My First Lindyfest

Most people were pretty surprised when I told them that this was my first ever Lindyfest. The event has been around for many years, is widely loved,  and I tend to travel a decent amount. How did I never attend before?!  It was either too far away, and therefore, too expensive to get to, or bad timing for me, or something or other… the reasons aren’t important.  The point is, this year I got to go. I live in Austin, TX now, and Lindyfest fun was just a three hour car ride away.

I got in to Houston Thursday night for the event’s first dance. I was expecting a small dance with mostly local dancers and got a dance where I got to hang out with a bunch of my friends form far away places. It made me so so happy. Every night’s dance that followed brought the same level of excitement out of me. I think that when I’m really happy, it shows — particularly through my dancing. And this weekend, I felt like I was on. Everything worked. Even when it didn’t, it somehow did.

Classes were another great part of the weekend. They held a full day of classes Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, a whole day more than most workshop weekends. Classes were incredible. But the thing I want to focus on right now is the selection process for the Advanced track auditions. I was really happy about how this went down. It was Jack and Jill style, for about three songs. The tempos sped up with each consecutive song. But the part I most loved was that at one point, to a rather speedy tune, dancers were asked to only do swingouts. What a great way to clearly see people’s strengths! At that speed, either your swingouts are successful or they fall apart. You can fake it a little in a group of 20 other couples to a medium tempo song. You  might get lost in the crowd not triple-stepping and doing some fancy looking stuff. But this made it easy to pick out those that were truly ready to benefit from advanced level instruction and those that weren’t. I can’t count how many times I stood in an advanced level class recently at some events and tried to learn new and challenging material with someone who was not strong on their fundamental movement. This way, people don’t over-place themselves, and students can really benefit from class instruction. And for the teachers, they then get a class who’s students are more or less on the same page. And they can really challenge them all toward a new concept. And for those who didn’t get advanced, and thought it a misjudgment — there were plenty of opportunities to move up later in the weekend. There were two formal auditions (Friday and Saturday before classes), and any teacher could individually advance a student at their discretion during the event. I loved how the class level auditions were carried out. More events should do that.

I took Masters classes over the weekend and an Advanced Tap class taught by Chazz Young. And man oh man, were they mind melters. I think my favorite types of classes are the concept ones. That’s why I loved the Masters classes so much. My favorite class of the weekend was Peter and Ramona’s class. It was the first one of the weekend and the one that challenged my mind the most. No moves. We just focused on dancing with the person holding our hand. It was about communicating an idea. The class focused on the conversation without words. It was hard. It made us put ourselves in a vulnerable position, not relying on our “go-to” moves. It was great.

I’ll definitely go to Lindyfest again.  The best way I can describe it was that it was a little, big event. Because it is a big event. Lindyfest is a big deal. People flock to it. But even with all those people, even considering it was half a hotel event, it felt intimate. Ahh, what a great weekend.

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