Lindy Hop Dance Forum Archive for May
1998May, 1998 Forum
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Archive of Dance Forum Articles From May, 1998

This is the archive of DANCE FORUM articles which appeared during May, 1998

This is the place to review and savor all of those interesting articles written by our erudite readers. We would also like to acknowledge Gay and Dave Shepardson who actually do the mechanics of the website and put up with my eternal nagging about getting the stuff up.

Click on the name of the article to read it. No more scrolling!

  1. Zoot Suit Riot (Lisa Ng)
  2. About the Fayard Nicholas Interview (Mark Kraft)
  3. Gap Khaki TV (Baisse Bas)
  5. The Rachel Page (Rachel Blacketer)
  6. Pin-curl Steam Set (Debra Sternberg)
  7. Monsters of Swing Video
  8. More BET Tapings (Jo Anne Garrison)
  9. Ideokinesis (Julie Kavanagh )
  10. Let's face the Internet and Dance, Partner (Ruth Gledhill )
  11. Over the Weekend (Jim Santella)
  12. Las Vegas Really Bops, Baby, During a Rockabilly Weekender (Sophia Dembling )
  13. Lindy classes with Me! (Claire Colbert)
  14. New Indigo Swing CD (Steve Carlan)
  15. Remembering the Peacetime Soldier (Cameron Sellers)
  16. The Universe Out of Whack (Susan From Denver)
  17. Flycats at the Kennedy Center (Peter Gehring)
  18. Gap Commercials Jump Craze (Sophia Dembling)
  19. Comment on the Dance Contest at the Red jacket (Rachel Blacketer)
  20. Swing in Vancouver (Tonya Surface)
  21. NYC Vintage (Jennifer Comar)
  22. Are We Really All That Broke? (Jennifer Comar)
  23. Augusta 1998 (Mary Pat Cooney
  24. Taping Rob Bamberger's Show (Chris Bamberger)

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Zoot Suit Riot
By: Lisa Ng <<Lisa.Ng@INET.HQ.USACE.ARMY.MIL>>

I asked Andy Mason (TCO clarinet/alto sax) what he thought of "Zoot Suit Riot". He said he would classify it more as jump blues than straight swing. Personally, I think the lyrics are are a little smirky, and the sound isn't big enough. As for Cherry Poppin' Daddies, I agree with Andy, who said that anything which increases the big band audience is a good thing for jazz.

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About the Fayard Nicholas Interview
By: Mark Kraft <<>>

Dear Frank and Carole-
Just read your interview of Fayard Nicholas.. very nice indeed! I was especially interested, as I am currently researching the first major website on Cab Calloway. I have [talked to] Cab's grandson recently and it looks as if he is interested in assisting me on the site, so it may become, for all intensive purposes, official. I was interested in first seeing whether you would mind if I took excerpts from your interview for the site ( I will be willing to link to and give credit to your site, of course ) [Editor's note; Certainly!] I was also somewhat curious about the possibility of contacting Fayard in order to get down his recollections that are specific to working with Cab Calloway. Could you perhaps help me arrange a phone interview? [Editor's Note: We lost Fayard's phone number --- can any of our readers help Mark out?]

My work is getting pretty historically detailed.. I feel almost as if I am researching a whole novel at times, but I want to make sure that the site really brings to life the man and his times. On the off chance that you have any research, rare recordings, pictures or memorabilia of Cab or the Cotton Club ( or can round up a friend or two that does ) I would also be interested.
---Mark Kraft

[Editor's Note: So, anyone who can help Mark out now has his e-mail address!]
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Gap Khaki TV
By: Baisse Bas <<>>

If you are out dancing and don't watch broadcast TV, here is a website that will show you the now famous Gap Khakis Lindy Hop commercial:

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The Rachel Page
By: Rachel Blacketer <<>>

Hey Frank and Carole!

I was thinking the other day that it has been a LONG time (too long) since I wrote to you. How have you both been? I'm doing fantastically--next week is exams and then I am OUT for the summer. I've been getting tons of dancing in, and of course having a blast. Missing you guys lots! I don't know if you remember my friend Mary Margaret. I brought her with me a few times this last summer to America, Vienna Grille, and Glen Echo. She has decided to go to GW, so she'll be up in the D.C. area. She's very excited and plans to absolutely innundate you with her presence. :) Lucky duck that she is!
Talk to you soon--

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Pin Curl Steam Set
By: Debra Sternberg

Two cups of coffee, a pin-curl set and the Saturday morning crossword puzzle! I'm letting the steam from the bathtub (where I am luxuriating) go to work on the pin-curls and reminiscing about last night's dance with Tom Cunningham at Chevy Chase Ballroom. Boy, was it fun!

