Chatting with Rachel Phillips last night at Shimmytown revealed some of my own internal biases and assumptions about dancing.
I asked her how the lindy hop class she was taking going. "It's pretty great for my first class," she replied.
"Excuse me? How is this your first class?" I asked. Rachel is one of the rising star lindy hoppers coming out of the Berkeley scene. (the video below is of a piece choreographed by Rachel.)
Rachel explained that the Berkeley kids didn't learn lindy hop from dance classes. They just got together and shared what they knew with each other. "Samantha and Calvin taught us, but they were only a little ahead of the rest of us."
I was incredulous. And I realized that I was revealing my own biases as someone who learned lindy hop from taking regular monthly dance classes for years at an established dance studio, with a curriculum, structure and regular format. I realized that, because that was how I learned lindy hop, I assumed that this was the ONLY way that people COULD learn lindy hop. Which of course, is just dumb.
In fact, I think that the old timers would find more in common with how the Berkeley kids are learning than our class-focused approach.