Friday, March 25, 2005


So I guess, my guess, is that neo-swing is that thing with swing that started with the Brian Setzer Orchestra. Big band music with a rockabilly beat. Up tempo stuff that was purely electric in its effect on the dancers as they tried to still dance Jitterbug or East Coast just twice as fast. And I'd say that it was definitely the back door that let the Lindy return to swing currency. That and the fact that dancers in the nineties had learned about crossing over from one style to another through the incredible increase in dance competitions in the Country and West Coast Swing worlds. All those dancers who were learning how to learn and at the same time seeing dancers cross-over from one form to another. Country dancers doing swing. Ballroom dancers dancing country. And all of this supported by a dance community that wanted to include as many young dancers as possible.

Monday, March 14, 2005

The music changes the dance

So here's an interesting phenomenon. Lindy can resist Hip Hop because its music of choice developed in the 30's and 40's and 50's of the last century. And yes you can remix that music but then you can't really dance the Lindy to it. But sadly enough the Lindy's sister dance, the West Coast Swing, has no such built in protection. It is a dance that it's followers and teachers apparently believe can be danced to any style of music. It's inclusiveness allows it to transmute, they contend, any new music into it's form. So in the 90's West Coast could absorb country swing and now in the 2000's it can digest Hip Hop.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

itspinahile, eh?

Down the road I go, been dancing to older style live music lately and I find myself wondering about that gap that seems to be growing between the gymnastics of Hip Hop and the social dance my generations have come to love known as swing. It seemed for a while, at least, that the Lindy dancers and the hip hoppers had a lot in common. They appeared to like the side by side patterns, the flips, the slides, the splits, and spins. And because they both require a sort of gymnastic physicality they both seem best suited to the young.

But now I see that this illusion can't hold. The crowds of youth that hang their jeans low and turn the bass high are not the same as the crowds who venerate the tap dancing glide of Frankie Manning. By their nature each of these groups excludes rather than includes.