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On this long page:

Schedules
     - Spring 2010
     - 2008-2011
     - Post New Year 2007
Course descriptions
     
and prices
Registration info

Instructor
Clothing suggestions
Fragrance issues
FAQ: Which level
     
should I/we take?
FAQ 2: Swing vs Lindy
     
vs Jitterbug vs
     
West Coast Swing?


Current & Upcoming
Dance Classes

We look forward to seeing you!

  



INSTRUCTOR for all dance classes is Ken Kreshtool, Professional Ballroom Instructor (also B.A., M.A., J.D.). "The best instructor I've ever had in ANYTHING."  — Harvard University students, 6 years in a row (plus many others)

 

     


Spring 2010 Sessions
in New York City
Salsa I and Swing I - 4 weeks - February 18 to March 11, 2010
Salsa II and Swing II - 5 weeks - April 1 to April 22, 2010       

• LOCATION: Room 512 Horace Mann Hall (The "Dance Studio") • Teachers College • Columbia University • 120th St, betw Broadway & Amsterdam • New York, NY • building map

Clothing and shoes suggestions are at the bottom of this page.

As of , there are spaces available in all classes.

FREE. Open to all Teachers College students, faculty, staff, as well as all Columbia University affiliates (and their dance partners, if any). Others by special permission only. TC's buildings have tight security: see building map for where and how to enter.
      - Prerequisite: Ability to count to 8. No prior dance experience needed. Clean dry shoes or sneakers mandatory, to preserve the beautiful wood floor. (Remove wet/snowy shoes before entering, please!)
      - Extreme priority given to people who bring partners or extra men, to help balance the class.
      - NOTE #1: This is a continuous course. (Not a "drop in" style course.)  NOTE #2: We have
suggestions for shoes and clothing.  NOTE #3: Our Salsa class is authentic "Break on 1" style.

THURSDAYS
Feb 18 - Mar 11, 2010
4 weeks


6:00-7:15 pm
 Salsa I


7:20-8:40 pm
 Swing I

THURSDAYS
April 1 - April 22, 2010
4 weeks


6:00-7:15 pm
 Salsa II
      (Prerequisite: Salsa I)
 


7:20-8:40 pm
 Swing II
      (Prerequisite: Swing I)



2008-2011
NO CLASSES IN BOSTON / CAMBRIDGE AREA

We are out of town for several academic years (until at least Aug 2011), and will not be teaching in the Boston / Cambridge area. We'll miss ya!



Post New Year (Feb-Mar) 2007 Session
8 weeks - February 6 to March 29, 2007 (ancient history)

This Feb-Mar 2007 session was our most recent set of Cambridge / Boston classes. How time flies! We're leaving it posted so you can see a typical full schedule.
• To scroll down to course descriptions and prices, click on a course name. Registration info is at the bottom of this page.

TUESDAYS
Feb 6 - Mar 27, 2007
8 weeks

At First Church in Cambridge-Cong.
(
address and map)

WEDNESDAYS
Feb 7 - Mar 28, 2007
8 weeks

At
YWCA Cambridge
(
address and map)

THURSDAYS
Feb 8 - Mar 29, 2007
8 weeks

At First Church in Cambridge-Cong.
(
address and map)

 


7:00-8:00 pm
 Latin & Salsa II-A



8:10-9:30 pm
 Latin & Salsa I
 
 



 


7:30-8:50 pm
  Ballroom I
 
 

 


6:30-7:30 pm
  Lindy Hop
      (Prerequisite: Swing I)


7:30-8:50 pm
  Swing I
 
 


9:00-10:00 pm
 Swing II
      (Prerequisite: Swing I)


10:00-11:00 pm
9:20 Special
      (Practice hour - free)




Course Descriptions

 

Courses described below:
Ballroom I  •   Ballroom II    •   Latin & Salsa I  •   Latin & Salsa II  •   Latin & Salsa III  •   Swing I  •   Swing II  •   Lindy Hop I (Swing II-b)  •   Lindy Hop II
FAQ #1:  
Which Swing class should I/we take?
FAQ #2:  
Swing vs Lindy vs Jitterbug vs West Coast Swing - Huh?

Not all classes are offered each session, due to time and schedule constraints. Check the schedules above for details.
Other courses & workshops (not offered this session) : click to see full descriptions of other temptations we occasionally offer!
  
