Category Archives: basics

Should Lindy Hop Follows Step Forward Or Back On 1?

I recently was asked this question:  “Step forward or back on 1 for follows in lindy hop?”  Ok, it was a search term that came to the site, but that’s the same thing, right? 🙂

Ok, first things first.  If you’re asking the question, you’re putting yourself in the novice stage of the Dreyfus model;  You’re asking for a rule.  That’s fine.  Novices need rules.

So what’s the answer?  Let me be careful and specific about my opinion: Novice follows should step in the direction they’re led in on 1.  If you’re led forward, step forward.  If you’re led into a rock step OR if you have directional momentum from the previous move which leads you into a rock step, then rock-step.  If you’re given no directional lead, do your footwork in place.  That’s not quite as simple as stepping forward or back, I know.  Step in the direction you’re led on 1, otherwise step in place.  Perhaps that’s simpler re-statement.

Ok, so what are the real-world implications of this rule?  Well, leads and follows have to be working on frame.  If, as a novice follow, you’re not connecting well to your lead, you might miss the direction he leads.  Leads, you have to lead in a direction.

Great, that’s the novice version.  What’s the roadmap to the future?  First there’s lots of floor-time experimenting with connection.  Experimenting with tensing and relaxing different muscles along the arm, in the back, and in your core.  Experimenting with different frame at different speeds, with different leads, to different rhythms, in different directions.  Along the way, you’ll begin to appreciate that the directional lead can be a combination of the momentum from the last move, the connection from the lead, and choices the follow makes (presuming the lead is listening on your dance connection and not just speaking).

What rules were you given as a novice?  Do you still follow them all the time?  What’s the philosophical grounding for the rule?  Do the lead and follow both have to agree on philosophy before agreeing to dance?

Basics and Styling

I recently read Mary Freitag’s post on The Secret to Swinging your Follower Stylings where she advocates adding triple-steps to stylings to really make them swing.
Really cool idea.  I like it on multiple levels.  First off, it emphasizes to the advanced dancer that good stylings work so much better when they’re musically inspired.  You can explore using a triple in any two beats (either a triple-step or triple-stamp).  You probably already know it, but it’s always eye opening to see someone apply that in a way that I haven’t thought of before.

h/t to Mary for the video reference.  Frida at 1:00:

To the novice:
Do your triples.  Seriously.  Do them.  It’s so much easier to tap-step or kick-step in every place where you should be tripling.  And it’s not that you shouldn’t ever do those variations.  But if you can’t triple-step, then your styling variation has become your basic.  And my philosophical position is, “It’s bad to let what should be a styling become one’s basic.”

And believe me, I’ve been there.  Here’s some teeth-grinding video of me on the Atomic Swing Team, not doing triples.

Do your triples.