Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Kevin and Jo - Connection

I've been having fun lately posing questions to people while out at dances.  

I've found that when asking follows who their favorite professional female Lindy Hoppers are I tend to get a more varied list, with more interesting reasons, than when I ask men the same question about male Lindy Hoppers.  Good job, girls.

When I asked Emma Bramer this question yesterday the conversation moved to Jo Hoffberg.  Her connection, control, and creativity definitely stand out.

Above is a clip I found a while back on her blog, Jazz It Up With Jo.  You'll have to search a few pages back to find the article, but that really shouldn't be a problem if you're into commentary on events, competitions, and even vintage fashion.  

She describes this clip as one of her favorite social demo's with Kevin. Pay special attention to the connection they have through their arms.  This solid connection is the foundation for many of the interesting and fun movements they perform here, and is just as dependent on the follow as the lead.  Hitting the right balance of not too heavy and not too light (the Goldilocks zone) takes practice.  It also takes a lead who gives the follow more time extended and doesn't just bring her back and forth at every opportunity.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.  

Does anything else stand out about this demo to you?


Spiker226 said...

I think this is a great video to start out with. I've been thinking lately how not many scenes really try and build dancers into having what you call the "Goldilocks connection". The only way to really get it is from experimenting or through private instruction. The scenes that do go over it, describe it, but I personally did not really understand what was needed until I actually felt it myself, and even then sometimes I feel like I don't understand it. I can understand it's a hard thing to teach, especially in a large lesson, but that's what workshops are supposedly for.

Tom Blair said...

Yes, I agree. Describing it, watching it, and feeling it are completely different. Only until you've dancing for a while and learned to feel it does it really sink in.

I would suggest that this is strongly connected into the timing of a lead-in in a swingout. Almost everyone in our scene leads in on the 1. Most people don't even realize that there's a choice, but leading in on a 2 or 3 or 3 1/2 is a completely viable option - and once this is practiced with the follows you dance with you'll find that follows learn to trust the connection with the arm rather than just walking forward on a 1. It does take a lot of practice but leads to more trust in the connection and less on repeated and learned movements.