“Why should people dance?”. About eight years ago, questions like this couldn’t get out of Martynas Stony’s head. And, in 2011, when an opportunity to speak about Lindy Hop at TEDx showed up – one of the main programs dedicated to sharing ideas and experiences of the world – in Vilnius, Lithuania, this was the subject approached by him and his dancing partner at the time, Egle Regelskis.
Martynas is a dancer known in a variety of countries, including Brazil. Since 2009, it’s possible to find vídeos with his performances on the Internet. The first time he saw himself dancing in one of these vídeos was two years after becoming a Lindy Hop teacher. He thought it was horrible.
“Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s not, similar to when we see ourselves in photographies. But, with time, you get used to seeing yourself dancing. Being able to observe your dance and realize how better you got through the time is really important”, he says.
But there is a big difference between seeing yourself in a dance video, a familiar situation to a dancer, and on stage, speaking to a set of ten or hundreds of people. Talking to Making Lindy Hop Videos, Martynas recognizes he was embarrassed while watching himself speak at TEDx, but dancing taught him this is the process: “This is how we learn accepting ourselves the way we are.”
The lecture’s title given at TEDx, in 2012, was “A Couple Dance That Improves You”: the main idea was showing that dancing in duo, especially Lindy Hop, can improve peoples’ lives in many aspects. According to Martynas, this dance helped him loosen up, circumvent his shyness, interact with people and have more confidence in himself and life situations.
Watch the full video.
Reflecting on the lecture, Martynas was even more convinced that many activities can help people being better in different aspects of life; but also that Lindy Hop in a special activity:
“It’s a social dance. Partners have to pay attention to each other and work equally to offer good moments for both. You have to constantly choose while improvising, what to do next in your dance; it helps prepare the person for unpredictable situations in its own life.”
Martynas believes that his TEDx’s experience was important for the local Lindy Hop scene, it evoked the dance interest in people from the audience and ended up attracting new students. He joked: “They should have thought: ‘cool people, cool dance, I want to do it too’.”
Martynas reviews the comparison he made about Lindy Hop and sex during his lecture. It was simply the way he found to illustrate how much dancing in a duo is satisfying to him. It’s possible to notice in the video that the audience had fun with this joke, but Martynas told us that, if the invitation to hold the lecture was made nowadays, he wouldn’t make this comparison.
Martynas was in Brazil in May 2018, as one of the Sugarloaf Stomp’s teachers, a Lindy Hop event that happens annually in Rio de Janeiro. He said it was a very fun and warm experience and left a special message to Brazilian hoppers:
“Keep dancing, swinging. Keep mixing Lindy Hop with other local dances, like samba and forró. Go crazy!”
Translation: Juliana Anatnas Seugirdor