Friday, May 03, 2013

Stomping at the Frim Fram Jam

Chuck Taylors - favorite shoe of Lindy Hoppers.
Well I finally - finally - did it! I started learning the Lindy Hop. I put on my Chuck Taylors and headed out after work to the pre-Frim Fram Jam 1-hour class tonight.

I've only been talking about it since early 2010.

But alas - I submitted to the traditional sexism.

It was a really big class - like 25 people. I think the instructor was overwhelmed by the turn-out. I didn't expect there to be more than six people, myself. On the plus side I had lots of different dance partners (we were made to switch partners like every five minutes), on the negative side, it meant there was no individual instruction, and we barely got a chance to learn any one step before we were commanded to use it. The first 15 minutes I didn't know the difference between a hop step and a step-step until one of my partners, who was pretty damn experienced for a supposedly raw beginner class, showed me. And in spite of such a large class I'm pretty sure I was the oldest person there. Bleh. Although it meant I got to dance with younger guys and a couple of them were very cute indeed. It's a trade-off.

Back to the sexism - the instructor told us at the top of the class to pick a role for the evening's lesson - leader or follower. Now since all established partner dancing springs from one patriarchal tradition or another, I figured that "leader" meant guy and "follower" meant lady,  but since the instructor didn't designate leader/follower by gender, and since it is the 21st century, I thought maybe people would switch it up a little. Not a chance - when the instructor said for the leaders to stand with their left foot forward and followers with their right, I was the only woman with my left foot forward. So, coward that I am, I immediately switched to right foot. For one thing, I already felt somewhat freakish by being the oldest person in the class, and didn't want to stick out even more,  but also if I was a leader it meant I wouldn't get to dance with men, only women. And I'm too much of a big flaming heterosexual to want to partner with women.

I'm such a traditionalist. *sigh*

Mind you, once I'm good enough at this dance, I do plan to occasionally switch it up, assuming I find a male partner who wants to go along with that. Because really, the dance moves aren't so flagrantly butch and femme that you can't switch up without losing your gender identity.

After the hour-long class was over, I didn't feel confident enough in my moves to join in the actual Frim Fram Jam though... maybe next week.

Like so many great aspects of American culture, the Lindy Hop was invented by African Americans - watch these amazing dancers.