Swing Discussion Boards > the elusive bounce

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by goldfish, Apr 25, 2004.

  1. goldfish

    goldfish New Member

    ello all! more clueless questions from a beginner :) i've been wondering about the bounce:

    i've been told to 'bounce' more in lindy, which is easy when you're in a close hold, but once i start moving around a lot more... :shock: and if your lead isn't bouncing all that much, do you still bounce? do you bounce all the time? does following also mean matching the extent and timing of a lead's bounce?

    i don't want to look like a rubber ball but there's an energy that i know i'm missing sometimes too... thanks people!

    also some leads have done funny things like pulled silly faces or danced in a kooky sort of way, which cracks me up :D i usually mimic what they're doing or try to throw something responsive back at them. nobody seems to have minded so far, but i'm just wondering if that's the right etiquette
  2. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    I'm still pretty clueless goldfish...however, I would say that in general you should match the lead to a certain extent. If you really bounce and the lead doesn't the danec might become very jarring. I've experienced this sort of thing in various dances. It is the worst sort of experiences that I have. I always then try to match the follow, but sometimes I'm incapable of doing so as it is just too way out there!! :( That's when I really suffer. :cry:
  3. jdavidb

    jdavidb New Member

    My observations... not necessarily what a teacher might teach:

    I've seen people hop constantly, swivel one foot at a time, step without adding anything or whatever they want in ECS.

    Charleston: the foot that's not kicking is hopping. I like to add to that "...if you want to be hopping". Smoothing out in Charleston looks & feels cool too.

    Lindy Hop kinda glides around smoothly, yet there is this really cool (subtle) bob downward which happens during triple stepping. It doesn't bounce up, it dips down.

    Then there's Balboa. When you do that, it dictates on its own how much bounce you're gonna have... It's more like a ripple.
  4. Flat Shoes

    Flat Shoes New Member

    Yes, you bounce all the time in Lindy. (A truth with modifications.) You bounce just as much in open position as you do in closed position and while doing charleston moves.

    The amount of bounce is given by you, your partner and the music. You and your partner should match each other, that is get the feel together. And if you listen to swing/jazz music, you will hear different amounts of bouncing in the rythm. Try fitting it all together.

    It is possible to dance Lindy without bouncing at all. You can do it totally smooth. Technically this is not swing (no bounce =no swing) and thus not Lindy. But that is technicallities, in practice you can, and sometimes do, dance this way.

    There are diffferent techniques for bouncing. But that is not important, at least not for a beginner. But one thing is important, you bounce downwards, and not upwards. You do NOT bounce upwards, that looks stupid and it is also all the wrong feeling. Good Lindy music is relaxed, cool and bouncy. So should you be. And relaxed bouncing is not going upwards. 8)

    You probably know what a break are, but I'll say it anyway. The term is used a bit loosely for parts in the music changing characteristics from the main melody. This is when you often don't do normal turns, but often do a freeze, do jazzsteps or plays around. A break is actually when the rythm stops, when the drum and base don't do the swingy thing for a short while (usually 8 beats). When this is happening, the music doesn't bounce and neither do you!

    These breaks (now I'm using the term loosely), where you play around, are most beginners nightmares. I still don't care for them too much. At least not when a song hits them all the time. But the key idea is that the normal music stops, and you do something else. It's play-time or it's shine-time. You can do some jazz-steps to look cool, you can do something else that makes you look good or you play with your partner. Or all three at the same time :)

    Since you ask specifically about this, when your partner does funny faces or funny things at you, you can mimic him. Or you can do something different in response. It's play-time, you let loose and do something that feels right. And yes, this can be very difficult to do. How loose and/or good youare at these things depends uppon your personality. What you can do, and many people do do, is practive alone in front of the mirror. This gives you a vocabulary of moves you can use, and gives you a basis for things you can play with during breaks.

    Trust me, this becomes easier with time and practice :D
  5. jdavidb

    jdavidb New Member

    That sounds more like propaganda, force-feeding or idealism, not technical detail.
  6. Flat Shoes

    Flat Shoes New Member

  7. Flat Shoes

    Flat Shoes New Member

    Yeah, and when bouncing keep your legs flexed and bounce from the body. Relaxed, is the key word. :D
  8. jdavidb

    jdavidb New Member

    It excludes people who are smooth from Lindy Hop and swing altogether.
  9. Flat Shoes

    Flat Shoes New Member

    In what way are they excluded?

    I mean, if the music isn't bouncy I'm not bouncing either. So what I'm doing then is dancing based on Lindy and swing, but strictly/technically speaking it is not Lindy and it is not swing. But I cannot see that that excludes me from anything at all. I'm not excluded from the good dancers. I'm not excluded from the Lindy crowd. And most important, I'm not excluded from fun and having a good time.

    In my oppinion information like this is only excluding if you use the information to actively exclude someone.

    Btw: you can bounce and be smooth at the same time. In fact, you should be smooth, your bounce should be smooth and your lead should be smooth. Neither should be shocky or jerky or not smooth.
  10. jdavidb

    jdavidb New Member

    I don't think it is technical. I think it's splitting hairs. Just because you shift technique of Lindy Hop from bouncy to wavy to smooth can't mean that it is no longer swing / no longer Lindy Hop. People win Lindy Hop championships in the "Strictly Lindy" category with pretty much no bounce at all.

