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DISCLAIMER — All material provided herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for professional dance instruction. Anyone reading this material voluntarily and freely assumes all risk of personal injury should they choose to dance it.
Start dance in open position (1-hand hold), LEAD facing audience & FOLLOW's back to audience.
Row numbers in the Quick Reference below correspond to 8-count measures in the music.
Numbers in parentheses, for example (5-6-7-8), correspond to individual beats or counts of a measure.
Another example: 10(1-2-3-4) means Beats 1 through 4 of Measure #10.
See Detailed Breakdown below for an in-depth explanation of each move.
See Swing Time Video Breakdown to watch each move danced.
Intro (4 Measures): Clap, Style, Free-Style, or Invent a Choreography
Main Section of Dance (Repeat Twice):
1. Swing Out
2. Swing Out
3. Lindy Circle
4. Tuck & Double Turn
8. Texas Tommy
9. Suzy Q's
10(1-2-3-4): Tandem Entrance
10(5-6-7-8) & 11(1-2-3-4): Tandem Charleston
11(5-6-7-8) & 12(1-2-3-4): Tandem Charleston
12(5-6-7-8) & 13(1-2): Transition to Traveling Charleston (RS-KS-KS)
13(3-4-5-6-7-8) & 14(1-2): Traveling Charleston (K&KS[L]-K&KS[R])
14(3-4-5-6-7-8) & 15(1-2): Traveling Charleston (K&KS[L]-K&KS[R])
15(3-4-5-6-7-8) & 16(1-2): Transition to Hand-to-Hand Charleston
16(3-4-5-6-7-8) & 17(1-2): Hand-to-Hand Charleston
17(3-4-5-6-7-8) & 18(1-2): Hand-to-Hand Charleston
18. Kick Around
19. Skip Up
20. CSRT (Cross, Slide, Rock, & Turn)
23. Around the World
25. Around the World
27. Cross-Breaks (Lead) & Continuous Swivels (Follow)
28. Cross-Breaks (Lead) & Continuous Swivels (Follow)
Ending (Perform these the 2nd time through only):
29. Lindy Circle
30. Tuck & Single Turn
31. Follow Turns In — Hip Check — Follow Spins
33. Ride Off
PREREQUISITES — This breakdown is for experienced Lindy Hoppers who want to learn and dance the Lindy Chorus. If you're inexperienced, get help from an instructor or an experienced dancer. Standard Lindy Hop moves are not explained, though most can be looked up online.
MUSIC — The Lindy Chorus can be danced to any swing-jazz song with classic 32-bar structure, though you might have to make modifications on the intro and ending to accommodate song length. It was choreographed for the song Wednesday Night Hop by Andy Kirk, which consists of 65 measures of music, two 32's + a 1-measure outro. The Lindy Chorus dance choreography divides this song as follows: a 4-measure intro, a 28-measure sequence danced twice, then a 5-measure ending: 4 + 28 + 28 + 5 = 65.
GROUP PERFORMANCE TIPS — When multiple couples perform this dance, line the couples up in rows parallel to audience. On moves where one partner's back is to the audience, you can instead angle each couple anywhere from 15 to 45 degrees to give the audience a better view of the hidden partner. It's common for groups of dancers to make their own minor modifications or customizations to the Lindy Chorus.
USE — This document, web page, breakdown, and description is Copyright 2014 Swing Time with all rights reserved. However, permission is granted to either link to this document at http://swingtime.info/lindychorus.html -or- print it out in its entirety for personal or educational use. Please contact us with any questions, comments, or corrections.
Swing Time Video Breakdown
Four Good Lindy Chorus Videos (danced as originally choreographed):
Nicole & Manu Frankie 100 920 Special Beantown 2002
Learn Lindy Hop Basics from Frankie Manning
How to Shimmy Your Shoulders (& Hips/Etc too)
Measures 1 & 2: Swing Out — A Forward Swing-Out is the most commonly seen style of Swing-Out in the Lindy Chorus, where Follow heads straight toward audience (with a waive & a smile) starting on count 5.
Measure 3: Lindy Circle — It's helpful and sharper if Lead does a one-and-a-quarter Lindy Circle, so that he ends up with his left shoulder to the audience; that makes it easier, on the next measure, for Lead to rock forward and send the Follow in that same (forward) direction.