   Acrobatic Swing!  •  Latin Movement & Latin Hips  •  Partner-Dance Technique (Leading & Following Skills)






BALLROOM I


Schedule | Top of page      

         Foxtrot, Rumba, Waltz and Tango these are the dances you need to know, along with Swing, to dance elegantly to almost every dance orchestra. Plus technique and partnering skills. This superb, brief course will make you a far better dancer than any comparable course in the Boston area.
         We'll get to at least 6 Foxtrot figures, 4 Rumba figures, about 6 Waltz figures, and about 6 Tango figures. Even more important, we'll use those figures as the context in which to learn a high level of Leading and Following skills because that is where the real magic of partner dancing is found.
         Each week, we'll build on what we already know, after a thorough review. This lets us leverage our skills, and we'll end up learning about twice as much as in any comparable class.
         Click here for a full listing of our Ballroom I moves from a previous 6-week class.

  • Prerequisite: Ability to count to 4. Ability to count to 8 helpful but not required.
  • No experience needed.
  • Partner recommended. [New policy as of Early Fall 2003.] Our Ballroom classes are very different from our other classes in a number of ways, so we have decided to change our policy regarding partners for Ballroom I and II (and only for them). This is because our Ballroom classes tend to be about 85% couples, about half of whom are preparing for an upcoming wedding. Naturally, they wish to spend a majority of their time with each other, and we like to accommodate this. The trade-off is that that leaves almost no variety of partners for the 3 or 4 solo folks -- you will be trading off with the same 1 or 2 or 3 partners throughout the entire course, with only occasional dancing with others. Some of our solo-registering students have found this to be frustrating. Therefore, we have decided to offer a kind of compromise plan: students registering without partners are welcome to come to the first class or two (or even three) and THEN decide whether to stay or withdraw. If the partnering situation is not working out for you, you are welcome to withdraw and receive a full refund, no questions asked. (Note: In all our other classes, no partners are required. Only about 20% come as couples, and we usually get a good gender balance, so it's not an issue.)
  • [SPRING 2010: Not offered.]






BALLROOM II


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         More Foxtrot, Rumba, Waltz and Tango (so-called "American Style Tango"), as time allows. In Ballroom II, we'll continue from where we left off with some of the sweetest 2nd-level moves in these four dances. For a few examples, in Foxtrot we'll learn a Backwards Basic, the Feather Diagonals, the Traveling Crossovers (aka Butterflies), Twinkles, and a Promenade Pivot Turn. In Waltz, we'll borrow and adapt many of these new Foxtrot steps they look great in Waltz, and some of them actually originated in Waltz and were adapted to Foxtrot and try both the Left and Right Box Turns, which are crucial for claiming a good command of Waltz. We'll even try a little Viennese Waltz, if we get the Box Turns working. In Rumba, we'll build on our Box Basic variations and learn several new ways of ending the Slow Underarm Turn. We'll also learn the other Rumba Basic step, the "zig-zag" form, which also appears in Cha-Cha and Mambo and (in modified form) in Salsa. Just to show you how easily it adapts, we'll also learn some basic Cha-Cha. And in our Tango, which we barely touched on in Ballroom I, we'll learn steps such as the Medio Corte (a small dip-like move), the Ochos (the lady moves like a figure "8"), some Turning Rocks, a Fan Promenade, and some interesting ways of overlapping several different moves.
         Even more important, we'll use those figures as the context in which to improve our high level of Leading and Following skills because that is where the real magic of partner dancing is found.

Prerequisite: Our Ballroom I course. In Ballroom II we will be building on specific techniques, not just moves, taught in our Ballroom I course. Since other Ballroom I courses, for reasons we've never understood, never teach these basic techniques, we're hesitant to open the Ballroom II class to folks who have taken Ballroom I elsewhere. But we are very open to chatting with you about all this, and even changing our minds, if you wish to contact us.

  • Partner strongly recommended. [New policy as of Early Fall 2003.] Our Ballroom classes are very different from our other classes in a number of ways, so we have decided to change our policy regarding partners for Ballroom I and II (and only for them). This is because our Ballroom classes tend to be about 85% couples, about half of whom are preparing for an upcoming wedding. Naturally, they wish to spend a majority of their time with each other, and we like to accommodate this. The trade-off is that that leaves almost no variety of partners for the 3 or 4 solo folks -- you will be trading off with the same 1 or 2 or 3 partners throughout the entire course, with only occasional dancing with others. Some of our solo-registering students have found this to be frustrating. Therefore, we have decided to offer a kind of compromise plan: students registering without partners are welcome to come to the first class or two (or even three) and THEN decide whether to stay or withdraw. If the partnering situation is not working out for you, you are welcome to withdraw and receive a full refund, no questions asked. (Note: In all our other classes, no partners are required. Only about 20% come as couples, and we usually get a good gender balance, so it's not an issue.)
  • [SPRING 2010: Not offered.]






