Fast Lindy Pt 1 - Glutes & Shallow Feet

My teachers have always commented that if you want to get better and improve your lindy technique you want to dance either really slow or really fast as mid-tempo allows you to get away with a lot. Anecdotally, I find that to be true. Slow songs are the hardest for me and fast dancing often breaks me. All the more reason to work on it :) Right now, I'm focusing on fast dancing, trying to get comfortable at ~220bpm.

Some notes thus far:

  1. Staying relaxed in the legs is really important: This is naturally hard for me to do. I want to control my motion, including my down-and-up by engaging my quads and hamstrings. What fast dancing has taught me though, is how crucuial it is to relinquish this control and relax the muscles around the knees and ankles. When this is done, the engagement is transferred to the glutes. This is beneficial as the glutes are the largest muscle and can therefore power through fast songs without wearing out. Relaxing those other leg muscles also saves energy. Lastly, focusing on (or rather, trusting in) the glute engagement naturally moves you towards a bent-over lindy shape. It's hard to fully describe this feeling and shift in focuses, but the best analogy I can think of is to treat your legs like those figurines where, if you press on a button below them, they crumple. I imagines my legs are like that and "release them", causing my knees to bend and my glutes to catch me. As a next step, I need to work on getting this feeling throughout my dancing and not just in isolated "bounce" practice.

  2. Stay small & shallow: "Take smaller steps" is a common refrain dancers will hear from instructors, but it's all the more important the faster the tempo gets; you simply don't have the time to travel farther. Something new my practice partner pointed out to me, though, is how high I was picking up my feet as I was moving across the floor. That takes time and energy (and is probably related to note relaxing my legs as in point 1). Thinking about taking both small and shallow steps seems to be helping.