But not how you think. A few brave rock and roll dance virgins and I went to the London Swing Dance Society for a lesson in Lindy Hopping. We joined their very popular beginners’ class in Holborn, in a huge village-hall-like building that I’d never noticed before.
I’d expected a room full of hopeful looking women in full skirts, but I was pleasantly surprised: there was a roughly even mix of men and women, and even a subtle singles vibe. For blokes, being able to lead a girl in a bit of rock and roll dancing is a skill that pays back, I’m sure.
Our instructor was great – he made it easy for the beginners, made sure it was fun, and had appropriately fashioned sideburns.
It’s an easy going, easy paced class. You swap partners regularly, much like the other sort of swinging but with clothes. That takes away any awkwardness and, if you dance like a baby elephant with amnesia (ahem), it also means you get a series of helpful partners to show you the ropes without getting sick of you twirling the wrong way or trying to lead.
As readers of the hip hop post will know, I’m not a natural dancer, but this is entertaining and light hearted, and it doesn’t matter too much if you can’t remember all the steps.
Perhaps it doesn’t strictly count as fitness – you don’t end up out of breath – but it gets you moving and socialising and I bet it’s more physically challenging once you’re familiar with the moves and can speed up a bit.
The London Swing Dance Society holds regular classes there and at other locations, plus dancing in the bar downstairs, where we watched for a while as the regulars showed us what it’s supposed to look like. They also hold parties and dances and all sorts.
The next round of beginners’ classes starts on Tuesday 16th November, though you can just pitch up and join in at any time. A few of my accomplices on this adventure enjoyed it so much they’re now starting a full course.