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Archive of Dance Forum Articles From August, 1998
This is the archive of DANCE FORUM articles which appeared during August, 1998
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Lindy Events at Swing Fling
Dear Frank and Carole:
These are the only Lindy-specific events at Swing Fling:
Some "Zoot Suit Riot", huh? For what it's worth,
J&S are also giving an ECS workshop at 11 am on Sunday.
Workshops in Colorado Springs
When I was assigned in Wash D.C., I was a regular at Glen Echo. Since being reassigned to Colorado Springs last Fall, I've been looking for places that do swing/Lindy Hop. Swing is centered mostly in Denver, Boulder and Ft. Collins, but recently the Colorado Music Hall in Colorado Springs started sponsoring some swing sessions. Unfortunately, the level of instruction out here is not very good, especially for Lindy Hop. I sent a message to Mark Shepanek / Ellen Engle because I'd seen a flyer about the Shout n Feel It dance troupe from Sweden. I was looking for a contact point to see what their availability would be to come out this way.
The manager of Colorado Music Hall is interested, but I need
to get some details on what it would take to bring out a
national or world class dance troupe. I think it would be a
real boost in this area, and show the kids some high level skill.
There is a Lindy Hop dance troupe in Denver called the Flying
Aces that formed about four months ago. They've been fast
learners but still beginners. I think if we brought a national
level troupe out here, we'd get participation form Denver,
Boulder and Ft. Collins I'd be interested in any information or
suggestions you could provide.
[Editor's Note: It is great to have the Air Force interested in Lindy Hop! It brings back memories of the Glen Miller AAF Band. We invite our readers to bombard Lt. Col Airis with helpful suggestions! ]
About that Post Review of BBVD
Washington Post - Here's 25 cents; go buy a clue.
Another week, another weird swing review. This time, it's Patrick Foster and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. He spends the majority of the review lamenting the fact that BBVD doesn't play orthodox swing and mocking those attending the concert for being so ignorant of their own scene as not to realize it. Two comments: first, "DUH!" We KNOW that BBVD doesn't play orthodox swing. Just because we dance to something doesn't mean it's traditional big band swing. That's why we here in DC have coined the term "gansta swing" to refer to them. I love the J Street Jumpers, and they're a jump blues group, not a traditional big band. I love Rockin' Bones, and they play really danceable rockabilly. So his point would be what--people can only like one type of music? People necessarily believe that all the music they like is the same genre? If I like opera, I am going to think that everything I listen to, from La Traviata to Louis Prima to Lenny Kravitz is opera? Nice tone of condescension there, Mr. Foster.
Secondly, Foster is just SOOOO distressed that BBVD doesn't play orthodox swing. Of course, that didn't seem to influence Richard Harrington when he reviewed Indigo Swing/Brian Setzer 1 1/2 weeks ago. The fact that Indigo Swing REALLY swings and plays original swing didn't mitigate his totally uninformed pan of their set, and the fact that NO ONE thinks that Brian Setzer plays orthodox swing didn't tone down his totally unwarranted worship of that band.
So a small request to the Post: if you're going to review swing concerts at all, please at least send a critic who knows SOMETHING about swing, who realizes that this movement has been going on a LOT longer than the 10 minutes since the GAP "Khakis Swing" ad first aired, and who understands that Lindy Hoppers largely aren't such musical snobs that we'll only dance to or enjoy traditional big band swing.
Oh, one final kvetch: Foster also mockingly points out that no one had room to break into Lindy so they just resorted to the typical club bopping up and down. It sounded an awful lot like he was mocking the Daddy-o's for not knowing how to dance despite the fact that this is their chosen scene. As you know from reading the reviews, 8 of us started a jam circle before the opening band and kept it going right until the last note of the last song in BBVD's set. Oddly enough, everyone in that club who was even slightly interested in swing dancing seemed to find us with no trouble at all (probably largely because Duke had at least one of us followers in the air during just about every song, which made us easy to spot!), but Foster was apparently unable to locate us. Makes you wonder if he was even there...
Sunday, August 2, 1998
Hi De Ho! Most of you probably already know about Mood Indigo, a great little vintage store in DC, but because of the wonderful time I had there, I feel like they earned a free plug.
Sunday I went there with my older sister (a non-dancer, alas) on a mission to find a great 1940's dress. Actually, we first checked out Meep's, but it unfortunatley had mostly 60s and 70s attire. It did, however, have two pairs of really great women's glasses (very 50s-ish) and a pair of sunglasses very similar to the ones that are sold at dancestore.com. The glasses were $28 each, and I forget how much the sunglasses were.
