Swinging into a new year with Lindy Central

One local business owner has persevered in the pandemic by honoring history, dance, and her students.

Carla Crowen, the owner of Lindy Central, is creating global connections for her dance students amidst a worldwide lockdown.

When COVID-19 made its way to the U.S., Crowen immediately began researching how to keep her students safe, and the studio followed extra hygiene protocols before she moved everything online in early March. “Right away we popped everything up… online. I had no idea what I was doing, I had never used Zoom before, I was floundering,” Crowen explained. She watched videos, worked with her husband, and asked for feedback from students to improve the Zoom classes, which have continued nonstop since March.

Crowen hosts weekly Zoom classes or other online social gatherings for her students every week. One of the unique features at Lindy Central is being able to learn from instructors across the globe. Students can learn new dances and perspectives via Zoom. “We have teachers from Australia, from France, from Lithuania, from St. Louis, and guest DJs. So it’s actually been a place where we can still really create and connect,” Crowen said.

“We’ve never missed a week of running online ‘something’ – a little party, or class or…classes, a gathering of some sort,” Crowen said.

Lindy Central holds both singles and partner online classes. Instructors also teach partner classes in a way that students can learn solo, demonstrate how to use props in place of a partner, and points out that students can attend Zoom sessions even without a large space to practice. “I think sometimes people feel limited by the space they have in their house, and for most classes, you don’t need a lot of space,” she said, adding, “If you’re taking a class, you don’t need great lighting or [a] great microphone or amazing equipment.”

Lindy Central Swing Dancing Harrisburg

Crowen described their swing dancing community as a family and explained how important it is that they always check up on one another and be there for each other. “It’s important, outside of the classes and the steps and the teachers, to really have people checking in on each other. Because the people matter. They matter so much,” she said.

Crowen has been dancing Lindy Hop since the late 1990s and has competed at many events including the U.S. Open Swing Dance. She lived in California and often traveled to teach until she had her son. She took charge of Redwood City Swing, which became Lindy Central after a venue change. After she and her family moved back to her home state of Pennsylvania, she opened the studio locally.

Crowen encourages members of the community to try their online classes. “I hope that people in our local community would want to join in on the fun. It’s a great way to meet people, to release stress, to get exercise without even realizing you’re exercising,” she explained.

At the start of the pandemic, Crowen made all classes free and by donation only. They have continued a COVID-19 relief rate, so those struggling financially can still attend at no cost.

Those interested in registering can visit their website at https://www.lindycentral.com/