Swing Discussion Boards > Yuval and Nathalie

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by SwinginBoo, Oct 30, 2003.

  1. SwinginBoo

    SwinginBoo New Member

    So I've already said how great I think Yuval and Nathalie are. I've been thinking about possibly taking a private lesson/series of private lessons from them. I really want to work on my swivels, grind, syncopations, and overall musicality. They are, in my opinion, two of the best in the world for swing and the specific things that I want to learn. I'm trying to decide what to do. I'm thinking I might schedule one lesson to see how grueling of a trip it would be.

    It would be a thrill of a lifetime to work with them, so that alone almost makes it worth it. Also, you can either attend alone or with a partner for the same price. So if my boyfriend would go it would be great. I'll have to discuss it further with him.

    Their studio is in NYC and I live in West Hartford CT. So it would involve quite a hike. But if I commit to just one class it might not be too bad. I could decide after that if I wanted to do more. I think I am going to do at least one class.

    Sorry about the random post. I just wanted to share my thoughts with those of you who would understand. It all goes back to my feelings following the ALHC. If I ever want to get to that level I have to put in the time and training. Up until this point, I've had no training from professional dancers. This would be so thrilling for me. Yup, I think I just might do it.:tongue:
  2. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Go for it, girl! One suggestion. Start small, so you can maintain the pace. Meaning, that is quite a hike. Why not try one class -- not one per week -- just one, to see if you like their teaching style, if you can handle the commute, etc. Then, if you like it, add another, or set up a regular schedule -- once a quarter, or once a month, or even once a week.

    It looks like you already have a specific list of things you want to work on. That's good. These high-level coaches really want you to come prepared and not have them tell you what to work on, unless you're getting a routine critiqued.

    Hmm. Bravo for you. :D I think you should go for it. Please keep me posted. :D
  3. SwinginBoo

    SwinginBoo New Member

    Yay, I just talked to Nathalie and I have a lesson scheduled for Nov. 22nd at 1pm. She also invited me to stay for a party afterwards. YAY, this is positively one of the best moments of my life. I'm like a little kid. :tongue:
  4. suek

    suek New Member

    How exciting...hooray! I'm thrilled for you.
  5. SwinginBoo

    SwinginBoo New Member

    Ok, well I have been back for a few days but things have been so crazy that I haven't gotten a chance to post about my lesson on Saturday.

    So as many of you know Bruce and I went to NYC last Saturday to have a private lesson with Nathalie and Yuval. Let me tell you that they both were very professional and just fantastic teachers. They were very very genuine which made me feel at ease pretty quickly. We actually sat for about a half hour before the lesson just talking about competitions and such, which is a whole 'nother story....

    Ok so I went in there hoping to learn swivels and grinds (or as Nathalie calls them - switches). As it turns out we only got to the swivel part for me. But Bruce and I did work on our lindy connection and turns.

    I guess I would say the whole experience was definitely positive, but also shattering. What do I mean by this? Well I will tell you. Ok, I've never taken any formal lessons and bruce has done a magnificent job teaching me. But I wanted to learn Nathalie's swivels and to do this 2 of the most major components of the way I dance have to change -- my pike and what I do on the 1 in the begining of a lindy pattern. I always stay sort of straight backed and come in on the 1. However, now I have to train myself to shift my hips backwards to create an almost sitting-like position. Sounds easy right? Maybe with some practice, but I have a tendency to straighten up as I come into the lindy turn, which is just a habit of the way I dance. Nathalie thinks it's from dancing WCS. I can see that since WCS is definitely more straight and smooth.

    Ok, so we have the new piking position...now add to that the change on the 1. I've always stepped forward on 1. But in order to create those great swivels I need to hold back on the 1 - delaying coming in, which gives me more time to swivel, which makes for phenominal looking swivels. I practiced this a lot over the weekend with bruce and it's starting to come easier. It is also a hard habit to break.

