Here's a link to Alice P's Lindy-centric blog: The Rantings of a Lindy Hopper. Alice has been one of my assistants in class for the last several months.
We had a lot of new students in class last week. We took it back to basics, did a few leading and following exercises. It seemed mostly that people needed to iron out the swingout more than anything else. I admit that the class feels like it is taught by committee. Alice, Charlotte and I have pretty distinct points of view. Alice and Charlotte have both been recently excited by a recent workshop with Dax and Sarah. I'm typically skeptical.
After class Charlotte and I had a brief conversation about counting the basic. When she was learning from Dax several years ago, he did not use any counting, but rather the scat-rhythms like those that were popularized by Stephen Mitchell and others during the 90s. So rather than "one two three&four five six seven&eight" teachers might use a rhythm like this "boop doo doop-dah-doo, boop doo doop-dah-doo" or some such. Charlotte suggested that she would love to compare a theoretical Lindy Hop culture that never learned counting to another that learned from the numbers.
The thought of removing the numbers doesn't really bother me, but it does remind me of this sort of hostility toward math that many folks have. I tend to blame this sentiment more on teachers than anything else. I certainly agree that learning numbers changes the way one thinks (in the dance and in the world), however, I also believe that one can learn one paradigm and then transcend it. You can learn how to count and then learn to abandon the count. You can always keep the numbers in mind for a rainy day.
So I put it up for debate: what are the strengths of beginners counting and of beginners not counting? What is to be gained by either approach? Is one way superior to the other? Can't we all just get along?
By the way, I don't mean to criticize Dax & Sarah or Charlotte at all. I'm mostly hoping to open up and interesting conversation.
This week I plan to teach a class about balance. Feel free to click on the balance tag and see the previous posts on the subject.