Lindy Hop and sea legs were sometimes a problem
Of the seven days, four were at sea and full of dance classes. They started at 9 and there were generally around four a day.
In a departure from the standard classification, there was none of the usual beginners/intermediates/advanced nonsense. Oh no. there was a completely new kind of nonsense. There were four categories with names like Stowaways and Bilge Rats. But as you only got a schedule with your level of classes on it, at least you didn't end up in the wrong place.
Once again, the Frankie XC group was fortunate to get some really good venues during the day. Up at the pointy end, there was an aerobics studio in the gym, so you could look out at the clear blue ocean as you tried to work out how to do Ryan's tricky jazz step. Club Fusion, the place for the evening dances, was also used, and Lindy Hoppers could also be seen in The Explorers Lounge, The Wheelhouse Lounge and the classy night club high up at the blunt end, The Skywalkers Lounge.
The teachers were there to dance for their dinner, and so we were treated to classes with Ryan and Jenny, Sing Lim and Chan Meng, Jason and Sylvia, Lennart and Catrine, Steven and Virginie, Elliot, Manu and Chazz Young. Between them, they covered Lindy Hop, Balboa, Shag, jazz, tap and tango.
Of course, one of the great challenges was to learn steps as the ship gently rocked to and fro. Looking out at the class in the aerobics studio one time, participants were gently swaying on the floor as they listened intently to Ryan and Jenny.
As well as the general classes, Sing Lim had choreographed a routine to a tune by Christoph Avril specially for Frankie's birthday. This turned out to be a delightful sequence of jazz steps, (fall off the log, Tack Annie, pimp walk, boogie backs, Shorty George and the notorious Camel Walk) followed by some partnered Lindy Hop. And a full Shim Sham was thrown in for good measure.
The grand finale of the routine involved forming the number "90". The troupe practised this in the corridors on the ship, and asked bemused passengers to guess what they were trying to do!
The class size settled down to around ten couples, and having almost mastered it, they gamely performed it as part of the show on the Wednesday night.
ã July 2004 Andrew Winton.
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