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An introduction to the ABCs of swing, with the basic steps of this partner dance with a rich culture. In our classes, music is real leader. It invites us to take care of our partner, to develop our own voice and to listen to the stories that are part of the dance known as the Lindy hop! Imagine Ella Fitzgerald directing her orchestra at the famous Savoy Ballroom, stepping off the stage and onto the dance floor to swing out with one of the most famous dancers of the era, Frankie Manning.
You have discovered the driving rhythm of the Count Basie orchestra and you are hungry for more swing. Just like in the music, you will develop your vocabulary and rhythmical repertoire: 8-count and 6-count rhythms will swing together in harmony just like you, the music and your partner.
King of drums, Chick Webb, sets the pace as you become more familiar with your rhythmical repertoire and refine your communication skills in dance partnership. You will hear more stories about the origins of the Lindy hop including the greats like Shorty George Snowden, Norma Miller and Al Minns.
The master composter Duke Ellington will help guide you across the floor with intention. Your partnered dancing traces more precise lines, circles and patterns around the room. You’re relaxing into your jazz and snapping your fingers in time, as Dawn Hampton says “when the music starts, first feel the beat, let yourself feel it”.
Louis Armstrong is king. He inspires a breath of freedom and a sense of improvisation, where our bodies relax in the sound of the trumpet. This class explores the idea that we can explore unique ideas as individuals while remaining unified in our dance partnership, just as early jazz musicians did together.
In Montreal, Oscar Peterson is a national hero. With him in our hearts, our learning will never be done. Thankfully, the joy of swing is present along our learning journey. This session focuses on the rhythm, it’s variations and our creativity through practice and a depper understanding of the language of jazz
Artists like Billie Holiday teach us that each voice is unique. Their beauty is in their capacity to show who they are. Each dance step is an invitation to develop your own creativity and let your voice grow. Just like in the famous song “let yourself go!”.
By now, the basics of swing are infinite. Every subject is worth a second look and from a different angle. Let’s ask the questions again and work through the most essential fundamentals, again. What do you need to express yourself in this dance? What do you need to be in conversation with another dancer, to listen and inspire each other? What do you need to let the music move you?
Focus Beginner (swing 1-2)
Personal attention is the focus of this class. Registrations will be limited so that each person can benefit from individual time with the teachers throughout the session. The content of the class will be decided on based on the needs of the participants. If you want to slow down the rhythm and spend more time on the topics introduced in swing 1 and 2 before moving on to the next level, this class is for you. Or maybe you missed several classes last session, or you prefer the small group dynamic. This might be the place you want to be!
Personal attention is the focus of this class. Registrations will be limited so that each person can benefit from individual time with the teachers throughout the session. The content of the class will be decided on based on the needs of the participants. If you want to slow down the rhythm and spend more time on the tricky topics before moving on to the next level, this class is for you. Or maybe you missed several classes last session, or you prefer the small group dynamic. This might be the place you want to be!
Lindy U is the option between classes and troupes. It’s based on the individual needs of the participants and allows you to deepen your understanding of several aspects of the dance and it’s culture (music, improvisation, technique, partnership). A session of Lindy U is 12 weeks long. If you go out social dancing regularly, you have taken several classes and you are looking to push your dance, this class is for you!
Get ready to say “yes!” to all of the fast songs. Discover new techniques in order to conserve energy, better your swing out and get tips from our instructors that will help you to feel comfortable dancing at any tempo. You will have the opportunity to try various styles of swing to develop versatility on the dance floor. Open to anyone who has completed swing 4+.
Competition and Show
Get feedback and expertise that will help prepare you for swing competitions. Learn how to be present while in the spotlight, work on your capacity to improvise and adapt to unexpected scenarios and explore different avenues to grab the judges and audience’s attention. Anyone who has completed swing 3 is welcome!
Jazz culture is built around the jam circle. It is a space that encourages sharing, community, expression and the appreciation of every individual. In a learning environment, become familiar with the codes and the practice of Jam circle! Learn how to enter and jam, let yourself explore in the present moment, encourage your peers and celebrate the magic of togetherness. You can finally feel confident to participate in jam circles, birthday jams and steal dancing; a common occurrence during our Friday night social dances.
