Levels of any class are a highly subjective matter, and our view of class levels will inevitably be different from a teacher you may have had before. The main thing that defines our approach to levels is how far each level is on the overall journey. We’re very happy for people joining Uptown Swing to try out classes before committing to a course to make sure the levels are right for you.
Beginners classes run in 12-week courses, during which we cover the basics in 6-count and 8-count Lindy Hop. You will learn the foundations of the dance, the core moves and some extra fun moves and basic jumps. The full beginners cycle covers 6 weeks of “8-count” Lindy Hop, 4 weeks of “6-count” Lindy Hop, and 2 weeks of Lindy Charleston. These comprise the main basic rhythms/footwork in Lindy Hop, and you should attend from the start of each block of material.
You don’t need any experience for beginners classes. You don’t need special clothing or footwear – just what is comfortable for you to move around in. And don’t worry – if you’re nervous, you’re not the only one! Find out more.
Improvers level classes are about refining material learned in beginners classes, expanding your repertoire and developing your style. You will learn a load of new figures as well as looking in more depth at technique – particularly for key moves such as Swing-outs – and develop an appreciation for principles of leading & following and partner connection. At this level we also start to become conscious of musicality in our dancing.
You should be familiar with the core moves including Tuck Turn, Change Places, Texas Tommy, Lindy Circle, Swing-out and Basic Lindy Charleston, as we build upon these moves and work on variations. We also mix up 6- and 8-count moves, so you will need to be very comfortable with these rhythms. You should be comfortable with triple steps. Even if you are a brilliant dancer, it is not recommended that you skip forward without doing beginners, or try to learn on the job – we want you to progress as quickly as possible but you cannot jump ahead without learning the basics! Find out more.
Intermediate classes are for those who have a solid grasp of the core figures (Tuck Turn, Change Places, Texas Tommy, Lindy Circle, Swing-out and Basic Lindy Charleston) and a good knowledge of the repertoire covered in Improvers classes, including Send-outs, Basket, Catapult, Tandem and Hand-to-Hand Charleston, and some variations on key moves such as Swing-Outs. You will also have an appreciation of lead and follow connection, tension and frame, and your footwork should be second nature. You’ve also probably started thinking a little more about your relationship to swing music.
In these classes we will look at more complex combinations of familiar figures and develop a repertoire of entirely new material. We will look in more depth at technique and cover some interesting variations on Swing-outs and other moves. We will also look at different footwork patterns and develop styling and musicality across all of our dancing.
By now you are probably quite into your dancing and have begun to social dance regularly, or at least have a feel for improvisation. Find out more.
If you’re here, the chances are you’re not dabbling anymore: you’ve been bitten by the bug, it ain’t going away, and now you want to be a kick-arse dancer. As the name suggests, these classes bridge the gap between intermediate and advanced. You should be comfortable with all the material listed in the Intermediate level description, and you should be able to comfortably social dance all night to a range of tempos up to 180bpm.
For many teachers, the litmus test for an advanced dancer is the quality of your swing outs. We will continually look at technique for this important figure, as well as more complex combinations, footwork/styling variations, and fast tempos. And of course, more killer moves for your repertoire: fun Texas Tommy variations, Charleston figures, Slides, Followers’ tricks, and some non-acrobatic “airsteps”. We will also develop further important concepts in technique, a more in-depth look at musicality, partner response, free improvisation, and advanced floorcraft. The general pace of learning also gets faster. But we encourage students to help each other with problems, share ideas and think critically. We like you to go away with material to digest and assimilate, not just regurgitate. Find out more.
These sessions are intended for the most experienced dancers who maybe feel that their development has stagnated or perhaps feel they’ve been to a lot of lessons and would like a new challenge. You should have danced for a number of years, attended international camps and be confident mixing up rhythms and styles. The sessions will include self-directed practice time so you should be collecting youtube clips, ideas and targets for yourself. Of course, in the first couple of sessions we will help you to understand where to start so you have clear targets for your dancing.
Each lesson includes 30 minutes of solo jazz, 60 minutes of directed partner work and 30 minutes of practice time. Find out more.