We believe that swing dance is rooted in the rhythms of jazz music. Born to the sound of jazz, swing dance is inextricably bound to rhythm and, by extension, to improvisation and individuality. As a partner dance, swing dance is the synergy between the music and the partnership, and one is not more important than the other. At Cats Corner, we believe in letting learners experience themselves as dancers, authentic and free, not bound by too many rules and prescriptions as they explore the music and rhythms of jazz.
At Cat’s Corner, we foster rhythm/music as well as partnership in our classes as early as Swing 1-2. This means that our students connect with the rhythm of the dance as individuals first and with each other second, and this, in the very first class, and continue to develop this dual relationship, without either aspect gaining in supremacy over the other. In short, individual rhythm, and the improvisations inherent in it, are as important as partnering.
In our classes, teachers are encouraged to favour experiential learning, in which learners have enough time to try things and to practice. Experiential learning (or learning by doing) also limits the amount of talk and explanation given by teachers, in favour of repetition and trial.
Teachers play lots of music in the swing jazz genre in order to sensitize students to the music that drives the dance.
Teachers regularly incorporate elements of improvisation as early as Swing 1, and continue to provide opportunities for improvising (leaving sequences open, playing with rhythms etc).