“Try it with Tabby” is a weekly article chronicling the adventures of Tabitha Bower as she searches for out-of-the-ordinary and budget-friendly activities for students.
Trying something new is hard enough, even for those who are somewhat skilled, or at least not terrible at what they try. There was a time in my life when I avoided any situation which could potentially be embarrassing. Seeing as how I am notoriously awkward, this limited me greatly. It wasn’t until very recently I decided to embrace my inner awkwardness and fully catapult myself into situations where embarrassment is expected. This week, the source of said embarrassment came from the Lindy Hop.
“A little bit of a history about the Lindy Hop is it comes from a dance called the Charleston,” Joel Hunter, dance instructor at Heirloom Dance Studio said. “About 1927-28, somewhere in that realm, the Charleston morphed into a dance called the Lindy Hop.”
What Hunter failed to mention while introducing the Lindy Hop before my first-ever group beginner’s lesson is it is arguably the most difficult dance of the swing variety. I was offered this information at the end of the lesson, however, most likely as an apologetic offering for my failed attempt.
Surprisingly, my imminent failure was not present in the first half of class. After struggling with some logistics including proper hand placement and the difference between my left foot and my other left foot, I seemed to pick up the basic rhythm of step, step, triple step quickly.
“Put your weight on your left foot, which is your not right foot,” Joel said, possibly to the class but more than likely directly at me.
For a solid 20 minutes my legs listened to my brain, and as I rotated through dance partners, they seemed thoroughly pleased by my Lindy Hop skills. I even had the chance to get outside of my own head and enjoy the movement.
“Typically everyone is frightened by the Lindy Hop,” Joel said. “By the way, this class is supposed to be about fun, so we are going to try and keep that in mind as much as we can.”
The problem about fun is once I start enjoying myself, the memorization part of my brain shuts down. About 25 minutes in, my step, step triple step turned to spin, spin triple spin.
While the particular dance we were learning did include one spin, my replacement of forgotten steps with impromptu twirls and twists was not particularly as charming as I thought. More than one of my partners scolded me, trying unsuccessfully to re-teach me the basic step sequences.
In the end, I had forgotten every single step that was taught, but left feeling a tad more agile and with something new to laugh about. Moral of the story: If you love to dance or are just looking to get out and meet new people while trying something new and challenging, try the Lindy Hop.