Measure 4: Tuck & Double Turn — End apart from partner and facing audience. That means the Lead has to let go of the Follow at the end of the turn and position himself once again to face the audience.
Measures 5 & 6 & 7: Charleston — Charlestons are done apart from your partner with the Follow on the right of the Lead. At the end of the 3rd Charleston (by count 8 at latest), come back together with your partner in the closed "V" position, still facing audience.
Measure 8: Texas Tommy — Start from the closed position and end with Lead facing audience, Follow's back to audience, and right-to-right hand. Freeze on count 7. On count 8, end with weight on your left foot and your right toe twisted outward (or alternately your right foot kicked outward). LEAD: Take another step onto your left foot on count 8 as you simultaneously twist your right toe outward. FOLL: Your weight's already on your left foot on count 7; just twist your right toe out on count 8.
Measure 9: Suzy Q's — Do the Suzy Q while holding right hands with your partner. Use the Suzy Q's to progress the couple's position one-quarter turn. Footwork (for toes) and armwork for loose hand is:
Musical Count: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8
Toes/Arms In or Out: I-O-I-O-I-O-I-O
Weight on Left or Right Foot: R-L-R-L-R-L-R-L
Tandem Entrance — This is a standard entrance to the Tandem Charleston. FOLL: Rockstep 1-2 (right foot back), turn & step (or kick-step) 3-4 landing on right foot, then get ready to rock on your left foot to start the Tandem Charleston. LEAD: Rockstep 1-2 (left foot back), touch forward with left toe on 3-4 as you turn your partner in; if Lead did a full 8-count Suzy Q, his starting weight will be on his left foot, requiring a stomp off (R-L) on count 1 in order to rock back on his left foot; or Lead can just skip count 8 of the Suzy Q leaving his weight on the right foot.
Tandem Charleston — Do two sets of Tandem Charlestons with your left shoulders to the audience. Count these with the music as 5-6-7-8-1-2-3-4.
Transition to Traveling Charleston — RockStep-KickStep-KickStep. Do a left-foot rock-step, quarter-turn left (facing audience) as you kick-step with left foot, do another quarter-turn left as you kick-step with right foot. Couple will end up side by side with right shoulders to audience and Follow on the right side of Lead. Follow will be closer to the audience throughout the Traveling Charlestons. Transition takes 6 counts: 5-6-7-8-1-2.
Traveling Charleston — Kick-And-Kick-Step (K&KS) with your left foot, then K&KS with your right foot. Repeat. "And" means bend your knee and prepare to do another kick with the same foot. On the first "Kick" of each K&KS, turn 180 degrees with your partner and face the opposite direction. On the final KS, release left hands. Couples should end up where they started, with right shoulders to audience.
Transition to Hand-to-Hand Charleston — Keep hands at waist level throughout this transition. Still holding right hands, Lead stays put while Follow turns out to face Lead on counts 3-4-5-6; LEAD: Kick(forward)-And-Rock-Step using left foot while turning Follow away with right hand; FOLL: KickStep(L)-RockStep(R-L) while turning out to face Lead. On 7-8 do a right-to-right hand tuck-in with Follow planting her right foot for the spin & Lead planting his left foot. On 1-2, FOLL: spin 360 degrees then bring your left foot down (with weight) to complete the spin; right foot is now free to kick as you connect right hands with your partner. On 1-2, LEAD: Free-spin your partner (let go with hand) but leave your own feet where they are; your weight's on your left foot and your right foot's free; connect right hands with your partner as she finishes the spin.
COUNT: 34-56-78 -12
Hand-to-Hand Charleston — Follow will be closer to audience than Lead throughout. Do two 8-counts of these starting right-to-right hand and kicking with your right foot. The count is 3-4-5-6-7-8-1-2. On the final two of these sixteen counts (1-2), push left hands and turn away from your partner as you kick-step with your left foot. These ending two counts of the Hand-to-Hand Charlestons double as the first two counts of the next move, the Kick-Around.
Measure 18: Kick Around — Turn away from your partner and move in a circular pattern (toward your left shoulder) while doing 4 kicks; Lead will create with his movement the bottom circle (farthest from audience) of a "Figure 8" pattern, while Follow will create the top circle (closest to audience) of the same Figure 8.
