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How to Get a Solo Jazz Jam Started: The Rule of Three

I'm really interested in dance jam / cypher culture across dance styles. It's a way of creating ephemeral stages for each other that is always fascinating and fun.

At Lindy Focus this December, I got this huge insight into how to get a solo jazz jam started. It's really simple, and yet kind of blows my mind.

Say you want to get a solo jazz jam started? How would you do it? Let me illustrate it for you with my expert artwork.

To get a jam started, you could try dancing by yourself, and hope that others join in. But generally this just gets ignored at a lindy hop event, since people are focused on partner dancing... or other things.

One dancer

You could find a friend and dance solo jazz with that person. But people don't automatically view that as a jam, since you both are dancing at the same time.

Two dancers

No, what you need is three people to get a solo jazz jam started. Specifically, you need one person to dance and two other people to (1) not dance and (2) clap and cheer for the person dancing. 

3 dancers

What this does is it creates... a circle. Well, a triangle, I guess. It creates a middle space that the two non-dancers are focused on, and one person is dancing in. 

Then of course you switch off dancing in "the middle" you just created.

3 dancers (1)

After a couple of rounds, other people start to notice, and wonder what is the big deal. Clearly something is happening if people are not dancing and clapping and cheering. 

4 dancers

Once you have created this dance circle, and put positive energy into it, people naturally want to participate.

5 dancers

 I did this several times at Lindy Focus and it never failed to get a jam started. 

It's also a good solution when the dance floor is really crowded. The two non-dancers serve as barriers creating space so the solo-ist can do their thing.

Of course this doesn't just apply to lindy hop. I've seen the same thing happen at dance clubs playing hip-hop, house or pop music. 

Give it a try at your local dance and tell me how it goes!

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