Solo dancing is a difficult topic for me. I know that it is considered one of the key ways to become more awesome as a social dancer. Some people think that it is one of the best ways to deal with unbalanced scenes. However, even though I follow and I lead, the moment I let go of my partner, I feel like I am lost in a sea of notes and bits of my own body. I know movements. I know variations. Somehow I still feel as though I am cast adrift. I am slowly, slowly getting over these and embracing the solo dance. Here’s how I’m muddling through.
Figure out some go to moves. I like to have a few that don’t go anywhere, and a few that travel. For me my preferred are: fishtails, apple jacks, skates, mess arounds, and shimmies. This awesome video has a list and performance of common jazz step vocabulary. I chose a few that fit my style.
Learn these moves! Get the basics in your body. Take a class. Find youtube tutorials (lindy in the park’s jazz step of the week and Rebbeca Brightly’s lindy hop steps made easy are great places to start) and practice at home. Offer to buy dinner for some one who does your chosen move well in exchange for showing you their technique. Work on learning visually and copy some one who does it well.
Figure out all the ways you can change it without losing the recognizable core movement. Can you do it more slowly? More quickly? Can you end more suddenly? Can you ease into the end? Can you do it bigger? Smaller? Sideways?
This is where I made my breakthrough. I came up with adjectives to describe how I was doing the different movements. I also came up with adjectives to describe the sounds in the songs I am dancing to. Then I matched. If a song sounds heavy to me, I’ll use one of my core movements, with heavy feeling embellishments. If a song feels old timey, I’ll use embellishments that remind me of silent movies. Now instead of four moves I have literally infinite possibilities.
You still might not catch me dancing by myself though