Putting your feet to the beat
Early in January, blog co founder Tracy Isaacs pulled together a group blog post on our words of the year, those words or phrases which will anchor us in our daily practice. I chose imagine for 2023. I wrote:
for awhile I have felt I’m on the cusp of something. While I’m not sure what it is, I’m letting myself imagine all kinds of possibilities. The questions that guide me are “what if?” and “why not?” I don’t know where this word imagine will take me; however, I believe it will be risky, freeing, exciting, and maybe a little wondrous.
In that vein, when a friend sent round a note suggesting we give Lindy Hop a whirl, I thought why not? Even though I have two left feet, I enjoy dancing. Despite some disastrous events with low-impact aerobics, Zumba, jazzercise, and ballet, I have persisted in exploring choreographed movement that does not involve bathing suits, weights, running, or cycling. And I love swing music so there I went.
Lindy Hop has its origins in Black Harlem beginning in the 1920s. One of the four dances of swing (the others being the Balboa, the Collegiate shag, and the Charleston) the Lindy Hop is all about social connection and consent. If you want to dance, you ask. Once consent is given, you dance.
Lindy Hop has leaders and followers. The follower mirrors the leader’s direction and steps. I definitely fall into the follower camp. I also count and talk to myself while dancing so I can keep my left and right feet moving as they should, which to be honest, they frequently do not.
My first class was this week. It was fun and a wee bit intimidating (remember I have two left feet plus I am right-left dyslexic). Mirroring is a challenge. Lindy hop was also a surprisingly effective workout. I got my steps in, my heart rate up, and I met some lovely new people.
No fancy gear is required. Loose comfortable clothing is recommended along with court shoes. A bottle of water is advisable. With COVID still prevalent, we all wore masks which may have contributed to some of the warmth we felt. The organizers also had lots of hand sanitizer available for when we switched partners. From what I could tell, we were at all levels of experience and ages.
My biggest takeaway was that fitness once again doesn’t have to be about sports. I have written about housework, gardening, and even snow shoveling as fitness activities, but while gardening can be very therapeutic, I can’t say housework or shoveling qualify as fun, which in my opinion Lindy Hop definitely does.
Here’s to more fun in fitness and enjoying all the ways my body can move.