The workshop kicked off with a tutorial on the basic steps of swing dance; each pair of newbies switched parts as they learned both to lead and to follow. Once students caught on to the basics, the instructors stepped it up a notch by teaching improvisational dancing – treating the participants to a dazzling demonstration of how the pros do it. The young dancers couldn’t contain their laughter as they tried valiantly to add some creative improvisation to their steps, with sometimes hilarious results.
Samantha and Brian let the students catch their breath while they presented the history of swing, offering a glimpse into life in 1920’s Harlem, where the dance originated. A video clip of “Hellzapoppin,” one of the most iconic swing dance videos of all time, had the group mesmerized.
The afternoon wrapped up with a lesson on what Samantha referred to as “the Cupid shuffle of swing dance,” a popular line dance often performed at swing dance clubs.
Students left with a bounce in their steps (literally!), a working knowledge of swing dance fundamentals, and an appreciation for how the pros build on those basics to create one-of-a-kind visual masterpieces of movement.
To learn more about upcoming Saturday Series workshops and other opportunities in Youth Arts, email program director Stephanie Martinez at s.martinez @ singforhope.org.
All photo credits: Michelle Femminella