Nov 24, 2009

Gift Ideas for Lindy Hoppers

When I started swing dancing in 2001, it was quite hard to find much in the way of products for swing dancers. Now there are tons of things out there from DVDs to apparel. The holidays are a great time to get other people to buy you things you might not let yourself spend money on. So whether you're a Lindy Hopper yourself, or you just happen to have one in your life (lucky you!), here are some holiday and birthday gift ideas for swing dancers!

The most important thing you could own! Naturally you can make your own by gluing leather or suede to the bottoms of a comfortable pair of shoes, but it's nice when you can just buy them ready to go! We don't wear the same stuff as ballroom dancers... because we're better! (only kidding! mostly!) is probably the most common source of shoes in the Lindy world.

Mens Shoes- the classic Aris Allen captoe, great to own both black and white to cover every occasion! This is pretty much THE shoe that guys wear (and even some girls, because from what I hear it's gives good support because of the wide heel base, and the hard leather sole and low heel give just the right action)

It's also nice to have a comfy practice shoe, and there are lots of options for that too:

Womens Shoes is your friend here, with lots of dressy or practice shoes to choose from. All the styles are pretty comfy.

Another place to look is Remix Vintage Shoes. These shoes are quite a bit pricier, and they're not made exclusively for dancing (they just happen to have hard leather soles so they work) but they are quite popular in the Balboa dance world. (check if your favorite dancer actually does Balboa first!) Most styles are not as padded as a dance shoe would be, which can be less comfortable, but sometimes that can improve performance. Here are some of the styles I've seen people wear most ("Anita", "Balboa", and "Deco") :

There are all kinds of things that are nice to have for every swing dancer:
  • Shoe bags
  • Water bottles
  • Hand towel (to use as a sweat rag- sexy!)
  • Glue for shoe emergencies (any sort of 'sticks to anything' glue)

Then there's your fancier stuff:

For Men:
  • Vintage looking ties
  • Tie clips
  • Nice solid black or white belt

For Women
  • Earrings that won't fall off
  • Cool belts
  • Pretty hair accessories
  • Makeup!
  • Hair stuff: check out and search for 'fascinators' ooooh pretty!


Frankie Manning, Ambassador of Lindy Hop (Biography)
Swingin' at the Savoy - Norma Miller's Autobiography
JAZZ: A history of Ameria's Music (Ken Burns) textbook to accompany the PBS documentary series
Books about 1940s Hairdos

JAZZ: A film by Ken Burns

Instructional DVDs:

Event DVDs: full of inspiring competition/performance footage and class reviews (technically, this is Balboa and not Lindy)

Gift Certificates: On short notice (like now!) when shipping can't get there in time, give gift certificates! for books and music (seems they don't have gifts as option yet, so give your dancing loved ones some money and tell them to spend it here) for music and movies for gift certificates towards our lessons series in Columbus Ohio

Comment and let us know -
What do you recommend as gifts for Lindy Hoppers?
What's the best dance gift you've received?

Oct 29, 2009

Learn some new moves in November!

SwingColumbus presents Tuesday Swing School

The month of November will soon be upon us, and that means there's a new series of Tuesday Swing School about to start! Each month, SwingColumbus brings you new 4-week sessions on various swing dances - Lindy Hop, Charleston, Balboa, or East Coast Swing!

This month, we'll be offering beginner's Charleston 101 as well as the next in our 200 Lindy Series, Lindy Hop 203. (You know, like college!) See also: Facebook Event Page

FloorSpace Studios (Clintonville)
3041 Indianola Avenue
Columbus, OH 43202

$45 per four week series ~ Register Today!
$5 off for SwingColumbus Members
(member discount will be refunded after purchase)

To register and purchase, check out the Google Checkout widget in the right column ---->
(If you're reading this via RSS, you'll need to visit to see it.)

Tuesday nights in November: November 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th, 2009

7:30 pm to 8:30 pm - Lindy Hop 203
8:30 pm to 9:30 pm - Charleston 101
9:30 pm to 10:00 pm - Open Practice Time

November Instructors ~ Cal and Leslie

SwingColumbus strives to bring you classes are always fun and relaxed, and there is a class and dance style for everyone, no matter what your age, fitness level or dance experience. Even if you have two left feet, our first priority is to make sure you feel welcome, relaxed and are having fun....because that's what swing dancing is all about!

