I’ve been very fortunate this year to start cultivating some pretty cool friendships with people who spend a lot of time dancing outside of the Lindy Hop community. It’s refreshing to get a new perspective on dancing and learn the values of different dance scenes. With that said this has allowed me to be introduced to people I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise like Elizabeth Lynn Rakphongphairoj Kilrain who I interviewed previously in this series. If you haven’t read her interview, I highly recommend it, as she’s an extremely versatile dancer. Thanks to this friendship, I’ve been introduced to another dancer who contributed a great deal to the blues scene, and allowing me to cast a broad net in regards to representation in this blog. I’m excited for y’all to read up on Laney Barhaugh.
Name: Laney Barhaugh
Where do you live: Minneapolis, MN
Years dancing: I’mma date myself but 14
Laney doin the dayum thang at Signifying Blues
How did you start dancing?
Well, if we want to go wayyyy back, my first exposure to social dancing was in the “gym” (repurposed church) at the teeny tiny school I went to from K-3rd grade. We learned polka, schottische, foxtrot, and waltz, and I totes killed at the polka as a tiny human.
What are all the dance related activities that you do in your scene (locally, nationally, internationally).
You want *all* the dance-related things I do? I could write you an essay, but I won’t. Major things:
- Part-owner of the weekly Lindy Hop dance (locally) Rhythm Junction
- Owner of blues organization (locally) Collectively Blue
- Teacher/DJ (locally, nationally, and more recently internationally) for blues events
- Head organizer of North Star Blues Exchange
- Aspiring Event Consultant (ask me questions about organizing! I want to help you!)
Years resistance training: 6ish?
Accomplishment I’m proud of: At one point, I could do 5 pull ups. Don’t ask me to do it now.
What are your favorite exercises:
My favorite exercises to do are generally things with a full body flow and some momentum, so like a KB deadlift/clean/squat combo, or slam balls, or full contact twist.
Laney Trap Bar Deadlifting!!
What got you into it and why? I wanted to be a more athletic dancer. At the time, I was very into So You Think You Can Dance, and I wanted to jump like those dancers. I still want to jump like those dancers, let’s be real. And I knew if I wanted to do even a fraction of the things they were doing, I had to be *a lot* stronger.
What are differences in day to day life and dance? Generally, having a routine around it has really helped me stay healthy and be able to say “I did one good thing for myself today”, on days where I’m feeling down. In dancing, I cannot overstate how much more confidence I have in my movement. I know, in a very visceral, embodied way, what my body can do; what I can recover from. And that trust is everything.
Funniest workout story? Funniest workout story….not really funny, but more just embarrassing, I accidentally let go of a kettlebell during swings once, and it flew quite a few feet (nobody was hurt). I was super embarrassed, because I was definitely not a noob at the time.
Piece of advice? Just start. I don’t care if it’s a walk around the block, if it’s two push ups against the wall every day, if it’s 10 seconds of planking. Everything counts, doesn’t matter how small, make the barrier to entry super low. And do something you like! If you don’t like pushups don’t do them! If you’d rather run than pick up a weight do that! If you’d rather swim, more power to you! Pick something you enjoy, build a small habit, and go from there.
Other things I’d recommend if you’re looking to build a new habit: get an accountability buddy. My roommate and I do this, and if he misses a workout he owes me a meal. Grab a friend, pick something you really don’t want to have to do for them/give them, and off you go.
Thank you for reading, and thank you to all of the dancers who have been active on my like page on Facebook . If you have any questions, feel free to comment here or message me through the Lindy Fitness page on Facebook. If you’re interested in seeing how fitness coaching can work for you, email me at Lindyfitness2014@gmail.com. If you’d like to just support more written content like this consider contributing to my Patreon page to support monthly Jazz History facts and fitness facts as well as more in depth fitness and dance related content voted on by the readers. This and the rest of this series will be posted their for the public a long with many other articles. Consider contributing and get access to exclusive content.