SALSA I


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         The best Latin & Salsa I class in Norte America. Primarily Salsa, plus a brief introduction to Cha-Cha, Merengue and Bachata. These are the primary Latin dances you ought to know to be ready for Latin Club dancing! We start at an easy pace with the crucial underlying forms and skills that will make you a great Salsa dancer, while simultaneously learning all the basic moves! As our skills increase, we slowly increase the pace of the class. We can do this because the skills and moves we learn later are built on the ones we learned earlier. Near the end of the course, we'll get a quick immersion into Cha-Cha, Merengue and Bachata. (At Salsa clubs, they'll often play 4 or 5 Salsas, then 4 or 5 Merengues, then maybe a Bachata or two, then start the cycle over. And at Ballroom dances, Cha-Cha is experiencing a resurgence of popularity.) Throughout, we'll strongly emphasize good leading and following technique, plus expert technique tips, because those are the keys to becoming a superb dance partner.
         NOTE: We will be learning "Break on 1" style, with only a quick glance at "on 2" style.
         Click here for a full listing of our Latin and Salsa I moves from a previous class.

  • Prerequisite: Ability to count to 4. (Ability to count to 8 desirable but not strictly required.)
  • No partner or experience needed. However, extreme priority given to people who bring partners or extra men.
  • SPRING 2010, at TEACHERS COLLEGE: 4 weeks - 1.25 hours each week - $FREE






SALSA II


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         In Salsa II, we'll start where our previous Salsa I class left off so yes, you are perfectly prepared! We'll learn fancy SALSA moves, plus a bit of Merengue, Rumba, Cha-Cha, and Bachata! And we'll get our Latin Hip Movement looking a whole lot better!
         NOTE: We will be learning "Break on 1" style, with only a quick glance at "on 2" style.

  • Prerequisite: Our Salsa I class at TC, Spring 2010. Salsa II is a continuation of our TC Salsa I class. It is only open to new students by special advance permission of the Instructor.
  • No partner needed.
  • SPRING 2010, at TEACHERS COLLEGE: 5 weeks - 1.25 hours each week - $FREE






LATIN & SALSA III


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         In Latin & Salsa III, we'll start by assuming that men can lead Double Turns and Copas, and Ladies can follow Double Turns and Copas ... and we'll immediately move beyond that with great variations and new categories of moves. We'll learn superb variations on CBLs, including various Wraps and Hammerlocks. We'll cover several different Behind The Back Copas. We'll do various Closed Spot Turn variations, and we'll learn the totally cool X-Turn. (If we can't finish all that in one course, we'll cover the remainder the next time around.)

  • Prerequisite: Our Latin and Salsa II or equivalent. ("Equivalent" is probably called Advanced Beginner, Pre-Intermediate, or perhaps Intermediate, depending on where you learned previously.) Note: you must already know Double Turns and Copas, along with CBL Inside Turns, because we start by learning variations of them.
  • No partner needed.
  • [SPRING 2010: Not offered.]






SWING  I


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         An unusually thorough and entertaining Beginners course. You'll learn over 20 moves, turns, spins and dips in just 9 weeks (if you stay for Swing I + II), plus expert technique tips. Throughout, we'll strongly emphasize good (momentum-based) leading and following technique, because that's the key to becoming a superb dance partner. Click here for a full listing of our Swing I moves from a previous course.
         This is easily one of the best Swing I classes in America. After our Swing I course, you'll know more Swing moves and you'll have much better dance technique than after any other Swing I course anywhere.  A recent visitor to our classes caught the tail end of lesson 4 of our Swing I class, and asked, "Wait -- is this Swing I or Swing II?" When we said Swing I, she said in disbelief, "But they're so good!"

  • Prerequisite: Ability to count to 6.
  • No partner or experience needed. However, extreme priority given to people who bring partners or extra men.
  • SPRING 2010, at TEACHERS COLLEGE: 4 weeks - 1.33 hours each week - $FREE

For answers about the differences between Swing & Lindy Hop & Jitterbug & West Coast Swing, scroll down to our FAQ#2.






