As per the request of one of the DanceNet readers, here are copies of the past ramblings of the DanceNet Webmaster.
I think comments should be solicited from men, as well [as from women], about what they want in a dance partner I'd like to know. It's not just men who want to know what would make them a desirable dance partner. I bet people would enjoy sending you their opinions and seeing a summary, with the most commonly made comments.This is currently one of the topics in the Swing Speakeasy (gone to web heaven in 2002) that was also brought to my attention by a dancer who...well, you read her comment above.
Send me a note telling me what you're looking for in a dance partner (and I mean, dance partner, not a "signficant other"). and I will compile a list from the leaders' point of view and from the followers' point of view. No names will be mentioned so you'll be free to vent. :-)
So, what do you think?
A certain young lady mentioned that she's noticed that her hearing in her right ear is worse than in her left ear. Huh?!?!?! It seems that in a closed dance position, her dance partner's mouth is right up against her right ear and when he wants to talk to her during the loud music, he (meaning, everyone, really) tends to shout and her ear is right there to catch it all. She also said that some of her male friends have the same problem. Hmmm...
March 8, 1999
Swing Dancers in Boston and elsewhere,
First, our heartfelt apologies and thanks to the many swing dancers in Boston (and beyond) for their expressions of support and concern as worked to resolve an unfortunate misunderstanding.
As everyone knows, organizing and running swing dance events can be difficult and stressful. Unfortunately, our recent collaboration in the New England Swing Dance Championships resulted in some misunderstandings which have since been resolved. We hope that this note will help re-focus everyone on what we're all here to do: building and developing our vital swing dance community.
Specifically, Dom Valarioti, host of the New England Swing Dance Championships, in the interests of resolving our dilemma, has generously agreed to change the date of his event. And as a result Neal Klein will host Swingin' New England at the Sea Crest Convention Center on Cape Cod from November 12-14, 1999.
Second, we'd like to reassure everyone that, although we will no longer be collaborating on our swing dance weekends, we both have the greatest enthusiasm and respect for each other's work and for the members of the swing community. We're sure everyone feels as we do, that cooperation and mutual support among teachers, performers and event producers, regardless of their different styles and personalities, are necessary. And it's for the general good of the Boston area swing dance community that we've worked to this agreement. Our thanks to all who supported us in coming together.
We each fully anticipate supporting each other's separate events and activities in the coming months and years. Good promotion and good attendance at all swing dance events benefits everyone, regardless of the producers, teachers and performers, and we emphasize our belief in that concept. In the future, Dom Valarioti and the Swing Out Big Band will be pleased to support Neal and events produced by Dancing Feats, in the same way that Neal and Dancing Feats be pleased to support for Dom V and the Swing Out Big Band and Swing Out Productions in their events and endeavors.
Finally, every successful community depends on the coordination and integration of different styles and personalities. In resolving our issues, we both appreciated and were impressed with the warmth and depth of support from the Boston area swing dancers. We hope that the commitment everyone has shown to building and sustaining the community will continue. Boston has a long and proud history as a social dance community--going back literally hundreds of years, and we look forward to being an integral part of that community in the years to come.
In case you hadn't gotten it, these were the two guys I was talking about two weeks ago who were trying to hold swing dance weekends on the same weekend in November. Thank you to Bob Thomas who stepped in to help resolve this issue.
One young woman indicated that she's terrified at a certain dance venue because she's always getting stepped on and/or kicked. It was ironic that I tended not to go to that particular dance venue much because I tended to get kicked alot there, too, even when standing at the edge of the floor.
One major cause of this kicking is that dancers are not keeping their weight over their feet, or rather, keeping their feet under their weight. Also, if your foot kicks someone else, that means you are trying to invade someone else's turf. The other dancers have "squatters' rights" to the dance floor underneath them until they move off that ground. If you kick someone, that means you're trying to take over their ground before they've vacated it.
Another cause of kicking is The BIG Rock Step, which happens to be pet peeve #1 for many of the teachers that I've talked to. On beat #1 (or beat #5, depending on the teacher), a dancer's weight should be over that foot. If a big rock step is taken, the body doesn't have enough time to move over the foot so the foot tends to come to a rest at some (horizontal) distance from the center of the body's weight. There's a good chance that, because of this distance, there's someone else's foot at the destination point.