For the first time in what seems like forever, there was ample room to dance. With both rooms open in one long expanse, it seemed HUGE, and there was TCO down at one end! Robin's only comment was that she missed the energy of having the dancers right up in front of the band, so don't forget to get in the band's face in the future. (that's Gay and Dave and Buck, the people who bring you those German dance shoe imports and the funny pants) were sweet enough to donate cookies and water and juice. We had an even mix of ages with no one age group dominating (read between the lines on that one!). We had people from our beginner series' and experienced dancers like Charlie Wyler and Jean (y'know, I don't know Jean's last name!) and the Guy Who Learned from Dean Collins, Jim Kranyak. We had Jumpin' Steve Cowles and brother Chris and THEY brought their uncle. We had people left over from the ballroom class that ended right before the dance started and total strangers who'd seen the listing in the Weekend section. The band played until 12:30 am and then we spun CDs. We were pretty surprised to see a nice group still left at 2 am, as usual at the end of the dance when the band is breaking down, practicing aerials and throwing each other around. The only bad thing about going so late was that the Booeymonger was closed and for once we had to go home without eating, but it was still 3 am by the time I got to bed!

So in summation, we're at the Chevy Chase Ballroom the rest of the Fridays in May with TCO. The amazing thing about this evening was that I DID NOT GET ONE SINGLE COMPLAINT FROM ANYONE! It was a ball and I hope y'all can join us.

Now, next on the agenda: you may have heard that we're having Indigo Swing as our special guests for their only DC-metro appearance on Monday, June 1, at the Chevy Chase Ballroom. A limited number of tickets are now being made available to the general public. (We are limiting the number to 180 to keep us all dancing comfortably!) The only way to get your ticket is from me or Tom personally, and tickets are $20. The band will play in lieu of Bernstein's DJ-ing, from 9 pm to 12 midnight. Again, that's Indigo Swing at the Chevy Chase Ballroom, Monday, June 1, 9 pm to 12 midnight, $20. This is the only dance they're doing on this tour--all the rest are concert venues.

Coming next: Watch this space for news on Lavay Smith and the Red Hot Skillet Lickers!

Well, if I don't unroll these pin-curls soon I'm going to look like Shirley Temple.
Love to all,
---Auntie Deb

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Monsters of Swing Video is Out
From:< /P> Hello from Ventura,

We wanted to let everyone know that the '98 Monsters of Swing Video is out. This year there are 2 tapes. You can order the tapes individually or together. Note: If you have already ordered this year's tape they have already been mailed and you should have received them by now.

Part I: "Contests" - T.R.T. is 90 min. - $30 This tape includes Ryan & Jenny's pefromace & dancing, approximately 80% of the contest footage (yes, the slow dance contest is on here..yow), the "Monsters Jam" and Clips of the performances.

Part II: "Class Material" - T.R.T. 30 min - $20 This covers approximately 75% of the class material taught during the weekend, including all of Ryan & Jenny's classes and the Flyin' Lindy Hoppers Aeriels classes, just to name a few. The out-takes are on here, too.

You can get both tapes for $45

Also available is:
'97 "Monsters of Swing Video" - T.R.T. 90 min. - $40 Includes 90% of contest footage, "Monsters Jam", Clips of the performances, and 60% of the class material. Footage from this tape is on our web page -

Get both tapes for only - $75
Add Shipping & Handling - $3

Please mail orders to and make checks payable to:

Flyin' Lindy Hoppers
343 E. Vince Street
Ventura, CA 93001

For Visa/MC/Disc call 805-643-3166

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More BET Tapings
By: Joanne Garrison jo_anne_garrison@hud.g ov

Hi Frank, heard something on the radio Friday I thought you might be interested in too. BET is taping another series of jazz performances that are being hosted by Ramsey Lewis and Lou Rawls between now and June 5. The shows are to be broadcast in thefall. They have a phone recording which lists the concerts for the next few days. If you call they will also mail a complete list (202)608-2653. It's free admission but you have to be there an hour ahead of time. Sounds like most days they are taping 2 shows, one around 1 and 7. Haven't heard if any of them will be dances, but it's worth checking out the lineup!