Balboa is a swing dance that was born in California in the 1920’s. Taking little space on the dance floor, it was adapted to the crowded dance floors of the era and was efficiently danced on fast tempos. In this class, you will be introduced to the posture and connection of Balboa, the basic footwork as well as some of the fundamental classic movements.
If the clarinet knew how to dance, it would be doing lollies, come arounds and toss outs. Here are a few of the names that you will hear often in this new session that will further develop your Balboa vocabulary to the sounds of musicians such as Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman.
Balboa fans will geek about its legends, like Maxie Dorf or Marge Takier, and follow their steps all the way to the other side of the continent. While you prepare for this pilgrimage to California, you will be introduced to new styles like Bal Swing and Pure Bal.
It’s the time to learn variations created by the pioneers of the dance, like the Maxie Stop. You will also have the opportunity to refine your classics and develop new variations while working on the integration hip movements like the swivels.
Blues 1a – Juking
This class will be an introduction to jukin’ blues – a group of dances that originated in juke joints and house parties in the rural south of the United States. Jukin’ blues dances were influenced by a mix of cheap liquor, travelling musicians, and a letting go or party atmosphere. They involve a heavy solo dancing component as well as playing with shapes and rhythms in the body. This 6-week series is part of the fundamentals blues classes at Cat’s Corner. Both Ballroomin’ and Jukin’ need to be taken before moving on to the higher levels.
Blues 1b – Jazz
This class is an introduction to a blues dance style known today by the name “Ballroom Blues”. Danced to slow jazz music, it used to evolve closely to dance styles like the Lindy hop. This style is characterized by the distance travelled on the dance floor, the turns and momentum used. This 6-class series is part of the fundamental courses offered at Cat’s Corner. Both “Ballroom” and “Jukin” introduction courses need to have been taken before proceeding to the next level.
When you’re out social dancing, you have two very important partners: the person you’re dancing with and the music. In this class, we will discover how to adapt new moves, as well as moves you already know, to different styles and tempos of blues music. We will learn how to hear different rhythms, characters, emotions, and energy levels in the music and how to communicate our interpretations with our partner. The deeper your understanding of the music becomes, the more fun you will have on the dance floor!
Intro to Tap
Tap dance is a percussive dance. You are part of the band, you are a dancing musician. In this introductory class, you will learn the ABC of Tap, its step, heel, shuffle. You will hear about Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Jimmy Slyde, Savion Glover and no other than our Montreal legend, former dancer for Cab Calloway, Ethel Bruneau!
Your shuffles are getting clearer on the right foot as well as on the left foot. You’ve got the Tap bug and are looking to develop your tool box of rhythm. Continue your growth under the direction of Majiza Philip, Ethel Bruneau’s grand daughter, and her team of teachers. You are in good feet !
You feel solid in Henry LeTang’s Shim Sham. Keep on tapping with more balance challenge, relaxing of your ankles and clarity of your sound. Brush step shuffle ball change flap paddle and roll flap hop step…
“Pick up your feet” is every Tap teacher’s motto. Routines are getting more complex and interesting and you’ve got some time steps under your belt. During the program of Tap 3, you will be introduced to Diane Walker’s steps, also known as “Lady Di”, to her remarkable elegance, lightness and simplicity.
The Charleston, Truckin’ or the Suzie-Q were the ‘urban dances’ of the jazz era and theire steps are still visible in the street dances of today. In the Swing Era, people constantly danced in pairs and by themselves, breaking away, doing line dances and jamming on their own. Use your Shim Sham steps, learn new ones, mix them up and start improvising!
The Big Apple is an improvised danced done in a circle where the “host” calls out known vernacular jazz steps. It also references a sequence in the celebrated film “Keep Punching” (1939) where the famous lindy hop group “Whiteys Lindy Hoppers” perform in a “Big Apple Contest”, choreographed by Frankie Manning. Learn this widely recognized routine, well known by lindy hop dancers worldwide.
The Tranky Do is a line dance popularized at the Savoy Ballroom by the Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers. Frankie Manning tells a story in his biography about the creation of this routine inspired by a Chorus Line dancer known by the name of Tranky Doo. Learn this dynamic routine danced by many around the globe to the songs “Tuxedo Junction” and “The Dipsey Doodle”.
The 1920s charleston, popularized across the world by Josephine Baker, is recognizable by the posture and a distinctive twist in the feet. In this class you’ll learn classic steps both solo and in partnership giving you plenty to practice with when the music gets Hot!