Why WCS can be done to contemporary music but not lindy?

#21
Vince A said:
Hope my words didn't sound like I was calling the clothing styles of Lindy dancers as "sloppy?"
No - that's just my own opinion of baggy jeans and athletic shoes. Not that I object - means slightly less competition relative to more upscale clothing :)
 

pygmalion

Well-Known Member
#22
jon said:
I think of "WCS" and "Lindy" as labels for two big fuzzy blobs in a very high dimensional state space of music, patterns, technique, styling, etc. - with lots of overlap and even more non-overlap. After a while I lost interest in asking what WCS "is" or "is not" in favour of "do I like this, and can I lead it well".
Bravo, jon. As I've known for a while now, you're a very wise man. :notworth: 8)
 
#23
Am I the only person who can do Lindy in 3" heels? I love wearing my vintage shoes to dance Lindy Hop. The leather has a perfect feel for sliding and spinning.... AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

As for going to Lindy dances (although there aren't many here anymore), I prefer vintage clothing for those. If I'm hanging Westie style, I throw on some nice jeans and a slinky top and my ballroom practice shoes. 8)
 
#24
more pennies in the pot...

I really like what I'm reading here, so I hope it's not too much to throw in my own 2 cents.

I agree that a lot of what makes a dance is the music. I have this disturbing tendancy (to mostly everyone else) to dance to 'unconventional' music. If it makes me want to move and it 'works' (Weezer, BranVan, Tom Jones, Beck, whatever), I'll put it on and groove. And the best thing in the world is dancing with someone who gets into it, relaxes, has fun, etc...So, I might throw some WCS in to the Lindy and then sneak in an ECS Grapevine/mooch etc or just make it up as I go along. It's all good creative fun.

What I have found though, is that because of the way that LHS and WCS are taught, or perhaps because of the 'groove' or more because of the structure of the patterns and the patterns that are common to each dance, the follows will often times have very different reactions. I've started to wonder if maybe the definition of a dance isn't so much what is heard or the way things are lead, but rather the reactions of the dancer to these things. The end result.

For example (and again, I'm a little more unconventional I think....), every now and again, I will throw a ron de jam (sp?) or ronde into my whips. (A ronde is a ballroom move where the man takes his right leg and 'pushes' into the ladies right leg and causes it to sweep out and around.)

If you haven't seen it, or done it in lindy, it works. But what usually happens is that a WC follow, when I push with my thigh into her leg, she'll ronde out and everything is great. But with a LH follower, what happens more often than not (if she's not done ballroom) is that she'll relax her leg and body and end up 'wrapping' around my leg, causing us to get a little tangled.

Similar things happen when you try to 'walk' a LH dancer like you would in WCS. Often she'll keep trying to triple or move beyond where I want her to walk, over rotating and not moving forward.

Most of this doesn't necessarily apply to high level dancers, but most high level dancers dance other things, so they aren't as 'limited' in their ability to follow. Note that that is not a remark against any form of social dance or the abilities of any single or group of dancers. Its a remark meant only to denote the difference that experience makes. Don't want to start any big arguments.
 

Spitfire

Well-Known Member
#25
It could very well be because I haven't had much practice or instruction with it, but Lindy when I've tried it has an akward feel to it and it probably doesn't help that I've tried it with follows who don't know it well either. So I can't judge it based on that; after all I originally felt the same way about WCS and now I want to do it any chance I get.
 
#26
As a UK-based Lindy Hopper, I don't know enough at West Coast Swing to comment fully. Although there are a few West Coast Swing classes and dances in London, these are very few, and West Coast Swing is not popular in Britain the way that it clearly is in the USA.

However, as a Lindy Hopper, I take the music that I dance to seriously.

Some of my favourite tracks are:

Tuxedo Junction by Erskine Hawkins
http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=33:17djvxnqa9yk

Easy Does It by Count Basie
http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=33:wpfuxxwgldae

One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer by Amos Milburn
http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=33:ppe99sr0krat

I know when I hear a good Lindy track, because I feel uplifted, and want to click my fingers and sway from side to side. The above three tracks all make me want to do this. Some other music leaves me cold by comparison.
 