LEAD: KS(L)-KS(R)-KS(L)-KS(R)...get ready to rockstep w/ left foot
FOLL: KS(L)-KS(R)-KS(L)-K&(R)...get ready to rockstep w/ right foot
Measure 19: Skip Up — RS-KS-K-K-K-K as you travel the first half of a counterclockwise circle around your partner. Slide forward on the Kick-Step (Lead, toward audience; Follow, away from audience) and pass your partner by the left shoulder, then go leftward on the 4 Kicks to the other side of your partner. LEAD: rock with your left foot on 1-2 and finish with left foot in the air on the final kick. FOLL: rock with your right foot and finish with right foot in the air on the final kick.
Measure 20: CSRT (Cross, Slide, Rock, & Turn) — You've got one foot kicked in the air; cross it over the other foot on counts 1-2 and shift your weight to it. Keep your feet in the crossed position and slide back, then shift your weight to the other foot (think "Slide-Step" on 3-4); you'll now see your partner. Rockstep (Lead left, Follow right) on 5-6. Cross your back foot over your front foot then turn 360 degrees & face your partner (think "Cross-Turn" on 7-8). If you finish late, you'll have plenty of catchup/play time on the Shimmies (next).
Measure 21: Shimmy — Put your own style into this as you Shimmy (usually your shoulders) facing your partner. You can do this apart or hold one hand with your partner. You probably finished the last move with your partner in front of you and a little bit toward your right. Lead is now facing audience; Follow now has her back to the audience.
Points — In the words of Frankie Manning, "a-1, a-2, you know what to do!" If you don't already have one hand with your partner, take a hand on count 1 so that you're in the standard Lindy Hop open position. On counts 1-2, point the index finger of your free hand toward your partner and point your free foot as well (heel touching ground; toes upward). On 3-4, point free hand and free foot away from partner (180 degrees). On 5-6-7-8, point back toward partner, this time shaking index finger toward partner 4 times with the beat. On the final set of Points (Measure 26), Lead steps on his left foot on count 8; this frees up his right foot for what comes next.
Around-the-World — A Frankie Manning classic, this is half a Swing-Out (180 degrees only) with a dual-partner "around-the-world" free-turn on counts 5-6-7-8. Both partners turn toward their right shoulder.
Cross-Breaks (Lead) & Continuous Swivels (Follow) — For this to work well, make your one-arm connection a solid anchor with more pull than usual; don't move that arm as you dance your part. FOLL: Do 8 swivels starting with your right foot, then 8 more. LEAD: Footwork is Run-Run-Rock-Step (R-L-R-L) the first three times; crossover on the Run-Run and uncross on the Rock-Step. Note the Lead is rock-stepping back on his right foot, which is a bit unusual. The 4th time, Lead needs to free up his left foot for what comes next, so do Run-Run-Rock-Freeze (R-L-R-Freeze) instead.
Measure 29: Lindy Circle— End it with both partners facing audience.
Measure 30: Tuck & Single Turn— Rockstep-Tuck-Turn-Rockstep (switch to right-to-right handhold)
Measure 31: Follow Turns In — Hip Check — Follow Spins— Counts 1 & 2 are exactly like Tandem Entrance (note that we already did the rockstep in the prior measure) except let go of right hands and do a Hip Check (Lead changes Follow's circular momentum by placing one hand on each hip and spinning her in the opposite direction while letting go; note this happens very quickly on the counts of 1 & 2; let go before the count of 3.) Follow spins in place on counts 3-4-5-6-7-8 toward her right shoulder, usually 2-3 times (depending on skill level or particular choreography) to end up facing Lead's backside and with her own back to the audience. Lead turns around on 7-8 (with his back now to Follow and audience) and gets in position for the Piggyback.
Measure 32: Piggyback — Prep on 1-2 (Lead bend knees, adopt wide & stable stance; Follow bend knees preparing to hop while placing both hands on Lead's shoulders). Follow hops on Lead on 3-4. Piggyback ride starts 5-6-7-8 with Follow waiving one hand and Lead walking toward the sidelines.
Measure 33: Ride Off — Continue the Piggyback ride as both partners continue toward the sidelines or offstage. The music will be very light and fading out.
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