SWING  II


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          In this Intermediate/Advanced level course, you'll master most of the intricate spins, double-turns, tuck-turns, catapults, combination turns, etc., of Swing, improve your technique skills dramatically, and learn a few sweet dips.
          We'll begin exactly where our previous Swing I class left off (see above), so yes, you are perfectly prepared! (Yes, we'll do a quick review of everything.)
          For our Swing II elements, we'll accelerate gently through the entire Intermediate repertoire and well into the Advanced Swing moves, picking up technique skills that make your partnering more and more magical. The more advanced you get, the faster you can absorb new material so you will typically master 3 to 8 new moves or variations per lesson. Really. (We teach them in related groups the more closely related, the more we can learn at one go.)
          Click here for a full listing of our Swing II moves from a previous class.
          Click here for more info about Lindy Hop, emphasizing in-class considerations for how it relates to Swing.
          Click here for more info about Lindy Hop, emphasizing history and technique differences.

  • Prerequisite: Swing I or equivalent.
  • No partner needed.
  • SPRING 2010, at TEACHERS COLLEGE: 4 weeks - 1.33 hours each week - $FREE

For answers about the differences between Swing & Lindy Hop & Jitterbug & West Coast Swing, scroll down to our FAQ#2.







LINDY HOP I (Intermed Swing)


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          We'll learn the great 8-count Swing variations usually referred to these days as Lindy or Lindy Hop. These include the Swing Out moves, basic Charleston kicks, Texas Tommy, Jig Walks, some Basket Whips, etc. In this class we'll master pure Lindy Hop moves and styling, while focusing on the underlying structural mechanics (technique) much more than is usual in a basic Lindy Hop class. This means that you will learn these tricky-to-master steps far more quickly. Most good dancers these days dance a mixture of Swing and Lindy Hop, so ya gotta know this stuff! We want to move forward as fast as possible, so there is a mandatory prerequisite that you have taken a full Swing I class already. (This is a fairly universal Lindy Hop requirement, although other teachers often call their prerequisite Swing I class something else, such as Lindy A.)

          How exactly are Lindy moves different from Swing moves? How long will it take to adapt my Swing knowledge over to Lindy Hop?  We'll mention just a couple of the relevant differences here, and save the others for the class.
          As you will probably recall from your Swing classes, most basic Swing moves have a nice linear flow across the 6 counts when they are done well there's a single straight-line direction of travel for the person doing the move, even if it's a turn. And in Swing, the Quick-Quick is almost always done as a Rock-Step.
          In Lindy Hop, by contrast, there is almost always a dramatic change of direction in the middle of things for the first half (4 beats) you are headed one way, and for the second half (4 beats), you find that you have suddenly traveled around your partner and are headed back where you came from. These direction changes come fast, and it takes a long time to get an easy-going, comfortable, flowing feel to them. Also, in Lindy Hop, the Lady (follower) rarely gets to do a Rock-Step instead, she'll typically be led to travel forward, swiveling, on both beats. This means that the Gent (leader) has to learn to shift the timing on all of his leads to one beat earlier in the cycle and that takes some getting used to! A third difference is that revival-style Lindy Hop is typically danced with a deeper and more elastic jazz-like stance, a different relationship between us and the floor. Of course, we'll show you the fastest ways to master these changes!
          Ironically, knowing Swing can even slow down a student's ability to absorb Lindy Hop we keep wanting to fall back into our Swing habits. However, you will still learn Lindy Hop faster if you already know Swing . . . and if you have the right teachers.
          Therefore, in general, adapting from Swing to Lindy Hop is somewhat slower than even the best dancers expect! You will feel like you are back in Swing I all over again for a while. And that's actually a good attitude to have it will let us absorb the differences much faster.
          Click here for a full listing of our Lindy Hop I moves from a course we taught some time ago but note that this current course will differ considerably from that one.

          Which style of Lindy Hop do we teach? (For experts only.) We teach the more universal "Savoy" derived style, rather than the "Hollywood" or "Dean Collins" derived style. (There is a slow convergence happening, but in the meantime...) Within the Savoy-derived style, you might be aware that all the great master teachers teach a slightly different technique for the Swing Out. We favor the Bill Borgida style, which is smooth and fairly linear. Paul Overton and Sharon Ashe teach a similar style, as do Ryan François and Jenny Thomas, although the Ryan & Jenny style is a bit stronger. Evita Arce's style is similar. We'll touch on (but not emphasize) the more "roundabout" style of the great Steven Mitchell and Virginie Jensen. We'll similarly touch on but not emphasize the New York style of which Natalie Gomez and Yuval Hod are the prime proponents, which has an unusually small action on "1" and an unusually strong lead on "2". We will mention but not develop the somewhat more percussive, choppy style characteristic of the first Lindy revival wave, and which is still favored by many instructors at the Sandra Cameron studio in New York City (where the great Frankie Manning taught on special occasions).

  • Prerequisite: Our 6-week Swing I course, or equivalent. Also, ability to count to 8 is helpful but not mandatory.
  • No partner needed.
  • [SPRING 2010: Not offered.]

