It Takes Three: A Swing Recipe
Bandleader, singer, and international Lindy hop champion Naomi Uyama, who brought the house down at Midsummer Night Swing last summer, shares her recipe for a great night of swing.
Naomi Uyama: First, I have to say, Lindy hop is the greatest! It's America's national folk dance. It's our own way of dancing to the amazing, enduring, historic music called jazz. It's about rhythm. It's about swinging. It's about improvisation. It's about holding someone and moving to the music. It's what gave me my love of jazz. I guarantee that given the three ingredients listed below it'll sweep you off your feet and you'll never want to stop.
To be a great partner you don't have to be the best dancer out there. Someone comfortable, responsive, and in it to have a good time is what you're looking for. Keep good rhythm, just like the musicians swinging for you onstage. The steps can be simple if they feel good!
This is both for surface and space. A sprung floor—like the one that's installed for Midsummer Night Swing—is dreamy, and it's also important to have room to move. If I don't know the floor, I usually bring a couple of pairs of shoes with different soles. You want the right amount of slip and grip if you really want to get down.
The first two ingredients are important, but you can survive without them. Having the music move you is essential to having a great dance. Dancing is a picture of what we hear. It's how we express what we feel inside through a tradition of movement. If the music doesn't swing, then how can we?
I wish everyone a summer full of great dances this year at Midsummer Night Swing. See you on the dance floor!
Naomi Uyama, who's been dancing for 20 years, discovered jazz when she was 16. After immersing herself in the Lindy hop and becoming a world-renowned dance instructor, she honed her craft as a jazz vocalist and hand picked her favorite musicians to come together as Naomi & Her Handsome Devils.