We’ve changed how we name our lessons!

Lately we’ve been exploring new approaches for how we want to name our lessons here at SwingStep, and now we feel ready to roll out a new naming system across the board in both Heidelberg and Berlin. In this blog post we’ll give you a summary of the changes, as well as an explanation of our motivation and what we hope to achieve with this change.

New Lesson Names

To make it easy for you to translate between the old and new names and find what you’re looking for, we’ve made this table:

Former TitleNew TitleSubtitleRecommended Experience
Swing 1Lindy Hop Starter KitNo Experience Needed!Anyone can join, no prior Lindy Hop experience needed
Swing 2Lindy Hop FundamentalsFind Your GrooveYou’ve had a little bit of experience with Triple Steps and you’re now ready to dig deeper.
Swing 3Tucks and TurnsPut Your Own Spin on ItYou’re comfortable with Triple Steps, and probably have done a little bit of Charleston too. You should be comfortable with a few steps in closed, as well as open position (passbys, sendouts, take-ins).
Swing 4Swing Outs & SwivelsThe Iconic Move of Lindy HopYou’re very comfortable with Triple-Step based moves in both closed and open positions.
Swing 5Charleston ClassicsHand-to-Hand, Tandem & MoreYou’ve had a little bit of experience with Charleston and you’re now ready to dive into it fully. Being comfortable with Tuck Turns will also be very useful.
Swing 6 part 1Sugar PushesCool, Challenging, ElegantYou’re very comfortable with Triple Steps and feel comfortable shaping them to get where you need to go.
Swing 6 part 2Charleston Swing OutsKick It Up a NotchYou have some experience with Charleston and are comfortable dancing fast.
Lindy LabLifelong LearningPractice, Connect, ExploreYou’ve been dancing a while, and you’re comfortable social dancing using the classics (swing outs, tuck turns, sendouts, passbys, etc) at a variety of tempos.

If any of this is unclear to you, don’t hesitate to ask us!

Why are we making this change?

We put a lot of thought into how our school can get one step closer, and try to stay truer, to the values of Black American culture that Lindy Hop is a part of.

Lindy Hop was created as a social dance. Going dancing was a way for people to have a space to be themselves, because their lives were met with plenty of hardships and hostility. It wasn’t created within dance schools, nor with the common dance school mentality of clear structures, checklists and standardization of what’s “correct”. Although these qualities can be valuable, and they’re enjoyable to many people because they provide a sense of progression and improvement, they do move us further away from the dance’s roots. Attention and focus shifts away from finding more ways to creatively express ourselves, towards a scorecard-based mentality, in which “leveling up” takes attention away from what’s valued in the culture.

What do these values have to do with lesson names?

This is our current understanding:

  1. There is no single “correct” way to do Lindy Hop. Using a naming system for our courses that’s linear like our old numbered system has the risk of making it seem like you must do things in a very specific order, and that this will lead you through some sort of linear progress toward a single goal. Of course, we do still believe that it’s easier to learn some things earlier, to give you a foundation that makes more complex movements and concepts easier to do. So each course comes with our recommendation of what you’ll want to know before you join it, in order to give you a comfortable amount of challenge. But we don’t want to make it too rigid.
  1. Even if there were a single “correct” way to do Lindy Hop, none of us at SwingStep grew up within Lindy Hop and Black culture. So we want to take care not to position ourselves as the sole experts and arbiters to decide for you how your Lindy Hop should work. The new course names are based on what content is taught in the course, so that you can more easily decide what’s right for you.

    There are classics you can learn such as Tucks and Turns, Swing Outs & Swivels and Sugar Pushes; you have fundamental rhythmical feels such as Triple-Step or Charleston rhythms that you can improve on. And once you’ve learned these classics, whether you’ve learned them in our local classes, by taking our online videos, or elsewhere, you can join the Lifelong Learning lessons so that you can continue to develop as a dancer, in which the teachers will propose new areas of focus all the time.

    We hope you’ll join us for these new courses. In parallel we encourage you to seek out lessons by culture bearers and other mentors you can learn from – if you want recommendations you can ask us any time.

As a final thought: we agree this is a very small step, and on its own isn’t enough. We at SwingStep are still learning about how best to honour and reflect the culture (Black American culture in general, and Lindy Hop specifically) – we’ll never be finished learning! And we invite you to get in touch with us whenever you want to know more, and also to hold us accountable if you feel that we’re straying from our goal.