Level 4 Lesson 1 - Etiquette

"Is it okay to dance with a stranger?" "What about an instructor?" "How do I avoid bumping other people on the dance floor?" "I saw someone doing a flip right next to another set of dancers. Is that okay?" Get answers to these questions and more, in this important Lesson on Dance Etiquette. Also learn the norms, traditions, and other useful tips as you begin to Social Dance more. This lesson is a great first step in your Level 4, Social Dancer, education.

  • Social Dance Etiquette

Level 4 Lesson 2 - Matching

Level 4 is all about refining the movements you already know, making them more technically accurate. The first step to good technique is learning how to "Match" your partner. In this lesson, you'll learn 3 important ways to Match, and some easy moves you already know from Levels 1-3 that will help you practice Matching.

  • Centerpoint Matching
  • Elbow Matching
  • Shoulder Matching
  • Centerpoint Pattern
  • Elbow Pattern
  • Shoulder Pattern

Level 4 Lesson 3 - Stretch

With all the dancing you're starting to do, it's likely you've already thought of the concept of "Stretch." Many of our Lindy Hop and Charleston moves require a stretching away from our partner to gain adequate momentum for the next move. In this lesson, learn how to correctly create and use Stretch as you explore it in this first-time approach. Many Intermediate dancers begin to develop poor habits within this important concept, so check yourself with a list of important do's and don't's within some simple moves you already learned in Levels 1-3.

  • Stretch Exercises
  • Rock-Step with Stretch

Level 4 Lesson 4 - Release

Practice the important next step after Stretching: Release. Now you're getting accustomed to Stretching Away from your partner, let's make sure a Release is also happening in the right places. After a Stretch, the muscles used to create the Stretch need to relax, since they are no longer needed. Start applying this each time you Stretch in moves from Levels 1-3. Many dancers keep using the muscles they used to Stretch, even after the Stretch is complete, even when they are no longer needed. This is a good time to start focusing on Release as a regular part of Stretching. Similarly, each time a Turn is initiated, certain muscles are used to "Stretch" through the Turn. Follows often hold this muscular feeling when the Turn has ended, rather than Releasing it. Practice getting in and out of Turns with the proper Release. The best method to practice Release is to breathe out at the moment you should Release. This helps to train the muscles to let go as they no longer need to continue working so hard.

  • Stretch and Release (Stretching Away)
  • Turn and Release (Stretching through a Turn)
  • Level 4 Lesson 4 Pattern 1
  • Level 4 Lesson 4 Pattern 2

Level 4 Lesson 5 - Arms and Pulse

Sometimes we've spent so much time thinking about our feet and our partner, we forget that we have a whole other half of our body that is meant to be dancing as well. As you work in Level 4 to improve your technique, a hugely important part of your training will be learning how to properly use your "Arms" while dancing. Arms are vital to leading and following any move, supporting the rhythm and pulse of the dance, and supplying the proper momentum. The arms in this style of dance also capture the style and essence of the music. In this Lesson, we'll focus on the arms for the Front-to-Back, and then the Swing-Out, as the first step to refining your Swing-Out technique. We will also break down the concept of Pulse even further, and show how the combination of Arms and Pulse lead to efficient and easy technical dancing.

  • Front-to-Back solo
  • Swing-Out solo for Followers
  • Swing-Out solo for Leaders
  • 6-count Lindy Underarm Pass
  • Swing-Out

Level 4 Lesson 6 - Charleston Technique

Now that you're working hard on your technique as a Level 4 dancer, let's make sure you get some technique for those great Charleston moves you learned in Levels 1-3 as well! When mastered, these techniques will make your Charleston feel good, and easier to lead and follow.

  • Groove Walks solo
  • Kick Steps solo
  • Charleston Basic for Lindy Hop in SBS
  • Charleston to Front-to-Back Pattern

Level 4 Lesson 7 - Dancing to the Music

"Swing" music is a very broad category. Within Jazz music, there are many different types of styles, rhythms, and sounds. In this Lesson you'll explore a few of those differences, and learn to pick out the right moves in your repertoire based on what song the DJ spins.