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By: Julie Kavanagh

Reading through the directory of contributors at the beginning of this virtual library of dance scholarship (a project of Dance Perspectives Foundation published by Oxford University Press), instead of taking note of the far-reaching areas of specialist knowledge, I found myself distracted by the number of times "deceased" appeared among the list of writers' names: 36 according to my quick count. Thirty six! Was the scheme somehow jinxed? Or is there a fatal epidemic that mysteriously targets dance buffs across the globe? I discovered the answer in the preface.

This is a venture that began more than 20 years ago and ranges from the history of the reverance to articles on ideokinesis or Lindy Hop. One day, at a meeting of dance writers in New York in 1974, Arlene Croce, their doyenne, remarked that what dance really needed was a comprehensive, scholarly encyclopaedia. "And -- horrors -- everyone in the room looked at me." The "me" was Selma Jeanne Cohen, founding editor, whose implacable determination has made it all happen despite more than two decades of problems.

This was never intended to be a biographical dictionary: we already have the indispensable International Dictionary Of Ballet published in 1993 by the St James' Press; several of whose advisers' and contributors overlap. Subjects were chosen if they had "significantly affected the course of dance history" or if they had become "a cultural icon", criteria which make Darcy Bussell's exclusion only more mystifying. Not only was she Kenneth MacMillan's last muse, but in the Royal Ballet entry she is definitively identified on the world stage as a true ballerina". And even where entries have been brought up to the present, their bibliographies too often betray the project's difficult history by stopping in the mid-eighties. Dance, world dance, clearly takes precedence over ballet, "ethnicawareness" being the encyclopaedia's underlying ideology.

Much of its content is written by myriad unknown academics from far-flung universities, a great number of whom have no direct connection to dance. To my surprise I found myself more engrossed by a number of vivid anthropological accounts than I was by many of the Western dance histories. I was drawn into a survey on Kaluli dance of Papua New Guinea by a photograph of a beplumed and painted dancer about to have his back singed by flaming torches.

The Kaluli base their up-and-down, knee-bent bobbing on the motions of a cuckoo-like bird, and in the gisalo (now died out because of missionary and government pressure), the performers danced and sang nostalgic songs about the death of friends. Enraged by the anguish they had been made to feel, members of the audience grabbed resin torches and burnt the dancers who, unperturbed, carried on until dawn when they would compensate the people they had made weep with payments of small objects of value. Esoteric dissertations like this are riveting to read. Alongside the professors of social anthropology, theatre arts, natural history, aesthetics and philosophy; ethnochoreology, ethnomusicology, the dance kinesiologists, ethnologists, folklorists, museum curators, librarians, musicologists and research fellows are the big guns of ballet criticism, writing on their own private passions and writing at length.

The most important contribution is Arlene Croce's 17-page distillation of Balanchine's genius, a personal study of the choreographer as ballet master, teacher, poet and showman written with such insight and clarity that it can't help but be the template against which every other dance entry is measured.

Inevitably, there are marked discrepancies in the contributors' prose styles, between the liveliness of the Americans in particular and the dreariness of many of the academics. I can't help suspecting that the "multicultural understanding" that motivated the editors frequently led them to choose a foreign contributor over a more familiar name.

This is such an extraordinarily ambitious, magnificent and much needed undertaking that to criticise it at all seems callous. But with its lack of editorial consistency and its cold-shouldering of performers, the International Encyclopedia Of Dance is not the Grove-type bible for which we've all been waiting. That still remains to be written.

GRAPHIC: Photo, Lindy Hop, also known as the jitterbug or swing, originated in Harlem in the twenties but its roots go back to African dance

[Editor's Note: This is the Mother Lode of Erudition. This may be the most erudite article that we will see. I am asking Gay to make me a "Nether World Society of Idiokinesis Practitioners" jacket. Next time someone asks what you are doing, say "Idiokinesis!" Now, Iver just has to figure out how to get that Kaluli bird thing into 8-count format...]

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Lindy classes with Me!
By: Claire Colbert claire@chibo

Hi F & C,
I am just sending you advanced warning of some exciting news soon to hit the DC gossip columns. Marc Shepanek should be sending you official details soon, but as it has all been organised at the last minute I thought you might like some advance info for the weekly events listings.

