Cross Training – now and then

I have been home for the past few weeks and it’s been absolutely lovely. One of the great pleasures of being home is that I can train whenever and however I please. While at Hoodstock, I tend to keep odd hours (but not really for a lindy hopper) and sometimes I train at 7pm, 11pm, or 1am. The thing is, I can train whenever I feel like it and have a solid session because I chose to be there. That being said, I train when I don’t necessarily want to, but there is nothing like being motivated and getting to do your thing.

Before ILHC I would do 20-40 minutes on the elliptical machine and then dance around to charleston music. Sometimes I’d learn a jazz routine online and run that a bunch of times, or run the solo jazz standards like The Big Apple, Trankie Do, and the Al & Leon Shim Sham. Or sometimes I’d switch it up and do some Tahitian dancing. Whatever I felt. It was awesome.

I find that just doing lindy hop doesn’t quite keep me in the same shape it used to. Mind you, it still does a great job, but I find that I mostly work the same muscles over and over again. I recently (like last week) added tap into my cross training and that just kicks my ass. Wow, there is so much more bouncing in tap (Note: I am choosing to bounce as much as I do…sometimes I try to take some of the hopping out so I can speed things up, otherwise I feel like I am jumping rope…..a very thin rope)!

So yeah. Cross train. It’s important to keep your muscles balances (we tend to either lead or follow….one side is dominant), keep up your flexibility, and keep expanding your dance mind. Just ask Bobby White how important it is to cross train, or Marty Klempner; P90X anyone?

And here is a short article from the New York Times, 25 January 1939 edition (page 18). If you need something historical to get you up and moving, hopefully this will do it!

1939: Doctor Advises Jitterbugs to Train

Advises Jitterbugs to Train

Advises Jitterbugs to Train
Jitterbugs should train in the same way that athletes do, or face the prospect of thick ankles, broken, maladjusted feet and exhausted nervous systems, according to Dr. John J. Lalli of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathy. He holds that no good can come from doing the Susie-Q, the Big Apple or other such modern dances, and describes them as “throwbacks to the war and religious dances of primitive tribes.”

Jitterbug accepted as a Ballroom Dance

Here is an article from the 20th September 1943 edition of the New York Times (page 23):

Jitterbug Accepted as Ballroom Dance

Jitterbug Accepted as Ballroom Dance

New York Teachers Combine It with Lindy for Classes

History was made in ballroom dancing yesterday when the New York Society of Teachers of Dancing Inc, at its September meeting in the Hotel Astor, officially recognized and decided to teach the jitterbug as a pastime fitted to accompany waltz, tango and rumba on dance programs.

However, the jitterbug to be taught this fall and winter to the city’s ballroom classes will not be the jitterbug of the hepcats, Harlem sidewalks or high school fiestas. Brought under professional control and ballroom decorum, the refined movements are joined with the forerunner of the jitterbug, the Lindy, to form the Lindy-Jitterbug, which was demonstrated at yesterday’s meeting by Mrs. Oscar Duryea and Patrick J. Mastrolia.

A committee appointed to study the jitterbug and advise on its adaptability to the ballroom reported that youth was dancing the jitterbug and would continue to dance it, and the fact must be recognized. The teachers were reminded that youth, not dancing masters, decreed what should be danced and since the jitterbug in its essence was an expression of youth, the thing to do was to adapt it to the classroom and a ballroom routine. Therefore the committee put together what seemed to be the general basic steps of the jitterbug as danced by the youth of the metropolitan area.

In 1941 the US entered WWII and brought lindy hop to the world. Two years later this article was written. Once jitterbug was adapted for the ballroom world, it became more mainstream and therefore was more accessible to the white crowd.
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For more amazing articles like this, and tons a fabulous tidbits from history, please visit Sharon Davis’ blog. She spent many hours scouring microfilm archives while she was in university to dig them up, so go check them out!! She’s not only a rad chick, but she knows her history and her music and she has a keen eye for fashion!