  • Identifying Form and Style within Jazz Music

Level 4 Lesson 8 - "Fix-it" - Tips For Leaders

The Swing-Out can make or break you on the Social Dance floor. In this Lesson, we'll focus on tips to help the Leaders improve their Swing-Out technique.

  • Swing-Out (focusing on Lead Technique)

Level 4 Lesson 9 - "Fix-it" - Tips For Followers

The Swing-Out can make or break you on the Social Dance floor. In this Lesson, we'll focus on tips to help the Followers improve their Swing-Out technique.

  • Swing-Out (focusing on Follower Technique)

Level 4 Lesson 10 - Fix-it Together

Now that you've worked hard on your Swing-Outs focussing on individual Leader and Follower techniques, here's some drills to help you master the process as a partnership.

  • Level 4 Swing-Out Drills
  • Half Swing-Out

Level 4 Lesson 11 - Shim Sham

Learn Leonard Reed's Shim Sham, now a regular solo line dance at many social swing dances. Though originally a Tap routine with loose format, the Shim Sham now has a standardized Jazz form performed by Swing Dancers all over the world. If you're out social dancing, as you should be in Level 4, then you MUST know this dance! It's a Lindy Hopper's must-know.

  • Shim Sham Step
  • Cross-Over
  • Tackie Annie
  • Half-Break
  • Break Step

Level 4 Lesson 12 (optional) - The Jitterbug Stroll

Invented by Ryan Francois, this is a more modern solo jazz routine that is still popular at some social dances. We've made it an optional requirement for Level 4, but it's a fun one to add to your solo dance learning! Steven Mitchell arranged a song to go with Ryan's choreography, making it even easier to learn and dance.

  • Hustle Forward ("Yo-dee-yo-dee")
  • Pivot Turn (Break 1 - "Pivot Around")
  • Step Taps (Break 2 - "Break Time")
  • Knee Slap
  • Boogie Back
  • Boogie Forward
  • Tick-Tock
  • Suzie Q
  • Shorty George
  • Lock Step (Lock Turn)

Level 4 Lesson 13 (optional) - The Madison

Learn a fun new line dance that contains influences in both its music and dance steps that came out of the swing era. This dance was popular in the late 1950s to mid-1960s, originating in Ohio. It was made even more popular through the disc recording and appearance in the movie "Hairspray."

  • The Madison Basic
  • The Madison Forward Step
  • The Madison Back Step
  • The Madison Swoop Tap Step
  • The Madison Crosses
  • The Madison Rifle
  • The Madison "M"
  • The Madison "T"
  • The Madison Cleveland Box
  • The Madison Will Chamberlain Hook
  • The Madison Jackie Gleason Away-We-Go
  • The Madison Bird Land

Complete each Lesson Test within Level 4 
 using techniques discussed in each Lesson:

Complete the Multiple Choice test found within Lesson 1 with 100% accuracy.

Demonstrate Centerpoint Matching within this Pattern:
SBS Charleston
Charleston Kick Aways
Pancake Charleston
Lolly Kicks
(back to SBS)
Charleston Tuck Turn (6-ct)
Charleston Underarm Pass (6-ct)

Demonstrate Centerpoint Matching within this Pattern:
6-ct Lindy Underarm Pass x2
(switch to Cross-Hand)
CH Lindy Side Pass
Butterfly w/triples

Demonstrate Elbow Matching within this Pattern:
Lindy Side-to-Side x4
Lindy Boomerang
(release 1 hand)
Lindy Underarm Pass (8-ct) x2
Charleston Side Pass x3
(switch to Cross-Hand)
Charleston Butterfly
Mini Dip

Demonstrate Shoulder Matching within this Pattern:
He-Goes Lindy
She-Goes Lindy
Triple Swing x2
Sugar Push x3
Lindy Hand Passes

Demonstrate the Lesson 3 Moves and Patterns using proper Stretch technique:
-Shoulders rolled back and are engaged
-Arms remain loose
-Fingers are engaged
-Use full body movement including cross body arms.
-Arm connected to your partner doesn't fully straighten, and keeps at least a slight bend.
-Arm(s) doesn't tighten before beginning to stretch.
-Arm(s) isn't pushing to create the stretch. The stretch from the arm is a result of the full body moving together (arms/feet/body).
-Free Arm (not connected to your partner) swings back just as much as the connected arm swings forward.
-When stretching with a rock-step, the "step" of the Rock-Step doesn't move forward, so the Stretch happens just after the Rock-Step, and not before.

