Our mission is to spread the joy of swing dancing as we teach people the skills to do it! We love teaching, we love each other and we love our students... so we all always have a good time!
We believe that dance is the best thing you can do for yourself: physically, emotionally, mentally and socially. Many of our students started dancing as a result of life changes such as marriage, divorce or job loss. We frequently hear "Dancing saved my life." It's true. Dancing is an opportunity to connect with others in a supportive environment. When you learn to dance you discover rhythms of your body and your heart that you may not have known were there.
Our objective is to teach social dance skills, so you can dance with anyone for the rest of your life. Every move we teach is grounded in principles of lead and follow connection. With a fundamental understanding of how to lead and follow, and being well-connected, our students can dance practically any dance with anybody.
LEARN TO DANCE SOCIALLY
We will help you learn to dance socially. You don't need to attend class with a partner... everyone dances with everyone in rotation. This enhances your learning as you don't just learn to compensate for one person's habits or rely on signals. It also creates a fun, social atmosphere in class. Many of our students make friendships that last beyond the dance floor.
LEARN WITHOUT OVERWHELM
We don't teach routines, we teach moves that you learn to integrate into your dancing. Rather than load you down with moves you can't remember, we review weekly to ensure that you have the confidence and ability to execute the moves on the dance floor.
Our Dance Class Commandments
1. Thou shalt not blame or cast stones at thy partner or thyself. Give yourself permission to learn. You are learning a partner dance that requires two people to do something that neither knows how to do yet. Don't be too hard on yourself or your partner; you, she, or he will certainly do something "wrong." That's how you learn to do it right. The only "fault" is inexperience.
2. Thou shalt not attempt to "teach" your partner. Concentrate on improving your own ability, not fixing your partner's. Everyone comes to class with different levels of experience. If you try to help by teaching or doing moves that aren't part of the repertoire being taught, it will be distracting to your partner and to those around you. Remember you are in the class to learn. Let the teachers do the teaching.
3. Thou shalt not look at your feet unless we tell you to. This dance is not about where you put your feet but how you move your body. Move your body and your feet will follow. They are attached.
4. Thou shalt smile and laugh at yourself. Swing dancing is all about having fun. Learning to move your body in new ways may feel awkward at first. You may feel silly or not "in control." That's okay, lose control, lighten up, and enjoy yourself.
5. Thou shalt practice and go out and dance. You learn by repetition, so you must practice. Don't wait until you think you are "good enough" to go out dancing. The more social dancing you do, the better you get. Swing dancing is the most social dance there is. Everyone dances with everyone. Don't be afraid to ask dancers who you think are "better than you" to dance.
About Linda & Chester
Chester and Linda Freeman have been teaching swing and ballroom dance professionally since 2004 when they decided to devote themselves full time to what they loved best. Since then they have taught all over the world, but their home base is the Hudson Valley, where they specialize in Lindy Hop, the authentic form of swing dance, and teach private lessons, run swing dance workshops, group classes and monthly dances. They are known for their fun and engaging style. They also specialize in working one-on-one with wedding couples, work in arts-in-education programs and with organizations.
Linda and Chester were the hosts of WHVW 950 AM The Swing Shift Radio Show for three years and hosted a 7-part TV series of the same name.
They have been profiled and featured in many news articles, including Chronogram, Hudson Valley Magazine, The Poughkeepsie Journal, The Daily Freeman, The Woodstock Times, The Southern Ulster Times and, in 2005, they were the cover story of Hudson Valley Life magazine. Their work with the students at Violet Avenue Elementary School was filmed by the Children's Media Project and used for a national TV campaign.
Chester is a member and assistant director of the Big Apple Lindy Hoppers performance troupe since 2002 and winner of a silver medal at the Canadian Lindy Hop Championships. Linda helped edit the original manuscript for Frankie Manning's autobiography, "The Ambassador of Lindy Hop."
In The News:
What our students say...
"As teachers of swing dance, Linda and Chester are such a terrific asset to the Hudson Valley! Linda has a solid grasp on every move they bring to the students, with a great, attentive eye to correcting mistakes and getting rid of bad habits (having had my share, I'm an expert on that topic.) Ditto for Chester, and he's so darn fun to dance with!!!
They have built a loving and ever-growing community of dancing-fool souls, and in doing so have changed the lives considerably of all who entered! If you haven't stepped forward yet in their direction, now is the time."
Maddy - Hyde Park, NY
"The two of you are such good teachers and the class environment is warm and friendly. It's been a great experience. Can't wait to get our kids involved.
Dana - Kington, NY
I appreciate the way that people from many different backgrounds soon feel comfortable in your dance classes.
You and Linda really do a wonderful job of creating an atmosphere where your students can relax, enjoy themselves, and feel free to learn and develop as dancers and as individuals.
Life is a growing process and I'm so glad that you and Linda are a part of mine. I
am really enjoying the classes, the dancing and the company of friends on Monday nights!”
Ethel - New Paltz, NY
"You and Chester are the best. I feel so fortunate to be able to learn to dance from you guys. Thank you!"