Contemplating Entering Jack and Jill

Soon a big dance convention is coming my way. I'm going to go to some of the workshops and watch the competitions.

They have Jack & Jills and the idea intrigues me. They have Nov/Inter/Adv/All Star divisions, but I'm not totally sure what that means in terms of social dancers like myself.

The problem is this: I'm a rapidly rising novice but most of the guys that I see are way better. Of course that's because the average guy takes the group lessons and then leaves, so I'm comparing myself with the upper crust of the dance community. I know I'm good enough to lead many women into having a fun dance but they all know they can't do their favorite advanced moves with me.

So, I'm afraid that if I enter the Jack & Jill am I doing the ladies a disservice? For sure any of them that draw me are not going to win anything -- but is that the point?

Even more ominous: I can picture being lined up to be matched with partners and the ladies are crossing their fingers hoping they don't draw me. How would I deal with a situation where the lady gives me a hint that she is sooooooo unlucky to get me, so I better perform to her expectations.

I would be interested in hearing from ladies that entered JJ contests and how they felt when they drew a man that wasn't a good enough lead to win or even to enable you to look close to your best, and perhaps hear from a few men that have dealt with this dilemma.
The second time that I went to the Next Generation Swing dances at the Allegro in Emeryville, I decided not to enter the J&J for that same reason. (The first time I was there, they had a Strictly Swing contest.) I was somewhat intimidated, and didn't want to ruin anyone's chances of winning. However, the first time that I ever went to South Bay Dance Fling, I decided to do a Newcomer and a Luck of the Draw All-American J&J. I was a bit nervous and not quite ready for the former, but had a good time in the latter, even though I didn't advance past the first heat. There were many more followers than leaders in the latter (37 leaders, 51 followers), so I imagine the followers would have liked to have had more leaders to dance with.

As to your second question, once you're out on the dance floor, all you can do is just dance to the best of your abilities. I just try to keep things simple -- I only lead patterns I'm really comfortable with, track my partner, smile, and try to respond to whatever cues my partner gives me. Before the comp, I was having a little bit of trouble figuring out what to do while my partner styled or hijacked the lead. Taking Myles Munroe's DANCE LIKE A DUDE class really helped me, because it reminded me that I can just move to the groove while my partner is styling or hijacking. I don't have to do too much beyond that.

Disclaimer: I am new to WCS competitions, and am still gathering information about what the judges are looking for, etc.


Active Member
I am in pretty much in the same situation as rbazsz as I am entering my first Lindy Hop J&J competition (and first dance competition ever) two weeks from now. I've been told by various followers and my dance instructor that I have very good rhythm and that they enjoy dancing with me because my leads are very clear and easy to follow. (I think they're just being nice. lol.)

Honestly, I'm both really nervous and excited about the upcoming event. I really want to see how my skill level compares to others on the dance floor. It seems a lot of the focus in this forum is related to ballroom dance, but I would be interested in any advice someone could give me in regards to Lindy Hop or Swing competitions in general (or point me to a thread where it has already been discussed.) Thanks.

Steve Pastor

Staff member
Yeah, well, not many people post in the CW section, either, even for (sometimes) questions about Two Step.
And for my part.. I don't do jack & jills or compete, so...
But, see, bia has already been helpful!

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