I just went to my first Swing Dance...

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by BenjaminT, Apr 1, 2012.

  1. BenjaminT

    BenjaminT Member

    ...not sure how I feel about it. It had a very earthy feel and wasn't at all like the ballroom world. It was fun but didn't have the connection I'm used to.

    I will say that I saw some stuff that scared me. Specifically, the aerials during the demos. What. The. *(&^. One girl fell and almost landed head first if she hadn't gotten extremely lucky between her and her partner's sprawling. So, instead of realizing they were in over their heads, they did the same trick a second time. Only this time the guy "improved" by grabbing fistfuls of shirt and pants. (His hands were still horribly positioned to support her.)

    This is seriously dangerous stuff and I can't believe the approach people have towards it. It's like they've seen one too many movies and believe they look like professionals. That somehow "close enough" is "just as good."


    I could rip further and further about stuff we stress about in the ballroom world... virtually every aspect of it. But, again, I had fun; the ambiance is hard to beat. I'm just not sure I want to come back and watch someone get hurt.

    Thoughts?
  2. Wolfgang

    Wolfgang Member

    I go to a weekly Swing dance, which can be a lot of fun. Not everyone there is good, but the majority of the attendees are high school and college kids, so they tend to be quick on their feet and have lots of energy, which can make up for a lot of things.
    Aerials are usually done by those who have either learned how to do them properly or those who do stuff like cheerleading and mishaps tend to be mild, because they know how to fall and recover quickly.
    It does spoil you a little bit for other types of venues, because of the speed, energy level and mostly friendly atmosphere.
  3. Spitfire

    Spitfire Well-Known Member

    I know that a lot of venues will not allow aerials for safety and perhaps liability reasons.

    Anything that is centered around one dance, Lindy, WCS, AT, Salsa is going to have a different atmosphere from ballroom be it favorable or unfavorable. Myself, I feel that the ballroom dances here anyway have a less serious atmosphere then that of the WCS dances.
  4. mjnemeth

    mjnemeth Member

    Ive rarely seen aerials at the month swing dance I used to go to in nj for over 5 year. Only remember them once. Now you do see kicks which can be dangerous if not done correctly and caerfully. What kinds of swings were done at the dance? At the NJ I used to go to, it was mostly east coast swing both single and triple ,west coast swing and lindy hop. There is some hustle, balboa and at least one Charleston.
  5. Spitfire

    Spitfire Well-Known Member

    All those at once huh? Might be more common in some areas, but have not seen that here; would be great, an all types swing dance.
  6. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Somewhat tongue in cheek, I'd have to say that, that is pretty much why some of us don't get into "ballroom" or competition... we just don't want to go there.
    But, we can talk specifics if you like. Might be fun amd informative.

    Regarding aerials..
    I remember seeing the Hot Shots from Sweden years ago here in Portland. One guy fell flat on hit butt twice while trying to do a flip. Friend of mine who had danced professionally remarked that if the were truely professional dancers, that would not have happened.

    Aerials in "swing" are very similar to stage tango in Argentine Tango. It's showy, and it attracts people to the dance form. Someone is stroking their own ego (or at least trying to) if they are putting on demo and doing it badly. And why the heck would someone show that stuff to people in a social dance setting where if is often (or should be always) not allowed on the dance floor?

    Still, that sort of thing is pretty much guarenteed to elicit shouts of approval from onlookers in a social setting, ("tricks" rather than good dancing always do!) while those on the floor at the same time are thinking, dude, don't kick or trip me with your partner.

    I'm watching a developing situation where I dance with someone who is reported to be a "teacher" showing people, even on the dance floor while other people are dancing, one of those throw your partner out along the floor type deals. I'm hoping management steps in before I have to speak to them about it.

    I avoid demos in any venue where I go to dance, since I'm there to dance and not watch other people dance. Maybe a good time to step outside and get some fresh air or *******ments?
  7. mjnemeth

    mjnemeth Member

    This is a at non profit dance society that might be the difference. see the link:
    http://www.centraljerseydance.org
  8. BenjaminT

    BenjaminT Member

    @Wolfgang: Yes, the energy is addicting. I will stick around as it's one more venue and style to enjoy. I think I'll take Steve's advice and catch some air the next time they decide to do demos... think my trauma bag might become my new shoe bag, just in case.

    @mjnemeth: It was mostly east coast single with a few girls playing around with Charleston every now and then. I got a few partners who could triple swing. I could only get real lead/follow with about two ladies that night.

    Heh. The funniest comment I got that night was, "Huh. You're different. You know what you're doing but you don't dance like a swing dancer." I still have no idea how I should take that last bit but I said, "thanks," anyways.

    @Steve: I respect that some people just want to get up and dance. I've got no issues there and am happy to play along. It's just that I rather like dancing to get "better." To me, "tricks" are the reward for making it to the higher levels.

