How do I keep growing?

I have been taking some swing dance lessons, but the teacher is moving away in may. Being from Nebraska there isn't always "Just another teacher" around, so I need a way to keep learning even though no one is here to teach me. I love dance and don't want to lose it; swing is a genre that as a musician I have always loved dearly, and this makes it that much better!

Things I can do
  • 20's Charleston
  • 30's Charleston
  • Some Lindy Hop
  • Jojo's
  • Some basic breaks
Any help would be appreciated!
Thank you so much!


Well-Known Member
Are these private lessons you're taking, or a group lesson before a social dance? If the latter, then keep doing the social dances! If the former, find a social dance!

Steve Pastor

Staff member
Welcome, Garrett.
Where do you dance?
What are people there doing?
Are there other places you can go to do swing, or watch people to see what the local styles are?

I'm going to say that could determine how you should proceed. So, I'll withhold further comment until we hear from you again.
On the positive side, the dances you mention have a lot of room for creativity and solo self expression.Youtube is not a substitute but it sure is a welcome resource. I use free lessons on it to learn new steps, style moves, have fun and exercise, etc. All in front of a mirror. This is in addition to our group lessons.

99.9 % of the folks here learn dance just to have fun. Perhaps you could find yourself a dance partner who just enjoys learning to dance. I often dance in a sister, me and the IPad. This is how I'm learning Lindy.
Alright, to answer some questions
  1. Where I live, and am going to college, are both quite small towns.
  2. I'm taking weekly lessons with a group, sadly the teacher is moving away.
  3. There are not any other teachers in the area.
  4. I have no clue what "Social Dances" are
  5. I'm going from a town of 25,000 to 5,543
  6. Would I be able to join a group in college with my little amount of experience?

Steve Pastor

Staff member
Garrett, I feel your pain since I worked and lived in pretty rural areas for a number of years.

I can tell you that I danced a few good dances in taverns in those really small towns. Look up the Little Kro Bar in Brule, Wisconsin and the Safari Club in Estacada, Oregon (I see it's closed now. The club, not ) Looks like at your age you might not be spending too much time in a tavern, and the dancing there won't be much to look at.

Social dance?
Lots of times it's practical to recognize that you learn to dance as a performance, and sometimes as "social;" meaning that you aren't dancing for other people to watch you, but for you and whoever your partner is at the time.

I'd like to think that any group at a college would be open to new members, because, isn't learning why you go to school?

Maybe we can talk about some styles and what not that you might want to learn, and what you can look at the see how it's done and practice steps, timing, etc.
And, maybe you'll be able to find a group or at least one other person to practice with. Small schools in my experience are on the look out for people who are willing to put time into activities. Shoot, I even ended up as editor of the newspaper.
Thanks! I'll keep that in mind. I did find a dance studio in the town that teaches some western swing but I still need something to cover the next few months without a teacher. I have a small group (4-5) that would join me in the summer if I found a way to self teach. Would that be social dance?

If we were to self teach does anyone know of a good youtube series or a list of things to learn? I may be a musical genius but I have no clue how to go at advancing!

Would there be anywhere that may have a good clue of where to look, like a tavern or something?

By the way, thanks so much for the help! It didn't take much to get me to come to my first dance class and now I'm in love with it! I just don't want to lose it just as fast!

Steve Pastor

Staff member
I've looked at a few YouTube videos to try to find something for you, and it always comes back to what style you want to learn.

This video with different styles came to mind.

Steve Pastor

Staff member
I think I'll learn some of the syncopations Buddy presents here, and think about some of his styling hints.
I would like to discuss with Buddy his statement that WCS came out of ECS, given that the terms Lindy Hop, jitterbug, and New Yorker were used more commonly in the 40s; and 1953 (and earlier?) step sheets use the terms eastern, western, sophisticated, and West Coast Swing, but not East Coast.
Glad he says he doesn't dress that way all the time! It's the same clothes he wore in the nite club 2 step video.

Although we hear over and over again that you can't learn to dance from YouTube, videos can be a useful tool.
Although we hear over and over again that you can't learn to dance from YouTube, videos can be a useful tool.
Sounds pretty discouraging to all of us living where WCS scene doesn't exist lol. On the other hand, the current world champion and the Olympic silver medallist javelin thrower is a dude from Kenya who grew without a trainer or training facilities, mainly by watching youtube vids and mimicking techniques. So I guess anything is possible. :D

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