    Now for the fun part -- the SWIVELS!!! First of all, Nathalie can turn her hips so far each way I'm convinced she can spin her bottom half completely around. Second of all, she does this great stuff with her knees where she picks up her knees to create all these illusions that make her look like her lower body has a mind of it's own. It's the turning of the hips and the knees that I have to work on. (BTW do you see a pattern here? I need to work on EVERYTHING! Can you see now why my dancing world has been shattered? lol.)

    Ok so for the hips, when you swivel left and right, the way you get that great effect is to imagine that each time you turn you are trying to show the leader your butt. Sounds funny, but it's true. That exaggerates the swivel which makes it look so incredibly good...on her anyways. Another way to exaggerate the swivels is by passing your leader parallel when coming out of a lindy turn. this means that when stepping 5 6 you are passing parallel facing the leader all the while looking at him dead in the face. This creates a kind of sexy look. That way you are already turned to the right for 7, allowing you to swivel on 7 & 8 : 1. That's 3 swivels for the price of one, lol...don't mind me I'm kind of silly today.

    I guess what is hard about it is that I've never been too comfortable with my body, at least my lower half. So doing these exaggerated swivels makes me feel like I'm drawing attention to the lower half of my body which makes me uncomfortable. I know the whole point of it is to have people watch and go "wow"...so I'm slowly getting over that.

    I am a little daunted by this challenge, but they said that this is what is going to take me from being an intermediate dancer to being an advanced dancer. I believe it, because I have not seen anyone around here with swivels like that, and that does impress me. I want these swivels more than anyone can imagine. It's like this yearning desire inside me that literally burns. SOunds crazy I know.

    Well I think that's all I have to say for now, and if you made it this far through the post then I do thank you for reading. :D
  6. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I want to hear about the competition talk, when you get a chance. :D

    To me, that means you had a good coaching session. Their job was to challenge you. Given that you've never had formal instruction, it sounds like you did a great job, just holding your own. Any thought about whether you're going to schedule more lessons? Pretty expensive, huh? And far away.

    Nope. Sounds like a dedicated dancer to me.

    Thanks for taking the time to post. You'll help somebody else who's wondering about getting coaching, but is afraid to ask, I bet. :D
  7. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks for the update Boo. Oy yeah, and :uplaugh:
  8. Swing Kitten

    Swing Kitten New Member

    go Steph!
  9. SwinginBoo

    SwinginBoo New Member

    I am definitely planning on scheduling more lessons. It really wasn't that expensive..$75 per hour for both leader and follower. So it's only like $30 a piece with round trip train fare that's about $56 for the whole thing. Still not too shabby. They asked me if I would come back for another lesson and seemed happy when I said yes, and I think it wasn't just because of the money. They offered for us to stay overnight at their studio if it was the only way we could come to their dance that night. They were really very nice people. I can't wait to go for another lesson...I just want to improve before I go back...practice practice practice. :D
  10. suek

    suek New Member

    You remind me so much of myself! And you're so lucky to have a partner with whom you can learn and practice. I'd love to find one...

    And how I wish I could see you move as you explain this stuff. I tried to move my body to your words and it was HARD.

    I so get this...I treated myself to a 2hour private with Nick Williams the other day...he's a really good balboa (and other swing dances) dancer from LA who was in town prepping for the Open. And when we started out I was feeling really good dancing with him...timing, connection felt really good to me; I could sense improvement from the last time I sucked it up and asked him to dance (terrified).

    So there I am with a big grin on my face, digging not being scared, doing pretty good with the leads, and then guess what? He starts critiqueing the basic footwork and drilled and drilled me in stuff I thought I knew. Oh well.


    This is the part I wish I could SEE you explain. I don't get it. To be truthful, I don't really understand piking.

    Is the lindy turn you're talking about a swingout?
    I totally get this...the swivels start on the 8 and go 8/1/2. But I have to keep my two small and not so far to the outside to counter my unfortunate habit of heading out to the leader's right instead of straight at the lead's center.

    Something has happened since I started moving my hips in swivels and switches...I feel a great big loosening and more like the music's moving through me. Feels very juicy. And I'm sure no one will be surprised to hear that I'm being told to tone it down by my teachers...A tendency to overdo? Quelle surprise.