I will be in DC from 6th June for a few days and Marc has arranged for me to teach two lindy hop jazz steps classes on Sunday 7th. I am really excited, now it has sunk in, and am looking forward to seeing everyone again. Would you be able to spread the word on your web page/e-mail listings, and pass out any leaflets to potential attendees? There is only space for 40 in each class, so I wanted to give everyone as much notice as possible. I can send you a leaflet soon, but here are the provisional details for now.


Venue: Maryland Youth Ballet Studio
7702 Woodmount, Suite
Bethesda, MD

Located at Woodmount and Old Georgetown, 2 blocks from Bethesda metro.

Advanced - 11.15-12.45 Price: $10
Improvers/Intermediate - 1.00-2.30 Price: $10
Max numbers 40 per class

I'm told the studio has a very large mirror so we can see how our style improves dramatically in a very short space of time! Thanks guys, speak to you again soon,

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New Indigo Swing CD
By: Steve Carlan

Hi Frank and Carole --
Just read that Indigo Swing will be stopping off in the DC area for one night on their mid west / mid east tour, on Monday night June 1. I think this will be a teriffic night of dancing! It's too bad that there will only be 180 tickets available. [Editor's Note: There are only about 20 left!]

Indigo Swing just completed all the studio work for their second CD. They played a few of the upcoming numbers at our dance in Santa Barbara! The CD is scheduled for release on July 11th. You should all watch for it.

I'll be seeing all of you again in a week. I'll be in Baltimore for Frankie Manning's 84th birthday party. I'm looking forward to it.

Bye for now --
-- steve carlan, the dancin' guy (tdg)

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Remembering the Peacetime Soldier
By: Cameron Sellers

"God grants liberty to those who love it and are willing and prepared to defend it."
- Daniel Webster

Approximately 10:00 pm on January 22, 1998, 5000 paratroopers of the famed 82d Airborne Division jumped into the fictional island called Bragg. Thirty seconds later, Joint Operation "Purple Dragon" suffered its first death (or in Army terms KIA). PV2 Clinton Williams (20 yrs old), was killed from a static line failure (His parachute did not open up). Nineteen other paratroopers suffered injuries that night and seven days later, three more solders would die and another dozen soldiers would suffere injuries. 30,000 soldiers, sailors, marines, air force personnel took part in Purple Dragon, a peacetime military exercise, that most of us did not know was even happening.

As Memorial Day approaches, we will be reminded of those Americans who have died for our country in past conflicts. For us lindy hoppers, we will inevitably remember World War II because of the bond between the dance and the war. Saturday's "Armed Forces Day Dance" with vintage cars and uniforms will only re-enforce this in our minds. However on this memorial Day, let us reflect on those service men and women who serve and die during peace time.

As you read this now, the United States Military is deployed in over 100 countries and five oceans to conduct military maneuvers, peacekeeping operations, and humanitarian assistance. Congressional Research Service concluded in one of its recent reports what most servicemen already know: the U.S. military are being deployed more since the end of the Cold War than they did during the Cold War. Because the country is not in war, the media rarely mention these events, so we as American tend to forget about our service men and women. When PV2 Williams died, all he got was a blip on the AP Newswire and referred to "as un identified solider." Because of the high risk nature of the job, this year alone over 100 service men and women will die in training accidents. They will die in areas around the world that are lonely and isolated and away from their loved ones, families, and the rest of us. They will die as we work in our "boring" jobs, dance on "too crowded" floors, and sleep comfortably in our beds.

These are my observations about the American enlisted soldier. He or she is probably the most under appreciated class of citizens in America. An E-4 makes a $1000 a month and if he is married and has kids, congratulations! he qualifies for food stamps and WIC. Out of this investment we ask them to feed the poor, chase the bad guys, and build destroyed villages we see on CNN so we can sleep better at night. Then we ask them to disappear because their values are so out of step with the rest of us. And for the most part, they are willing to go and fade when asked. Finally, many of them have reason on why they joined the service: college, money and even patriotism, but when we ask them to, they will die for us. I suspect like James McPherson found in his research of why men were willing to die in the Civil War, and what Stephen Ambrose wrote in his book Citizen Soldiers about GIs in World War II, that today's service men and women serve because they believe in the values that some may find so "cheezy": patriotism, freedom, democracy, decency and sacrifice are still worth dying for. I am reminded of a British soldier's quote, "When you go home, tell them of us, For your tomorrow, we gave our today."

