Burlesque dancer Melodies Mistress is also known as Jessica Willis of The London Swing Dance Society. She shares her top five tips to take you from the audience to the dancefloor.
Jessica Willis Swing Dance Tips
Jessica Willis started teaching across the pond in Canada and writing for magazines about her crazy and vintage inspired life. After moving to London she began taking on the world of Vintage arts under her stage name Melodies Mistress. Jess first began her professional career in dance and singing and then branched out into burlesque and pin-up modeling.
This year Jess joined forces with Simon Selmon to become part of The London Swing Dance Society. Performing swing dance and burlesque at vintage nights and events across London. She has put together a five step guide for complete novices of swing dance and has shared her words of wisdom.
Going out to a vintage event or going dancing can be very intimidating if you have never danced before. You can enjoy the gorgeous burlesque girls but venturing out on the dance floor is a different story. No matter what vintage event you go to, inevitably there will be dancing. You look the part, the flared dress, or 40s style suit but you have two left feet…have no fear Jess is here!
1. First Steps
The Leader (generally men). When in doubt start with your left foot, L for Leader……easy.
The Follower (generally women). Simply remember you are a women. You will always be right!
2. Hold On
Keep your Frame, that’s where you hold onto your partner. It’s going to make it easier to lead and to follow if the Leaders keep a strong frame and Followers do their best to stay in the Leaders hands, no matter what.
3. Step In Time
Keep the Beat with your feet! Feel the beat and just step to it, one foot at a time. Do not stop moving your feet, even if you forget everything the teacher has told you and can’t remember even one step in the moment. Nine times out of ten your partner will not even notice as they are too busy looking into your eyes.
4. The Fan Dance
Listen to swing music. Enjoy your research. Watch endless films on Youtube of people dancing, vintage and modern day clips. Listen to big bands live and practice your moves to original music with a swinging beat.
Come to this year’s London Wonderground events on Mondays at the Spiegeltent and listen to some of the best big bands in the UK as well as lessons by yours truly!
Visit London Wonderground for more info and tickets!
5. Practice Makes Perfect
Keep practicing. Go to every event you can and take any class offered. There are loads of events that also include free dance classes. Make sure to dance with people of all levels as there are lots of styles in swing and every leader leads differently.
For the best Vintage dance night come to The Saturday Night Swing Club, May 11th, June 8th and July 13th at The Amber Bar. Three rooms of Vintage dancing and free classes all night. Perhaps you may even get a Burlesque Treat from Melodies Mistress herself. visit Swing Dance UK for more information.
For some burlesque moves check out How to Twirl Nipple Tassels.
Burlexe is a sensational London burlesque show inspired by the women who created the genre and perform the art. It fuses burlesque performance with storytelling, dancing with acting.