--Lindy Side-to-Side
--Rock Steps with Cross-Body Arms
--Lindy Underarm Pass (8-ct)
--Then choose 4 Patterns from any of the Level 1-3 Lessons. Demonstrate Stretch on any Move that begins with a Rock-Step that stretches away from your partner.

Demonstrate "Release" within these two Patterns:

Pattern 1:
Swing-Out from Closed
Underarm Pass (8-ct)
(release into last triple)
Swing-Out from Open
(release into 1st triple)
Lindy Circle
(release into 1st triple)

Pattern 2:
(release into 1st triple)
Lindy Circle
(release into 1st triple)
Lindy Tuck Turn (8-ct)
(release into last triple)
Inside Turn (end of Swing-Out)
(release into 1st and last triple)
(release into 1st triple step)
Outside Turn (end of Swing-Out)
(release into 1st and last triple)

1. Perform the Front-to-Back as a solo move, demonstrating the proper movement of the arms on the "&" beats.
2. Perform the Front-to-Back as a solo move demonstrating proper pulse as well as the proper arms.
3. Demonstrate a 6-count Lindy Underarm Pass with a partner. Show correct arm swings on the "&" after beat 2 to complete the stretch-release of that move.
4. or 5. Demonstrate the solo Swing-Out move for Followers or Leaders with the proper arm swings on the "&" beats, and rotation that we asked for.
6. Demonstrate the Swing-Out with a partner showing proper pulse, footwork, rotation, and proper arm swings on the "&" beats.

1. Demonstrate Groove Walks with a stretch-release type of pulse, or "contracting" pulse when the toe or heel goes down.
2. Demonstrate the "contracting" pulse in place on the even beats of a song.
3. After demonstrating #2, go back to #1 and demonstrate Groove Walks, with "contracting" pulse on the even beats.
4. Demonstrate the same concept doing Kick-Steps instead of Groove Walk.
5. Demonstrate the same "contracting" pulse in a Charleston Basic (Charleston Basic for Lindy Hop). Also demonstrate the arm swings on the "&" beats of the Charleston Basic.
6. Demonstrate with a partner in SBS going back and forth between the Front-to-Back (with triples) and Charleston Basics. Show proper pulse and arm swings for each move, and the ability to lead and follow both the moves themselves, and the changes between the moves.

Dance to several songs of your choice. Demonstrate musicality items as discussed in Lesson 7. You can audibly call them out while dancing, overlay a recording on top of your video (if submitting a video test), include text to demonstrate, or something else that can demonstrate mastery.

Demonstrate the Swing-Out with concepts provided in Lessons 8 or 9.

Complete each of the 5 Swing-Out drills provided in Lesson 10, demonstrating the concepts provided within each.
1. Alternate between Swing-Out and getting through Counts 1-2 "and" then doing either Rock-Step Front-Step (no triple lead) or Rock-Step Hold (no pulse on hold).
2. Instead of a regular Swing-Out, get through Counts 1-2 "and" 3&4 into a Slide.
3. Alternate between Swing-Out and getting through Counts 3-4 "and" then doing Rock-Step Front-Step (in Closed) on Counts 5-6 and so on.
4. Alternate between Swing-Out and Half Swing-Out.
5. Leaders shoulder tap the partner on Counts 7-8 of the Swing-Out.

Perform the Shim Sham as demonstrated in Lesson 11.

Earn your Lindy Ladder Laces!