Dance Lindy Hop
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Dancing Lindy Hop just makes you happy, it gets you in contact with lots of great people and brightens up any mood.
It’s the perfect way to let go after a long day of working in Heidelberg!
Lindy Hop is superfun, and quite easy with a bit of practice. Even I can do it (more or less :D)Leo
Dive into a wonderful world full of dance and culture
In the clubs of Harlem in the 20s the Black American community developed Swing music and with it the Lindy Hop, the “Dance of Freedom”.
Out of the hardest circumstances, faced with daily racism and discrimination they developed something wonderful.
They created a dance that radiates so much happiness and energy that even 100 years later, it’s still a worldwide movement that excites and unites more and more people all around the globe.
Lindy Hop has deep roots in Black American culture and comes with a lot of space for improvisation and creativity.
It’s not about doing the exact same steps ever more perfectly.
Lindy Hop is about being yourself. Sometimes quiet, sometimes loud, sometimes small, sometimes big, sometimes silly, sometimes elegant.
Find your own style.
You don’t need a dance partner because when dancing and in class, we change partners often.
Everyone dances with everyone.
In the first lesson you will already get to meet many awesome new people and dance with almost all of them.
That’s how new friendships are quickly developed between people that might otherwise have never met.
Even as a complete beginner you are getting right into the action because it’s all about the joy of dancing and expressing yourself.
At SwingStep you can get to know all dance roles right away. Everyone can learn to lead and to follow, independent of their gender.
That’s how you will always find someone to dance with.
You can bring as many friends as you’d like because dancing together is even more fun.
Start in Heidelberg and become part of a worldwide community, united by the joy of dancing, music and culture.
We would love to get to know you!
Sign up and then just come to one of these lessons for free
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The entrance is on the eastern side of the building (toward Stadtwerke), nicely reachable from the Kurfürsten-Anlage itself or from the Kirchstraße.
Public Transportation: many busses, streetcars, trains; stops “Hauptbahnhof” or “Stadtwerke”.
Parking: street parking, best-found in the Kirchstraße. (Please do not park in the yard.)
Pure good mood, more entertaining than jogging or jumping rope. I am always in a good mood in the end.Werner
I loved swing from the first moment on, but I didn’t expect that the classes would be so much fun. They are! Especially because of partner changes (interesting and you cannot be unlucky).Eva
Dancing Lindy Hop relaxes me and clears my mind. I look forward to it every week.Stefan
The best intensive course I’ve ever been to: thoughtful and thoroughly planned lessons, and a close community feel thanks to the limited numbers and the friendly teachers and adminJosep
Swing is a dance that is a lot of fun because you can just try a lot of things and it’s not a problem if a move goes wrong.Lisa
You want to know what it’s like to dance with us?
Watch some videos here, or just drop by and see for yourself.
– We would love to get to know you.
FAQ for beginners
The most common word people use to describe Lindy Hop is “fun”! And we agree: What makes this dance so unique is that it takes the best of two worlds: a great connection to your partner balanced with an amazing freedom of self-expression.
But to stop at “fun” doesn’t do the dance justice. Lindy Hop was created in the 1920s in Harlem, a Black neighbourhood in New York City. It was born of hard times, of people creating something new, pushing past their stresses and troubles, defying racism and other hardships with joyous expression. We’ve prepared more content for both History as well as well as Anti-Racism in today’s Lindy Hop community..
Contrary to many traditional partnered dances we know in Europe, Lindy Hop is centred around improvisation and freedom of expression. This means that both partners influence and create the dance together spontaneously, like a conversation between friends. It also means that there isn’t just one right way to do things, instead you have your own interpretation and can display your personality. It’s also a “social dance”, which means that we strive to learn how to dance with any other Lindy hopper wherever they might be from; in our classes that means that from day one you get to experience the joy of learning with a whole group instead of a fixed partner.
Our answer is: no! Well, sort of 😉
Lindy hop is part of a family of swing dances such as Charleston, Shag, Balboa, Blues and others.
