A typical dance class involves the teacher demonstrating and explaining a collection of specific dance
steps. However, as the students progress past the level of beginners, it can also be helpful to include some
more free-form exercises to help develop their skills—particularly their social dancing skills. This
section provides a brief selection of potential exercises.
- Perform Lindy Turns that do not rotate exactly 360°, perhaps turning 90° less or more. This
allows the dancers to get a feel for how to adjust their rotation on a social dance floor, where they may
have to move in irregular amounts of space.
- Similarly, practice Lindy Turns that travel across the floor so that the dancers do not end up back
where they started. This helps navigation on the social dance floor (particularly if they try moving in a
variety of different directions), and helps the lead-follow connection to develop beyond mere rote.
- Practise Lindy Turns with different alignments between the count of the move and the phrasing of the
music. The rock-step of the move (counts 1 and 2 of the move given in the Lindy Turn section) can align
with any of beats 1, 3, 5 or 7 of the musical phrasing. For each variation, a different part of the move
should be emphasized when it aligns with the start of the musical phrasing:
- Move count 1 aligns: Emphasize the rock-step or twist-twist, for example with the Sweep from the Rock Step Variations section.
- Move count 3 aligns: Emphasize the initial travelling motion of the move; this works particularly
well with a Swing Out when the leader exaggerates his step in front of the follower, then holds that
position for count 4 of the move (beat 2 of the music).
- Move count 5 aligns: Emphasize the exchange of places where the leader gets out of the follower's
way. Again, the leader can generate this emphasis with a hesitation: step out of the way with an
exaggerated motion on move count 5 (beat 1 of the music), then hold that position for move count 6.
- Move count 7 aligns: Use one of the footwork variations (for example, the Split Side) to emphasize
this pair of beats.
- Dance to an entire song using only six-beat moves. This will be similar in feel to many
of the swing dances that are derived from Lindy Hop (since most of them do not incorporate the eight-beat
patterns), which will help when dancing with partners from other styles and with beginners.
- Dance to an entire song using only eight-beat moves. This exercise (and the previous one) will stretch
the imaginations of the leaders, and will help reinforce the variety of moves available in the dance.
- Dance to sections of very slow and very fast music, to emphasize the different moves and stylings that
are appropriate for different tempos.
- Force all of the dancers in the class into one section of the class area, in order to practice social
dancing in a confined space. Emphasize smaller movements and tighter connections between the partners,
and awareness of space and manners (apologizing when there are clashes between dancers).
- Dance without rock steps—on eight-beat and six-beat moves, skip the 1 and 2 beats at the start of
each move, and instead go straight into the next triple step. This ensures that the follower is paying
attention to the lead and opens up a wider palette of move variations.
- Blindfold the followers for improvised dancing (this needs plenty of space and slow music). This
ensures that the lead-follow connection flows through the hands and body, rather than through the eyes.
- Dance to an entire song without ever doing a pure basic move—every move has to have a structural
variation or a footwork variations.
- Swap the roles of leaders and followers, so that each gets a feel for the challenges and difficulties
of the other role.
- Dance mirrored left-to-right. The follower still follows, but she does so with her left hand; the
leader still leads, but his rock step is on his right foot and the Lindy Turn rotates anticlockwise. For
more experienced dancers this helps bring them down to basics by bypassing their ingrained muscle memories.