[Callers] The Beginners' Lesson Tips?

Richard Mckeever macmck at ymail.com
Tue Oct 4 09:28:33 PDT 2011

It makes me cringe when I see anyone trying to teach beginners a buzz step.  We emphasize the dance is done with a smooth walking step - so let them continue that into the swing rather than encouraging them to start bouncing up and down.

Once they are comfortable with the walking swing they can proceed on their own to a buzz step.  There is nothing wrong with a walking step and teaching the buzz step makes it seem like a requirement.

Mac Mckeever

From: John Sweeney <info at contrafusion.co.uk>
To: callers at sharedweight.net
Sent: Tuesday, October 4, 2011 11:11 AM
Subject: Re: [Callers] The Beginners' Lesson Tips?

I don't like relying on the "experienced dancers" to teach a buzz-step
swing as I know some of them have bad habits and I would like to
minimize how much of that is passed on :-)

I explain there are three parts: 
- the beginning - negotiating how to get into a comfortable position,
especially with a preceding balance
- the middle - the swing itself - focusing on being gentle and caring
about your partner - how to avoid dizziness
- the end - absolutely critical - this is where it all goes wrong and
the lady ends up on the left - describe the position as an arrow-head,
with the joined hands being the point and aim the arrowhead in the
direction the caller calls - this is also the chance to explain the
terms up, down and across - then open out and keep in contact (another
element that beginners need to be taught - stay in contact with as many
people as possible as often as possible)

If time is short at the very least I cover: being gentle, avoiding
dizziness and finishing with the lady on the right.

A good way to practice the swing is to make a big circle, put on some
music and call:
Into the middle and back
Swing your Neighbour
Into the middle and back
Swing your Neighbour

This give new dancers a chance to have lots of swings with different
people and get used to finishing on the right side and at the right
time, but without any pressure - they can recover from faults on the
"into the middle" - which you can call multiple times if necessary until
they are ready for the next swing.

More details at http://www.contrafusion.co.uk/Contra.html#swinging

            Happy dancing,

John Sweeney, Dancer, England  john at modernjive.com 01233 625 362 &
07802 940 574
http://www.contrafusion.co.uk for Dancing in Kent

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