3 Ways to Begin Your Jitterbug Journey
You’ve seen the photos on Facebook. You’ve seen the clips on Youtube. You’ve even witnessed the live tweets and status updates of friends dancing and meeting people all over the world!
After you scrolled through their pics, read all the updates, and watched all the videos, you probably reacted in one of two ways: either you became overwhelmed with jealousy and self-loathing and began to regret your life choices, or you simply smiled, imagined yourself in their dance shoes and thought to yourself, “that looks so fun. I want do that!”
Whether yours is the first reaction or the second, there’s good news: YOU CAN DO IT TOO! And it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3.
As with any new journey, taking the first step can be the hardest part. Remember, all dancers started from the beginning. All of us had to take the courageous first step, and once we did, we found that every following step came easier and easier. The great thing is that there is an entire community of jitterbugs that are willing and excited to take you by the hand and welcome you to the dance floor.
Lindy hop is a joyful dance form that is kept alive by all the new faces and happy feet dancing onto the scene. If you aren’t sure what you can do to get started, the following are ways to help you kick start your new adventure.
1. Go to a Swing Social
Swing Socials are an inexpensive, no-pressure opportunity for you to get your feet wet. These dances might take place at a local bar, restaurant or dance studio, and most will have a lesson before the dance for any newcomers. This is a great way for you to see what the swing thing is all about and to hopefully catch the Jitterbug.
Swing dancing has become very popular around the U.S., and most large cities have swing clubs or active dance scenes. It should be very easy to find your local swing dance venue(s) by searching for “lindy hop” or “swing dance.”
Here is a list of some of our favorites around the Midwest:
Thursday Night Swing Social – Des Moines, IA
Rhythm Junction – Minneapolis, MN
Jitterbugs’ Night Out – Omaha, NE
Swing Dancing at Fizz – Chicago, IL
Tuesday Night Swing – St. Louis, MO
Weekly Swing Dance at the Brink – Madison, WI
The people in the swing community are very welcoming and friendly, so don’t be afraid to ask what you need to do to get involved.
2. Hop Into A Group Class
Group classes are a fun way to put your best foot forward. You’ll quickly meet new people who share a common interest – swing dancing! There is no need to be embarrassed because everyone else is just starting out as well. It’ll be fun to learn, practice, and mess up together! Because students typically rotate in class, you don’t have to worry about finding a partner. But, feel free to invite your friends; the more the merrier!
You’ll want to do an online search for swing dance lessons in or near your city. You might be surprised to learn that there is actually a wide variety of swing styles. A good starting point is to search for East Coast Swing or Lindy Hop lessons. If you’re in Des Moines, we recommend that you check out Step Into Swing. They have weekly beginner lessons and socials.
3. Sign up for a Swing Dance Festival
You may be surprised to find out that there are events entirely dedicated to all things swing. These festivals are inspiring weekends jam-packed with dance classes, live swing music, vintage culture, contests, and dancing ‘til the crack of dawn.
The Heartland Swing Festival in Des Moines, Iowa is one such event that attracts dancers of all ages and abilities levels from all across the nation. The one-day Beginner’s Crash Course is perfect for those dancers that are new to Lindy Hop, as it will cover the basics in four one-hour classes. The beginner’s pass includes admission to the Saturday night activities where dancers will experience a night of music, and witness exciting dance contests. To learn more about pass options, click here.
Here is a list of recommended dance festivals:
Heartland Swing Festival – Des Moines, IA
Midwest Lindyfest – Minneapolis, MN
Cowotwn Jamborama – Omaha, NE
The Nevermore Jazz Ball – St. Louis, MN
Lindyfest – Houston, TX
Now join the Lindy Hop revolution!
Swing dancing, Jitterbugging, Lindy Hopping, whatever you want to call it, is made up of an incredible global community of enthusiasts. If you take the steps above, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a master Jitterbug, and it will be YOUR friends that are sitting in front of the computer looking at pictures and video clips wishing they could do what you do!
Do you want to meet people from around the world? Do you want a hobby that you can do for the rest of your life? Then it’s time to start learning to swing dance!
Start dancing now at your local venue, or join us in Des Moines for the 2016 Heartland Swing Festival!
See you on the dance floor.