Locomotive and CabooseLocomotive and Caboose
Hi Lindy Hoppers!!!
Lesson #8 --- scroll to the bottom to Exit this Page
Steve and Carla at Indigo swing
Carla and Steve
The Super-Fly

Prefatory Note

A long time ago, we used to teach Lindy Hop. We don't do this anymore (mainly because of work responsibilities) and we reccommend that you seek out current instructors in the DC Area. This section is included as a historic artifact that demonstrates the difficulty of developing instructions for dancing. If you can't take live lessons, video is the absolute next best thing. The best of the "dance lesson" websites is Unlimited Swing that lets you pick and choose from LOTS of instructors. If you go through our curriculum, you'll probably laugh at our attempts to use clumsy math-like nomenclature to get points across. We experimented with animated GIFs to teach Charleston (Lesson 3) because in 1998, it could take five minutes to download a grainy 20 second video. Times have changed....

So, read along and have a chuckle at our attempts at pedagogy.

Locomotive and Caboose

We have used a Train as an analogy for Lindy Hop --- in that all the steps are like "cars" that are coupled together with a rock step. You'll remember that the "cars" can hold a variety of things --- you can modify individual components to make new dance steps. This lesson shows you a nice way to start and stop the dance, effectively giving you the Locomotive and Caboose --- a great way to finish off our eight week series of lessons.

The Jockey

The Jockey is a six count move that is excellent for waiting or "idling" in Lindy Hop. You don't go anywhere and you don't spend a whole lot of energy. It is also very useful because many traditional swing songs (i.e. from the Big Band Era) have a 4-6 bar introduction. The Jockey allows you to wait for the music to begin in earnest.

The Jockey is done in side-by-side position. As you will recall, the partners stand side by side, with the Lead on the left. As you stand in this fashion, the team has "Outer Legs" (the Lead's Left, Follower's right) and "Inner Legs" (Lead's Right, Follower's Left). For side-by-side moves, it helps to think in terms of "Inner" and "Outer" legs rather than Left and Right.

You will also recall that Side by Side moves are mirror symmetric --- the dance team will present an attractive picture by moving the "Inner" and "Outer" legs together. The leader places the right hand on the Follower's hip. The follower places the left hand on the Leader's shoulder blade. The leader holds the Follower's right hand with his left. Leads are passed by both the hands and a slight push on the hip.

With this in mind, here are the steps for the Jockey --- remember that this is a six-count move
The Mantra for the Jockey is:
"Rock Step, Down, Tap, Tap, Up"

  • Beat 1 & 2: Rock Step: rock with the outer legs, just like in Mirror Charleston
  • Beat 3: Down: Outside legs brought forward and down. The team crouches low, tilting forward (Think of a jockey on a horse)
  • Beat 4: Tap: Tap the toe of the inside feet
  • Beat 5: Tap: Tap the toe of the inside feet
  • Beat 6: Up: Bring the feet back together and stand

This takes six beats, so you will have to do four of these (4 x 6 = 24) to fill three bars of eight count music (3 x 8 = 24). A lot of the introductory material to Swing songs happens to be about four bars long, so the Jockey is an ideal prelude

The Toss Out

The Toss-Out is a cultural icon -- Hollywood uses the toss-out to show teenage exhuberance over music. You have all seen it --- the couple crouches and it appears that the lead throws the partner out in front. This is surprisingly easy and it is largely an illusion. We'll go through the count and then show you how to effect the illusion.

Here are the steps for the Toss-Out --- this is an eight count movement that is best done after you have done the Jockey for a while. Why? Because the first five beats are exactly the same as the Jockey!
The Mantra for the Jockey is:
"Rock Step, Down, Tap, Tap, Hold, Set, Toss"

  • Beat 1 & 2: Rock Step: rock with the outer legs, just like in Mirror Charleston
  • Beat 3: Down: Outside legs brought forward and down. The team crouches low, tilting forward (Think of a jockey on a horse)
  • Beat 4: Tap: Tap the toe of the inside feet
  • Beat 5: Tap: Tap the toe of the inside feet
  • Beat 6: Hold: Hold in the down position to signal the Toss is coming
  • Beat 7: Set: Just like cocking a revolver, you appear to set your body for the toss (this adds to the illusion) The hand grip changes and the Follower places the left palm on the lead's right shoulder --- both are crouched.
  • Beat 8: Toss: The lead appears to "Toss" the follower up and out so that she lands facing him.

The Toss is largely an illusion that is composed of four parts: Jump, Push, Boost, Bend Knees.

