Swing Discussion Boards > Defining Elements of Lindy Hop

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by Swing Kitten, Feb 3, 2004.

  1. Swing Kitten

    Swing Kitten New Member

    what makes lindy hop lindy hop and when is it no longer lindy hop?
  2. SwinginBoo

    SwinginBoo New Member

    well what specifically do you mean? There are a lot of elements that make lindy hop what it is. Most obviously the 8 count pattern. But other things like athletic body posture and bounce make it what it is. I'm sure I am not the person to be answering this question. I think I'll leave it to D Nice.
  3. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

    Well . . . private #2 happens this weekend with d nice, and I've been trying to figure that out. And I do fight learning to LH . . . because of all my WCS training - the two dances are quite opposites, though they are similar.

    So far, I keep comparing LH to WCS, and probably I shouldn't be doing that.

    LH is definitely an 8-count dance . . . it's not slotted . . . it does bounce . . .
    it does have a more of a bent-over posture . . . it is much more into the knees . . . and the lead does a hell of a lot of work . . . many of the moves seem to come from swingouts . . . and I know I better get in shape to do those really fast 320 bpm songs (BREATHE)!

    WCS is an 8-count dance . . . it is slotted . . . it does not bouce . . . it has a relaxed posture . . . it is into the knees . . . I hardly have to work . . . and the moves come from anywhere the the music dictates . . . and I can dance at a 124 bpm, and not breathe hard at all!

    Although I'm fighting against learning to LH . . . I won't give up . . . d nice and suek make it look like SO MUCH FUN!
  4. suek

    suek New Member

    Glad to see you're not giving up. The folks I've met who do--and love--both WCS and LH are admittedly few. At the same time, the payoff is big (she said unabashedly biased).
    I'm late to musicality training. With that disclaimer, here's my theory: lindy hop is a 32-count dance. Swinging jazz is made up of a series of 32-count phrases, inside of which one can do combinations of sixes, eights, twos, tens, twelves; whatever the music dictates. Thinking of the dance as eight-count is a limiting mindset, IMHO.
    It is SO MUCH FUN. I'm looking forward to Saturday.
  5. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

    Thanks Sue, and thanks for hanging in there with me. It is a struggle to go completely against everything that I've been taught over the last century of WCS training. But . . . as you say - "the payoff is big." Meaning??????????????? I get to dance with more women LH and WCS dancers???

    I'm really looking forward to Sat too . . . I have not had one minute to practice what you and Damon worked on with me- especially the bouncing bit. Although I did try it several times, and felt as though I was doing ECS?

    Care and I have been doing some choregraphy for a 2 minute NC2S demo that we will be doing next weekend. It takes a long time to choreograph and phrase the music, and then see if it works, and if it does work, try to remember it. S, we've been at it for for two-hours a day for the last two weeks! Although it is only a demo, it is important for us to perform it as if were the finals in World Competition. She will not be with me this Sat, by the way.

    Is it OK to show up a few minutes early to warm up with a somewhat SLOWER WCS, then go over what Damon taught me???
  6. d nice

    d nice New Member

    The Lindy Hop is based on an eight count basic. It can be truncated or extended to place yourself in various places within the phrasing, or improvisations in two beat increments can be executed, but it is an eight count dominate dance.

    I would actually say that West Coast is actually a six count dance. The majority of moves in its lexicon are six count in their default form, but like lindy hop, moves can be extended and two beat improvisations are used.

    As to the elements of lindy hop... they are defined by the swing out...

    Athletic relaxed posture, continuous grounded movement, swung rhythms, body leads, lack of anticipation or interpretation by the follower, full weight commitment, relaxed arms, and rhythm as your basis for improvisation.
  7. d nice

    d nice New Member

    32 counts to a phrase in an AABA song... however a significant number of swing songs use the twelve bar blues formats... which is 48 beats in a phrase...

    To add to this jazz uses swung and syncopated improvisations even within the main rhythmic and melodic lines... meaning certain instruments don't begin an eight count phrase on the one or end on the eight. This is why lindy hop has so much flexibility... it is inseperable from the music (which goes back to why certain types of music are simply wrong for the dance.
  8. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

    Yep, it's a six count dance . . . don't know why I said eight!

    And you'd think that with all the blues I play, I would have mentioned that 12 bar format/48 count phrasing . . .
  9. Jmatthew

    Jmatthew New Member

    Forgive the n00b, but what's AABA?
  10. Swing Kitten

    Swing Kitten New Member

    I'm also unfamiliar with AABA in this context ... please enlighten! :D
  11. d nice

    d nice New Member


    The standard jazz format has two parts the "A" chorus which is eight bars (a bar being four beats in 4/4 time music) or four eights (as dancers count the music). This repeats, and then we have the "B" chorus, sometimes called a bridge or break. The music changes the melody for four eights and then reverts back to the "A" chorus. A jazz song can follow this format indefinitely or it can have a solo section (which could be considered a "C" section of indefinite sets of eights). When the solo section finishes it is followed usually by one last set of AABA.

    Remember... its jazz, so the rues are often bent if not outright broken.

    Its been a while since I have studied music theory Vince if I used any wrong terms or anything please jump in.
  12. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

    If you hadn't mentioned jazz, I may have said something, as you say, jazz has it's own rules. Maybe adding that the "feel" for the character of the music - swing, Lindy, Salsa, etc., is usually in the first measure of the music.

    I'm attempting a lot of jazz riffs into my playing of blues, but sometimes the two really do not mix . . . close but no cigar! It is tough to tie the jazz in, even though written out or in tablature, it looks like it would work. The accents seem to be in the wrong place . . . but I love jazz riffs . . .

    Back on topic . . . what even makes it more interesting [confusing] is that a song can be found - in a book or on a website that downloads songs - the very same song can be written in 4/4 time in one book and 2/2 time in the other book.
  13. d nice

    d nice New Member

    It depends on the jazz riffs you are using and what style of blues you are trying to include it in. Check out the Kansas City sound for an example of jazz riffs in swingin' blues.

    2/2? I can't think of any swing songs that are 2/2, 2/4 yes, but not 2/2. I'm sure they are out there, none just come to mind.
  14. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

    I think I know what you are talking about, and I think I do use those, but I didn't know they are strictly jazz or blues riffs . . . just riffs???

    What is the Kansas City sound you mentioned?

    The only 2/2 song that comes to mind is the Theme from Peter Gunn??? Not really a swing song, but I'm sure it is 2/2 time that is??? danceable???
  15. d nice

    d nice New Member

    Swing music is 2/4 or 4/4. Peter Gunn is jazz which can really be in any time signature (hello Dave Brubeck).

    The Kansas City Sound is what Count Basie used, along with Andy Kirk... the more modern name for it is Jazz Blues, think Jimmy Witherspoon, Jimmy rushing, Joe Williams, Big Joe Turner, Hot Lips Page, Big Jay McNeely.
  16. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member


    In response to a question from yesterday. Thoughts, anyone? (Other than how much d nice is missed.)
  17. juwest333

    juwest333 Active Member

    I would also say the 8-count swingout and the 8-count circle. The partnered and tandem charlestons are another signature part of lindy as well.

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