So on this Memorial Day, let us remember those servicemen and women who died during peacetime as well as in war.
---Cameron Sellers

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The Universe Out of Whack
By: Susan from Denver

Hi Frank and Carole!
It's me, Susan, the displaced Coloradan-in-New-York-yadda-yadda-yadda so on and so forth...How are you!! It's been awhile since I've written so I thought I'd drop a line (Not to mention an interesting conversation I had last night).

You know, I was thinking about how, last summer, in Denver, our group of dancers were extremely excited about the few well loved clubs (the Blue Room , the Mercury Cafe) and the opening of new clubs in our area to quench our insatiable desire to go out dancing. The Church, the latest trendiest spot in town (a former church turned nightclub), had just begun to offer swing on Wednesdays, and a new club, Ninth Avenue West, was opening very soon. We were elated. We, of course, went to The Church, only to find ourselves faced with a $10 cover charge. In a town where cover charges raised eyebrows if they were over $4, you know that 10 dollars was a seemingly outrageous thing to ask for --maybe not for the Dom Perignon sipping/Calvin Klein wearing trendies on Friday and Saturday --but for a usually uneventful Wednesday night? We may as well have danced in the streets or something. And we protested, we didn't show,and being (at the time) the only group of slightly-practised and praised dancers on the scene, we somehow got our way and the club backed down, first offering a free drink with the cover charge (we scoffed at this, since we didn't drink) then posting a "men $10, women free", to finally changing it to $5 per person. "Well, that's more like it!", we thought.

Next, was the highly anticipated opening of Ninth Avenue West. The first night, again, amongst what were the "trendies" of the town, we were able to easily wow them by getting out on the floor and doing even the simplest flip with our steps, thus creating a interest in the crowd for swing dancing. The cocktail waitresses and barstaff were impressed too with us, and offered us water when we needed it, lots of compliments and seemed really supportive of us. This was near the beginning of last summer.

Later on that summer, I noticed that the Ninth Avenue waitresses that were so friendly to us in the beginning, were not coming around our tables anymore. Then Ninth Avenue started having these lame policies requiring that one ordered food or drink minimums if they were sitting at a table, etc etc. We thought, "what the heck is this??! I thought this was a nightclub, there's no such thing as a drink minimums if you're just hanging out? We're here to dance, we paid our cover, don't we have a right to that table if we want to sit??"

And we didn't see problems with just them---at the Blue Room, our usual hangout, we heard rumors that they were planning to go to all ages or get rid of swing nights entirely. "Great!" we thought----this is one of our favorite places to dance and either our already crowded floor is going to get more packed than a can of sardines, or we're not going to have it any more , period! And on top of that, I, who had FINALLY developed a good rapport with the staff, was getting charged with cover charges again (under the watchful eyes of the club owners who were now manning the doors) What the heck was going on??? We thought everyone loved the swing scene, the local news and papers were covering it, more dancers seemed to be appearing---why would the clubs want to get rid of it or not support it any longer?

The answer was simple: We, the dancers, weren't supporting our clubs.

I remember when I was talking to my partner Ryan at Ninth Avenue one night, asking him why he didn't tip the waitress for her pouring his water. "Why should I?" he asked,"I didn't ask for her to pour it for me." was his answer. I remember another night at a cafe, when we were all sitting around, and we were surprised that Charlie (another dancer) left $5 by the water dispenser. "But the bartender didn't pour it for you, he just put the water out there for you to serve yourself! Why did you leave a tip?" we cried.

( Personally speaking, and for a lot of the people that were in our group of dancers, we tip---if we ordered a cocktail, we tipped nicely. But you see, that's just it---IF we ordered a cocktail -- but we never wanted to drink anything but water. )

Last night, I was in a bar , and I recognized a patron at the counter. It was a gentleman named Frank, one of the bartenders from the Greatest Bar on Earth, here in NYC. We started talking and when I told him that I loved the swing nights that they had there. We talked a little about the scene, a little about the "Cocktail Nation" article written in last year's February Esquire magazine that mentioned the bar and so on. I remarked how I liked dancing, but hated dancing amongst cigar smoke and drunk people on the floor. Frank said, "Well, who likes any of that? No one-- but we (the barstaff) don't make money on Swing nights. We NEED those people puffing our cigars and drinking our liquor getting drunk, because the fancy dancers aren't going to be at our counters asking for nothing but water." He then went on to mention how some of his friends working at the Supper Club disliked how people took of space on the bar, but ordered nothing. Of course, I went into my usually evasive rantings of , "well I never do anything like that! I tip when I can, I blah blah blah....." Didn't matter. His last words to me were, "support your venue, buy drinks, tip the staff---when you're working for less than half of minimum wage per hour, you depend upon those tips. If you don't drink, bring friends that will." He also asked me to remember, that though Swing or any scene is great, the bottom line is that there's a business being run here, people need to feel that their efforts are worthwhile. Usually they get this feeling through something called a paycheck. EEp! did I feel pretty low.

