Softwire does Swing Dance
6 June 2016, by Emily Penycate
At Softwire the staff are introduced to a lot of interesting new activities, and Thursday 14th April was no exception as Softwire London’s Chillout was transformed into a swinging dance floor from the 1920’s!
Staff donned their glad rags, rock-stepped and shuffled to their first swing dance lesson, provided by the Mudflappers’ teacher Olly. The class was aimed at complete beginners and the hope was to provide people enough simple moves they can string together to make a number to any swing song. Some of the class were lucky enough to have done a fair amount of partner dancing before; like Suzanne who does West Coast Swing every week, and Dom who has been to the Bristol swing dance festival a couple of times!
After a funky warm up which had everyone groove stepping around the room and waggling their hands over their heads, the group partnered up and learnt about 6 and 8 beat steps. Swing, and in this case ‘lindy-hop’, is in 32 beat phrases; this means you need to select the right number of 6 and 8 beat moves to finish with the end of a phrase. Olly armed everyone with a 6 beat basic (twice), a tuck turn, a bring back and then a fancy finish called ‘Johnny’s Drop’ to which the group responded with great enthusiasm and abandon.
Swing dancing, like salsa and tango, is a ‘led dance’ which means the class split into leads and follows. Traditionally this is split along gender lines, in true Softwire fashion everyone got a go at both roles. This created the occasional interesting pairings like Dom 5’5” leading Alex 6’7” in some pretty spectacular twirls!
Everyone involved had a great time and have decided to head along to Olly’s normal lesson, in Dalston, in the coming weeks.