Thoughts on swing dancing and Lindy Hop, one word at a time…

Things That Make Me Facepalm (As A Swing Dancer)

So I was reading a topic on yehoodi today that made me just mentally facepalm when I read one of the responses. If you are unfamilar with the term facepalm, according to wikipedia it is defined as,

A colloquial term referring to the physical gesture of striking one’s own face in a display of exasperation. It is similar in function to a sigh. In Internet discussions, the term is used as an expression of embarrassment, frustration, disbelief, disgust or general woe. It is also used when the person making the gesture does not believe that words can express the level of idiocy.

Normally I am a pretty easy going guy, however like everybody certain things make me simply boggled with how people do certain actions.

However this is a personal list of pet-peeves/things I find moronic when i’m out and about swing dancing.

1. Constantly Talking Trash on Other Dancers

This is bad enough because it shows you aren’t a polite person. However, I have found in 99% of cases that I run into these people they actually tend to be bad dancers as well, which then strays into the realm of being a hypocrite. I’ll never forget one of the worst first impressions someone ever made on myself is when one person approached me talking trash about the non-amazing dancers at a venue.

2. Making Up Swing Era/Dance History

Unlike a college exam where making up information on the spot might get you some partial credit points, when talking about history in relation to swing dances/the swing era you get no points for at best telling partial truths, at worst making up false information. “I don’t know” is always a better answer then spreading misinformation.

3. Doing Aerials on the Social Dance Floor

Aerials have a few places such as jam circles, performances, and competitions. Right next to my face when I am trying to lead a swingout on the social dance floor is not one of them. I have been trying to be more pro-active about this and I encourage everybody else, if you catch someone doing it politely say something. Most venues have strict anti-aerials on the social dance floor rules, so you can always start the conversation with the excuse you don’t want them to lose their cover charge for the night.

4. Constantly Claiming To Wanting to Get Better, Then Doing Nothing About It

If I had a nickel for every time I have heard someone claiming they wanted to get better at swing dancing, I could probably afford to go to Herrang. I am though a firm believer in the idiom, talk is cheap. I wish I could save many newbies from the $40-$120 private lesson where they expect the magic secret on how to become amazing and tell them one of the biggest secrets to getting better at swing dancing is called consistent practice. People can talk about how much they want to be a better swing dancer and then give reasons of why they can never make it out dancing, but that isn’t going to make them a better dancer. It is actually more likely to make me think of them as lazy and whiners.

5. People Who Insist Late Night Music Must be Slower.

I have no problem with people saying, “Well this area has people who are really into blues dancing, so we play it later on to make them happy.” However something I have gotten from a few DJs and people in certain blues heavy scenes is, “Well when it gets later the music just has to slow down” citing people get tired or worse that its common practice.

Newsflash, what do all these events have in common: ILHC, Camp Hollywood, Boston Tea Party, Hawkeye Swing Festival? Answer, they all feature music you can Lindy Hop to with a decent BPM count after midnight.  I assume when people say late night music has to be slower it is because either they don’t travel much outside of their local scene or they forgot to advertise it was a blues night.

After Hours

Well I am going to end this post with some videos of fast dancing after midnight for the potential haters out there.

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8 responses

  1. Alex Dupler

    Truth. We all know that late night lindy hop is the best kind of lindy hop. There is always that sweet spot at around 2:30 am where absolute magic happens. This is about 50% of why I go to big events at all.

    April 14, 2011 at 6:33 pm

  2. christina

    I would like to add “DCLX” to the list of events with kickin’ music after midnight. Gordon Webster late night for the frickin’ WIN!