Beginner Charleston Lesson
The Charleston was born even before the music started swingin'. Charleston is immediately recognized by lots of kicking and really happy dance partners. When you dance the Charleston, you can't NOT smile - the dance and the music are so fun! For this class, some partner dance experience is helpful, but not required. For more info on the Charleston try this site, and here's a video to give you an idea what it looks like (naturally we won't get to ALL these moves in your first 4 weeks- we don't want your brains to ooze out your ears!):

Lindy Hop 203 (part of the 200 series)
This level is for those who feel confident with the basics of the Lindy Hop: swingouts, tuck turns, passes, plus good frame and connection with your partner. As always we will continue to work on our technique-- but this series we will be exploring some fun and unusual moves to add to the dance floor. We'll give you some new moves that will make you and your partner smile!

Open Practice Time
The instructors will dj some practice music so you can work on those moves you just learned and try out some new ones with partners from your class.


Each monthly series will be taught by a new set of instructors selected from amongst the top swing dancers in Central Ohio. Even if you take 3 series in a row you'll always get a fresh perspective on the fundamentals.

Our lessons are centrally located at the FloorSpace Arts Studio in Clintonville just south of Studio 35. FloorSpace recently opened it's doors to provide an affordable teaching, rehearsal and performance space to local artists and the community. We are very excited about our new relationship with FloorSpace and being a part of the resurgence on Indianola Ave.

Sep 20, 2009

Rock ON!

Rocktober weekend is coming up October 16, 17, and 18, 2009!  We've got two amazing instructors ready to turn your brains to mush and teach you to fly, plus 7 amazing DJs who will smack you upside the head with the best music in head to head battles.  We can't wait!

The Instructors
Kevin St. Laurent and Jo Hoffberg will be our resident rockstars for the weekend.  For those of you out of the loop, Kevin and Jo are two of the best Lindy Hop instructors and performers out there today.  They only teach a few weekends in the U.S. each year, so we're pretty lucky we nabbed them before they could sell out another arena show.   

The advanced workshops will be all about good technique, while adding a lot of polish and style to your Lindy Hop.  The 10 hours of classes include dips & tricks, tango-inspired moves, sharp pop turns, and syncopations.  And aerials!  There is something for everyone, whether you're interested in showy performance moves, or expanding your vocabulary, or if dancing has gotten boring and you're looking to have fun and be inspired.     

Why We Chose Kevin and Jo
The SwingColumbus board chose Kevin and Jo because we know they are phenomenal instructors.  They teach very clearly and keep you focused, but they are also really entertaining so you have fun.  Jo came out last year to work with our performance team and we were very impressed with how prepared she was and how much we accomplished in our time with her.  Several of us have taken aerials workshops with Kevin and Jo together and we liked that they ensured everyone's safety by explaining things clearly, teaching moves progressively, and putting us in groups with spotters for the really tricky stuff.  

More About Kevin and Jo
Kevin and Jo have a lot of cool videos all over the internets, including the one where Jo wears red shoes, the one where Kevin dresses like a mime, the one where Jo spanks Kevin and he waits until the end to attack, and the one that proves they're both nutters.

These rockstars make up two of the six members of The Killer Dillers, who won first place in the team division at the International Lindy Hop Championships (ILHC) in Washington, D.C. a few weeks ago. 

So what are you waiting for?  Go REGISTER!   

Sep 17, 2009

Getting ready for Fall Quarter!

For those of you who do not know me, allow me to introduce myself: I'm Rob, the President of Swing Dance Club. Swing Dance Club is an awesome little group at Ohio State University that is all about spreading the AWESOME that is swing dancing!

OSU's Fall Quarter is set to begin on September 23, with most students returning on September 20. This is super exciting for Swing Dance Club! We've got a whole new batch of officers, ready to expand the Club to even greater involvement and membership than ever before.

Here's a glimpse of all the exciting stuff we've got planned for Welcome Week 2009:

Monday Meetings
Meetings are in Pomerene 213 (same room as last year), but an hour later with lessons starting at 8PM. We'll be starting a week early, September 21, to take advantage of Welcome Week.

