, trust your feet to American’s second oldest dancing franchise, Arthur Murray Dance Centers. Each studio offers students of all skill levels an experience that is unlike any other and classes are interactive and enjoyable to attend.
Instructors utilize a comparative style of teaching called the Arthur Murray Method, which enables students to learn the skills needed for dancing in the most efficient way possible. Their goal is to help you get out on the floor dancing as soon as possible.
Their basic introductory classes with emphasis on foot position, rhythm and timing, and leading or following. They also offer full programs for novice to advanced students who wish to perform. Instructors are highly knowledgeable and trained to assist everyone.
Sound like fun? Contact them today to reserve your spot in a free dancing lesson!