I also remember talking to Jennifer Comar once, and mentioned how she tried to buy a meal or something to help business if she goes to Louisiana Bar and Grill for their free Monday night swing nights. She's the exception I know of. Most of the people that I know go there, dance dance dance, then just leave.

It's hard, I know---money isn't easy to come by, and especially for me, being a student again, my finances are so low it's , well, let's not say! =) It's another reason why I haven't been able to go dancing as much, but in light of that conversation with Frank last night, I realised, that I too, could be a bit more considerate for the people who are working (not playing around) at the clubs I go to dance. I may despise the cocktail nation non-dancing crowd, but I understand why the barstaff loves them. I may hate the cover charges, but I understand a little more why the clubs have them (doesn't mean I'll stop hating them though). I don't know what else to say, except that that was my enlightening moment from last night---I'll try to do my part to make this a truly mutual relationship between dancer and venue -- and sorry that my story was so long!

Exhaustively, your friend from the Rockies,

PS. Frank also said his personal irk was when sweaty dancers grab beverage napkins to wipe sweat off and left the napkins on the counter for him to clean off.....EW!

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Flycats at the Kennedy Center
By: Peter M. Gehring

Thanks to Mark Ormsby who sent in an application form, video tape, and group photo, the FlyCats were invited to audition tonight at the Kennedy Center.

The Kennedy Center is auditioning for acts to perform on the Millenium Stage during the upcoming season this week from Monday until Wednesday. This is the only time this year that these auditions will be held. The Millenium Stage performances are free to the public as part of the Kennedy Center's mission to make the arts more available to the public.

The audition for each act lasts only 5 minutes! You go in, perform, maybe answer a question or two, then you're out. There were quite a few judges observing us, I'm guessing about 10 or so, and many of them seemed to smile and enjoy the show as we performed "Here We Go Again." We probably won't know how we did for a while, but the audition itself seemed to go fine.

My understanding is that if we get a call back and are eventually chosen, we will be expected to perform about 3 times in a month period. It'd be great to have the chance to bring Lindy Hop to the Kennedy Center! Most of the groups presently scheduled for the month of May are musical acts (e.g. Swing Speak is one of them). I didn't see any dancers or dance teams in May. I'll let you know what happens.

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Comment on the Dance Contest at the Red Jacket
BY: Rachel Blacketer

Hey Frank and Carole!
How are y'all? I've been keeping up with your happenings on the reviews and forum, and you sound busy as usual. Apparently Carole's cigarette girl was quite a hit!

So I see you saw the article about swing from the Dallas Morning News. They featured it on the front page of the Today section sometime last week (which was the inevitable cause for the Jacket being SO crowded last night that valet was actually full, and I even had to wait in line to get in). A ton of non-dancers there just for the show, which was great until their drunk selves decided to hit the floor later on in the evening. Of course, it is kind of funny to watch the looks of sheer fear dart across their faces when dancing next to real Lindyhoppin' couples. It's that, "Oh please don't hit me" look.

I was actually in one of the earlier rounds of that contest that they followed in the article. It was a lot of fun and I'm so glad a big story on the swing scene in Dallas was finally written, but I didn't particularly like the way the dancers came off as unknowledgeable flippants who hadn't taken the time to learn the difference between east-coast, west-coast, and lindy, and who also didn't care which time period their styles came from, or which song they were dancing to. I just want everyone to know there is more respect for the art around here, and so many of us that do know the differences that constitute the various realms of swing dancing. We are all out for a good time, but among the dancing community there is a lot more respect flying around--along with the ruffled panties.

Well, that's my $0.02. Just wanted to clear up any misconceptions about what goes on at "The Swing Palace in Dallas."