    April 19, 2011 at 1:28 am

  3. Anon

    It just hit me that the frog jump is definitely an aerial I’ve followed on the social dance floor before. D’oh. I’ll need to talk to my lead friend about that one…

    April 20, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    • Corina

      As the “president” of a university swing dance club, my biggest pet peeve has to be the swing snobs that I frequently have to deal with. Now, I understand there is a certain legitimacy to dancing “pure” forms of swing to actual swing era music, however, swing just like anything else is an evolving art form and I accommodate to that. However, haters gotta hate. West coast-ing to pop music is really popular in my dance group, so I play pop and offer West Coast lessons sometimes and haters keep on hating. I don’t allow aerials at our weekly venues since it’s an insurance liability and some people complain about it. We play bluesy music to blues to, and Jack/Neo swing for more exciting/modern Lindy, and (of course) big band swing for traditional stuff (East coast, Lindy, Charleston, etc). However, I have some individuals constantly trolling me, saying that we aren’t “really swing dancing” and aren’t playing “real swing music enough” and the like. We are a small community, and I do what I have to in order to retain student dancers on a weekly basis. Also, it’s fun! I try to play about 25% of everything I mentioned to please everyone, so why all the hate? I don’t care if someone stylizes their moves to be more modern or if they stick to the rules. Dancing is supposed to be fun, a social outlet at the end of a long day at work. Why does everyone have to act superior, make it into a strict discipline? We’re not competing or anything. Can’t dancing just be fun and everyone just stop being so “holier than thou” all the time?

      December 2, 2011 at 6:36 pm

      • Corina

        I also think I hit the wrong “reply” button.

        December 2, 2011 at 6:37 pm

      • Its fine about the reply button, no worries.

        In respect to your comment it makes several different points, so I will try to tackle them one at a time.

        As someone who was an officer of the Penn State swing dance club for two years and a “president” for one of those years. I can understand the idea that you have to accommodate for your group. Shoot, if I played the fast songs I preferred to dance to like The Carioca or Avalon all the time, it would scare our newbies away so fast it wouldn’t be even funny. I agree that part of being a good organizer is identifying what your group wants and catering to that.

        For the point of trying to please everybody, I respectfully disagree with you on that one. Reason being, as someone who has DJed in multiple states/venues it is common practice that you cater to the majority. You can throw the minority (if it is significant enough) a couple of bones, such as a couple of blues songs toward the end for blues dancers. But if you try to make everyone happy, it just turns out the majority has an okay time at best and probably the intermediate/advanced dancers (who tend to be the picky ones about music) will be pissy with your set.

        In respect to the point that you do what you have to do to retain dancers. I’d like to offer the counter example that my club in State College, Pennsylvania is literally in the middle of nowhere and the closest swing dance organization nearby (closest different scene is 2+ hour drive). We teach Lindy Hop, starting with six count patterns (not East Coast swing) and leave West Coast up to the Ballroom dance club. Our DJs are trained to play traditional swing era music or from bands in the modern age who play in that style (Boilermaker Jazz Band, Jonathan Stout and his Campus 5, et cetera). In spite of not catering to people who want to dance to non-swing era music or into stuff like Fusion we still get great attendance with 50-150 at our monthly dances and about 30-100 people at our bi-weekly lessons/dances depending upon the time of year.

        In terms of people trolling you, that’s unfortunate. I’ll admit I have some pretty opinionated views on what swing dancing is or what I consider acceptable at a swing dance event/venue. However I express that opinion through my blog, recommendations I give friends/acquaintances (when they ask for them), or through the money I spend at events. I find being active about my views is much more effective then wasting my time insulting people. I could write here a long list of potential reasons of why people are hating on you, but in the end like you said haters are going to hate and it is probably a waste of your time trying convince them otherwise.

        If you’d like to discuss this more in depth, my email address is apache.danse@gmail.com (also in the about me section) or you can just reply here as well.

        December 6, 2011 at 9:57 am

  4. Pingback: 4 Problems I Have with Social Swing Dancing |

  5. Clate

    Dancers actually having knowledge about original swing music and musicians? You’re kidding, right? They could care less, very much akin to the half-a$$ “vintage” looks I see at WWII dances.

    November 23, 2016 at 4:20 pm

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