Swing Discussion Boards > Bending at the waist doing Charlestons

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by Spitfire, Nov 23, 2003.

  1. Spitfire

    Spitfire Well-Known Member

    When I was learning to do Charlestons I was advised to bend slightly forward at the waste, but I find this ackward and found it more comfortable to do so from a more natural position.

    For those here who do Charlestons which are you more comfortable with?
  2. suek

    suek New Member

    Re: Bending at the waste doing Charlestons

    I've been told over and over that the same position we use to do lindy hop--athletic, chest over knees, bent at waist, weight on balls of feet--is the one that drives much (most? all?) swing dancing. In fact, when my bounce down is lacking, my teacher (thank you dnice) will often take me back to charleston to find it again.

    Try this: Bend over a little and bounce! Downward. And make sure that your Charleston kick is relaxed and coming from the knee, not the hip.
  3. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    Depends on the music. My posture will adjust depending on my mood, that of my follow and the music.

    Natural upright posture is more suited for ballroom dancing, in general. Suek's description is a good one. I always think of the basketball playing analogy. My charleston posture is usually closer to that then the natural upright posture.
  4. d nice

    d nice New Member

    Re: Bending at the waste doing Charlestons

    What do you efine as "natural position?

    To me natural position is what my body assumes to move in any direction without having to change my posture, regardless of the speed of the change. As said before (and as I say in my classes) the posture is an athletic one, seen in basketball, volleyball, soccer, and by the three or four athletes on a baseball field (just for you Sue).

    A natural way to find this posture is to squat down and then jump as high as you can. Freeze immediately upon landing (without rising back up). That is pretty close to what we are looking for in Lindy Hop. Another way is to play a five second game with your partner: stand so one of you is about five feet from a wall, with their back to it. The other person is facing their partner just out of arms reach. The goal s for without touching each other person one protects the wall, person two tries to touch it. You can feint, dash, dart, or turn as you like but you may not touch the other person. For five seconds play the game, counting aloud. at five seconds freeze. You'll find yourself in the below athletic posture.

    The "intellectual" way... place your weight on the balls of your feet.

    1. Your heels should be weightless and be able to be lifted off the ground without a weight change. The toes if you wiggle them sould cause your weight to subtly shift without unbalancing.

    2. Bend your knees so that they are over the balls of your feet.

    3. Place your sternum (breastbone) so that it is over your knees.

    4. Ensure that your pelvis is relaxed, your tail bone pointing at the floor, and that your hips are out of the line created by the balls of your feet, knees and sternum.

    When you are dancing swing charleston there is a rise and fall (most swing dancers call it a bounce, but ballroom dancers who do swing may refer to it as pulse or some other such term) and a forward and backwards pendulum movement. These are both supremely important to staying on time with the music as well as with your partner. The "kicks" should be completely relaxed, the foot more "Floating" above the floor, foot relaxed. No snapping from the knee no thrusting from the hip, just a relaxed natural swing from both joints in sequence.

    Dancing swing charleston upright is going to make the movement hard and artificial and leading/following your partner extremely more complicated than necessary.
  5. d nice

    d nice New Member

    Quick note, the posture I described you will find can be maintained very low or more upright. The relationship between the feet, knees, hips and chest is the important thing.
  6. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    I've definitely seen an increased angle of the back, especially on the one beat as the leg is swung back. Sometimes people will even reach down and touch the floor for added flare.

    Also, when I am leading a partner in Charleston, it seems there are times when changing the angle in the upper body can help in the leading of the step on certain beats or transitions.

    Am I talking about the same thing here?
  7. d nice

    d nice New Member

    Sort of, that is part of the "pendulum" action and bounce I was talking about, a certain flex and give necessary to facilitate your movement.
  8. SwinginBoo

    SwinginBoo New Member

    D Nice, would you say the body posture is the same for (what I call) old school charleston? If you don't know what I mean by that I will try to explain it. But, I tend to bend for this version as well.
  9. d nice

    d nice New Member

    What do you mean by old school charleston?
  10. SwinginBoo

    SwinginBoo New Member

    I'm really bad at explaining things so please bear with me. Swing Kitten should help me with this because she knows how to do it too. It's when you cross your feet and swivel in and out. When your feet land, the toes face outward, when you are picking up your feet and moving one in front of/ or in back of the other the toes face inward. It almost reminds me of a dance from the 80's called the Kid n' Play. I could be completely wrong in making that connection. If this makes no sense, hopefully Swing Kitten will come to my rescue. :(
  11. d nice

    d nice New Member

    That is 20's Charleston. In general you use a very upright posture when dancing this dance partnered. In it non-partnered form you would use the foot/knee/chest relationship just a bit more upright.

    The reason is the swing of the legs is reduced, the amount of traveling done is reduced.

    There are two main styles of 20's Charelston... the high society/downtown way or the collegiate/Harlem way. The former is nearly vertical (using the minimum f/k/c ratio) and dancing in a very sedate way. The latter is more energetic, more atheletic, and more improvisational, and therefor uses the great f/k/c ratio.

    F.Y.I. The hip-hop dance is called the kickstep, Kid 'n Play were the artists who popularized it. 8)
  12. SwinginBoo

    SwinginBoo New Member

    Thanks a lot. I was referring to doing the 20's style charleston individually when I asked the question about bending. Seeing a couple do this style of charleston tandem is amazing. It's a really neat dance that you don't see too often.
  13. d nice

    d nice New Member

    You should come out this way. We love 20's charleston in California and you'll usually see at least soemone do it once a night.
  14. SwinginBoo

    SwinginBoo New Member

    Well I'm hoping to get out that way sometime this summer on a visit to Sacramento to see Swing Kitten. I'm sure we'll be able to fit a night of dancing somewhere in there. :lol:
  15. Swing Kitten

    Swing Kitten New Member

    See... you didn't need it! ;)

    It would be so nice to see you this summer in California! I hope that works out. :D

Share This Page