Involvement Fair
The Involvement Fair is Monday, September 21, from 12:00 - 4:00 PM on the Oval. We'll be manning a booth, handing out flyers, and maybe even using a laptop to show some cool videos. This could be a fun chance to wander around, dance, and hand out flyers (see Lindy Bombing below).

United We Dance
This is Saturday, September 26 at 8:00 PM in the North Gym. The schedule is as follows:
DanceSportOSU 8:00-8:45
Swing Dance Club 8:50-9:35
TangoOSU 9:40-10:25
This beginning-of-the-year mixer is a great experience for all interested dancers to come see what OSU has to offer. ALL (including non-OSU-affiliated persons) interested people are welcome to attend for FREE! For continual updates, check out the event on facebook:

Lindy Bombing
I'm thinking of three particular instances:
  • Involvement Fair - Mon Sept. 21 12:00-4:00PM - we wander around, dance, and hand out flyers
  • Picnic with the Buckeyes - Tues Sept. 22 6:00-7:30PM - we show up with flyers and dance to the Columbus Jazz Orchestra! It takes place on the South Oval and should be a fun experience for everyone involved!
  • On the Oval - TBD - We'll just hit the Oval one day with some flyers and a boombox and have some fun! I'm thinking this will wait until a few weeks into the Quarter so new members can get in on the fun!
There's a lot to be excited about at OSU this Fall with regards to Swing Dancing!

Take care,

Jul 24, 2009

Ohio Swing Voters in the Doo Dah Parade!

If you live in Columbus and you’ve never seen the Doo Dah Parade, you are missing out! It’s a very loosely organized (you just show up) Fourth of July parade that REALLY celebrates freedom. The freedom to dress in funny outfits, sling puns around recklessly, and poke fun at politics. And march down the street wearing a red metallic speedo, if that’s your thing. (It’s not my thing but I support your right to do that sort of thing…)

Anyway, the parade is free and there’s no registration process, so you just show up and get in line. Awesome. I grew up in Columbus and somehow never heard of this tradition that has been going on for 26 years! Since discovering it a few years ago, I’ve been wanting to be IN the parade. This year my wish came true, thanks to my dancing friends who were kind enough to roll out of bed early on a holiday with smiles on their faces and not a hint of resentment towards me for dragging them into it.

The theme we had come up with was ‘Ohio Swing Voters’ to poke fun at our great state’s glorious reputation in the last few presidential elections. We had 5 dancers, a wagon, a piece of posterboard, some sharpie markers, and a boombox. Right before the parade we were down on hands and knees scribbling our slogans on white t-shirts and slathering on the sunscreen. Our shirts said “Ohio Swing Voters”, “I SWING BOTH WAYS”, “????UNDECIDED????”, and that sort of thing.

We lined up a few places behind the ‘swine flu’ group in their hospital gowns and pig noses, and ahead of the zombie wedding group. Optimus sub-Prime walked by while we waited. When the parade got going, I realized quickly that my friends were going to hate me after about 2 blocks. The pace was a lot faster than it had seemed when I watched in previous years. And we were doing this the hard way- dancing instead of walking. I may as well have asked them to do cartwheels for 10 blocks.

We dug deep within ourselves and danced the whole 1.2 miles! (Mostly!) With 5 people it worked out to have one person pull the wagon while 2 couples danced. It was challenging figuring out how to keep up with the parade while dancing, but our theme got lots of laughs. We could hear people reading our t-shirts and signs out loud as they were trying to figure out why the heck we were dancing. It was EXHAUSTING but we made it and nobody seemed to hate me afterwards. In fact, we’re going to make it a tradition!

Four of us made it into a slide show on the Columbus Dispatch’s website, and we heard rumors of news coverage too, but have no idea what network. Comment if you know!

For next year, we’re making a few improvements. We’re going to have a car (or a band- anyone?) for our music instead of a boombox. Turns out boomboxes are not very good amplifiers in large, open spaces. We’re also bringing a lot more water and a lot more people. Join us next year!!

(my advice if you want to do the parade is simple: water+sunscreen+good shoes. You’ll thank me later)
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