For more answers about the differences between Swing & Lindy Hop & Jitterbug & West Coast Swing, scroll down to our FAQ#2.



 


LINDY HOP II  (II-a, II-b and II-c)

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          In each of these Lindy Hop II courses, we'll start from exactly where our Lindy Hop I course ended so yes, you are perfectly prepared!
          Our Lindy Hop II class will be "vocabulary-intensive" after our good, slow grounding in the fundamentals during Lindy I, we'll now dive through as many cool variations in Lindy Hop as we can get too! If you've been looking for a place to add as many moves as possible to your Lindy Hop repertoire, this is the class for you!
          Even so, our Lindy Hop II curriculum is too extensive for just one 6 week course we simply need more time to get through all the cool new moves we want to teach you! So we'll be offering Lindy Hop II-a and Lindy Hop II-b (and maybe even Lindy Hop II-c if we need it) on a rotating basis teaching different sets of fancy stuff in each! You can take them in any order. They are all at the same level of skill.

  • Prerequisite: one of our recent Lindy Hop I or Swing II-b courses, or equivalent.
  • Extremely highly recommended: our 6-week Swing I course, or equivalent.
  • II-a, -b and -c can be taken in any order. Each one begins where Lindy Hop I (now called Swing II-b) ended.
  •     (discount of 1/3 off when you take your second Lindy Hop II class, even if it is a different section)
  • No partner needed.
  • [SPRING 2010: Not offered.]

For answers about the differences between Swing & Lindy Hop & Jitterbug & West Coast Swing, scroll down to our FAQ#2.





FAQ #1:
Frequently asked questions: "Which SWING class should I/we take . . . ?"


Top of page    

  • "I've had one or two of those free lessons at the local dance places, and I've gone Swing dancing quite a few times. Which Swing class should I take Swing I or Swing II ?"

  • "I've taken a Swing dance class (or two), but my partner hasn't. I've shown him/her some stuff, and we've gone Swing dancing quite a few times. Which class should we take Swing I or Swing II ?"

  • "I've taken some Lindy Hop classes, which teach some 6-count moves. Which Swing class should I take?"

  • "I've taken Swing I. Should I now take Lindy Hop I or Swing II?"

Our answers and recommendations fall into 2 categories: Swing I vs. Swing II, and Swing vs. Lindy.

For our answers and recommendations regarding Swing I vs. Swing II, please click here. (Not yet fully articulate, we admit, but at least it's a start.)

For an overview of the relation between Swing and Lindy Hop (from a dance-class point of view), please see our Lindy Hop I class description, above. For the same answer from a historical point of view, please see our FAQ#2 immediately below.

For whether to take Swing II-a (6-count) or Lindy Hop (Swing II-b) (8-count Lindy Hop moves), our answer is this:
       After our Swing I, you are ready for either, or for both! They improve your Swing I skills in two different directions. Swing II-a will build directly "upward" from Swing I, with clever combinations and elaborations of what you already know, plus several of new technique skills needed to do the new things well. Swing II-b (Lindy Hop) will build "sideways" from Swing I, adding its fundamental 8-count moves to your repertoire, plus a different technique to accommodate it all. We recommend coming to both courses the first week, and then making up your mind! (No charge for the course you don't take). If you have the stamina, take 'em both! You'll be knowledgeable in both directions all the sooner! If you are only going to take one at a time, it's perhaps slightly better to do Swing II-a first, so you can build "upwards" from Swing I while it is all still fresh. Also, knowing Swing II-a will help you a bit with your Swing II-b (Lindy Hop), but probably not the other way around.





FAQ #2:
Swing vs Lindy vs Jitterbug vs West Coast Swing - Huh?