The Jump is fairly easy -- the follower simply jumps from the right side of the Lead to a position in front of him. That, in itself may sustain the illusion, but it is possible to get even more height by adding the Push

The Push is accomplished by the follower pushing hard against the lead's hand and shoulder. You may practice this in your kitchen --- followers place both hands on the sink countertop and push yourself up until your elbows lock straight. Practice this until you are confident of your ability to lift yourself AND lock your elbows. When you are done with the sink, it is time to move on to your partner. The lead crouches down, knees bent with the left palm up. The Follower puts the right palm on top of the Leader's and her left hand on the Lead's shoulder. Push up, just as if the lead was the kitchen sink. Practice this until you can lift up and lock your elbows. The Lead will have to practice holding his left arm steady to hold you.

The Boost is given by the Lead. Remember that the lead is crouching with knees bent. The Follower will jump and push. Just as soon as the Follower's elbows lock, the Lead rises, lifting with the LEGS only (you can get TREMENDOUS POWER this way). The Lead still holds the follower's Right hand with his Left -- but he pushes in the small of the back with his right to both lift and guide the follower through the air

Bend Knees: As the Follower jumps, the illusion of incredible height can be achieved by simply bending the knees and tucking the calves up against your butt --- the same thing that cheerleaders do

Practice with these four tricks will yield a magnificent Toss- out like the one demonstrated by Steve and Carla in our picture. When the Follower lands, hesitate for a second and begin with an open position move, like a hitch whip.

Tango Dip

A GREAT way to end a song is to do the Tango Dip. Since the song is ending, we'll just worry about the form rather than the count. Here are the basics of this two-bar movement:

  • Beats 1 & 2: Rock Step
  • Beats 3 & 4: Triple Step
  • Beats 5 & 6: Cuddle in
  • Beats 7 & 8: Triple Step
  • Beats 1 & 2: Roll - Out
  • Beats 3 & 4: Roll - In
  • Beats 5 & 6: Lower SLOWLY
  • Beats 7 & 8: Hold and flourish

The first bar is just a basic garden variety Cuddle-In as taught in Lesson #1. However, at the end of the bar, the Lead continues to hold the Follower.

The Roll-Out is accomplished as the Lead DROPS the Follower's Right hand and PULLS on the Follower's Left hand. The Follower rolls out counterclockwise (in two beats) until the hands are fully outsretched and the partners are standing side-by side --- still holding hands with legs spread apart. The partners celebrate this moment by raising their free hand.

The Roll-In is accomplished as the Lead gives a TUG on the hand. The Follower rolls counterclockwise back along the outstretched arm. (the Roll-Out and Roll-In should give the impression of one of those New Years Eve toys that you blow into and a little paper tube rolls out and rolls in). When the follower completes the Roll-In she should be FACING the Lead and she should place her Right Leg as FAR BETWEEN the Lead's legs as possible. The Lead should change the grip with the Right arm around and holding the small of the back. The Lead's Left arm should cradle the Follower's shoulders. The reason for placing the Follower's leg between the Lead's legs is to create a combination with a center of gravity directly below the Lead's waist --- the combination can move effortlessly without fear of falling

Lower --- the Lead lowers the partner by bending his knees, just like a knee bend. His torso remains constant and does not twist or bend, although his head may turn to face the partner. The Lead will tear his back muscles out if he tries to turn toward the Follower. Just look, don't turn, and lower GRADUALLY --- take two beats!

Flourish --- when the Follower is lowered completely, she extends her left hand and looks back with a pleasant smile. Hold this pose until the music ends. Then raise slowly, lifting with the legs.

And, we have a little bonus for you.

Catalina Kicks

Here is a great looking Side-By Side movement that involves kicking between the legs; we put it here because the Tango Dip involves a similar move. We realize that there may be some squeamishness about kicking between the legs. This will soon dissipate.

This move is done from Side-By-Side position, so directions will be given using the "Outer" and "Inner" leg notation. This is also somewhat unusual because the Lead and Follow have slightly different parts. This will prepare you for Advanced moves like Split and Shoot and Star Kicks (not covered in this series, but you will see them soon enough.

  • Beats 1 & 2: Rock Step, just as in Mirror Charleston
  • Beat 3: Lead and Follower turn to face each other
  • Beat 4: Lead Outside kick
    • Follower places Outer leg Down
    • Lead Kicks Outer leg outside Follower's Outer Leg
  • Beat 5: Follower kick between
    • Lead places Outer Leg DOWN, legs spread
    • Follower kicks Outer leg BETWEEN Lead's legs
  • Beat 6: Lead Kick Between
    • Follower places Outer Leg DOWN, legs spread
    • Lead kicks Inner leg BETWEEN Follower's's legs
  • Beat 7: Follower Outside kick
    • Lead places Inner leg down, legs spread
    • Follower Kicks Inner leg outside Lead's Outer Leg
  • Beat 8: Lead and follow turn back to Side-by Side position

You really need to see this to do it. After you have seen it, the directions will make sense...

OK --- that's it --- go out dancing! Practice what you have learned. Take more Lindy Classes! Go out Dancing.

About the Photo: Here are Steve Bailey and Carla Heiney doing a spectacular version of the Toss Out


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