Talk at ya later,

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Swing in Vancouver
By: Tonya Surface
tonya@u.washington .edu

Hey there
Great website! I just wanted to fill you in on a great swing venue in Vancouver BC. The Gate (located on Granville and Davie) has swing nights SEVEN nights a week! It is rearing up to be the next Derby or Highball. I teach Lindy Hop and have been "raised" in the Seattle swing scene but I am moving to Vancouver BC to teach at the Gate-my partner love the venue, the fresh and excited new swingers, and the scene that is only about 6 months old. The Blue Lizard puts on this event-they started out two years ago with one of the biggest Lounge/tikki nights in the world at the Waldorf and now they are swingin' as well. This is very exciting for my partner Theo and I so I want to encourage yourself and anyone who loves swing as much as we do to check it out if they are in town!

Here is a great website to add to your list

Vancouver Swing

If you check this out look under CSL and then you will see a picture of Theo and I for dance instruction:)

Tonya Surface and Theo Davis

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NY Vintage Update
By:Jennifer Comar

Hi Frank and Carole-
How are you both doing? I'll be down Sunday night in Baltimore for Frankie's Birthday dance so I hope to see you both there. I still don't know what should wear for the occasion, I'll just pack three dresses and then decide at the last minute.

Speaking of dresses, I was out doing some vintage shopping last weekend and I found a few new spots for you to investigate the next time you are in NYC:

  1. D. L. Cerney, (E 7th St, between Third and Second Avenues) This is a small storefront next to McSorley's Pub, and I have passed it a few times, but only seeing newer men's clothes, I just walked on. Well, someone turned me onto the fact that although they carry theirown, designed line of retro men's and women's clothes, they also carry new/old stock women's shoes from the forties and fifties. The selection is no longer huge, (they say, truthfully, that it is harder and harder to find them nowadays), and they are not cheap! the price average runs about $130/pr, but imagine a brand new pair of open toe black suede pumps circa 1948! I spent too much money, and kept wishing I had been born with smaller feet. I bought 2 pairs - both black, one a lower heeled mid forties style, and the other an early fifties suede pump with braid trim. They also had some wonderful two tone open toe pumps, ladies 8 1/2, brown and white, as well as a pair of size 7 white straw open toe lace ups with navy trim and heart detail at the vamp. They carry more quantities of new/old stock men's shoes and clothes.
  2. Rose's Vintage, (7th St between First and A) Crowded and eclectic, they carry a large selection of dresses, and Daniel, my shopping partner, managed to find some old ties in great condition for $5 apiece. Angie Whitworth lives right across the street and this is her favorite vintage stomping ground. Most of the stuff is so-so, but every now and then you can find a gem. Great for digging.
  3. Jim's Vintage, (83 Second Ave at 5th St.) This place signs you up as a member of their valued shopper club and they give you a card which gives you 10% off every purchase you make in the future. It's like going to the grocery store with a double coupon card! They carry a wide range of periods, but do have a good selection of men's gabardine shirts and Eisenhower jackets. I bought a mid fifties sleeveless dress so I could have summer clothes to dance in . Not extremely cheap, but definitely priced more attractively than most NYC places.
  4. The Quilted Corner, (4th Ave and 10th St), I've mentioned this place before, but I went in again last weekend and they have really expanded their stock of clothing over the past few months. I found a beautiful forties black wool gab women's suit, and Daniel found some more ties. They also have a bunch of those great reversible short jackets, (navy one side, print on the other, etc., zip front, late forties, early fifties), for the guys. They also have a great selection of women's coats, now that it's warm and I don't need one.

Hope to see you soon,
Your friend in NYC,

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Are We Really All That Broke?
By: Jennifer Comar

Hi Frank and Carole-
So, did you have a good time at Mobtown last weekend? I was glad that I made the trip down to see everybody. I spent Monday sailing from Baltimore to Annapolis on Alan Sugarman's boat- kind of a swing cruise. Now I'm sunburned. If there are any lindyhoppers who sail, you all should connect with Alan. He's a New Yorker, but he sails out of Annapolis and is alot of fun to hang out with.

I'm really writing and addendum/response to Susan's letter last week regarding dancers and their not so friendly ways of patronizing establishments when they are out dancing. I spent a good part of my teenage years working as a waitress in a number of not so fine establishments, so I tend to have a different set of rules about going out. I also enjoy sitting at a table - I'm a grown up now, and I enjoy the finer points of socializing as well as dancing; not to mention the fact that getting a table is a great way to avoid the hordes on the dance floor when you are tired of fighting for space.