A bit discouraged from our efforts at Meep's, my cohort and I decided we needed refueling. Luckily, we were very near Ben's Chili Bowl, a great little diner right across from Mood Indigo. As my sister says, "this place isn't just a place, it's an establishment!" Apparently, it's where Bill Cosby proposed to his wife, and they have pictures of all sorts of famous patrons on their walls. I *highly* reccommend the shakes there...they're so thick and so tasty, you think you're eating heaven! [Editor's Note: Ben's Chili Bowl is also a legend in the Civil Rights movement, as well as being the eatery of choice for most of the famous big band and jazz musicians. Until the 1960s, Washington was rigidly segregated, but Ben's was a place where all sorts of people mixed at ease even in those terrible times.]
Anyway, back to the issue at hand...clothes! Mood Indigo is conveniently located right across from Ben's in an old dry cleaner's--they have a whole automated rack aboslutley *filled* with clothes. AND...they let you operate it! That rack requires some considerable digging, but there *is* a small rack marked as exclusively 1940's stuff, and boy was I happy to see that! Not everything was to my taste (or more importantly, size), but it made it easy. I found one dress, and the only other one I remember was a beatiful Jackie-O type dress that's Gretta-sized. Also, I saw a pretty neat pair of women's saddle shoes, size 8 1/2, and three pairs of men's two-tones in very good condition, with promising soles. There were other novelties there, from ladies handbags to several vintage suitcases, a hand-held accordion type camera, and what seemed to be an old wooden radio.
The lady there was very nice to boot! We had a nice conversation about the vintage stores in the area, and she even mentioned that Auntie Deb comes into her store from time to time. So anyway, that's the update on what's at Mood Indigo right now.
Hope you find something!
Mood Indigo 1214 U Street, NW Wasington, DC 20009 (202) 265-6366
Swing Etiquette Website
I don't know if you have this, but I found it strangely relevant.
It's a swing etiquette listing.
Squirrel Nut Zipper Review on CNN Interactive
This is a very nice writeup of our favorite roots music band. Includes some audio and video clips. You may wish to link the site.
Vintage Website By: Sue Shatto
I have a large assortment of swing era clothing and
accessories. they are on my web site. (I see you
have already found my store front at Baker's Row in Frederick, MD
on your Travel Guide )
Swing Jam in the UK
Time is running out - don't miss out!!!
If you haven't already booked for what many people think is the UK's best Lindy Hop weekend (ask Frankie, Rob et al!), then you had better get a move on!
Seriously though, folks, the site is not infinitely expandable and this year's event looks like being more popular than ever - and don't forget that the Swing Jam has NEVER been cancelled and this is its sixth CONSECUTIVE year!!
For the first time in any UK event, we are offering a complete stream of West Coast Swing to compliment the ever-popular Lindy Hop, so this could be YOUR chance to learn a dance to do when the music is slower and groovier - don't just stand there saying "It's too slow, I can't Lindy to that"! And if you want to improve your Lindy with the world's best teachers and still try a bit of West Coast to see what all the fuss is about, there will be a West Coast 'taster' workshop on Saturday morning.
The setting for all this is Brunel University's lovely Runnymede campus set in the beautiful Berkshire countryside. It's close to Heathrow and a main-line train station for the convenience of all you out-of-towners. All activities are on-site including accommodation and great food for residents. Each resident has their own room (some twins are available but they are nearly all taken by those couples who want to be 'together'). Each room has a wash-basin while showers and baths are all nearby in the halls.
If you can't manage the full weekend, we have great evening dances going on each night until 2.00am! Friday features Blue Harlem with Aisha Khan, Saturday is Vile Bodies with Stacey Kent, plus the Finals of the UK Lindy Hop Championships, and Sunday night is DJ and Cabaret night.
Advance Ticket prices are œ10 for Friday or Saturday, œ8 for Sunday. All advance price tickets must be booked by Friday 21 August. On-the-door prices are œ12 for Friday or Saturday, œ10 for Sunday. For full details why not check out our web site http://www.live2jive.ndirect.co.uk - you can even book on-line.
Our new Lindy course in High Wycombe is due to start on Tuesday 9 September and West Coast Swing at Watford will take a break on Thursday 27 August and 3 September only, beginning again on Thursday 10th September.
'Swing Fever' our West Coast Swing club which takes place on the first and third Friday of each month will only miss Friday 4 September. Our fortnightly Lindy Hop Club a.k.a. the Saturday Swing Dance Club which meets on the second and fourth Saturday of each month will only miss Saturday 22 August; We're there again on Saturday September 12th. For more info, see our website.
There is plenty going on from Live2Jive so don't miss out on ANYTHING; if you miss the Swing Jam then you will be really sorry! Everyone else will be on a dancing high for weeks.
See you there
Hey F & C
Let the future begin. Now if we could only get the private
sector to open up some spaces for us. It strikes me that we don't
necessarily need a new, grand ballroom, but a bunch of places
like America to open their doors all over the city. they wouldn't
even need bands right away - just a good juke box, like the 50s.
