Lindy Hop Report

Yesterday I discovered that my husband is evil.

Remember way back when people said they’d donate money to the New York Public Library if I learned to lindy hop? I said that I would have my dancing verified by three YA authors approved by John Green who was the first person to offer money to charity if I learned to dance. Well, that’s not necessary any more.

Because Scott secretly shot video of some of our lessons. Utter, utter, utter bastard! He was going to make a video and put it up on youtube! Behind my back!

Fortunately, I caught him looking at some of the footage. But since he was nice enough to not shoot our faces, and we’re running out of time to gather up YA witnesses, I decided that we would make the vid together.

But just so you know, Scott, YOU ARE EVIL. ALL TRUST IS GONE.

Some disclaimers for people who know from lindy hop. We knows we has a long way to go. We’re working on bending knees, sticking out arses, holding frame, chasseing, pulsing and etc. The most recent footage included is from three weeks ago. We’re already way better than the vid demonstrates. Honest.

Many many people have been asking how I like learning lindy hop given how much I really really really really didn’t want to do it.

I love lindy hop.

[A minutes pause while you all tell me you told me so.]

It’s the most fun I’ve had in ages. I’m loving learning something that requires my full attention. When I’m dancing I’m not thinking about my novel or bills that have to be paid or anything except where my feet and bum and arms should be. While I’m learning to dance I’m not even slightly stressed. Scott feels the same way. We will be continuing our lessons. We both want to get good at it.

One of my objections did turn out to be true: I have to ice my left foot after every lesson. Lindy hopping is not kind to plantar fasciitis.

We got around my other fear—of making a fool of myself in front of total strangers—by taking private lessons. I honestly don’t think I would have made it otherwise. Also private lessons means learning faster and having all your mistakes picked up and corrected quicker. We have had two awesome teachers: Jessi and Stephanie. Thank you!

We have even gone out and danced in public. (Once.) Last Sunday under the stars on Pier 54. It was magical. Yes, we are addicted.

Here’s proof that I’ve been learning to lindy hop:

If you pledged money now’s the time to pay. You can donate to the NYPL here. Even if you didn’t make a pledge you can still donate to the NYPL or your local library wherever you may be. Libraries all over the world need our help.


  1. Iris on #

    you’re good!!!

  2. Dave H on #

    That’s brilliant! You both look like you are having so much fun!

    I’ll very happily send a check to the Royal Oak library tomorrow.

  3. John Green on #

    I can’t believe you enjoy it. I did not enjoy standing on top of the table! Not one little bit!

    Even so, I have duly donated my $1,000 to the NYPL. (I donated in honor of Justine Larbalestier; they gave me 40 characters to add as a message. My message: “She boldly lindyhopped.”)


  4. Justine on #

    Iris: Thanks! But you should check out some truly good lindy hoppers. Like Frankie Manning and Norma Miller.

    Dave: It is fun. Thanks!

    John: I have to ice my foot after every lesson. EVERY lesson. Did you have to ice anything after standing on a table? Didn’t think so.

  5. Julia Rios on #

    That’s awesome! Thanks for sharing it with us. I think the dislike of video posting is probably equal to John’s dislike of standing on the table, so you should be even.

  6. Rob Charron on #

    Hi 🙂
    Lindy hopping looks like a lot of fun. You and Scott are a terrific couple. Thank you for sharing.
    Sending you both love from Canada.

  7. Justine on #

    Julia: You are exactly right. Though my dislike is not of videos so much as it is of being filmed. (Don’t like being photographed either.)

  8. Julia on #

    I want to learn, SO bad right now. That looks like fun. And you guys are really good.

  9. beckstraordinary on #

    I love Lindy Hop. I dj for the swing scene in Omaha, NE If you click on the link of my name, that’s me doing some Lindy Hop at our National Event last year.

