Can You Learn to Lindy Hop from a Video?

The advent of Youtube has done wonders to spread lindy hop around the world. Thank goodness for it or we might still be passing along VHS tapes to one another.

Yet like everything on the internet, it’s a bit of a blessing and a curse. Plenty of what you see contains misinformation and does no service to spreading lindy hop around in a meaningful way.

Take the following clip which has (as of this writing) nearly a quarter million views. The title is “How to Do the Tandem Charleston.”

It’s hard to even go into the number of things to critique here. Aside from stylistic choices, here’s a few

*The counting to describe the swingout is not syncopated.

*There’s no actual swing music.

*Most importantly, THIS IS NOT TANDEM CHARLESTON.

Now I intended to insert a video afterward that was a more helpful. However, after spending 30 minutes scouring youtube I still didn’t see any I could recommend. Not just in terms of quality and accuracy, but if the material is being presented in a way that could be useful to someone who doesn’t know the step at all.

Granted, many of us learned a great deal through careful study of historical footage. However, in today’s age, I don’t expect anyone seeking information to take the kind of care needed to learn the dance in this fashion.

So, be mindful of what you look at. Just because something has been watched a lot doesn’t necessarily indicate that it is helpful or accurate content.

Side Note: The leader in the video, Robert Royston is a highly respected and well-known figure in the WEST COAST SWING world. I’ve met him and found him to be a thoughtful teacher who really cares about dance. However, this video is just painfully inaccurate.

Mark Kihara