God, what is stopping them? It's like printing money at this
Glen Echo on British TV
Unfortunately the video quality is pretty poor, and you can't
recognize many of the faces of the dancers. My video tape has
better quality, but the Howard University TV station is far
enough away that there is a good deal of static on the tape.
Pretty neat piece though.
Note from Randi-Sue
I got the pictures back from my wedding, and they're awesome. I have a probably a hundred photos of people lindying. And the photographer took pictures of the jam in black and white, so they look extra cool. I can't wait to show everyone -- once the dust settles at my house (I've basically been travelling for 5 weeks -- I spent last week in Alaska), I'll have to have everyone over.
Swing has hit Anchorage. One of the bigger bars has a swing
lounge. I didn't have a chance to go, because I was working too
hard. I did, however, manage to find one of the best vintage
stores I've ever been to -- The Rage. There were so many forties
dresses in great condition to choose from. I managed to keep my
purchases down to two. Now if I could only find a snood!
Help Jeff Out!
Frank & Carole:
Anyway, I need a favor. Next time you send out an email update or post to your site, can you add something for me to spread the word. I am looking for a large church fellowship hall that will fit at least 500 dancers and one that has wood floors. This is a great chance for a church to make some easy cash. It would be great if you could put out a little note asking people to write me if they have any ideas.
Swing Weekend in Cleveland
What: Ain't Misbehavin' - Cleveland's Swing Music and Dance
Swing dance and music lessons will be offered by many instructors, including Frankie Manning, Norma Miller, Rusty Mason, Ken Haltenhoff and Donna Barker, and Paulette Brockington.
Cost: $90.00 for Big Daddy package - all lessons and all dances.
Contact: Terry Brennan at (440) 734-2511 for registration information.
It is not full yet, but time is running out.
Check out Chilly Willy's Swing Dance Cleveland at:
New Swing Venue
Monday, August 24: Swing night Featuring DJs, Red Steve and the Reverend Fish Ffree lessons at NICK'S (642 S. Pickett St, Alexandria VA) $2 cover ($5 for under 21) 9 pm 18 to Swing - 21 to Drink
Vintage Auction Site
Check out the the online auction www.ebay.com. Search on deco,
bakelite, streamline*, 30s, 40s.
Charlie Wyler is Teaching!!
[Editor's Note: This is some of the best news that I have heard in a long time. Not only is Charlie a hell of a nice guy, but he also has the smoothest, most fluid style that I have ever seen. If it were possible to get only 5% of Charlie's style, most of us would improve our dancing a hundredfold. We strongly advise you to see Charlie!]
STARLIGHT FOUNDATION - 5K RUN
All right everybody.....it's time to dust off those running shoes or roller-blades and limber up for the: Starlight Children's Foundation/Outback Steakhouse 5K Run (walk)/10K In-Line Race and Run
All proceeds of this event go to the Starlight Children's Foundation whose goal it is to deliver wishes to seriously ill children ages 4 though 18 years.
Enter your company as a team or do it with friends!
What do I have to do?
Walk, Run, or Skate on a beautiful September day, eat a free lunch from Outback Steakhouse, enjoy great music form the Z104 Van, win prizes, get a free T-shirt, have a great time, and most of all.......help a worthy cause and some great kids!!!!!
Get more information on the Starlight Foundation and the race by checking out the DC Starlight Website
Come on every one!!! This is a great organization and a great event. Sign up your whole family....pass this mail on to friends....get involved!!!!
If you have any questions or want a brochure mailed to you contact Jennifer at ( 301-907-3202 x 109 or firstname.lastname@example.org)
To sign up on-line visit: www.ra cepacket.com/races/sep98/starlight.html
Dancing in Russia
I recently returned from a two-week cruise from St. Petersburg to Moscow by way of the Neva and Volga rivers. The trip was fantastic except in one respect, there were no male Lindy Hoppers aboard. If anyone wants to know more about the fabulous palaces, museums, cathedrals, birch forests, etc. that I saw on my visit, please feel free to ask anytime. As with most cruises, the majority of evenings were spent motoring along so that we would reach the next port by morning. The only cities we stayed in long enough to explore the nightlife were St. Petersburg and Moscow. St. Petersburg did not seem to have any clubs that even played swing music but in Moscow, there was one that played swing in addition to Dixieland jazz and something else that escapes me at the moment.
The club is the Nostalgie Art Club at 12a Chistoprudny Bulvar, phone 095 916 9978. By the time we reached Moscow, I was starting to get sick so I didn't have the chance to check it out personally even though it looked somewhat promising. On board ship, the only Lindyable music that the band played was a few Elvis Presley tunes so I threw myself on the mercy of a few gentlemen who knew some rudimentary East Coast Swing. At one point, I was reduced to LEADING, and spent a whole song just trying to get the basic step down. I now have a new respect for all our wonderful leads in the DC area who make it look and feel so effortless.