Dancing would be a lot more fun if people didn't have to spend so much time avoiding people who kick other dancers. A timid dancer who has been kicked alot on the dance floor will be very tentative and will not be able to enjoy the dance because he or she will spend all of their time watching out for wandering feet.
What's even more admirable is that the folks down in Hartford Swing Dance did not jack up the prices for what is probably a much-higher-priced band (they just got off touring in Europe with Brian Setzer!). I urge all of you to take advantage of what is only a short two-hour hop from Boston down to West Hartford for this great dance band.
By the way, Jane Dumont had toss out the idea of starting a "Swing Exchange Program" to help swing dancers go down to a dance in Hartford and have a place to stay overnight (instead of driving back to Boston). While we hadn't gotten far in the discussion, she might pursue the idea if she gets enough interest.
I had a good weekend. Why? I went dancing in New York City this weekend and checked out a couple of great clubs.
I went to the Supper Club for dinner. We had reservations for dinner at 7 because we wanted to have finished eating by the time the music started at 8 pm. The Supper Club Big Band provided good music for dancing and for the floor show, which featuring a guy named Larry Marshall all dressed in a white tux and singing as a young Cab Calloway. The Supper Club dancers sang and danced and provided great entertainment for the crowd.
Getting in before 11 pm incurs a $20 "music charge", $15 after 11 pm. Those people who aren't willing to pay the extra $5 before 11 pm are gypping themselves of a good time on the town. This place offers an evening out on the town the way a real dinner club should. Dinner is expensive, though not necessarily so for New York. As the website www.yehoodi.com says, this is a "beautiful place, great for a date. A bit pricey so this better be a SERIOUS date!". By the way, jackets are required for men and no jeans allowed. I'm not sure how hard they card guests, but I would imagine that going in for dinner gets you by the people at the door, though I wouldn't imagine the younger (college) crowd would want to spend that kind of money on dinner (not until they're out of college and making money).
The dance crowd shows up after 11 pm and the dress code seemed relaxed for that crowd. The band, Zoot Suit Revue from LA, came out for the late night crowd and belted out some good dance music. While they started out with a good rendition of the Cherry Poppin' Daddies' Zoot Suit Riot, I think they're really a closet swing dance band; their versions of good swing dance covers inspired some good dancing. One of the best leaders was this young (22?) girl who had great dance character, though there was one guy who looked and danced alot like Boston's Jared. After having driven to NYC during the day and having started my evening at 7 pm, I was too tired to stay to closing (4 am) so I left around 3 am. It was a long day but well worth it. I certainly got my money's worth.
The Supper Club is a great place. I wish we had something like it in Boston. I like having a classy place like the Supper Club as an excuse to dress up in a suit and tie for a dinner date. The place had class.I highly recommend it, even if you have dinner there only once.
On Saturday, we got a late start at Swing 46 which is very close to the Supper Club. The place had a dance floor about half (or smaller) than the Supper Club and it was tough to dance around some of the drunken dancers, but we managed to survive with some survival swing techniques. The place has a bar, restaurant; it gets very hot inside with all the bodies in the enclosed dance space. It was packed so there were long waits at the bar. The Delegates, 5 pieces, played some good dance music, though they didn't get into the groove until about their second set. The wanna-be-dancers started leaving around 11:30 pm so the really cool dancers started becoming visible through the crowds and that might have inspired the band to play better. I was told to go to Windows On The World instead, but we were too tired to hoof it all the way downtown; I think Swing 46 was a good place to check out, particularly since there wasn't a real dress code.
It's somewhat gratifying to know that New York also has the same kinds of bad dancers who kick other dancers and do aerials on the social dance floor. I was surprised that Supper Club didn't have someone on the dance floor to discourage acrobatics. It was poetic justice when one particularly offensive dancer (who was extremely dangerous on the floor at Swing 46) tripped himself and fell over a speaker on the stage. My friend ended up with bruises on her foot from this idiot.
Ladies! Dating another dancer? Want to see if it's serious? Get him to take you to the Supper Club!
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