Top of page    

          How does Lindy Hop relate to Swing, more generally speaking? The current distinction has a lot to do with the recent history of the dance, so let's zoom through a brief historical overview. First, a matter of names: they keep changing! The music has always been called Swing, but the dance never was until the recent revival! In its earliest days in the late 1920s, the dance was usually just called "jazz dance." In the 1930s, it was usually called "Lindy Hop," and from the 1940s through the early 1990s it was called "Jitterbug." Up to and through the 1940s, under all those different names, the dance was a rich mixture of 6-count moves (moves that last for 6 beats of music), 8-count moves, as well as 2-count, 4-count, 10-count, and whatever else seemed to work. In those days, it was mainly the name that changed from time to time. The dancing itself stayed pretty much the same, although there were different regional styles and, of course, some overall evolution in the dancing as new dancers came on the scene.
          After World War II ended, the whole nation returned to working and raising families, and almost all of the dance palaces and big dance bands went out of business. The ballroom dance studios kept part of the tradition alive for the next 40 years, mainly the 6-count moves, usually under the name "Jitterbug." In the late 1980s, historical amnesia began wafting across the country from California, and like whoa dude, by the mid-1990s most people were calling the 6-count form of the dance "Swing" instead of Jitterbug. Also in the 1980s in California, a revival began that was built around a small subset of fancy, acrobatic steps performed by professional dancers in movies during the original Lindy Hop era (mostly 8-count moves, plus a few 6-count). When slowed down a bit, this revival of exhibition-grade dancing became the "Lindy Hop" that people now refer to. This revival finally hit Boston right after the famous "Gap" ad on TV in 1998, and both styles of the dance (preserved Swing and revival Lindy Hop) enjoyed a tremendous surge in popularity.
          Most dancers these days will mix the 6-count and 8-count moves together during a single song — they balance each other extremely well. 6-count Swing has developed a wonderful repertoire of turns and spins that Lindy Hop cannot match; and Lindy Hop includes some terrific bring-her-in-and-let-her-out moves, plus various Charleston-derived kicks, that have no corresponding Swing vocabulary. In combination, they fit with and play against the music in great ways. In addition, in its current revival form, the Lindy Hop fanatics have developed a substantially different style and "technique" from most Swing dancers.
          Another famously characterizing quality of Lindy Hop is that the woman often does a swiveling motion during the Forward-Forward steps, but the popularity of this has dropped in modern times as the steps have become more linear and the original strong tick-tock left-right lead has nearly disappeared from the dance. Without the motivating tick-tock lead, the swivels become arbitrary and awkward for most women dancers. (For history buffs: The lady's swivels on 1-2 were introduced by Edith Matthews, partner to Twist-Mouth George, in 1935, according to Frankie Manning.)
          For all these reasons, Lindy Hop is really best learned in a separate course. We now call our course "Lindy Hop" and sometimes include a subtitle such as "Swing II-alt" or "Intermediate Swing" to try to show that it's at the same level as our regular Swing II class, but includes different contents.
          Just to make things even more confusing, even the hard-core Lindy Hoppers will refer to a dance event as a "Swing" dance (as in, "Are you going to the Swing dance on Friday?"), but the actual dancing that they do at that Swing dance, they'll call "Lindy Hop."
          Got all that?

          Swing vs West Coast Swing (WCS) vs "East Coast Swing"? First of all, sigh, there is no such thing as "East Coast Swing" and never was. The term has gained currency recently, and we hate it.
          In our own version of reality, there is Swing, formerly called Jitterbug and danced everywhere in America (never just on the east coast) by millions of people. And there is an old niche variant of Swing created in California in the 1940s and still danced by a small number of devotees, that was originally called "Western Swing" and is now called "West Coast Swing" (WCS). Both started as simplified derivatives of Lindy Hop. Both have elaborated themselves over the years, with WCS going much farther along the elaboration route.
          The original technical difference between Swing and WCS stemmed from one of the oddities of old style Lindy Hop, which was the parent of them both. Old style Lindy Hop originally developed by glomming together everything that worked with the music. In it, sometimes the lady did a Rock-Step (Backward-Forward) when one move ended and another began, and sometimes she walked Forward-Forward instead. Well, Jitterbug (later called Swing) favored one and WCS favored the other: in Jitterbug the lady almost always does a Rock-Step, but in WCS the lady almost always walks forward-forward. Thanks in part to that forward-forward walking action, WCS evolved to be extremely linear or "slotted," as most WCS dancers will tell you. (They'll usually also tell you, incorrectly, that regular Swing is round or circular, but that's just false: regular Swing is sometimes purely linear and slotted, and sometimes more rounded, as the dancers prefer. WCS instructors seem far more prone than other dancers to making up false factoids about dance forms they don't know or don't like. It is annoying to those of us who have to clean up after them.)
          California Casual. When the recent Swing craze started in California in the late 1980s-1990s, Californians started using the term "Swing" instead of "Jitterbug." This caused the few but fiercely devoted West Coast Swing fans to have to explain themselves over and over: is "West Coast Swing" different from "Swing"? From frustration and annoyance, we guess, they artificially fabricated the term "East Coast Swing" as a kind of mocking "clarification" of the difference. (In fact, the "clarification" is completely false: Jitterbug/Swing was danced everywhere, not just the east coast.) This artificial and mocking fabrication was preserved on the otherwise excellent web site of a Los Angeles-based West Coast Swing teacher named Sonny Watson, a man with a wonderfully voracious interest in social dance history (streetswing.com). He explicitly admits that the dance was never called that and acknowledges that the term is a recent invention created by West Coast Swing people as a play on the term "West Coast Swing." However, the youngest West Coast Swing dancers and teachers, ignorant of history and apparently unable to read carefully, have started calling everyone else "East Coast" dancers. This is as stupid as as if Ahnold started calling the other 49 governors "east coast governors." Even Ahnold isn't that stupid. Starting around 2001 or so, some of the youngest Lindy Hop dancers also started using the stupid WCS term "East Coast Swing." Both the young WCS and the young Lindy people use the term "East Coast Swing" with a sneer, as a pejorative term.
          While we admire the Californian genius for creating new cultural trends, we wish they would stop renaming the various Swing dances. We especially wish the West Coast Swing (WCS) dancers would stop insulting other forms of swing and trying to rename them in their own image.