Because this dance culture is not strictly defined by rules, as you continue dancing you’ll hear these words used in different ways. For now, you can think of Swing as a big umbrella that covers a lot of dances, and Lindy Hop and partnered Charleston are what we’re doing. Many dancers use the term Lindy Hop for both Lindy Hop and Charleston as well as Solo Jazz, since most lindy hoppers dance all of these interchangeably within the dance.
Today in the broader dance world, when people refer to jazz dance, they are usually referring to a dance style that appears on Broadway and other performance contexts, a discipline that’s connected to contemporary and ballet dance – and, incidentally, is usually danced to non-jazz music.
When we lindy hoppers talk about jazz dance though, we usually mean solo dancing to jazz music. Sometimes this is in the context of partnered dance – breaking away from our partner to express ourselves independently before coming back together again. Sometimes it’s a full dance on its own, alone or in a social environment with one or many partners (but without touching).
Solo Jazz, like Lindy Hop, has a set of so-called basics, moves and movements that are so classic and common that they appear in many contexts and that most experienced dancers know them. Often you’ll hear these most classic steps referred to as “vernacular jazz”. Vernacular means “originating from the people”; these steps were not created in dance schools or on stages by professional artists, they are movements that come directly from the everyday experiences and expressions of the people.
Also, like Lindy Hop, the dance is all about self-expression, so a big part of Solo Jazz is to create your own way of doing things and putting your personality into what you do.
When dancing with a partner, we talk about leaders and followers. Classically, the person dancing in the role of leader initiates movements and directions and the follower interprets and actively dances them. However, there is no hierarchy to the roles and throughout the dance both partners continuously make decisions on how and where to go. This means we have two definitions of leading and following:
- the basic position you take and which movements you tend to do: the leader usually starts the dance standing on the left side of the follower and starts moving with the left foot, while the follower is on the leader’s right and starts with the right foot.
- the partner who initiates a movement is “leading” it and the person reacting is “following”. These actions happen independent from the basic role.
- We can take this thought further and think of Lindy hop as a team creation: whether the team is you and the music, you and your partner and the music, or an entire group of dancers creating movement to the music. Partners and teams co-create the dance.
In Lindy Hop, we don’t see the dance roles as gendered. Our scene welcomes anybody to dance either role. It is also common for Lindy hop dancers to learn both roles as their dancing ability advances, and at a social dance to change roles every dance or even within one dance. So it doesn’t matter how you identify, you can dance either one or both roles.
In order for the leader-follower balance to work in class, in our regular partner dance classes we ask that you register in one role and dance that role throughout the full course. We do occasionally also offer ELEF classes, where you get the opportunity to learn both perspectives in one class. Those classes might be marked as ELEF in the title or description. If you have any more questions about this, feel free to talk to your teachers or send us an email.
At SwingStep, we encourage everybody to see themselves as dancers rather than “Leaders” or “Followers”. This is why we offer ELEF classes that give everybody the opportunity to learn the dance from the Leader and Follower perspectives. This is known as “Everybody Leads and Everybody Follows” or “Switch dancing”.
As the name suggests, when you take these classes, you’ll get the opportunity to learn the content from both perspectives. This will allow you to deepen your understanding of the concepts and ideas more deeply, dance with anyone in the class and never have to wait for the right amount of “opposite roles” to show up so that you can dance.
When you book a subscription with us, you’ll have access to any classes you want as well as all the online classes. If you have primarily explored the dance from one perspective, you can use your subscription to join classes that suit your experienced level in the role you have less experience in.
Question: What if I feel too challenged doing both roles?
Answer: We encourage you to take care of your own needs at this moment. For example, make an agreement with your dancing partner to either get the help you need or revert to your stronger role.
Question: What if I only want to learn one role?
Answer: We encourage learning both roles, because it makes you a more flexible dancer and brings more dancing opportunities (and also fun). However, we will not force you to switch roles. Take care of your own preferences and needs.