    Congratulations! Lindy Hop is tough to learn and it looks like you’re doing a stellar job of it. It’s so much fun to do socially and took me from hermit nerddom to socially acceptable nerddom. 🙂

  10. Nif on #

    You look good! I’m glad you are having fun.

  11. Rachael on #

    Excellent! You make me want to do it!

  12. Lauren McLaughlin on #

    You look like naturals! I can’t wait to go out dancing with you two. Well done.

  13. Carrie on #

    I can’t even begin to tell you how much this video made my day!! Thank you!!!

  14. Jo Knowles on #

    Wow! You guys are so in sync! Looks like tons of fun and good exercise. Congratulations! 🙂 *dreams of learning to lindy hop someday*

  15. Chelsea on #

    You guys are so awesome. It looks like a lot of fun.

  16. Candace on #

    I’m impressed! You guys are doing really well in just those three weeks of video! I really encourage you to go out social dancing- it is incredible fun, you meet some awesome people, and it’s a great way to practice your new movies.

    If I may offer one tip that might help so that you don’t have to ice your foot after lessons? Try keeping your weight more on the ball of your foot instead of using your whole foot for the step.

    I hope you will keep recording little bits of your lessons!

  17. Justine on #

    Candace: Ha! You sound exactly like my dance teacher. Am working hard to keep on balls of feet. Is one of many things on the list of things that are a work in progress. Though the plantar facia runs the length of the foot so it does still flair up even when I’m only on the balls of my feet.

  18. Liset on #

    this made me SMILE!
    It’s also making me want to consider
    taking salsa lessons with my boyfriend.
    He really wants to for some reason…
    hmm…perhaps he is gay and I haven’t noticed…

  19. gabi on #

    this makes me so incredibly happy =D

  20. Eric Luper on #

    That… is… awesome!!! Worth every dime. Oh, so is the library.

  21. Holly-Wa on #

    This is awesome! Although I can kinda see your face- but only if I squint real hard. I guess you’ll only have to worry about hard-squinting stalkers if this footage get out, huh?

    Anyway, enough of the creepy post. I just wanted to say that the lindy-hop pledge is such a good thing to do! It’s charitable, plus you get to learn an awesome dance!
    one more thing…
    When’s HTDYF coming out in the UK, Justine?
    I’m waiting for BOTH HTDYF a n d So Yesterday.
    Curse you, American/Australian Publishers!

  22. Justine on #

    Holly-Wa: You should be cursing UK publishers! They’re the ones who decided not to publish my books there. Or Scott’s So Yesterday.

  23. Sir Tessa on #

    Heh. Nothing cooler than having fun.

  24. Holly-wa on #

    Aha! So the mystery of the missing books is solved. Those evil UK publishers!

    So, I’m NEVER going to see HTDYF or So Yesterday here? Never? *sniff*

  25. shauna-la on #

    Wow, that’s awesome. This reminds me of when my husband and I took dancing lessons for our wedding. Only thing was that we were supposed to do the Waltz on our big day and chickened out. I think we both wish we’d done it now. Looks like a lot of fun!

  26. Mary on #

    You can definitely see your faces in the mirror…

  27. Mary Robinette Kowal on #

    Yay! Now if I can just convince my husband to follow your lead.

  28. agm on #

    Bravo for letting this footage out (many people I know hate seeing videos of themselves dance). Have you figured out how long til you reach swing outs?

    1) Regarding joints/limbs: what kind of shoes are you wearing? Good dance shoes make a world of difference, and a padded insole will help a lot too if that’s not enough support.

    2) If it turns out that lindy is too physically demanding, you might want to check out west coast and/or blues. There’s a lot of overlap in crowds and in technique. I used to be an avid lindy hopper but eventually discovered that I love blues much more, as do my knees 🙂

  29. Shana on #

    When my mother had plantar fascitis, the podiatrist told her to wear high heels.

  30. Camille on #

    Oh, well done! And I am especially impressed at your posting the video. Donation to follow come Friday/payday.

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