social fun of Lindy starts with your first class.
people are ALWAYS awkward and guarded around strangers — no
one wants to look
like a fool. I try to inspire my students by telling them
fellow students are the easiest people they will find to ask for a
dance. I explain that since their classmates also feel awkward,
that they would give them the same courtesy they would want, too.
Having a familiar face (or three) made working through new movements less stressful. Knowing I had several classmates with whom I could dance with, without any fear of judgement, helped relax and comfort me. Armed with the knowledge that I wouldn't have to sit out as many dances and I could practice what I remembered. I figured out that my classmates appreciated me asking them to dance. If either of us felt awkward doing a movement, we could figure it out together. We were each other's "crash test dummy". The shared class experience established a bond, so as I learned more I knew the people I could go to and practice with without any fear of judgement.
The familiarity grew into friendship, and through those friendships I was introduced to the people my partners knew and danced with, and I returned the favor.
And now, over six years later I have a boatload of dance partners, or better stated, friends, that I dance with. As the friendships have grown over the years we've found ourselves doing many things OUTSIDE of dancing like: wine-tastings, camping trips, road trips to New York, Oklahoma City and Las Vegas, birthday parties and numerous weddings.
Since 1999, when I began dancing, I've been to 17 weddings of people I met through Lindy Hop. I was fortunate to be the Best Man in one wedding (I introduced the couple to each other), and 11 of the other 16 couples met dancing.
Don't get the misconception that the Lindy Hop community is anything like the "meat-market" bar scene. It's just filled with quality people. Not only is Lindy Hop culturally diverse, there are dancers who are teachers, engineers, doctors, lawyers, dentists, rocket scientists (seriously), college and high school students, and every other working professional you can think of.