As per the request of one of the DanceNet readers, here are copies of the past ramblings of the DanceNet Webmaster.
By the way, there is no age limit at Club Stella in the Days Inn on Soldiers Field Road. Underage patrons cannot sit at the bar, but are otherwise welcome to show up for the dancing.
An old subject:
When I was a waiter years ago, the other hired help told me to expect bad tips from the younger customers (i.e., "kids"). This was most likely because they didn't *have* any money (yeah, I was one, once).
While this may be true, those customers (and everyone else) should remember that many of the drinking establishments offer dancing in hopes of getting additional income. The music and dancing do cost money but they are considered a "loss-leader", something they pay for in hopes of getting additional business. At one recent venue, I saw a young woman (okay, she was a *girl*) bring up an empty pitcher to the bartender and ask for a refill of the pitcher with water and ice. He graciously fill the pitcher and she walked away with it. Not only did she not buy anything at the bar, she didn't even tip the bartender for filling the pitcher with ice-cold water.
Some venues in the past have shut off swing dancing because people weren't even buying a simple glass of soda. Yes, we can't dance well while drunk, but then we're not being asked to get totally hammered, either. Remembering that bartenders (and wait-staff) get most of their pay from tips (remember, I was a waiter once), each one of us should consider at least tipping the bartender for water (perhaps not for every glass, but maybe every other glass). Buying a drink once during the night might encourage the dance venue to continue paying for swing dancing in hopes that it will bring in customers to fill the floor.
At some dance recently, I noticed a particular woman had a large round "sweat spot" on the front of her shirt. No, I wasn't looking for it specifically; she was telling her friends all about it. The dance form was one that sometimes had a "close embrace" position (this is the Argentine Tango, by the way) where the man and woman are up close while dancing.
We were wondering how she got so wet since we all know that women don't "sweat": they glisten. :-) This particular woman was completely dry on her collar and back so we knew that she wasn't the one sweating! All of the guys who danced with her "sweated" on her. Their shirts got wet from dancing and it transferred onto her shirt. Her feeling about the whole thing was "blecch!".
I had thought about an incident years ago when I was dancing with another guy (he liked to follow and I didn't mind leading guys, a rare event in those days). While dancing with this guy, he *dripped* sweat on me. This was pretty gross. Oh, my God!!!!! Do I do this?!?!?! Is this how women feel when they have to dance with guys who sweat? Have any of you ever wondered why I like packing a few shirts and towels into my bag when I go dancing?
In these much warmer summer months (and sometimes no air-conditioning), the guys are going to sweat....a lot. There's not much that can be done about it. However, how interested our dance partners are in dancing with us will be affected to some extent by how much they're willing to deal with guys who will be covered with sweat when dancing. Some women are willing to suffer through it, but really, they shouldn't have to. It takes only a minor effort to bring along an extra shirt (or two or three or....) and a towel to wipe off your sweat between songs and it does show some consideration for your partner. Think of it as part of the "presentation" when asking someone to dance.
Oh, by the way. This doesn't happen very often, but there are actually some women who *do* sweat, even if it's not very many. Besides having women tell me all about guys who sweat (and sometimes they name names!), I know firsthand how it feels to dance with someone who didn't bother to wipe the sweat off their hands. Imagine dancing to avoid the sweat droplets instead of trying to have fun.
By the way, Good Luck and Bon Voyage to local dancer P. Mohan who is leaving the local Boston dance scene for a job in Sweden where I imagine he'll be dancing up a storm.
P.S. Perhaps it's just me, but I really, really, really, really think that guys should wear long pants (not shorts) when dancing the Argentine Tango.
I did go this past Monday, though, in honor of Mohan who was moving to Sweden and was having a going-away party at Johnny D's. I was hoping that Jump Crew had gotten better in the intervening year, but that was not to be. The first thing that was noticed by everyone was that the band played four songs before going on their first break. This may have been part of the game plan so the dancers could recognize and honor Mohan, but then again, I did pay full price to get in. At some point later in the evening, the band was jammin' and doing all sorts of jazz solo's. I especially remember the one by the bass player; I remember it because I didn't think it was particularly danceable.
I've heard that Johnny D's swing night has not been packed as it was last year. It would make sense to make some effort to improve the dancing and the music to at least try to bring back the dancers. The band needs to remember that they're playing *for* the dancers; the dancers are not dancing for the band. Jump Crew retains its one-star rating on this website; I had been hoping to raise it.
It's been a quiet week. I haven't been out dancing much this week so there hasn't been much to write about. One woman at a tango dance this week had a gripe about going home smelling like the cologne of some of the guys with whom she was dancing, but it didn't seem exciting enough to motivate me to write a whole soapbox about it. Perhaps if someone had a horror story about cologne, I might be interested.
My friend did say that men should spray cologne into the air and walk into the cloud as a way to "apply" the right amount of cologne. Sorry. We're guys. Men's cologne don't come in misting applicators and we wouldn't put on cologne that way anyway. It's a guy thing; know what I mean? :-)
Of course, what would this soapbox be if I didn't take the opportunity to put in my own two cents in? Here's an idea. In a normal dance position, the woman will mostly likely end up on the right side of the man. Perhaps men could consider putting cologne only on their *left* side, the side away from the woman?
One woman did ask me to write about a particular technique being taught to leaders that alledgedly (eventually) causes backaches for the followers but I had already written about that subject several times and I wanted to talk to a few teachers before writing about it again.
Got something you want me to write about in this column? Send me mail.
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