Beth and I started swing dancing at the beginning of the summer of 2006. Oddly enough, we actually got started by taking a 4 week ballroom class in waltz and fox trot, which we learned was ironically mostly taken by people who are preparing for a wedding. Well, we were only about 10 months late.
We really liked the instructor (Cindy Overstreet), and so we took the next swing class that she was offering, which was an introduction to west coast swing. It was a lot of fun, and so we went on to take her west coast level 2 class, which we also enjoyed. Our real goal was Lindy hop, though.
The next class that Cindy offered was an introduction to east coast swing (Jitterbug), which we took and really enjoyed. We then took a level 2 class in east coast swing, and finally Cindy offered an introduction to Lindy hop class.
Lindy Hop is difficult to describe, but it's key feature is momentum. Lindy is by no means the fastest dance around (Balboa is much faster, for example), but it's one of the highest energy dances around. At least, it probably requires the most work, in the physics sense of the word. (In physics, work = force × distance.) Lindy is all about moving your whole body far, fairly quickly. The quintessential Lindy move is the "Swing out" — a move which is a little reminiscent of the playground game of holding on to someone as the two of you spin in a circle around each other. It's got a lot of momentum, and it's really fun.
While Ithaca in 2006-2008 has been a very supportive place for learning Lindy Hop, it's not primarily through advanced classes, of which there are almost none. Private lessons, dance workshop weekends, open practices, choreography practice, privately practicing with people, and a community of people who are always willing to answer questions are the Lindy Hop nutrients we've grown on.
As Beth and I have gotten better, we've come to appreciate just how rich Lindy Hop is — how intricate and subtle the leader/follower connection can be, as well as how complex the actions which can be lead and followed are.
Beth and I are still taking classes, practicing, and attending dances when we got the opportunity, which is usually about twice a week. We're also occasionally teaching beginner classes, as well as giving private lessons to beginners.
Lindy Hop is a tremendous amount of fun. The music is very lively, the people are very friendly, and moving this fast is probably the next best thing to flying.