An Exciting Day in 2006

A few things have happened recently to remind me, yet again, how much I am now an old-timer of this younger generation of Lindy Hoppers.  Never fails to amaze me that everyone wasn’t there in the early ‘oughts when we were wearing huge pants (excuse me, “pance“), occasionally under skirts for the ladies (“skants”), dancing to Eva Cassidy and doing the Swing Rueda and generally having NO IDEA what good dancing is but nevertheless being very invested in how the Savoy vs. Hollywood debate would shake out.

So, for me, the year 2006 doesn’t seem very long ago.  It’s almost like it was yesterday that Naomi Uyama was sweeping the ULHS ’05 contests and nobody had really ever heard of Juan & Sharon or Max & Annie.  Anyhow.  Given that the Lindy scene was still very much in, oh, let’s say its “adolescence,” it took a lot longer back then to grow and improve as a dancer than it does these days.  So even though I had learned how to swing out in the fall of 1999, my dancing was terrible (and I mean terrible) for at least 3-4 years.  (Watch me doing some very mediocre dancing in 2006–this is me after 7 years of Lindy Hop–in the background of this video.  Beige shirt, jeans, black DanceStore.com sneakers.  Yah.)

All of which is preface to say…  I just now randomly found this excerpt from an email I wrote to a friend in 2006 about the Jam Cellar Grand Opening in their new (not so new anymore) location at the Mansion.

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Posted in Deep Thoughts on Dancing | 1 Comment

Beginner Blog Post Roundup

Today I thought I’d curate a short list of relevant blog posts for beginning swing dancers, as I haven’t yet found a similar list posted online.  The subject matter is wide-ranging.  Please pass along a link to your favorite newbie!

Mythbusting for Beginners at the Philly Lindy Hop Blog.

Why The Cool People Aren’t Talking To You Yet by Rebecca Brightly.  I recommend this entire blog, as it is focused on an audience of beginner swing dancers.

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Posted in General Blah Blah | 5 Comments

Sometimes the Truth Hurts

“The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off.”  –Gloria Steinem

I’m realizing that there’s an implicit trend in some of the things I write about on this blog, which is truth-telling.  For whatever reason, I feel compelled to say things here that aren’t always easy or comfortable to say in public.  But I value coming right out with it when there’s an unspoken reality hanging around, so I think I’ll keep it up.  I really admire Jerry Almonte for telling the truth on his blog and not shying away from the consequences, good or bad.  What I have in mind today is more about calling out myself than other people, though.  There are important benefits to truth-telling, but it can also be dangerous or unpleasant, as we all know.  The epigraph to this post from kick-ass feminist Gloria Steinem really gets at it:  sometimes the truth will piss you off before it will set you free.

A few weeks ago at Lone Star Championships, I learned a truth that pissed me off.  I entered two contests—the All-Star Jack & Jill and the Advanced Strictly Lindy—and made finals in neither.  This was disheartening but not infuriating.  The part that really killed me was looking at the score sheets on Sunday night and not finding my name on the prelims sheet for the Jack & Jill.  My first thought, I confess, was that there had been some kind of clerical error and the judges never got my name or number.  I almost went looking for someone to confront about it when I took another hard look at that prelims sheet and the realization hit me:  I didn’t even get a “2.”

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Posted in Deep Thoughts on Dancing | 2 Comments

Like No One’s Watching

Cheesiest greeting card saying ever:  “Dance like no one’s watching.”

Everyone gets what that means.  It means in your bedroom, door closed, music loud, preferably in front of a mirror, going totally nuts with your bad self.  I don’t know about you, but I look like a complete idiot when I do this.  I’m whipping my hair, I’m making bizarro shapes with my body, I’m doing very un-rhythmic things with my feet, flailing around…  and I’m having the time of my life.

But I cannot bring myself to dance that way when other people are watching.

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Posted in Deep Thoughts on Dancing | 6 Comments

Leading and Following, Dancing and Partnership

Coming off of an incredible week of dancing at Lindy Focus IX, I’m feeling inspired and full of energy for dance in a way that hasn’t happened to me in years.  (It’s an awesome feeling.)  During some small-talk in the course of a dance with Mike Roberts, he mentioned a post over at Swungover by Bobby White that had generated some passionate responses and suggested I check it out.  Having some strong opinions about following and the role of women in swing and jazz dance, I figured this would be a good opportunity to dust off the old jazz dance blog and put down some thoughts on the subject.

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Posted in Deep Thoughts on Dancing, Gender & Dancing | 13 Comments