As per the request of one of the DanceNet readers, here are copies of the past ramblings of the DanceNet Webmaster.
I think it's worth checking out for those of you who need a quick swing fix on Monday night and don't want to go Johnny D's in Somerville. If you're planning on going there to eat before dancing, see if they'll skip the cover charge for you (who knows? It might work). That salmon plate was pretty big for a mere $7.00. Oh yeah, make sure you go to the right bar; I almost walked into The Kells on Brighton Avenue instead of the Kinvara Pub on Harvard Street across from the post office.
One reader writes about the recent weekend event we both attended (up in Lowell) where he and his partner stayed on their own 8'x4' foot sheet of plywood. An advanced competitor next to them kept moving all over the place trying fancy moves with his partner. That's ok when there aren't a lot of people on the dance floor. However, he [the competitor] hit this couple twice as he threw his partner out for a break/syncopation (which dance is this?). This advanced dancer "easily travelled 16 feet" as he danced. Then he gives our reader a look like it was the reader's fault for being on the floor while he was practicing for his competition.
As I've said in my dance ettiquette article, the professionals (in this case, the advanced competitors) have the same, if not higher, responsibility to control their dancing so that they don't run into the other dancers. Those dancers are *trained* to know exactly where to place their partner at all times. Those other dancers/spectators, by attending, are subsidizing the costs of running that event/competition so driving them away by deliberately (or carelessly) bumping them will hurt their own activities.
I was going to meet with one of the organizers of the Lowell event anyways so I will suggest a separate practice room for competitors for next year.
Oh yes, I hate the term "East Coast Swing". The dancing that I do has always been "Swing", even before West Coast Swing ever showed up. Swing is done to swing music and there's no need to add the adjective "East Coast" because the dance been linked more to an era than a geographical location ("Swing Era" versus "East Coast Swing Era"). It's associated with certain bands (e.g., Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Count Basie, etc.) and dancers (like Frankie Manning, Norma Miller, Charlie Meade, etc.) and not with the "right side" of the country. For me, it's "Swing" and "West Coast Swing".
I've met a lot of new dancers over the last six months at many of the new dance venues in Boston; most of them are at least 10 years younger and bring a fresh energy to the local swing scene. It's interesting to hear what these people say about the dance (and about each other. :^) ) As someone who has been swing dancing for more than seven years, I thought it would be appropriate to share some words of experience, if not wisdom, with some of the newer folks.
This only applies to a few people (that I know of) but everyone should think about it. I've said this years ago and I'll say it again: If you've been dancing less than a year, you haven't been around long enough to be a dance snob. :-) There is not much difference between someone who's been dancing a few months and someone who just started last week (at least when compared to someone who's been dancing for years). Those who started dancing six months ago should especially remember how hard it was to get started as a pure beginner where you didn't know anyone at a dance and was nervous about dancing with anyone; I still remember that and I started in 1991. Beginners especially have a hard time asking a better dancer to dance; they don't need to get discouraged by getting turned down (with the nose turned up). Remember, today's clumsy professionals could turn out to be a top dancer tomorrow and they'll remember who was rude to them. :-P
To be fair, there are a few instances where it's okay to say no:
I must say I do have one complaint about them. I bought a CD from the band leader directly. The CD came in a plastic envelope (no case). When I got back to where I was hanging out, I noticed the strange color of the recording surface of the CD: it was the same blue tint as the CD-R CD's that people buy in computer stores for burning their own CD's. The label was a regular label that is used in inkjet printers for people to make their own CD's. While I think the CD is quite enjoyable, I don't think I should have had to pay $15 for a homemade CD (11 tracks); for the cost of CD-R and labels (and time), it would have been more cost-effective (and professional) to have the CD's manufactured. For example, Indigo Swing charged only $13 for their first CD (with 14 songs) at their gigs in California and their CD's look very professional (even plastic-wrapped on the outside).
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