Rhythm City Productions

RCMA Schedules & Levels

Troy's workshop topics

Tap technique & Vernacular and Classic Jazz dance stylings: soft shoe, vernacular steps, basics hip hop and jazz/tap dance cross overs (all levels)

Shim Sham 1 & 2 (Caribou & Otter)

Honi Coles Stroll (Otter & Grizzly)

Livin' in A Great Big Way: The steps of Bill “Bojangles” Robinson and Dr. Jeni Legon (Grizzly)

Nathan's workshop topics

‘Jazz/Boogie Steps’ - Learn and practice namable steps from the Swing Era, with expert guidance (Caribou)

'Swing Music And Rhythm' - Explore the structures of songs and the common rhythmic elements of swing through movement (Otter)

‘Phrasing In Swing’ - Practice improvising, with a focus on phrasing and dialogue (Grizzly)

‘Keep Punching’ - NOT a normal big-apple class, Nathan will blow your mind. It’s suggested that students watch the Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers’ performance in Keep Punching, prior to class (Grizzly)

Gaby's workshop topics

How to improvise on beat, aka the importance of good transitions (Caribou)

Steps with Syncopation (Otter)

Solo Jazz Choreography (Otter)

Gaby & Nathan's workshop topics

The Secrets of Connection (Caribou)

Lindy Hop Flows: Connect the Dots in your dancing (Caribou & Otter)

Rhythmic Phrasing (Otter)

Instructors' choice (Grizzly)

Adam's workshop topics

Jazz Dance: Rhythm and Improv - A class focusing on Rhythm classic movements and how to use it as a foundation for solo jazz improvisation (Caribou & Otter)

Norma Millers Trickeration: Adam has had the unique opportunity to teach this iconic Norma Miller Jazz routine and has been responsible for helping to bring it and Norma's legacy into common knowledge amongst the global Lindy Hop community. Originally lifted by Norma from the Apollo Theatre chorus girls and full of classic Norma flavour, come learn this legendary solo jazz routine! (Grizzly)

Professional Performance (Grizzly)

Adam & Lucy's workshop topics

Instructors' choice: partner dance priorities (Caribou & Otter)

Savoy Inspiration: Classic inspiration from Norma Miller, Frankie Manning, Al Minns, and other legendary Savoy Ballroom Lindy hoppers (Caribou & Otter)

RCMA Workshop Levels

Note: We’re trying something new with our level titles. Rather than the usual track titles named after common levels, we’re encouraging registrants to  honestly and earnestly engage with the descriptions and choose that one that seems to suit them best. We chose some of our favourite B.C. wildlife. We hope you connect with both the motivation and the playfulness. If you have any questions about the best level for you, contact us at [email protected]

Level Descriptions

“Caribou” - for Rhythm City students, those currently or recently enrolled in Lindy Hop Essentials (Swing 3 and 4) and Intermediate lessons should attend these classes.

Take this track if you

  • Have a clear and confident understanding of basic partnering skills as a lead and/or a follow
  • Are comfortable with 8 count moves such as the swing out, circle, promenade, charleston, skip up, and double tuck turn and 6 count moves such as tuck turn, various pass-bys, and circle
  • Are experienced in social dancing at tempos ranging from 130bpm (e.g. “Bill Bailey”) to 170bpm (e.g. “Yacht Club Swing”)
  • Are experienced improvising and playing in open, with a partner, with no set moves

If you feel that you're not quite at "Caribou" level, or you'd like a boost to get your confidence up, or you just want some guidance on how best to participate in a Swing workshop weekend, you can sign up for the RCMA Track Booster, August 24, 2:30-4:30pm.

“Otter” - For Rhythm City students, this track is suitable for those who have taken all Intermediate series and attend occasional Labs and special workshops. However, this detail is less important than whether or not all of the following applies to you.

Take this track if you

  • Have extensive social dance experience and are comfortable at tempos ranging from 120bpm (“Frim Fram Sauce”) to 210bpm (“Gangbusters”)
  • Have at least some experience exploring dance forms other than Lindy hop and Solo Jazz
  • Are comfortable recovering from unexpected and unplanned occurrences in a social dance in rhythm (continue to dance when something surprising happens)
  • Are less interested in learning “moves” than in becoming a better dancer through partner technique, musical responsiveness, and physical movement skills.
  • Are adept with at least the Shim Sham and have some experience with the Tranky Do and/or Big Apple; have confidence in many of the Vintage Jazz steps found in these historical routines

“Grizzly” - For teachers and those dancing at a high level in not just their scene but any large scene around the world.

You

  • Work on your dancing regularly, seeking out instructors, workshops, videos, and peers that will challenge you
  • Teach locally and/or at large or collaborate with those who teach
  • Compete at local and out-of-town events at a high level
  • Have experience studying dance forms other than those under the Swing umbrella (Lindy hop, Solo Jazz, Balboa, Shag), such as Tap, Ballet, Contemporary Jazz, Hip Hop, etc.
  • Are experienced and adept at social dancing outside of your home region and can adapt to different regional styles of partner dancing
  • Are familiar with numerous original era musical styles and bandleaders, have some favourites, and these have probably shifted over your Lindy hop career
  • Have at least “Caribou” (see above) level experience at your secondary role (lead or follow)

Assessing yourself for levels:

  • Try to be as ruthlessly honest with yourself as possible. If most of the requirements of a level apply to you and one of the requirements of a higher level kind of applies to you, stick with the lower level.
  • How long you’ve been dancing, who you’re social with, who takes the same lessons as you, and who you dance well with are not determiners of your level. If you are concerned that you are not in the same level as someone you take weekly lessons with, keep in mind that everyone learns and progresses at their own level. Many factors contribute to how each dancer processes and executes material.
  • Try to consider and honestly assess your learning ability: do you often feel that classes move too quickly? Do you often wish to see the material demonstrated by the instructors more often than others in your class seem to need? If yes to either of these, it’s a strong indication to err on the lower track, if you’re trying to make a decision.
  • If in doubt, ask a local teacher if they are willing to give their assessment of which level would suit you best, based on the levels and level descriptions of this event.

It is the goal of every event organizer to aim for an outcome where each student is in their best learning environment: one that will challenge and not frustrate them, and will allow instructors to introduce new material, relying on an understood minimum of skill, expertise, and experience.

In effect, we try to set up a situation in which everyone comes into a learning space with the tools they need to pick up new material, use it constructively, and retain it for the long term. We rely on participants to understand and honour these goals by attending faithfully to the level descriptions when they register.

NOTE: There is no official audition. Instead, registration lists will be assessed and changed according to the prevailing levels of each track, and the first classes will be scrutinized for dancers who would benefit from being in a different level. Do not consider your registration level choice as a sure thing. Registrants will be notified and consulted if they are selected to be moved to a different level.

Beginner Track: note that there is no Beginner track at RCMA this year. Instead there will be a Beginner Weekend before the event, August 24 & 25. Tell your friends! More info and registration here.