A smile of someone who’s having fun and playing around. The energy of the dancers in the video ILHC 2013 – Invitational Strictly Lindy Hop Finals is wonderful and does not go unnoticed. It caught the attention of Guilherme Ribeiro, who was stunned by what he saw. The first experience of the Brazilian with Lindy Hop was in 2015, in the free standing space in MASP, a touristic and artistic point in São Paulo, where two dancers performed. His curiosity overcame his shyness and Guilherme approached them to learn more about the dance. Aside from learning a bit more about what was going on, he also got himself some homework: watch the movie Hellzapoppin and the videos of the International Lindy Hop Championship. It was love at first sight.
Nowadays the Swing Dances occupy a large space in Guilherme’s life, who is a dancer and a teacher now. The wide availability of online material was fundamental for him to take more advantage of his classes (which he took for a while), to understand the dance and to put into practice on the dance floor what he was learning. With many hours of video watching in his “resumé”, Guilherme is comfortable reproducing the moves he sees on the videos and making them more fluid and natural to his dance partner. For those who like flexibility and need to save on time, like Guilherme, YouTube Go is a great alternative: it is possible to download the videos and watch them anywhere. “I watch videos all the time!”, Guilherme says.
Guilherme has the habit of practicing more in the school where he teaches, but he believes it is possible to adapt smaller spaces for practicing: “My bedroom was my first little spot of daily practice. I dance in a small free space between the wardrobe and the bed. Some days I wake up thinking about dance and get up from bed already experimenting a new move.”
In our interview with Guilherme, he tells us his references in the dance, explains how he uses videos online to study and gives a few tips on how videos can help you improve your performance:
There is some quite complete material in video-lessons produced by non-Brazilian teachers that could be useful for those who want to learn something beyond what they see in a face to face class – or even as a base to start from scratch. Guilherme believes that if video-lessons were produced in Brazil, their value would be much more accesible to a Brazilian audience. However, the challenge to Brazilian teachers is how to produce this kind of material. Questions start to pop up:
- What kind of material to produce?
- What would be the approach to make it different from the content presented in dance schools?
- Send the videos only to those students enrolled in regular classes or make it available to the public on the Internet?
- Send the video about a specific topic before or after that respective class?
“It’s a joint effort, because we need to educate students and teachers to consume and produce this material, since nobody in Brazil is used to this methodology.”
Even though videos are interesting, they do not provide the immediate feedback that is given in a face to face dance class, they rule out the direct interaction between student and teacher and, unless the video-lessons are watched in a group, they do not enable students to learn from one another. So it is important that students understand this idea as something extra and not a substitute, that they do not leave the classes altogether and start studying solely with online materials. Face to face classes are still fundamental to learn to dance, to understand, for example, the feelings and sensations that each movement generate on one’s body and on the partner’s. The video must be seen as a supporting tool: for those who want to improve as well as for those who prefer to experience the dance only as a social activity. Anything goes when it comes to make the scene grow.
“In order for teachers to give more classes, we need more people willing to study and practice. If videos can help with that, that’d be wonderful!”