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​Lindy of the North: Swing Dance Growing in Fargo-Moorhead

by Hee Han | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Culture | June 27th, 2018

Lindy of the North dancers - photograph by Hee Han

Lindy of the North is a non-profit organization promoting vintage swing dance styles in the Fargo-Moorhead area, spreading the joy of vernacular jazz dance in positivity.

Alex Finken, cofounder of Lindy of the North, explained how the organization started up.

“We were looking to build up the swing dance scene in the FM community beyond the college campuses,” Finken said. “Each of us had our start in swing dancing either at the Avalon, now called the Stone Building, where John and Katherine Noone used to teach, or on one of the college campuses in the region. We broadened our experience in dancing by travelling around the country to various workshops, where we took classes from a wide range of professionals and built our connection to the broader swing dance community. As we had all graduated or were close to graduating, we wanted to start up lessons in the area again and provide a space where more community members could become involved. We approached the Spirit Room about using their galleries as dance studios and incorporated as a non-profit.”

Lindy of the North promotes Lindy Hop and swing dance in a variety of forms through performance and education in the community. Their mission is to provide a “Safe, positive and inclusive environment to spread the joy of vernacular jazz dance.” Lindy of the North provides an opportunity to learn the vintage swing dance by offering affordable and free lessons for the public, private groups and individuals. The styles of dance they cover include: Basic Swing Dance, Lindy Hop, Charleston, Balboa, Blues, and St. Louis Shag.

During the summertime, Lindy of the North also offers a free lesson at Island Park on Tuesdays. The free lessons “always start with the basics,” Finken said.

“Lindy Hop has been a great passion of ours and has connected us to a wonderful community across the world.”

The lessons tend to be shorter and less in-depth than the weekend lessons which means the Island Park lessons are casual to take a first step falling into some jazz moves. The weekend lesson fee is typically $8 per person and $5 for students with school ID.

Lindy of the North has held joint events to spread the joy of swing dance: “We've held two joint events with the Tri-College Swing Dance Club recently. The first was a Christmas formal, and the second was a live jazz night in the MSUM Ballroom, with music provided by the Jazz Nickel Combo. Both events were well attended, with more than 60 dancers attending throughout the evenings. These events provided good opportunities for our groups to interact and socialize outside of the dance lesson/classroom environment.”

Lindy of the North has been built up with a passion and it has led them to bring a positivity, beyond its professional knowledge, about learning the connection between dance partners and how to empower them to express themselves in their dancing. The swing dance instructors’ inspiration comes both from “the music and the great feeling of connecting with a dance partner," Finken said. 

"Jazz music brings an endless variety of rhythms you can work into your dancing and takes on many different atmospheres, from playful and upbeat to slow and somber. Once you've grown comfortable in the rhythm and movements, there is a great deal of freedom for self-expression while also having this shared, unspoken language with your dance partner. Lindy Hop, the primary dance we focus on, is a casual street dance at its core. Because of this, it is a very relaxed dance, one with a free form and focused on stretch and connection, creating a very comfortable feeling between the partners.

“No dance experience is needed. We encourage everyone to join us and we can’t wait to meet you."

You Should Know:

Lindy of the North official website: http://www.lindyofthenorth.org

General weekend lesson fee: $8 per person and $5 for students with school ID

Free weekly lessons on Tuesdays at Island Park

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