 


9:20 Special

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          Open Swing & Lindy practice time. FREE in our Feb-Mar 2007 session. No registration needed; just drop in! Practice time for all our Swing and Lindy students and anyone else who wants to drop in, with superb music in the background. (We have about 20 hours of our favorite Swing/Lindy songs packed into an iPod; we'll just put it on Random Shuffle and see what happens.) The idea is to really practice your new class-learned skills, in a way that is not possible at a regular dance. So you are STRONGLY encouraged to work the kinks out of things by stopping frequently and discussing with your partner of the moment, getting feedback, trying things again a different way, etc. The idea is friendly mutual assistance; Ken will cheerfully give advice as well. Attitude must be cheerful, helpful, cooperative, and willing to listen. (We will cheerfully kick out anyone who is being Bossy, Grumpy, Arrogant, Unfriendly or Unwilling to stop and answer his/her partner's technical questions.) People who simply want to dance are welcome, too, but should please stay in the back quadrant of the room to give priority to the practicers.
          The "9:20 Special" name is our humble homage to the famous 9:20 Special dance created by Paul Overton and Sharon Ashe in Oakland, CA (now moved to San Francisco). Which in turn paid homage to the Count Basie song of the same name. So even when we don't start at 9:20, we keep the name.

 

 

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Registration

 

Privacy: We never give email or any other info about you to anyone, ever. Period. (Details)



For Teachers College classes in NYC, you are welcome to email Ken for a priority number. The classes are FREE, so no formal registration is required -- you can just show up in class. However, class size is limited to 30, so you might want to get yourself a priority number.

NOTE: This year: No classes in Cambridge / Boston area. You may ignore the rest of this column.

The registration materials below are from our Feb-Mar 2007 session, which is finished. They are available for browsing if you are incredibly bored while waiting for our next session.



You may pre-register ahead of time (to guarantee a space — strongly recommended), or register in class. As participants in this dazzling electronic age, we offer you 3 Pre-Registration methods to choose from!

As of there are spaces available in all classes, of course, because we have not yet opened our registration process for April-May 2007.


PRE-REGISTRATION OPTIONS

method
 

Our Online Quick Pre-Registration Form

  

1. Get your 'paperwork' out of the way fast via our spiffy online form — just your contact info and your class (no payment);
2. Mail in a check payable to "Ken Kreshtool." Our address is below, and on the online form. (Sorry, we're not set up for credit cards.)


method
 

Our Download+Print Registration Form (in PDF format, 76k)

Pre-Registration Form in PDF format

1. Download and print our elegant PDF form;
2. Fill it in and mail it to us. (Our address is below, and on the form.)
3. Mail in a check payable to "Ken Kreshtool." Our address is below, and on the form. (Sorry, we're not set up for credit cards.)


method
 

Manual Registration: Just send us a note (our address is below) and include:

1. The name & starting date of the course(s) you want;
2. Your name(s);
3. Your contact information, including an email address for each person who has one.
4. Mail in a check payable to "Ken Kreshtool." Our address is below. (Sorry, we're not set up for credit cards.)


 IN-CLASS REGISTRATION OPTION

in-class
method

 

Just come to the first meeting of the class!
To guarantee your satisfaction (but not necessarily a place), we do all in-class registrations at the end of the first class meeting — so you can be sure you like it before making a commitment!

We accept cash, checks, and travelers' cheques. (Exact amount preferred, if you can). Sorry — we're not set up for credit cards.

 Note: the price of each class is listed in its description.



SATISFACTION GUARANTEED:  If you change your mind or hate your class, we offer full refunds before the second class meeting. (See more details below.)


