Wise words about Lindy Hop

This has been "lifted" from Yehoodi, but I thought it was interesting and important enough to repost here. The poster "mouth" is Nicole Frydman, a nationally recognized lindy hop dancer, instructor, competitor, judge, promoter, and also a jazz vocalist.

mouth said:
Post subject: What the heck happened to BASICS??? You all suck.


It's apparently that time again. I've had so many dances lately where I'm screaming in my head JUST SWING ME OUT ONCE PLEASE GOD PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And so here is the thread. I've posted it before and either you forgot or it's a new crop of leaders or you're all smoking some new form of crack and the pipe never made it my way.

Whatever the case, I'm sick of it.


See, here's the thing, various forms of partner dancing are cool. So is solo dancing. I like all kinds of dancing. Anyone who knows me knows that.

But if I'm out LINDY HOPPING I would like at least SOME of the night to contain LINDY HOPPING.
And basics are what makes it LINDY HOPPING and not just general swing or general partner dancing or solo dancing while holding hands.

Examples of what I mean by DANCE BASICS:
tuck turns
charleston (any version will do - side by side, tandem, front to front, whatever)
closed basics
underarm turns
lindy circles
send outs
j hooks
boogies and jazz steps
more swingouts
more swingouts
and of course, more swingouts

Examples of what is NOT DANCING BASICS:
Extended right side passes (anything over 8 counts is pretty much way too long)
Weird jerky stops where you look at me with a "do something cool" face (ouch on the jerky thing and screw you on the do something cool thing - YOU do something cool)
Swaying or rubbing in closed position (if I wanted to sway back and forth I would go to an 8th grade dance. the major exception here is if you're Sonia - I will sway with her anytime but that's really more of a special private moment and the rest of you ARE NOT SONIA)
Standing in open position doing wiggly things with your body or footwork
(**footwork is something you do WHILE DANCING not instead of it and general wiggling is just dumb)

I'm sorry if everyone's gonna hate me now but it's just the way I feel. Please god start doing basics again. Not just with me but in general.

And if you're reading this thinking "just basics? how boring!" then you're not doing them right. Good basics will send a follower into the tenth level of heavenly enjoyment. If a swingout is good it's all I ever want to do. Trust me boys. Go get a good swingout and girls will melt and line up to dance with you.

This concludes Mouth Rant #6,187. Thank you and have a nice day.
mouth said:
Ok, to anyone who might have been offended by my initial post:

Hi, I'm the mouth. My job on this board is to post things in a really mean and obnoxious way so people can have discussions about things they're thinking but are afraid to say. You can agree with me or disagree with me (which is kinda the point of a discussion board) but please don't think the tone with which I write is anywhere near serious. Sure I'm a bitch in person too but to answer the all important question from the Wizard of Oz - "are you a good bitch or a bad bitch?" - I'm a good bitch. Really I am.

So get over how mean my first post was, or hate me if you want, but focus on the discussion at hand because that's really the point.


Vince A

Active Member
Interesting, very interesting.

I've heard similar ranting form very experienced WCS dancers. Many times.

I posed this question back a few months ago, asking followers if they liked more basics or ???

What's your take on this article d nice?

Vince A

Active Member
. . . and thanks to these kinds of articles and some words that you have given, my WCS dancing has evolved into what I want it to be - from a pattern dancer to a WCS dancer!


Staff member
I think this is applicable – in theory if not specifics – to any dance!

What makes any dance the dance it is are its fundamentals…do those well and you capture the feel and spirit of the dance in a way that nothing else ever can.


