A busy weekend
So this weekends adventure was to the fabulous city of Leeds, more specifically Leeds University Union for Swing Revolution 2018.
There has been a bit of a theme with my swing dance weekends this year so far – doing something different. The something different for this event was that we had signed up for the Beginner Collegiate Shag stream. It meant that I could actually spend some time dancing with my husband, as well as with Karl. We were joined in our class by fellow Birmingham based dancers, Sophie Flynn and Martin Safar.
On Saturday, our teachers were Adam Harries and Rebecca Brouwers from Edinburgh. We focused on the basic steps, body positions and posture, including carrying a clutch bag full of eggs, whilst building a repertoire of skills. It was tough brain work, not to mention foot and leg work! There was not a rock step in sight! My new mantra became slow, slow, quick, quick.
We were also introduced to the concept of ‘salted caramel’ where our slow, slow steps were nice and fluid and ‘gooey’ like caramel, and the quick, quick were more spiky and crunchy like salt. We had to channel our inner sweet treats – little bit different to channeling my inner rock star!
As the day progressed so did the need to think. We did a pass by but the point at which it was led was changed! So we started with a lead on the 1,2. We then changed that to a lead on the 5,6. As if that wasn’t enough, the lead then started on 3,4. Yikes! Mentally exhausting! A whole brain jumble of basics, tuck turn, pass bys, collegiate kicks and probably more.
Whilst trying to practice my ‘Shag’ skills at the social on Saturday night, I was worried that I had forgotten how to Lindy, but one good dance with Karl reassured me that all was still well in my Lindy dancing world. However, I was a little disappointed that neither Ben (hubby) or Karl had any residual brain capacity to cope with practicing ‘Shag’ on the social dance floor.
Sunday saw us introduced to teachers Jess Lugsdin and Ben Imrye, from Edinburgh/Newcastle. We explored more footwork variations for the basic step during our warm up – what a way to wake up the brain! The themes were similar from Saturdays lessons, and we explored more about musicality and phrasing, connection, heavy elbows, and the art of dancing conversation. The poultry theme continued with the ‘chicken’ move that was followed by a basic in order to recoop – ba dum tss!
We did all sorts on Sunday – so much so that Jess and Ben struggled to recap it all; basic steps and variations, different breaks, under the wing, tandem, collegiate kicks (followed on from Saturday), cross kicks, lunges. I’ve probably missed out some stuff, but actually me and Ben think we have enough content to be able to get through a whole song all from a weekend beginners class. The trick now is to remember it!
Despite the fact it was really hard work and we were learning a new skill, I actually thoroughly enjoyed it. I enjoyed learning something new and expanding my repertoire of dancing skills/knowledge. It was really nice to dance to non-swing music for a change for a bit on Sunday, although one of the tracks during the weekend was one of my favourite swing tracks. Even Ben enjoyed it so it must have been good (as he was able to dance without too much anxiety). Right, now to get up and move as my legs probably don’t want to work terribly well. Maybe I need to take heed of Strictly Come Dancings’ advice and ‘Keeeeeeepppppp Dancing!’