    I've discussed it with my pro, this was her first time there too, and she OK'ed my plan. While I'm no authority on anything I disagree with, it's okay to send a message to the coordinator/instructor strictly along the lines of "This is what I saw. This is why I'm concerned. Could you shed some light on this?"

    I figure that will alleviate my internal need to say something. If I couple this with your suggestion of taking a break during demos, I think I'll be set. If it was worth watching, I'd be paying to watch.
  9. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Wanting to get better, and just having fun aren't mutually exclusive.
    Tax deadline is nearing, and last night I went through my credit card statements to get numbers for some deductions I might be able to take. Wanna guess how much I spent to fly down to LA to take my second West Coast Swing Intensive with Skippy Blair?
    Probably not as much as some of you spend on private lessons, but the point is, while I have spent many, many hours taking classes, practicing, etc, when I go out to dance, it's more about enjoying myself - having "fun" - than it is about doing it "right".

    After being blasted for my lack of techinique, etc, in my "honky tonk style" West Coast Swing the first time I went to Downey, one gal at Cowboy Country in Long Beach remarked that "studio dancers don't know how to have fun."
    (Not exactly true, but illustrates the different way of thinking about things.)




    PS Am wondering why r e f r e s h ments was filtered?
  10. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    This from DanceElfs latest post.

  11. Spitfire

    Spitfire Well-Known Member

    Bravo!

    :applause:
  12. BenjaminT

    BenjaminT Member

    I agree, Steve. I'm pretty adamant about not wanting to compete in Swing. To me, it's just a fun dance. The only reason I work on technique in swing is when things just aren't working mechanically or there's ambiguity in my leads. (Like one guy who was literally yanking my pro around and she still had no idea if he was trying to get her to do.
  13. mjnemeth

    mjnemeth Member


    You find that there WILL BE followers that take you lead for someting else! Basic, I think, because they learned a different lead. Just ran in to this a a east coast swing group lesson.
    If I lead my wife that way they taught she'd expect a belt turn not a tuck turn. And that not is to mention , I learned a tuck turn as a underarm turn for the follower not as a free spin. One skill you need to learn is how to gracefully recover when your partner does something you didn't expect.
  14. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

    Highly agree w/DanceElf . . . "there still isn't a grand consensus on what correct *is* . . ."
    That said, I believe that most leaders, who are beyond a certain skill level, should always go back and take a few lessons (basics???) from a Pro follower. From my own experience, I learned many "bad habits" because I was trying to "look cool." WRONG! And when I learned to follow, it became even more apparent!

    A couple years ago, I competed with Katie Boyle in WCS . . . most of my practices with her, besides putting together and memorizing a routine, was getting rid of my bad habits . . . and believe me . . . I had quite a few! I have a very soft lead, and sometimes, because of that, and maybe a misleading hand placement or movement, she really didn't always know where I wanted her to go. Oh, she was quite capable of guessing where I wanted her to go, but for the sake of future followers with me, she took the time to correct me. One great Pro!

    So, is there a correct way to execute a WCS move? Maybe, but I still agree with DanceElf . . .
  15. Spitfire

    Spitfire Well-Known Member

    Social dance has no rules except for what works and is fun...
  16. Spitfire

    Spitfire Well-Known Member

    I'll have to check it out sometime. I usually go to the Friday dance at the Paragon and am thinking of doing so this coming Friday, or the Desert City Swing on Sundays at AM.
  17. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    love that dance!!!!
  18. Spitfire

    Spitfire Well-Known Member

    Dual ballroom and WCS, it's great!
  19. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    agree wife and i go when we visit phx

    i also started dancing smooth with a pro there
  20. juwest333

    juwest333 Active Member

    Went to my first West Coast Swing dance tonight. Quite an experience for a Lindy Hopper! Our local venue was flooded (thanks to Sandy), so a group of us went to a WCS venue not too far away on dry land. Most of us have never done West Coast Swing before (but the majority have danced Lindy Hop for five+ years), but after being stuck at home for two days, we desperately wanted to go somewhere to dance...anywhere. What followed on the dance floor was both interesting and absolutely hilarious! The followers of our group seemed to get along fine; the leaders...not so much. lol

    Took a newcomers class. Very different feel. Felt like my movements were restricted with trying to keep my partner on a straight-line and not being able to move as freely (took an elbow to the stomach on more than several occasions when trying to do an underarm pass! :oops: ), but after class was over, I was able to do sugar push, left-side and underarm pass and a tuck pass with little trouble. Once I got used to these movements, I really enjoyed myself on the dance floor and was even able to improvise here and there without throwing off my follower (this is an accomplishment for me!). I love how you can do WCS to modern music...just about anything, and they were some incredible dancers out there doing all kinds of fancy spins and footwork. I can see why WCS is so popular. Will definitely do it again!

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