Dance Reviews

SWING DANCE LESSON - Dancing On The Spot

As someone familiar with salsa dancing, it was a fascinating experience to try swing dancing for the first time in an enjoyable lesson led by sisters Emma and Casey Brayndick, who are teachers, dancers and also actors with the visiting Chicago companies, On The Spot and Dancing On The Spot.

Specifically, we were learning East Coast Swing, a form of social partner dance also sometimes called Jitterbug. Around 18 of us took part, most of us beginners, and we soon picked up the basic step involving stepping backwards and sideways to a specific rhythm. It all felt bouncier than salsa and partners mirror each other, stepping away from each other then coming together, rather than following each other - so that was a bit of a conceptual leap for me. The turns felt familiar though and instantly elevated what we were doing into something both elegant and lively.

Emma and Casey were very friendly, caring teachers with plenty of patience and sensible instructions to offer. It was quite a workout on a warm afternoon and when we weren’t learning new moves, it was fun to be let loose on social dancing to the music, frequently swapping partners and enjoying the opportunity to get creative on the dance floor!

At the end of the workshop we were allowed to video Emma and Casey demonstrating the basic moves but also a wonderful high-speed version with lovely little kicks like something straight out of the 1920s.

High Peak Big Band’s All Aboard for the Big Band Special takes place at the Fringe on Monday night featuring live swing music so it is more than possible that some of us may show up there and at the very least tap our feet enthusiastically with all our new-found dance knowledge!

Stephanie Billen