Named for Charles Lindbergh's feat of leaping across the Atlantic with a plane strapped to his back in 1927, the lindy hop shook the foundations of many an American dance hall in the 1920s and '30s. During those roaring decades, the dance blended unrestrained new forms of movement, including jazz, tap, breakaway, and the Charleston. The dance became synonymous with swing, requiring of its dancers athleticism, enthusiasm, and a bit of training. Today, in an era of popping and locking, or programming robotic shoes to dance for you, the instructors at The Lindy Project keep the art form fresh, imparting Austin's two-steppers with the skills and fitness to perform this slice of Americana.
They lead group classes twice a week for couples and solo artists, or expedite the process with private lessons taught by an instructor schooled in a wide range of styles, such as balboa and shag. The art's many influences leave room for individualization and improvisation in dance styles, with some instructors incorporating more lifts and twirls while others perform tap moves while wearing scuba flippers.
A conflation of Bombay (the old name for Mumbai) and Hollywood, Bollywood refers to the Mumbai-based film industry, which draws up the tradition of golden-age musicals, using song and dance as a way for characters to express their emotions. The dance style that has emerged from these films blends traditional and folk dance moves with beats and movements inspired by modern R&B and hip-hop. The ladies of Bollywood Shake showcase dance routines step by step, strengthening their student's sense of timing, spacing, and how to twirl without bodychecking their dance partner. Students twist and turn inside an expansive studio with lightly stained hardwood floors and decorated with gentle colors of orange and dark yellow. Instructors also offer Bollywood Workout classes, which use sped-up dance routines to tighten and tone the body.
Since 2004, Todd Gibbs has grown his team of enthusiastic instructors from one to seven, and collectively they take a fun approach to fitness. The instructors incorporate motivating music into their Pilates, Barre and yoga classes. Their robust, seven-day schedule features morning through evening classes that they cater to students of all skill levels by demonstrating modifications that make the exercises less or more intense. Todd's classes in Pilates are designed to tone the entire body, placing emphasis on conditioning the core to help people protect their fragile chandelier centers.