RSJ Community Picnic

Sunday 18 July, 1pm // Christchurch Meadows

It was such a blast seeing your faces the other week that we couldn’t resist hosting another picnic! Like last time, it’ll be at Christchurch Meadows and we’ll aim for the same spot opposite the pedestrian bridge by the trees. BYO food, picnic blanket and drop by for as little or as long as you like.

As the weather has been somewhat changeable of late, we’re aiming for Sunday 18 July but like before we may postpone if the forecast looks wet. Please RSVP to our facebook event and pop RSJ notifications to “See first” to receive notifications about any changes to the date.

Christchurch Meadows are just over the river from train station, so easily accessible for any folks wanting to visit from further afield, wanting to pick up a coffee or picnic munchies en route or those needing to run errands in the town centre.

Note: Team RSJ will not be in attendance due to precautionary Covid self-isolation.

Solo Jazz can help your partnered Swing dancing!

Here are 9 ways Solo Jazz can improve your swing dancing and enjoyment of swing dance events!

Confidence

Often when starting to learn to partner dance we fear losing connection with our partners, whether on purpose as in break aways or by accident when we miss a catch.  Solo jazz gives us the confidence to dance with our partner even when we’re not physically connected and to fully utilise these moments in the dance, turning them into flowing opportunities rather than disrupting mistakes.

Repertoire & Variation

Building a repertoire of core solo moves that you feel good executing is one way of developing confidence as a dancer. Taking that solo repertoire base, breaking it down into component movements and then expanding it into variations will help you develop a library of possibilities that can then be drawn into your partner dancing to create footwork and move variations.

Variations are sometimes the products of mistakes or rather they are mistakes that you own and transform into dance. Solo Jazz helps develop your ability to turn a mis-step into a flawless extension or flow of the dance.

Muscle Memory & Recall

Learning moves builds on muscle memory. Learning routines helps with mental memory. Learning to improvise improves mental recall. All of these mean you have a greater capacity for remembering partnered moves, a better ability to link them together on the fly with smoother transitions.

Musicality & Improvisation

Similarly, a greater bank of moves that are programmed into your muscle memory will help you “feel” particular movements, “hear” rhythms or recognise physical “ideas” in the music. This is the root of musicality and by flexing this skill regularly you’ll gain a dancer’s instinct for when to do what. 

Improvisation is linked to the mental recall mentioned earlier. Practicing improvisation through Solo Jazz will hone your responsiveness to change; change in the music, change in your balance, change in direction, and build on your ability to adapt to these changes on the fly.

Control, Balance & Spatial Awareness

Understanding how your body occupies space, what that looks like and what it feels like is a benefit of learning Solo Jazz. Dancing on your own gives you instant feedback in understanding where your weight is at a given moment in a movement and what it takes to move your body in a given direction. This proprioception is super important for developing technique for turning and spinning, which feature regularly in your partner dancing too. Developing precision with how you use your body in space will help you move more efficiently, especially with the faster tempos, when with a partner.

Ownership Of Your Dance

The balance and control gained from Solo helps strengthen your understanding that your body and your movement is your own, even when in partnership. The repertoire and variations you learn in Solo Jazz will help you develop your own voice in the partnership. In this way, by working on your solo movement, you’re acknowledging your responsibility for your 50% of your partner dances. 

Going to Solo Jazz events has the added bonus of not requiring a partner to sign up and practicing is something you can do on your own, making Solo Jazz a perfect way to take responsibility for your progression and banish the excuse of not having a partner to learn and practice with.

More Opportunities To Dance

Dancing Solo give you access to even more classes, more workshops, more events and more dancing!

There are times when dancing with a partner at events just isn’t possible. Perhaps the lead/follow balance isn’t in your favour, or you’ve got an injury that prevents you being able to connect to a partner comfortably/safely, or maybe you’re new to an event and aren’t feeling ready yet to ask a stranger to dance. Being able to thrown down some Solo Jazz moves can really help with each of these scenarios.