OUR ADDRESS:

Ken Kreshtool / Gotta Dance!
P.O. Box 381163, Harvard Square
Cambridge, MA 02238
 

Please make checks payable to "Ken Kreshtool."


When am I fully pre-registered?  We will "activate" your pre-registration as soon as we receive your check. Thanks!

I mailed in my check: am I registered?  Yes! If you have mailed in your check, assume you are registered unless you hear otherwise.


Satisfaction guarantee & Refund policy - details:
• You may switch classes at any time during the same session.
• Any time before the 2nd class meeting, we offer full refunds, no questions asked.
• Any time before the 3rd class meeting, you can transfer full credit to future classes.
• After the 3rd class meeting, however, you are committed, no refunds or credits available (sorry), so come to class and learn, learn, learn! Milk us for all we're worth!

 

Clothing, Fragrances, Etc.
Suggestions/Guidelines

Our only concerns are practical; aesthetics are entirely up to you.

SHOES

SHOES that let you pivot or spin halfway around on one foot are much better than anything else, because we'll be doing a lot of that in the turns we learn. So, in general, leather-soled or suede-soled shoes are good, and rubber-soled sneakers, hiking boots, and L.L.Bean boots are not good.

       "Neither snow nor rain nor heat..." When bad weather hits us, please bring dry dance-class shoes and change into them when you arrive — this will help us keep water and grit from destroying the nice wood floor. Note: the Instructor and many of our students live within walking distance, so we never cancel because of snow. When in doubt, check our Home page — under extraordinary weather circumstances, we will post Opening/Closing announcements there.

       When you're ready for a dedicated pair of dance shoes, see our extensive tips on buying dance shoes. Or, to convert a comfortable pair of shoes or sneakers into dance marvels, check our do-it-yourself suede-soles guide. Finally, for emergency fixes when you're on a sticky or slippery floor, see our tips for How to Dance on a Bad Floor.


CLOTHING

Clothing is optional. Wait; let us rephrase that. Wear anything that you find comfortable to move in — the lighter and more informal, the better. Keep in mind that you'll get very warm as you dance. You can dress fancy when you go out dancing; no need to do so in class.
       We note in passing that t-shirts and knit shirts are excruciatingly hot.* (See "Fragrances, good and bad," below.)
       In warm weather, we even recommend shorts or the equivalent in class! We have changing rooms, if you are coming directly from work.

       * Staying comfortably cool while dancing is a challenge, so we offer some clothing advice and observations.


CELL PHONES

Cell phone ringers must be turned OFF when you enter the class room! (This is the instructor's second-biggest pet peeve.) If you are expecting an urgent call, we invite you to keep your phone in your pocket during class, set to vibrator mode.


HAND LOTION?

We strongly recommend AGAINST hand lotion before class (and when going dancing). For partner dancing, it's better if your hands are a little dry, rather than sleek and lubricated. (Not to mention the residue that even the finest lotion leaves on your partner's hands.)


FRAGRANCES, good and bad

People vary widely in their olfactory sensitivities and abilities. You should assume that, on statistical average, half the people in the room have a MUCH better sense of smell than you do. For the greater respect and comfort of all, please note the following:
       (1) NO PERFUME, please. There are always a few people in our classes who are highly sensitive/allergic to perfumes, so please wear as little cologne as possible to class. We love you just the way you are. Thanks. However:
       (2) EFFECTIVE DEODORANT, please. Our classes are physically vigorous AND require very close social contact. We follow the American custom: wearing effective deodorant is required in our classes (unless some medical condition prevents your using it, of course). If you find you are burning right through your regular brand, please double the dose on dance days, or try the Arm & Hammer roll-ons, which many dancers like. Note also that we have large restrooms in which you can "freshen up" before class.
       (3) NO GUM CHEWING, please: Your partner's face is just a few inches away. What if it's not their flavor? Besides, most people find themselves dancing partially to the rhythm of their own gum-chewing, which leaves their partners fascinated but confused.
       (4) BREATH EFFECTS: Breath mints are a good idea. Not exhaling is also effective, but 9 out of 10 doctors recommend against it. What the heck, bring along some sugar-free Tic-Tacs or Cinnamon Altoids to class; the sugar-free ones avoid that "mouse died" fragrance 20 minutes later. We'll also try to have some available. (Please, not the Peppermint Altoids — they really are murderously strong!)
       Also recommended: a toothbrush makes a brilliant accessory for every dancer. Lightweight, inexpensive, dazzlingly effective if you have eaten recently. And if you haven't.

       Thanks.


Questions? Comments? Suggestions?
We would love to hear from you.

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