    I don't want to seem to be protesting all of everything else you have said in this thread. It's all quite constructive aside from the way I am understanding the "not swing / not Lindy" part.
  11. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I thought swing "swings," because of the music's structure, not the bounciness of the dance, or lack thereof. Is that wrong? :oops: :?
  12. Genesius Redux

    Genesius Redux New Member

    That would be my understanding, and usage. Eighth notes are said to "swing" when they are given values more like a dotted eighth and sixteenth, or like a triplet designated as a quarter note and an eighth. Swing dancing is dancing to that kind of music.
  13. goldfish

    goldfish New Member

    it never ceases to amaze me how posts pour into this forum within a few hours... :D

    thanks all for the input!

    is there a technique for bouncing more smoothly then? i've been told to bounce from the floor by teachers too, so i keep thinking about the floor which makes me look somewhat less like a caffeinated rabbit. but i think i'm still going up rather than down....
  14. jdavidb

    jdavidb New Member

    When I do the "A" left-right-left triple step (that would be right-left-right to a follower), my left knee is more loose/bent for the first left, but it still supports me. I'm slightly "down" there. The x-right-left of this triple is rising back up to default height. My knees almost never do go all the way straight in Lindy Hop, of course. The "B" triple step, I make the dip happen there sometimes too, but nowhere near as often as the "A" triple step.
  15. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    goldfish, I don't do this type of swing, but the image that comes to my mind is that of a boxer warily circling his oponent... compressing down into the floor in a deliberate and methodical manner so that they are firmly grounded when the time comes to change direction, speed , and action. HTH.
  16. goldfish

    goldfish New Member

    awright the next time i dance i'm mentally gonna take out my lead... :twisted:
  17. Flat Shoes

    Flat Shoes New Member

    You are right about the music, you are wrong when you don't distinguish between music and dancers. The music is swinging because of its structure. But the dancers can dance to swinging music without swinging themself.

    The music swings because of the music structure, the back beat (that makes you wanna clap your hands at 2, 4, 6, 8) etc. It's really difficult defining with words what makes musik swing, but you know it when you hear it! What's very certain, music that swings ain't flat.

    But one thing is the swinginq music. A different matter is swingin dancers. Are dancers swinging when they are dancing in a flat non-bounce way? This is were I say no. Swinging music ain't flat, neither should swinging dancers be.
  18. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    So FS, is WCS not swing? I certainly don't expect WCS to be danced in a "bouncey" way." :?
  19. jdavidb

    jdavidb New Member

    I've heard lots of swing music that isn't bouncy. To say it is all bouncy is limiting. There are lots of songs where I'd rather glide Lindy Hop in the "catchy" tempo range of 125 to 200 bpm. Then there is also the slower stuff at 105 to 125. There are some really good songs with the swing beat in that range such as Tuxedo Junction, Pink Panther Theme, but none of them make me feel bouncy. Then way up beyond 200 bpm (imagine 260 to 280 bpm), I doubt I'll do any bouncing at all if I am doing Lindy Hop.
  20. Flat Shoes

    Flat Shoes New Member

    The word smooth is ambigous, because you can be very smooth and still bounce. So can the music. So let's call it flat instead, to distinguish. And with flat, I mean no up and down motion of the body, or no down on the beat. So when going from bouncy to wavy to flat, I will say that on the way you're loosing the swing in the dance.

    Swing: To move laterally or in a curve: The car swung over to the curb.

    Flat ain't swing. And if it ain't swing it ain't Lindy. But does it matter? Not if you enjoy what you're doing.

    I've seen no 'Strictly Lindy' contests, as I don't live in the states.

    Here in Europe, we have very little ECS and WCS. (Or we might have something very similar to ECS, under different names. I'm not sure.) What we do have is Boogie Woogie. BW is a six count based swing dance, where, compared to Lindy, more bouncing is in the feet, the posture is more upright and the upper body is 'stiffer' for lack of a better word. It's more suited to be danced to rock'n'roll music of the fifties, than to the big band swing of the forties. It has a different feel to it, than Lindy.

    I don't know if you've been dancing Lindy to Boogie Woogie piano music? I don't like it, it doesn't quite give me the Lindy feeling, but it is very fit for BW dancing.

    When dancing fast, BW and Lindy are quite distinct. This does not come from the amount of six and eight count steps, but from the different bouncing and the different posture.

    However, when dancing slowly Lindy and Boogie becomes much more similiar, to the point when I can no longer distinguish the dance. It's because the dance gets smoother (flatter) and less bouncy. When the bounce is lost, the charateristics of the two dances are lost too. :!:

    Interestingly, as the two dances melt into much the same, the music you dance too is also the same. While for fast, some BW-music is not very fit for Lindy and vice versa, for slow there is almost no such problems.

    When it comes to 'strictly lindy' competitions, I find it hard to argue without seeing what you're talkling about or knowing the definition of the 'Strictly Lindy' class of competition.

    For me it's not a big deal. When not trying to define anything (i.e not being technical and not teaching), I don't distinguish. I use the term Lindy freely. In my first post, it was mostly a side remark. But I do stand by that remark! :D

    (Also I the term smooth as you do in your posts. But since smooth means more than one thing, smooth as in little or no bouncing, and smooth as in a smooth lead, I found it necessary to be more precise. And for any beginners out there reading this, this makes a good point. Your lead/follow arm should not be bouncing, but kept steady and smooth.)

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