When Did You Know You Were Serious About Lindy Hop?

Like a lot of people, I had a pretty visceral reaction to lindy hop. A deep feeling of, “Yes, this is exactly how I want to dance.” After that, lindy hop and everything attendant to it–the people, the music, the attire–has been an ever growing obsession. I don’t have the best memory, so it is hard to recall all the of moments when I fell a little bit deeper in love with the dance. I do have a few that come to mind.

Once, a couple months into my lindy hop experience, I saw a couple dancing balboa. I was such a newbie and had zero frame of reference for what they were doing. I could only put it in my box of “Things that Are Not Lindy Hop.” It took a couple of false starts, but now I love balboa. I also owe a huge debt of gratitude to the leads that stuck with me as I was learning. Without them, I doubt I would have learned the dance because being a tall girl in a beginner group class wasn’t ideal for me.

I heard fellow follows say, “Oh, my husband must dance.” My internal response? Sweetheart, you are limiting yourself to a fairly limited pool of possible applicants. My only rule was that guys I dated had to be fine with me going out dancing. I instated this rule after I had a jealous boyfriend. I found myself limiting how often I’d go out dancing and that was not cool. On the flip side, I dated a guy who would come out dancing with me but never danced himself. He just wanted to be social and meet my friends, which was fantastic.

My courtship with Craig became serious pretty quickly and we were engaged for months without telling anyone. When it came time to select a ring, we both wanted to be sure it wouldn’t interfere or cause pain while dancing. To accomplish this task, we were not above pulling out a couple of sugar pushes in the jewelry store. We settled on a band with a series of stones set flush in row. My wedding bands remind me of Craig’s love, of our commitment, as well as our passion for lindy hop.



Filed under lindy hop, lindy wardrobe

10 responses to “When Did You Know You Were Serious About Lindy Hop?

  1. craigsparks

    Shortly after I started swing dancing, I remember dancing one night and seeing a whole slew of dancers I hadn’t seen before. There was a big band playing that had drawn many of the local Baltimore lindyhoppers out. It was the first time I had ever seen lindyhop, and I remember thinking, “What is that and where do I learn it?”

    Since then, it’s been a straight shot down the rabbit hole.

  2. Daniel Rizza

    Watching Max and Melissa during the Jack and Jill jam you guys had back in September was pretty mind blowing. After that I decided I have to be able to do it.

  3. Probably when I found myself going to Monday nights at Chevy Chase, Tuesday nights in Clarendon, Wednesday nights at Lulu’s, Thursday nights at Timpano’s, Friday nights back at Chevy Chase and Saturday nights at Glen Echo…

    I guess I didn’t figure out it was an obsession until it had already gotten out of hand.

    This was down in DC, almost a decade ago now. Sometimes I’d listen to the “oldtimers” (like Rayned, my boyfriend) talk about all the old nights (like America’s, anyone ever go there?) Now looking at my list, I realize I’m one of the oldtimers, too.

    And I haven’t even given you my West Coast Swing list yet, or the lessons I took in Hutch’s basement…

  4. I started Lindy Hop so long ago, I used to walk to the Austin Grill…uphill! Both ways!!!

    Hahaha, I crack myself up…

  5. Ceste

    when Janice got engaged to Glenn, that was my 1st thought when I saw her ring…ooo, it won’t harpoon anyone
    I knew I was hooked on dancing when I would watch old movies as a child, the earliest one I can remember is White Christmas. My mom was in the Navy Band and they had a jitterbug group & my sis & I would watch them practice for hrs. There was only one couple that did lifts and we were always riveted to them. My g-parents also did ballroom dancing and we were forever seeing them dance.
    I KNEW I wanted to learn to dance cuz everything in me just lit up inside when I moved to music. Did mostly English Country Dancing & line dancing & folk dancing as a kiddo and loved it…partnered swing dancing sort of sneaked up on me in high school when my sis discovered Tom & Debra & got into swing…still I was so self-conscious of my body & strange men w/ their arms around me…we held several “dances” at our house & never were there enough guys so I always ended up dancing the guy’s part w/ the other girls…then in college, for a required PE course, the group project that our group decided on was swing dancing…and again there were just girls in our group so I danced the guy’s part while the other girl taught the lesson. When I say I danced the guy’s part, I mean I stood there while she moved my arms for me. Then when it got to practicing w/ the group during our presentation, of course we had enough guys then & they were motioning me over to dance the girl’s part. And I was like, oh gosh, I don’t know how that part. Then I went to my 1st dance my sr yr of college and just stood there paralyzed by fear. A friend of mine tried to teach me to waltz but I kept seizing up inside & out. The proximity of his body to mine was so hard for me to get used to and I couldn’t look up for fear that I’d smash his toes. Plus I was extremely overweight & self-conscious of my body. Then I went to another dance, this time quite a drive away from my college. It was big band live music and I was just determined to sit in the audience & watch every1 dance. But when I got there, a college friend of mine & his date walked past me on their way to the dance floor and recognized me. The guy was like, “Anytime you want to dance, just come up on the floor & grab me.” I nodded to him that I understood, but deep down I was like, nope, not going to do it. They are on a date, for crying outloud. I’m not going to step between them. Then next thing I know its the last song & it’s “Sing, Sing, Sing” one of my favs & Chris is standing there w/ his hand out. I’m like, no, no I can’t. And he’s just patiently standing there still w/ his hand out. So I turn to Val, his date, & I’m like, uh, will u watch my stuff? And she nods & Chris drags me up to the floor and starts twirling me around. I could NOT stop smiling & couldn’t take my eyes off his feet. He kept saying, “Don’t look at my feet, just dance.” But I couldn’t look up. After that song, he walked me back to my seat & he & Val danced the encore. I proceeded to smell like Chris for a week (he was Egyptian & wore HEAVY cologne). Then my sis dragged me to GE w/ her 2 guy friends. This was when GE was still being refurbished. When we got to the door, I just freaked & couldn’t go in. The paralyzing fear was upon me again. Thankfully, they didn’t force me in. Her 2 guy friends proceeded to dance w/ me in the Cuddle up Pavilion for the rest of the evening, being patient w/ me despite my looking down at their feet the entire time. Then my sis took me to GE one more time before leaving the country for 2 yrs. The last thing she said to me was, “You know, you could come here by yourself. The parking lot is well lit & you’d be perfectly safe.” Well, of course, I couldn’t get that out of my head. So I proceeded to go to GE every Sat for a whole yr, going to the beginner lesson before the dance each time. Every week, I’d go & throw up in the b-room before the lesson bcuz of my nerves. But I kept coming back cuz of the amazingness of smiling that much in one evening. And the rest is history. Almost 8 yrs later, I’m still hooked

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