Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Why did I ever get myself interested in Collegiate Shag again...?

Back from the Shag Explosion in Ottawa last weekend, I'm bagging my head on the walls. Collegiate Shag is hard. Not as developed by dancers as the other swing dances such as the Lindy Hop, the blues and the Balboa, the potential of the Shag is there and easy to grasp. Even the best Shag dancers, like Jeremy and Laura, do it as an auxiliary dance and even if they kick ass, we can see that their Lindy Hop and Balboa is way more developed.

I started a about 1 month and a half ago from the original and modern clips. The first thing that appeared to me right away was that if you intend to lead/follow even the basics (single, double, triple), you must be an advance dancer, period. After 1 day of workshops and two dances, I have foreseen what it could be at a very high level and I am far to be there. I will have to work on this new obsession of mine and see where it leads me. For over a year, I tried to separate my Balboa from my Lindy Hop to make them very distinct which is obviously hard, but I am quite pleased with the results. This is the beginning of a brand new challenge, because from what I have seen, my shag looks like bad Balboa at best right now!

Collegiate Shag seems to be made for rhythm variations. In Lindy hop or in Balboa, you learn them eventually to make your dance more interesting, but in Shag, the very essence of the dance depends on it. Of course you can do all those fancy moves, even those moves will be cool or not depending of the chosen rhythm. One of the biggest challenge of the dance, exactly as in the different forms of the Charleston, will be to get out of the very attractive and patterns that makes your life easier. All this is a good starting point and I can start practicing now!

Fred Barbe
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