Forum: General / Ballroom / Swing

How can you tell if the guy is strong enough to do the lifts for you?!
By justclog Comments: 63, member since Fri Jul 14, 2006
On Tue Nov 11, 2008 09:01 PM

So the title basically explains it! I think swing dancing is really awesome! I have only done a few lifts and that was a couple years ago. But I guess you just have to hope that the guy is strong enough? and that your in good enough shape or whatever?

4 Replies to How can you tell if the guy is strong enough to do the lifts for you?!

re: How can you tell if the guy is strong enough to do the lifts for you?!
By barrefly Comments: 682, member since Sun Apr 18, 2004
On Tue Nov 25, 2008 12:59 PM
Edited by barrefly (90848) on 2008-11-25 13:07:38
My 14 yr. old daughter has/is extensively training in lifts. She works with a few partners...but her 16 yr. old partner is stronger than most adults. (The guy really has a set of guns on him.). He works out in a gym so that may be a clue.
Make sure you work with a qualified lifts expert and don't try to do things on your own.

Here is a clip of a lifts expert. I really like this clip. . . .

Here is a clip of my daughter doing some simple lifts at the end of the clip. . . .
re: How can you tell if the guy is strong enough to do the lifts for you?!
By Malaikamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 1923, member since Thu Jul 11, 2002
On Tue Nov 25, 2008 06:19 PM
It really depends what sort of swing you're doing. I'm a lindy hopper, and it's pretty widely agreed that you don't do lifts on a social dance floor, so if that's the scenario you want to do them in, don't. In general, though, lindy lifts are based on manipulating your momentum, so it's a lot easier for the leads because they're just shifting around where the follows end up. If the lead doesn't think he can lift you, he won't lead you into them. Simple as that :)
re: How can you tell if the guy is strong enough to do the lifts for you?!
By dancesmith Comments: 30, member since Tue Oct 28, 2008
On Thu Dec 04, 2008 02:33 PM
I'm in a swing performance group and routinely do lifts. I've also done some pas de deux in ballet. I can tell you that by the time you are ready to do an actual lift, you shouldn't have any question whether or not the guy is strong enough. Strength is actually one of the lesser requirements for a lift. I've seen some pretty small guys do some surprising lifts with some good size girls!

The reason for this is that lifts mostly involve technique and timing rather than brute strength. In all but the most rare lifts, the man is actually starting the lift from a bit of a squat, mostly using the quads in his legs, his largest muscles, to get his initial lift, keeping his back straight. Combined with that force, the woman's jump will also be providing at least as much of the upward momentum, so that all the guy has to do with his arms is keep her moving to get her the rest of the way up. This is why the timing of both partners is so critical. In addition to the woman timing her jump, the woman needs to be able to maintain her frame and have a strong core. It's much easier to lift a board than a wet noodle! I've seen guys you certainly wouldn't pick out to be particularly strong do some fantastic lifts because they had the timing and technique worked out so well with their partner. This is particularly apparent in many pas de deux lifts you see in ballet.

As far as knowing whether your partner is able to do a particular lift, I can tell you that I've never done a new lift that I didn't first learn from an experienced instructor and then rehearse it several times with a spotter. And even if you know your partner knows the lift, you never ever want to surprise them when they aren't expecting it. Before you even start learning lifts, you should be at least a strong intermediate level dancer and have a good foundation of the basics and timing.

Having said all of this, you're absolutely right - swing is awesome and aerials done right are tremendous fun! But don't be fooled when good dancers make them look simple - they've put plenty of preparation and work into them! Good luck, have fun, and dance smart.
re: How can you tell if the guy is strong enough to do the lifts for you?!
By dance_marketing Comments: 21, member since Wed Dec 17, 2008
On Thu Dec 18, 2008 12:27 PM
That is a really good question. I do not recommend doing aerials with just anyone, that is how people tend to get hurt. I recommend finding a partner you like dancing with and practicing some simple lifts out on the grass or on carpet. Go slow to see what both of your comfort levels are. Eventually you will find what is suitable for the two of you.