Dance practice is something that is included in my to-do list every year before Viva Las Vegas. Whether you are a seasoned dancer, are just learning, or somewhere in between (like me), you could probably benefit from some dance practice prior to VLV. Even though I dance a bit every weekend, I still need to practice in the shoes I will be wearing at night, in order to get my calf's in tip top shape. I also try and learn a few new moves, or work out kinks in old ones. I have been dancing for only two years now, but it makes events like VLV a lot more enjoyable, so I recommend everyone learn. Zack and I took the lessons at VLV with Sophia Wolff, and we picked it up a lot faster then we thought we would. If you do not know how to dance, it is not too late to learn prior to VLV, and I can guarantee you wont regret it.
So, for the basics. As DJ Bill Smoker would say..."In rock and roll, you got your three basic dances-The Bop, The Jive and the Stroll". Each type of dance has its own type of song to do it to. For example, you can't stroll to a bopper, or bop to a jiver (most of the time), or jive to a stroller. If you know the music well, you can distinguish the difference pretty fast. But for reference, I have included a few songs for each type of dance.
Lets start with The Bop!
Bopping is a solo dance, done free form. Some people say bopping has its roots in hillbilly, others say Rock and Roll, and some say Rhythm and Blues. Either way, you will want to find your own style of bopping, because most songs the DJs play at VLV will be boppers, So learn to love it! Everyone does it differently, so really there is no wrong or right way to do it. Some people do a lot of hopping, some people look like they are having seizures, and some people just look like they are doing a zombie walk. The main thing is that you "bop" on the off beats. Ideally the whole dance floor will bop at the same pace. Just try and feel the music and have fun with it. Also, a drink or two helps....a lot.
A few of my fav bopping songs:
One Hand Loose
Big River Remix
I'm Comin' Home
Bo Bo Ska Diddle Daddle
These are pretty easy to pick out the bop-bop-bop-bop part :)
Do a search on YouTube, and you will find a ton of bopping videos. Here are a few:
This is a persons take on The Bop:
However, this is NOT the bop. Please do not try and do this. I cannot be held responsible if you do this and get laughed at. Refrain from doing anything called a "funky walk" or "raise the roof".
Next, The Jive
The Jive I am talking about is the Rockabilly Jive, not the jive they do in ballroom dancing and on Dancing With The Stars. The Rockabilly Jive is the most common partner dancing in rockabilly, even over swing. Some people call it the herkey-jerkey, but those are just the swing kids. The Jive is pretty basic, done on a one-two-turn-return, one-two-turn-return, one-two-turn-return count. You can keep it basic or add in a ton of fun schnazzy moves. One you learn your part, you can dance with just about anyone. It is a great way to meet new people at a big event like Viva!
Some good Jiver songs:
High School Caesar
Dance Franny Dance
Ain't That Lovin' You Baby
Here are some instructional videos from Kav:
Raul - doing the best jiving ever. Yeah, he won the contest! I think that is little Frannie back there too.
Jiving Saturday night at least years VLV. I am in this video, but don't try and find me, because I am dancing like crap.
Last but not least, The Stroll!
The Stroll is the only dance out of the three that is generally ladies only. It is a sort of girlie line dance. It keeps repeating, so once you learn the basics, you can do it in your sleep. Out of the three, this is the easiest one to learn, and you can learn by yourself at home. Basically, the girls go out and strut their stuff while the boys sit out on the side lines oggling and taking pics. I know it sounds lame, but when you add in alcohol, it is a hoot! Just remember to try and smile ladies, because some girls look absolutely miserable out there! Also, try and look like you are dancing, not just walking around.
My fav strolling songs:
Strolling lessons at VLV:
Advanced version, but soooooo amazing!!!
I am in this one strolling at Rhythm Rocker Weekend:
If you get to Viva and still have no idea how to dance, Sophia Wolff has Bopping, Jiving and Strolling lessons for beginners and advanced. You can learn there, then buy her DVDs to take home to continue your practice. Thats what I did! I am not the best dancer out there for sure, but I have fun with it, and thats all that matters.
So there you have it - all a VLV first timer needs to know to dance up at storm at Viva! Just remember to have fun and enjoy the music!