by Steve Conrad of the AZ Lindy Hop Society
1. Great exercise – you burn lots calories without even realizing it. There have been a lot of people who have lost a lot of weight and all they changed in their lifestyle was adding dancing to it. Plus, East Coast Swing and Lindy hop are very active and aerobic dances.
2. Social Interaction – You get to meet lots of people and have social contact – This is important during a time of history where you can practically do everything on a computer without leaving your home. Your smartphone can do a lot for you, but it doesn’t know how to dance.
3. Endorphins/ Stress release – Exercise such as swing dancing has been found to help reduce depression and stress by releasing these “feel good” chemicals in your body. Plus, a recent study found that human eye contact can, in some cases, release dopamine causing a euphoric, light feeling. Dancing is a great stress reducer and when done mid-week can help reduce stress build-up.
4. Relationships – Studies have shown that activities that best build relationships are those that have the persons focused on each other rather than something external. Swing dancing requires a level of non-verbal communication that strengthens relationships both romantic and platonic.
5. Music – Swing music is timeless and because of it’s quality has remained popular for over 80 years. We dance mostly to swinging jazz music with some early rock, rockabilly, blues, and soul mixed in. Swing music and dance got America through the great depression – imagine what it can do for a rough week.
6. History – The Lindy hop connects you to American history. The lindy in 1942 was named America’s folk dance by Life Magazine and it was popular from 1928-1958. Famous Lindy hoppers include: Malcolm X, Jimmy Stewart, Ella Fitzgerald, Lucille Ball, Ashley Judd, John Travolta, John Wayne, Bette Midler, Bill Nye, Katy Perry, and Jason Mraz to name a few.
7. World connection – Lindy Hop is now a worldwide phenomenon with Lindy Hop exchanges in Paris, London, New York, Kiev, Singapore, Madrid, China, and more. You can go just about anywhere in the world, find the lindy hop community and be taken in by the local dancers in most cases.
8. Creativity/ Brain development – Learning a new skill actually creates new neural pathways in your brain. Learning to lindy hop teaches body control, listening to music, complicated movement, spatial orientation, timing, and rhythm. Dancing is also a great creative outlet and you don’t have to be a professional to enjoy it!
9. Avoid the Meat Market – For the most part, the swing dance scene provides a way to go to a club and enjoy yourself without being objectified. Most dancers go just to meet others and not necessarily to “pick them up”.
10. It’s FUN!! It’s hard to find people not smiling when they are swing dancing. It allows for self-expression and creativity. Remember – there are no mistakes, only new moves.
Find a swing dance community near you – just Google: Lindy Hop + [your City or Country] you can also find events worldwide at www.SwingPlanit.com