Teach me to swing dance without leaving my house
February 21, 2010 11:08 AM   Subscribe

What's a good beginner's swing dancing DVD?

My wife and I are looking for a good instructional DVD that teaches swing dancing. Both of are absolute novices at all types of dancing, but swing dancing looks fun and we love dancing with each other (however badly)

I understand the limitations of DVD instruction, but for now that's what we've got the time for right now. We're looking for something that's pretty basic, but will give us enough knowledge to dance competently at weddings, parties, etc. Something that's cheap/available on Netflix would be ideal, but we're willing to sacrifice a little money if the DVD is good.
posted by Bulgaroktonos to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
There are a lot of styles of swing dancing out there. My knowledge is for west coast, which is generally danced to slower or medium tempo songs (~70-120bpm) and tends to draw from blues and contemporary music when danced socially, although it can be danced to almost anything in 4/4 time. West coast is a smooth, relaxed version of swing dancing; if you want to see how it looks, you can do a youtube search and find all kinds of videos. Some of the pros that you might want to search for include Jordan Frisbee, Tatiana Mollman, Kyle Redd, Sarah Vann Drake, Brennar Goree, Torri Smith, Ben Morris, and Melina Ramirez.

Skippy Blair has put together a West Coast 101 DVD that covers the basic patterns of the dance in a well-thought out progression. Skippy is one of the best dance instructors out there and this DVD is a very solid introduction to the dance. You can find info for ordering the DVD from her website: http://www.swingworld.com/wcs.htm. I would be surprised if the DVD is available via Netflix, but it's only $20 to purchase.
posted by philosophygeek at 11:37 AM on February 21, 2010

No DVD, but here's a series on online videos.
posted by TDIpod at 11:38 AM on February 21, 2010

I can't recommend learning from videos instead of a real, live, good instructor. If you want to try it out, though, I can recommend iDance.net. It's run by two wonderful dancers/teachers/organizers that I'm very fond of, and they do a great job recording lessons, breaking things down, and getting fresh material for the site.

My main love is Lindy Hop; for that, you may want to check out the Beginning Lindy Hop pack (with Michael and Jaya, the couple who run the site) or the Intro to Lindy Hop pack (with Kevin and Jo, also great teachers). Or just poke around. You should be able to see a free preview of any video.
posted by ymendel at 10:44 PM on February 21, 2010

Paul Overton & Sharon Ashe are super, super lindy hop/swing dance teachers. They made some videos which might be available on DVD. Also the late, none-greater Frankie Manning and Erin Stevens made a series of videos.

Like ymendel, I cannot recommend learning from either videos only or learning only with your spouse. Speaking from experience, you honestly can't really get it from a video or from dancing with just one partner. If you want to be able to dance socially both of these will lead, I think, to bad habits. In an ideal situation you'd both take group lessons and social dance with many other people. This will give you good fundamentals make the time you do dance together better.
posted by turbodog at 11:45 AM on February 22, 2010

This might not be the best place to learn from as an absolute novice, but to other people looking here this can be a great resource:

Jam cellar
is a Lindy hop (one of the variants of swing dancing) venue in DC that also teaches a lot of lessons.

They don't post the actual lessons online, but they do post a brief review of everything they teach in all of their lessons, everything from lessons for absolute beginners to lessons for people thinking about doing aerials or competing. If you are willing to put in some effort to figure out an practice, these videos can teach you almost as much as you'd get by going to the lesson. But as a beginner it might be a little difficult to figure out everything you need to be doing without someone there teaching you in person.

It might be worth a try to look for the first video in one of the beginner series and seeing if you can pick it up. Remember that the videos are an hour long lesson compressed into 3 minutes so try not to get frustrated if it takes you 5 or ten times watching the video before it really starts to makes sense, and another 30 minutes of going through the motions to really get it down.
posted by vegetableagony at 10:05 PM on February 24, 2010

Here is part one of six a basic swing series.
posted by vegetableagony at 10:07 PM on February 24, 2010

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