Question: What if I want to only dance with my partner?
Answer: We strongly encourage you to rotate and explore the dance with everybody in the class. However, we will not force you to rotate or switch. Take care of your own preferences and needs.
The quick answer is: most likely yes!
Here’s why: Lindy Hop is not a standardised dance with rigid rules of conduct. You can dance it slow or fast; choose relaxed and easy going steps, or flashy and even athletic movements. You can dance it in either role independent of the traditional stereotypical gendered roles. You can express joy, passion or excitement to just mention a few possibilities. These are just a few reasons why we can find people from all walks of life enjoying Lindy Hop.
So if you are looking for an activity that gets you moving and is fun at the same time, if you are looking for a world away from the everyday grind, if you are searching for a place where you can start something that will fill you with energy, then yes, Lindy Hop is for you. Learn more about this here.
It doesn’t have to be!
We want everyone to have access to Lindy Hop, independent of their financial situation. At the same time, we are a business, and need to charge money in order to offer our activities. So, in order to make it possible for anyone to join, we have created a Pay-it-Forward Fund. Subscribers who can afford a little more contribute to the fund, and those who need a discount can use the fund.
If you want PiF funding, please email us with your request and we’ll create a discount code you can use in your registration. No explanations required; please don’t be shy with your requests!
If you want to contribute, you can make a one-time donation, or you can set up a PiF subscription to make regular contributions.
We hope so!
Our aim and vision for the SwingStep community is that anyone – from any background, age group and physical ability, of any race, gender or sexual identity – should feel welcome and at home at our classes and events.
To a great extent, we believe we have created a very welcoming environment for anyone interested in the culture of swing dancing. This is not to say that inappropriate gestures and uncomfortable experiences never happen in our community. However, we are committed to fight for you and support you with what you need to make our classes, events and community a place where you can be yourself and have fun without having to keep your guard up.
Common worries people have when approaching us for the first time are:
- I don’t speak the language well
- I’m too old
- Are there other Black people?
- Will the community be friendly to foreigners?
- I feel a bit too overweight for dancing
- I prefer to dance in the non-traditional role; will people support this or will it be awkward?
No matter what your concern, we hope that we can make Lindy Hop a welcoming place for you. If you ever experience any issues, please don’t hesitate to contact us – talk to your teachers or send us an email. Also, please have a look at our Safer Spaces and Code of Conduct page to see more details on expected behaviour and how we handle difficult situations.
Corona: Current Rules
We currently don’t require any proof of vaccination, recovery, or a Schnelltest in order to join classes with us.
However, we strongly encourage all dancers to test themselves regularly – no matter whether you’re vaccinated or not. Even if you only take one class per week, most of our teachers and many other dancers are also in other classes, so the number of connected people is higher than you might think.
And of course we know that Schnelltests aren’t perfect; especially with the current variants a negative Schnelltest isn’t a guarantee. So please stay careful: stay home if you feel any symptoms (you can catch up using our online lessons! ;P). And let us know if you test positive after having attended class, so that we can let the other students know that it’s time to test themselves again too.
We are happy to say that we can continue allowing partner change in classes.
Do not attend class if you have Covid-19 symptoms or you’ve tested positive, or if you’ve been in recent contact with someone with Covid-19. Our hand washing station is there for you when you enter the studio as usual. We’ll keep the studio ventilated to ensure air flow.
We encourage you to wear a mask in the hallway and when using the bathroom. You’re also welcome to wear a mask while dancing, but it’s not required.
In case of an infection, we’ll do our best to inform everyone involved. Please keep your subscription info up to date and accurate; go to your Account Page to make any changes.
When you sign up and participate in our classes, you do this at your own risk. We’ll do all we can to make it as safe as possible, but of course we cannot make any guarantee. By participating, you acknowledge that you’re aware of the risk and that SwingStep GmbH can’t be held responsible for possible infections.
You also promise that you will follow our hygiene rules, to protect yourself and others.