Well-Known Member
I agree with you all. Unfortunately this is only something that the advanced dancer realizes and is willing to work on. It's been my experience that when people start learning to dance the majority want to learn moves. The basics often get brushed away in the interest of satisfying the demands of the students. It is only when I have taken styling classes that I have learnt how to do the basics well.
YES YES YES!!! I completely agree. Nothing is more fun than dancing with someone who can really, really lead a swingout. It's this magical force that is the closest thing to human flight. :D


Well-Known Member
I know this isn't swing, but I think it's pertinent. I was recently watching one of my ballroom comp videos where Bob Powers and Julia Gorchakova, the American Rhythm champions, lost a dance (bolero, I think). Bob was shocked! He thought that was their best dance. But you know the commentators' assessment of why they lost? They didn't use enough basics in their choreography. Hmm.
The swingout and Lindy circle IS what made me "fall in love" with Lindy. Nothing like someone who can smoothly lead a swingout - a real treat especially if the music is fast AND the swingout is lead smoothly. Those left/right side passes "mouth" is referring to are WCS basics, not Lindy. My opinion: keep the dances distinct.

Regarding the stop and "do something cool" thing, I seem to experience this more with WCS dancers - and I seem to not have enough "moves" to come up with something (note to self: resume WCS lessons or get a private lesson to work on this).

It was cool to do some Lindy basics in front of beginning 6-count swing dancers and have them go - how do you do that! That's the beauty of the dance!

Vince A

Active Member
Way back in early November, I replied to the article that d nice posted. I agreed, but with caution.

Since that time, I've begun to incorporate more basics into my WCS.

The result . . . well let me tell you, I sure as heck can start knocking the followers as well as the article knocked the leaders . . .

Now I get the look like . . ."Is that all you can do?" . . . "Hey, I've taken hundreds of lessons to learn how to follow you, and you're not doing anything?" . . . "OK, big boy, give it to me - I can follow anyone!"

Or, now the followers stay at the end of a 6-count - and do swivels, or wiggle, or tap until the next 40 counts go by- then decide to anchor in place to let me know that they are ready for counts &1. And, if I do "hit a break" (stop and go move as mentioned in the article), the follows now take my leads away, or plays forever, and/or turns around and wiggles their cute little butts, and then look at you like, "What? What did I do?" As if you didn't know.

This "stick to the basics" thing goes both ways . . . let's not put all the blame on the leader.
Absolutely, Mouth's post was coming from the subtle point that followers should be doing the same thing.

What I've found is the followers who insist on the big complicated patterns, the ones who hijack the lead, are the same ones who are in desperate need of a refresher in the basics...

The dance is a lead follow dance, it is a 50/50 proposition. If we each are juggling three balls, and can only juggle three balls, as soon as the follow reaches for one of mine one of hers drops. Leave my balls alone! ;)

When it comes to followers playing or leaders stepping beyond the basic moves it is the equivelant of two jugglers passing balls back and forth. we are still each only juggling three balls each, but between us there is six balls in motion. We are sharing the work, waiting to ensure our partner is ready and only when we see they are ready to recieve the new ball do we pass it. They watch us, ready and waiting for our indication to pass it back.
No side passes are fine... extended side passes belong to west coast swing. Lindy hop is about movement and momentum... extending a side pass beyond eight counts breaks the the elastic dynamic that should be present in all lindy hop moves.
Vince A said:
Or, now the followers stay at the end of a 6-count - and do swivels, or wiggle, or tap until the next 40 counts go by- then decide to anchor in place to let me know that they are ready for counts &1.
So we are supposed to leave her to do swivels until she anchor steps? The follower decides when swivels are over?

d nice said:
side passes are fine... extended side passes belong to west coast swing.
I'd like to see what an extended side pass is. It sounds like something I wouldn't even do if I was into wcs.
Vince is talking about West Coast Swing. If you are doing Lindy Hop or East Coast you don't have to wait because the follower should be with you in the music, executing the moves you lead within the time frame you give her, or with minor embellishment, but still respecting the framework you gave her. The dynamic of those dances is different than West Coast Swing... so the partner interaction has different rules.

Extended passes in WCS are a lot of fun. Different "rules" different expectations, different ways of interacting with the music.

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