This is a project I started in 2012, nearing the end of my second year as a Lindy Hopper. I wanted to document my growth as a dancer over time in order to self-critique strengths and weaknesses, assess what has progressed and what still needs work.
At first, the videos were hard enough to watch just by myself, I never even thought of sharing these. But then I realized as I progressed just how much I was improving. It made me feel more confident about my dancing as a whole. “If I could go from that to that in such a small amount of time, think what I’ll be like in a year from now!”
And then the realization hit me, everyone starts as beginner. Even the superstars we know and love were once trying to figure out the basic, the magic that is keeping frame and tension, and everything else that seems so baffling on those first few lessons. So I figured my videos could be helpful not only to me, but to other aspiring social dancers, even the most cringe-worthy ones towards the beginning.
So here they are, the videos I’ve collected over the years. I’ve provided the year and the name of my partner in each video, plus a few notes besides. I hope you enjoy and maybe feel inspired to share your own videos.
Partner: Jony Navarro, at Lindy Focus X (December)
This is the first video ever taken with the intention of future comparisons. I have been dancing for almost two whole years at this point.
Partner: Peter Strom, at A Floor Divided (November)
So, during my swing dance career, I had the privilege of being the president of FSU’s Swing Dance Club for two and a half years. During my time as president, I put on several local and regional events, but probably the one I’m most proud of is A Floor Divided because we were able to bring down my favorite international instructor, Peter Strom. I feel so lucky to have this video because not only am I dancing with my favorite teacher, but I’m dancing with him to my favorite song.
Partner: Jon Tigert, at Lindy Focus XI (December)
Taken exactly one year after the first video and I was really happy to see how much I progressed. (Fun fact: had no idea who Jon Tigert was until I saw him compete in the Advanced Jack & Jill.)
Partner: Kevin Nguyen, at Lonestar at Lindyfest (March)
(I’m in the yellow top and start at 3:21)
This was my third Jack and Jill, first time I made finals and I placed third.
Partner: Peter Strom, at Swing Out New Hampshire (August)
I cannot believe how lucky I am to have not one, but TWO videos of me dancing with my favorite instructor. The best part is that now you can definitely see how much I’ve improved by dancing with the same partner. I’ve lost a lot of the little annoying things (like the head flip). I still have to work on my presence and posture and a whole bunch of other stuff, but I can’t help be proud of how much I’ve progressed!
Performance: Big Apple Lindy Hoppers @ NISE
Partner: Roy Graham
My first performance with my first dance troupe!
Partner: Michael Quisao, November 1st
I still do a little hunch, shortening my neck, but I’ve stopped pulling faces (except for when mugging is appropriate). I do need to work on my fast dancing. (The goal being to look calm and in control even when your feet are moving faster than you can think. And only conditioning and practice can get you there.) (To read the entire story behind this video, click here.)
Partner(s): James Pack, Payam Fahren, & Ben White, July 18th
Not going to lie, I have been very lax when it has come to dance in comparison to previous years and it shows. Watching these videos makes me squirm in every way. First off: POSTURE! I’m pretty much yelling at myself. It shrinks my entire torso and makes my flailing limbs look like they have even less control. And too big of rock steps (if they’re going to be that big, might as well be a kick back instead). AND POINTING MY TOES DURING CHARLESTON! Ugh. And don’t get me started on my fall off the logs! Also, posture! Posture! POSTURE!
Now I have a lot more to work on. So that’s good?