Often when one person starts to Solo on the dance floor more join in, allowing a group of people, who might otherwise be dancing alone or not at all, to take part together. This makes it an excellent ice-breaker and launchpad for new connections and conversations.

It’s also a super handy thing to have in your back pocket for those times when a jam circle opens up but perhaps you don’t have a dance partner you feel able to dive in with. Dancing Solo in a jam circle is just as much of a thrill as swinging out and you’ll get double the kudos from the crowd for having jumped in on your own! 

BONUS: It’ll also give you a bank of moves to throw down when out clubbing with your non-dancing friends too!

Community

Knowing the common routines means you can join in when they’re performed en masse, allowing you to further access the sense of shared experience and community at events. Knowing the lesser known routines means you can get the nod of recognition from others who know it too and warm and fuzzies of dancing in unison to something considered tricky or niche.

Historical Context

Solo Jazz offers another way to connect to your partner dancing and swing dance community through historical context. Learning why we do this Shim Sham, where the Big Apple came from, who choreographed the Tranky Doo, will lend colour and texture to the knowledge you gain about the history of Swing dance through your partner dancing.

It also provides a bridge between the ballroom, the stage and the silver screen, all of which were also homes to swing dance and give us an opportunity to connect with the original solo dancers, tap dancers, chorus lines, and performing legends who inspired the swing dancers of old to create these dancers and the swing dancers of new who continue to develop them. 

 

Give It A Go

If you’re feeling inspired to give it a go, why not stop by our weekly Solo Jazz & Charleston class. Check out our class page for more info and join our facebook group for notifications on when’s the next best time to join in.

New timetable for Blues!

We’re shaking things up at our weekly Blues class with a change to the schedule and class prices in 2019, summarised below. Full details can be found on our Blues page.

7:30pm – 8:30pm   LEVEL 2 CLASS    (60mins) // £7
8:30pm – 9:00pm   LEVEL 1 CLASS    (30mins) // £5
9.00pm – 9:30pm   SOCIAL DANCING/PRACTICE  (30mins) // Free

We ask all attendees to please arrive a little before class to get your name tag, grab a drink from the bar and settle in so that we can start on time.

New Swing dance term has started!

Our Autumn term classes with Reading University Swing Dance Society have begun!  We have to levels of classes available, Level 2 for improver/intermediate dancers and Level 1 for beginners, as well as a new mini-class just for Level 2 Followers and lots of exciting plans for future sessions in the term focusing on performance and intermediate development too!

Full details of our classes, including times and level descriptions can be found on our Lindy Hop classes page. We recommend you join the RUSDS facebook group for regular notifications and class updates. Solo Jazz and partnered Blues classes are also running, so be sure to check them out as well!

If you’re brand new to all this you and you’re a little nervous, check out our Beginner’s Guide. It’s packed full of useful info about what to expect, what to wear and whole bunch more! Our facebook page is a great place to find out about our news and upcoming events but we also regularly post up inspiring videos, informative historical resources and music picks, so there’s lots to check out. Still got questions? Shoot us an email via our contact us form and we’ll get back to you asap.

We’ve Moved!

Reading Swing Jam (RSJ) has officially moved into it’s new homes!
Homes? Plural?
Yup yup!

New Venue

Last month we hosted a house warming for Swing Jam’s new ‘home’, Watlington House. A massive thank you to everyone who came along to support us and road test the new venue. It was a hugely successful evening and we can’t wait until the next one! [Saturday 12th April, if you haven’t already popped it in your diary *hint hint wink*.]

New Website

Today, we’d like to welcome you to our new virtual home. We hope this website will become a comprehensive one-stop resource for information about RSJ, our hopes, dreams and aspirations as well as the when’s and wheres of our upcoming Jams, special guest workshops and much more! Please bear with us, we’re still unpacking and finding our way around; if you find any glaring errors please drop us an email [readingswingjam@gmail.com] so we can tidy things up as we go.

New Mailing List

With our new e-newsletter you’ll never miss a Jam and get details of workshops straight to your inbox. If you’d like to be included on our mailing list fill in the form below.