Spitfire

Well-Known Member
#27
huey said:
Swing classes and dances in London, these are very few, and West Coast Swing is not popular in Britain the way that it clearly is in the USA.
So I understand. Let me take a guess at something here; was Lindy originally introduced to Britain by American Servicemen during WW2?
 
#28
A good Lindy Hopper can dance with a good WCS dancer anyday and to any music - Vice Versa. If you ever watched Crossover Jack&Jills, you'll know what I'm talking about.
 
#29
Re: more pennies in the pot...

Firephreek said:
For example (and again, I'm a little more unconventional I think....), every now and again, I will throw a ron de jam (sp?) or ronde into my whips. (A ronde is a ballroom move where the man takes his right leg and 'pushes' into the ladies right leg and causes it to sweep out and around.)

If you haven't seen it, or done it in lindy, it works. But what usually happens is that a WC follow, when I push with my thigh into her leg, she'll ronde out and everything is great. But with a LH follower, what happens more often than not (if she's not done ballroom) is that she'll relax her leg and body and end up 'wrapping' around my leg, causing us to get a little tangled.
That is the way a lindy hop follower should respond to that lead.

Similar things happen when you try to 'walk' a LH dancer like you would in WCS. Often she'll keep trying to triple or move beyond where I want her to walk, over rotating and not moving forward.
Again, at least from your description, that is the way she should follow the move. Lindy Hop is a very direct, vernacular dance. The rules for lead/follow are essentially Newton's laws of motion. If you rotate a lindy hop follower she is suppossed to keep rotating until you stop her or she runs out of momentum. IF you make her walk she is suppossed to keep walking in that direction, it is up to the leader to stop her or change her direction. Not every lindy follower will do this all the time, but that is suppossed to be the way they move, and most of them will tend towards this natural default.

Most of this doesn't necessarily apply to high level dancers, but most high level dancers dance other things, so they aren't as 'limited' in their ability to follow.
I would never use the word limited in reference to a follower following the way her dance says she is suppossed to. If the leader wants to add elements from different dances, it is the leader is is responsible for ensuring that he leads things in a way that fits within the language of the follower to achieve his desired result. A very experienced follower may know more than one dance and may switch the dance rules she is using from one to the other to match you, but that can be as much about her correcting/anticipating as it her following you.
 
#30
They are different dances, the confusion comes in that a lot of "lindy hoppers" aren't. Sad but true. They do a more free-style swing dance based on lindy hop, but lack the proper internal-rhythm, energy, fail to properly use momentum, and use a very limited idea of musicality when they dance.

Should a decent WCS and lindy hopper be able to dance together? Yes, they are both lead follow dances that use 4/4 time music most of the time. The better they are about lead/follow the better there ability to adapt, improvise and overcome any differences. An outstanding follower of any dance that uses a breakaway/open-position who is willing/able to "empty her cup" should be able to follow any swing dance leader worth the title"leader".

As to why lindy hop CAN'T be danced to so much modern music is because lindy hop requires rhythmic propulsion, the swinging of the beats that creates tension and then releases it only to build it again. Some forms and artists in the R&B, Funk, Soul, RnR, and Hip-Hop genres do this, but the a significant number don't have the right erlements. When you remove that rhythmic propulsion it fundamentally changes the basic rhythmic structure of the song... the choice then is either to ignore the music and keep the rhythmic structure/necessities of lindy hop or lose them and dance to the music. IF you ditch them you are NOT dancing lindy hop, no matter how many swing-outs or how much charleston you are doing. Lindy Hop is first and foremost a rhythm dance, when you alter that rhythm you fundamentally alter the dance.

Does that mean that what you are doing is bad or wrong, good God no. It's just different. I make alterations in the structure of many dances, but I do understand that it becomes something both less and more than what it was before.
 

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