    Oh yeah I completely understand. Thanks for writing it all and showing me I'm not the only one that thirsts for this stuff.

    I too get daunted, and have a very hard time forgiving myself for an off night, for dances when I don't connect very well.I've never in my llife tried so hard, practiced so much, endured through so much frustration. I'm proud of myself for that, but that doesn't mean it's easy.
  11. SwinginBoo

    SwinginBoo New Member

    Piking, from what I gathered from her is a term for the way you hold your body while you dance. I was used to holding mine straigther. She said that i need to shift my hips backwards which causes my rear to be almost in a sitting position, my back to be leaning forward, my knees to be bent.

    One in the same. :D
  12. Swing Kitten

    Swing Kitten New Member

    Oh sort of like how Bruce has told me not to dance? :lol: ;) :D
  13. SwinginBoo

    SwinginBoo New Member

    Gee maybe that's where I got it from. :? But you know he has been the most wonderful teacher. I really am very lucky. :D
  14. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Yes, you are very lucky, to have built-in teacher. Probably a lot less expensive that way, too. :wink: But it never hurts to get some outside coaching, if only to give you a different perspective. I get the feeling that you're a very advanced dancer, which means you're at a level where you can choose how you're going to dance any given move. So this coaching is just giving y another option of how to dance things. There's nothing wrong with that. :)
  15. SwinginBoo

    SwinginBoo New Member

    Advanced dancer?? :oops: :D Wow thanks for the compliment. I don't quite think I'm there yet. I hope to be someday and soon! But unfortunately in this sort of instance it seems that instant gratification isn't going to work. I would say that my level is somewhere in the intermediate area. I can follow most leads even with more experienced leaders, as long as the leads are clear. I'm starting to play with the music and add my own touches as I feel them, now that I'm not concentrating on footwork and patterns. Well actually let me qualify that statement....that is how I felt BEFORE the lesson with Nathalie and Yuval. Now I feel more like a beginner than ever. But I know that I will get to the next level if I put in the time and effort to do so.
  16. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Feeling like a beginner? Dead giveaway that you're more advanced than you think. :D Good luck.

  17. suek

    suek New Member

    I probably should move this reply to another thread...something called Private lessons with world-class dancers and how to survive the humiliation

    I had a private with Kevin St Laurent yesterday (see KevinandCarla.com if you're not familiar with them). (Couldn't connect with Yuval to ask him, maybe when they come to California for a workshop I'll get another chance.)

    I asked him to work on Connection and Balance. We never got past connection. He drilled me over and over (isn't it amazing how slow an hour goes by when you're getting this kind of input?) on:
    • keeping frame (keep the shoulder down and back)...ten years of Pilates and I don't have this!
    • coming straight forward when led forward (instead of arcing around my lead)
    • powering forward, using the floor, while keeping the hand connection light
    • going where led (sounds simple, right?)
    • not anticipating...I lose opportunities to be led in cool stuff: stalls, sways, whatever, because I come forward before I'm asked


    I was a wreck. By the time Damon and my friend Katie showed up a few hours later, I cried to them for an hour. Damon's words of encouragement: Now you know how it feels to be a dedicated dancer.

    The good news: When I danced with Kevin later last night, I could feel moments of how cool it can be when more of these principles are in place.

    So I have hope. Hand in hand with the discouragement.
  18. danceguy

    danceguy New Member

    SueK and Swingin Boo,

    I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed your posts...and I greatly admire the dedication that both of you have for Swing dancing! It's inspired me to the point that I want to take more Lindy lessons and not give up because of how I dislike getting dizzy...

    Thank you again for sharing. :)


  19. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member


    Anything you post on this topic will be greatly appreciated. I have high level coaching on my list of goals for this year, and I bet a lot of other people do too. Thanks for all your informative posts. :D

  20. SwinginBoo

    SwinginBoo New Member

    I'm glad the posts were helpful to you SG. I definitely encourage the lindy lessons. It really is a fantastic dance, and no worries -> you'll get over the dizziness thing. I promise :wink:

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