Up Next in Solo Jazz: Al & Leon’s Shim Sham

On the next routine rotation at RSJ Solo Jazz we’re taking a look at an alternative Shim Sham created by Al Minns and Leon James. Sometimes called The Savoy Shim Sham, this routine starts off feeling like deja vu before striking out on a complete tangent. It’s a great one for rhythm and jazz step combinations. Check out Al & Leon performing their Shim Sham.

All welcome! Knowledge of the vanilla Shim Sham will be an advantage but we’ll be teaching it from scratch over three weeks so no experience necessary.

12 November
The Routine – Getting a started from the top!
19 November
The Routine – Working our way through the choreo!
26 November
Practice & Polish – Revisiting any tricky bits then practice, practice, practice!

7:15pm | Upstairs at the Rising Sun Arts Centre.
Join our Solo Jazz Class facebook group for regular class updates and helpful links.

Up Next in Solo Jazz: The Shim Sham


Starting Monday 29 October 2018

Possibly *the most* performed stroll in the modern swing dance community, the Shim Sham is a *must-know* solo jazz choreography. The Shim Sham has it’s roots in tap and it’s origins on the 1920’s stage.

Originally attributed to Leonard Reed and Willie Bryant but made famous by Lindy Hop legend Frankie Manning, the Shim Sham is now performed at social dances and events all over the world! Check out Frankie Manning leading the Shim Sham at Lindy Fest 2007.

All welcome – no experience necessary for Week 1! We’ll be working on the Shim Sham over two weeks. Where’s what you can expect each week:

Getting a handle on the trickier steps and transitions!
Finishing Touches
Putting it together and finishing off the choreo!

7:15pm | Upstairs at the Rising Sun Arts Centre.
Join our Solo Jazz Class facebook group for regular class updates and helpful links.

Level up your following skills!

Want to nail those swivels? Work those switches? Figure out what to do with your hands? Pick up some tricks and hacks for adapting your footwork?

Join Jenn Maghzal for a weekly session that’s dedicated to followers! This mini-class is open to any Level 2 dancer who wants to work on their following skills. It will include a mixture of rhythm and footwork drills and variations as well as styling options and personal expression. Over the course of the year the class may expand it’s remit to  also look at improving movement quality, turning skills, creativity exercises and self-practice development.


Weekly on Wednesdays
Starting 17th October
Wessex Hall (Whiteknights Road)

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.

Try Swing dance for Free!

Just before our regular class schedule resumes we’re running two FREE Swing dance tasters with Reading University Swing Dance Society starting next week! These sessions are perfect for anyone Swing-curious and tempted by the jitterbug. Join the taster facebook event for the latest updates including information about the walking bus from the Palmer Building in the center of campus.

Taster Details

Wednesday 26 September &
Wednesday 3rd October

Wessex Hall
University of Reading,
Whiteknights Road,

What to wear?

Comfortable clothing and shoes you can move freely in. Avoid heels and shoes that come off easily. Laces and ankle straps encouraged. A spare top/shirt might be useful as we might get rather warm!

What to bring?

Bottle of water
Fan, handkerchief or small towel might be useful


Have you bought your ticket for the biggest Swing dance social event in Reading?  Some weekend tickets are available and Saturday evening tickets go on sale Wednesday 15th August.
Note: Saturday tickets include the RSX Ball and the late night Blues Jam but only where venue capacity allows and with priority given to weekend ticket holders.

Want a snazzy RSX T-shirt or tote bag?
You’ll need to get your ticket by Wednesday 15th August to register your order in time!

What’s the music line up?

Friday Welcome Dance – Heather Jayne & the Red Shoes.
Saturday RSX Ball – Sitcky Wicket & his Swing Band.
Saturday Blues Jam – Ma Bessie Duo
Sunday Tea Dance – The Silver Heels

What’s happening Saturday daytime?

Dance Tasters: Afro-Caribbean, St. Louis Shag, Balboa, Shim Sham Crash Course and Blues.
Non-Dance Activities: Ukulele taster, Real Ale Tour, History Tour and more!
Note: These are only available to Weekend ticket holders!

Want to part of the RSX magic?

Volunteering is a great way to get to know new people and comes with the super warm and fuzzies of knowing that you were a key contributor to the RSX experience! Volunteer duties may include event setup or set down, greeting and assisting guests, keeping the water containers filled and snacks topped up, shepherding guests between venues and DJing at the events.

Want to join the team?
You will be able to express your interest in volunteering at RSX when you register. Register now on Eventbrite!

Already booked but still want to volunteer? 
Drop us an email at readingswingexchange@gmail.com and let us know!

Want to DJ but got those newbie nerves?
We can give you some pointers about how to get started as well as setting you up with a practice run at the August Swing Jam or Alley Cat Blues. If you’d like to give it a shot drop us an email at readingswingexchange@gmail.com


Solo Jazz A-Z Summer Series

RSJ Solo Jazz  continues over the summer months with the A-Z of Jazz starting Monday 2nd July.

Each week we’ll start by taking a look at a handful of solo jazz steps to flesh out your solo dance vernacular,  breaking them down from scratch for new students and considering variations for those more practiced. After practicing the steps individually and in sequence, we’ll then work through a some exercises and games aimed at developing your improvisational, creative and solo dancing skills.

IMPORTANT: As with all of our solo classes, please bring with you a drink, a towel/fan, deodorant and a change of clothes especially if you’re staying on for the Balboa class after! A notebook is also highly recommended.

Mondays at 7:15pm | Upstairs at the Rising Sun Arts Centre.
Join our Solo Jazz Class facebook group for regular class updates and helpful links.

Up Next at Solo Jazz: The Big Apple!

From Monday 14th May we’re going to be tackling the king of solo jazz routines, The Big Apple!

It started out as a call and response dance but was then immortalised as a stand alone routine when choreographed by Frankie Manning and performed by Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers for the 1939 film Keep Punchin’. It’s now known and danced by lindy hoppers all over the world and is soon to join the Reading swing scene repertoire!

This is a beast of a routine so we ask attendees to arrive early so we can start promptly and make the most of the time we have.

All welcome! No experience necessary! Just wear comfy clothes and shoes that stay on your feet and bring a drink – a fan or towel might be useful tool. We highly recommend a notebook and pen to make notes as we go along!

7:15pm | Upstairs at the Rising Sun Arts Centre.
Join our Solo Jazz Class facebook group for regular class updates and helpful links.

Lindy Hop Workshop with Richard & Michaela

We’re delighted to be hosting this Lindy Hop workshop with these wonderful Londoners, Richard Pucci from Up Town Swing and Michaela Delmonte from Swing Patrol! Full details to come but for now find your booking partner and save the date!

Workshop tickets also include entry to our Swing Jam social in the evening at the same venue. Tickets go on sale 6pm, 15 January. For more info, check out the Workshops page and join the facebook event for event updates.