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Lindy Hop Steps Made Easy: Swivels! (solo jazz dance moves)

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Published on Jan 24, 2012

This week's lindy hop step is swivels! With an exclamation mark. I've got lots of tips for this one (see below), since it's an integral part of lindy hop as a partnered dance, too.

Fun fact: I relearned how to swivel several years ago at a Nick Williams workshop in Raleigh. Yes, a MAN helped me re-create a foundational lindy hop movement normally associated with women. Men, no excuses! This week's video was made for you, too. Manly swivels are HOT.

Step-By-Step Instructions:
0:42 - Swivel demo
0:56 - #1 Pivoting. Stand on one foot, weight on your forefoot. Pivot your heel back and forth, keeping your knee bent. Practice both legs.
1:42 - Note: We're using the inside pivot for swivels. That's when your toe goes from pointing away from your body to pointing in toward your body.
1:53 - #2 Changing weight between legs.
2:47 - #3 Moving the feet wider apart when stepping.
3:10 - Tip 1: Rotation (see more in Tips below)
3:51 - Tip 2: Pulse (see more in Tips below)
4:13 - Tip 3: What the non-standing leg is doing (see more in Tips below)
4:45 - #4 Putting it all together and speeding up.
5:28 - The part where I tell you to visit my website, http://rebeccabrightly.com/hellyes

Lots of Tips:
- Keep the knees bent at all times for your basic swivel. Don't straighten the leg that is pushing off. Don't straighten the other leg and reach for your next step. Yes, this will mean you need to develop your leg strength. That will come.
- Keep the ankles soft, not locked into position. For my basic swivel, my forefoot takes the impact of the step, and my ankle flexes so that my heel nearly touches the floor.
- Which means that you don't want to swivel on your tippy-toes all the time. It can be a very pretty variation, though.
- Pulse. Uber important. Imagine your legs are juicy pogo sticks. :-)
- Use the leg muscles to push out of the ground from step to step. Don't fall, don't reach. Push.
- Use the abdominal muscles to create rotation in the torso between steps.
- Rotation begins in the mid back (where your vertebrae have the most rotational flexibility, as opposed to the low back, which has very poor rotation).
- The hips (eg pelvis), at the bottom of the spine, get quite a lot of rotation relative to the head, at the top of the spine. The legs and feet may have slightly more rotation, provided the rest of your technique is solid.
- Even when your feet are really wide for swivels, keep your torso somewhere in the middle. You don't need to move your center of gravity ALL the way over each foot when you step.
- OMG arms!! Keep 'em steady-ish, out away from your torso rather than glued to your sides.
- Practice lots. Increase your speed slowly so your movements don't get sloppy.

Lastly, look on Youtube for inspiration on adding your own flava'. There are as many swivel variations as there are people who swivel!

Happy swiveling,
Rebecca

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