I did find that you can Charleston to almost anything if desperate enough, including techno and Russian disco hits. None of the Russian staff had ever heard of Lindy Hop (big surprise) so I stayed up until 3 AM one morning describing Lindy Hop (which is hard to do without a partner) to the aerobics instructor and the manager of the on-board souvenir stand and gave them some basic instruction in Charleston. I even got the lead singer of the band into tandem Charleston! I plan to send them a few swing CDs and tapes (including Glenn Miller's "Song of the Volga Boatmen") as well as videotapes so they can see what Lindy Hop is really supposed to look like.
As with any cruise, we were given adequate opportunities to make fools of themselves for the general amusement of the staff and other passengers. So in addition to being a woodland fairy in the enactment of a Russian fairy tale (I actually have a photo of this) and a mermaid in the King Neptune festival, I also volunteered to do a solo dance routine for the Talent Show. I chose Louis Armstrong's "Flat Foot Floogee" from the ship's surprisingly large selection of swing music (they played swing music in the afternoons over the PA system between Voice of America broadcasts). 48 very short hours later, I performed a 3 minute Charleston routine (with a little St. Louis shag and shim sham steps to fill in the empty spots) to over 150 people. I'll admit to feeling a little pressure but the nice thing about a solo is no one can tell when you mess up. At the end of it, I got a HUGE round of applause and people came up to me for days afterwards to say how much they enjoyed it. I guess they don't get too many dance routines in the talent show but given the average age of the passengers on a cruise, I think I know why. On a more serious note, touring Russia during a period of economic crisis is great for the tourist but at the expense of the Russian people. While we (the tourists) were all spending like drunken sailors on shore leave, many of the staff had not been paid in months and were living off the tips they received. The wife of one crew member had died earlier in the cruise season and he could not take any time off without losing his job with which he supports his family. During the off-season, one of the staff makes $40 a MONTH teaching English in her home province. Many professional folk dance and music ensembles performed for us just for tips.
It's all too easy to take for granted the freedom and high standard of living we enjoy in America. Let's all hope that Russia's current economic crisis ends soon and that it does not signal an end to democracy in that country.
Lindy Hop and Swing Dance site
Wow! What an excellent site! I've been surfing swing dance sites for a while and hadn't come across yours before - Great job! You have a very comprehensive list of links.
Friends of mine run the swing dances for the Hudson Valley Country Dances organization in Upstate New York (Poughkeepsie area.) Please add a reference to their web site - http://www.bestweb.net/~tamara/chdance.html - on your links page under the Upstate New York section.
Also, I run a big band called The Big Band Sound that plays
for swing dances in the area. Please add a reference to our web
site - http://www.thebigbandsound.com - to your links page under
the Big Band section. In addition to information about our band,
we also have a Music and Book Store where people can purchase big
band CDs and books.
Flycats at the Kennedy Center
Hi Frank and Carole!
It would be great if you could update your link to us, so that all of the online swingers will again have access to the Swing Baltimore Calendar.
I also wanted let you know that the FlyCats will be performing
at the Kennedy Center on Sun., Sept. 13 at 3 and 4:15 pm, as part
of the annual Open House. In addition to performing a couple of
our pieces, this will be a participatory event where the audience
will be encouraged to join us in open dancing after the
performance. In other words, this is everybody's opportunity to
dance with the FlyCats *onstage at the Kennedy Center*. Needless
to say, it should be a blast. Hope to see you there.
HAIR AND MAKEUP FOR THE SWINGIN' GALS OF THE DC
Hi all of you swingin' gals out there! I'm Christina Santarlas, pretty new on the swing scene. Some of you saw me recently at America, the night Fox 5 came to tape. I had my hair all done up and many of you asked me "how did you do that?" Well, I'd be glad to show you. I've been doing 1940's hair and makeup for three and half years, and theatrical makeup for more than eight years, and I'd be happy to share some tricks of the trade. I would like to propose Hair and Makeup classes to kick of the fall and get us all looking great! I will need some suggestions from you all to format this to best fit your needs. I'll explain the plan and give you some questions to think about. Please do e-mail me with your ideas and we'll get this show on the road!
Each class would happen once in a month (one class each week), location undecided, price $12.00 each class, or $40.00 for all four classes (you'd save eight bucks). I think pre-registration would help the first time out. I would be happy to put supply kits together and you could just purchase everything from me to keep from running all around town to find things. The hair class really doesn't need a kit, but a makeup kit would probably be helpful, since 40's makeup is different from our makeup today.
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