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  • Writer's pictureAbigail Haresign

Lindy Hop for Middle Schoolers

Updated: Nov 10, 2023

Today, I was assigned to teach middle school dance. As an educator with a background in dance and dance education I was excited for the opportunity to share and connect with my students for the day. Out of all the classes only one student knew where Harlem was- or at least, only one student spoke up when I asked the question. With each opportunity to share Lindy Hop with people who have never seen it there are two clips I usually share. Today I added in a third clip. First, I like to show this performance by HellaBlack Lindy Hop . Today the demographic of learners was entirely young Black people assigned female at birth.. It was especially cool to share this clip because I was able to point to dancers in this video and tell the students, "These people are from and live in Baltimore!" One student even said, "If I see them on the street I'm gonna ask them to dance". It was nice to start off by building that connection.

This video is great because it showcases Black movement and dance through the continuum and of course was part of the ILHC Norma100 celebration. This is a great clip to bring up Norma Miller and talk with the students about her legacy as a dancer and performer and of course to move onto...

The first time I saw Hellzapoppin' was at a Girl Scout meeting in 2003. I was in the 3rd grade and we watched it in Black and White on VHS. I always love showing this to middle and high schoolers because they are only half paying attention, checking their phones, air pods on, until the wild stuff starts going down and then they start to put their phones down and look up at me in disbelief. Today in one of the classes we learned the over the back move you see at 4:17. We started out by putting our friends on as if they were backpacks. They LOVED this. The third video I shared was one that Tyedric Hill shared yesterday on Instagram. He is doing some Fall off the Log variations that were a fun challenge. Some students were too intimidated to try, but those that weren't were AWESOME! There were a few that picked it up so fast. We did a few variations that weren't on this video and we did it at a much slower speed. We were even able to put the fall off the logs into some partnered connection.

Of course, we did some Charleston, some tipple steps, and we finished off our class with the latest dance craze. As you can see in this compilation-- everyone is doing this in school. I can confirm this fact and my students have been patiently teaching me. I stood in the back of the classroom looking at myself in the mirror trying to keep up with the well polished performers in front of me- absolutely humbled by their confidence in movement and honored to share the dance floor with them as I -absolutely am and continue to be- a guest in another culture. Did you know Black History Month starts tomorrow? TRICK QUESTION-- Black History Month is every month y'all. What are your favorite dance clips to share? What modern dances are you currently learning?

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