(Relaxnews) – Everyone knows dancing is great exercise, so this summer we’re taking that idea one step further and looking at opportunities to learn and practice various dance styles wherever you may go. If you’ve ever dreamed of being able to impress the crowd at a wedding or in a club, going aerial with your partner is a sure way to do it.
Acrobatic partner dancing first wove its way into the Lindy Hop, which came into fashion in 1920s Harlem and has since spread to Europe and beyond.
Derived from swing dancing, Lindy Hop soon gave way to boogie woogie and finally rock ‘n’ roll dancing in the days of Elvis Presley.
The aeriel tricks of Lindy Hop are attributed to dance legend Frankie Manning who became famous for flipping his partner Frieda Washington over his shoulder during a ballroom competition in Harlem.
Today, lifts, dips, jumps, drops and balances can be seen in partner dances around the world, from the six count rock in Paris to swing dancing in North America to the quebradita in Mexico.
Due to the physical demands and potential for danger, acrobatic tricks are not a standing obligation in any form of partner dancing, although there are plenty of moves easy to learn that pose little risk, yet are sure to be crowd pleasers.
Here, instructors point out that many acrobatic moves can be applied to a range of partner dances.
Starting in Ontario, Canada, the Swing Dynamite performing group shares its talent by offering acrobatic Swing and Lindy Hop classes, the most advanced of which require auditions.
For a relaxed social dancing atmosphere and top level instruction from award-winning dancers, Cat’s Corner of San Francisco offers a range of Swing and Lindy Hop acrobatic classes as well as Wednesday night swing socials to live music.
In upstate New York, Ithaca Dance offers various acrobatic partner dance classes including swing and Lindy Hop. If your summer vacation plans don’t include a trip to the Finger Lakes or the Adirondacks, Ithaca Dance offers a beginner level DVD that teaches basic dips.
The group’s website offers a detailed description and instructions for acrobatic moves, although classes are recomended for safety reasons.
Acrobatic rock ‘n’ roll dancing became popular in Europe in the 80s, most notably among the French, who are well known to embrace “le rock” with great exuberance.
Professionals from Acro’Swing are currently touring Sweden to teach Lindy Hop and boogie woogie although the studio is large enough for classes to continue in Paris.
Nearby in Switzerland, the BCSwing acrobatic rock club is home to many champion competitors and offers classes for all ages and levels.
London’s 2Rock acrobatic rock club invites thrill seekers to defy gravity this summer in its Monday night series at the Westminster Academy Sport Dance Studio, which occurs weekly from 8pm to 10pm for £14.
Quebradita is thought to have been developed on the US-Mexican border and came into fashion in the late 1990s in Los Angeles.
Danced to fast banda music, on a base of ultra-sporty trot steps, it emphasizes acrobatic tricks, of which it incorporates many, most of which can apply to other forms of acrobatic partner dancing.
The dance is said to be learned on the spot and is rumored to have fallen out of fashion among studio owners for that reason, although many salsa studios may offer private lessons.
In Chicago, Latin Street Dance offers private quebradita lessons for $65 per hour.
Although formalized competitions have increased the level of risk over the years, incorporating tricks like the double somersault, don’t mistake the term “acrobatic” to imply tumbling and contortionism.
The moves in the aforementioned dances no not require unusual expertise but should be learned from an experienced professional instructor and when practicing in front of a crowd, dancers should take care to see that the coast is clear before trying out their moves in crowded areas.