Getting a table usually means spending money. Sometimes all you need to do is have one or two drinks - you should order a drink, even if it is just a soda. It replenishes your sugar level and it gives you a reason to ask for water. It also provides the waitstaff with a reason to pay attention to you at the table. When I'm out at the Supper Club, the last thing I would dream of doing is sneaking in a bottle of water and standing at the bar. I'd rather be up front, a table right on the dance floor with a champagne cocktail.

Why go to the Supper Club if you are not going to enjoy it? Also, the management tends to be on the unfriendly side towards dancers in general, so I try my best to represent the crowd in a positive way.

So, you're thinking - she paid $12 to go to Supper Club in the first place, why spend money inside? Well then, take a place where I didn't spend money to get in. Windows used to be free, (or at least, they forgot to charge us at the door most of the time), to dancers before we started to mistreat them. Now we have to pay $5 at the elevator just to get up to the bar itself. Still, will a ginger ale set you back so much? And they serve Veuve Cliquot, not the crappy stuff.

A lot of the dancers I know can afford to lay out major money to support their vintage clothing collections, or buy new dance shoes, but they won't fork over $5 at the bar for a soda, let alone tip for water - listen, when they give you free water, they are doing you a FAVOR - please thank them for it. You are not entitled to it just because you exist and know some dance steps. Also, if you treat the bar staff like humans and with respect, you can actually make some good friends who one day may give you a drink for free because you made an effort to make their lives more livable on a swing night.

Which leads me to Louisiana Bar and Grill. This is one of the last FREE nights in the city. It also a madhouse on Monday nights. I always get a table - it gives me a safe haven from the crowds on the dance floor. I try to meet a friend for dinner, and the wait staff usually knows I'm there to dance, so they keep the water coming and they let me keep the table for the rest of the night. They bring carafes of water to the tables, but at the bar they charge $2 for a glass of water. There have been nights when my table of two will grow to a table of six, and I expect everyone there to put down a dollar for the wait staff We have to support these nights, or else we may lose them. The staff at Louisiana is among the most patient in the city when it comes to the dance crowd. The restaurant even sent them all to take dance lessons for a few months so that they could learn and dance during their breaks. Where else would that happen?

Unfortunately, here in the city, it is the older crowd that knows how to patronize a restaurant, and the younger crowd which knows how to take advantage of it. It mostly, I think, comes from inexperience and a lack of sophistication about going out. It's an age old problem. Didn't I read in your interview with Jean Veloz about how Dean Collins moved from club to club because he knew the dancers would eventually wear out their welcome?

I think the lindy community also got a bit spoiled by having cheap venues to go to for so long. NYC is definitely not in that world anymore. If its under $10 here, it's a bargain! Even at Lansky Lounge, it's $8 on Thursday just to get the people in the doors, but it goes up to $15 on Saturday because that's when the club makes their real money.

We also have the advantage here in the city of having a very alcohol based, money spending social scene developing alongside the dancers. It doesn't make for a comfortable dance floor, (I hate teaching drunk young Wall Street types at our lessons - I feel like a strict kindergarten teacher sometimes), but it does make it more attractive for bars and such to open their doors to more swing.

Last year, I drove down to DC alot with my friend Sasha to go dancing at America on Fridays. Anytime I mentioned getting dinner before the dancing started, the typical response would be - oh, we eat afterwards/ the food here is really bad/ it's too expensive/ we paid at the door, we shouldn't have to eat. The first night I went, last summer, they had a huge container of water and tables set aside for the dancers. The waitresses would even bring bread if people asked for it. The last time I went, in the winter, they were charging for water at the bar. The tables had disappeared. Now, there are no more Friday nights at America to drive down for. Enough said?

I know there are alot of conscientious dancers out there that do have manners, and tip and order drinks, and sometimes even sit down for a meal. But they should be the rule, not the exception.

Wouldn't it be interesting to post a price list at dances so the general public knows how much, (or how little), the bands are being paid. And then add in the cost to open the establishment for the night, and then compare it to how much money the dancers spend, (on an average); it might be a bit of an eye opener.

See you at the Deco Show on the 14th?
Your friend in NYC,

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Swing Week
By: Mray Pat Cooney

Looking for a week of dancing, learning and being surrounded by live music? Come to Swing Week at the Augusta Heritage Festival at Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia, July 12 - 17. The Swing Week dance program features a selection of seven dance classes each day for 4 days, with live accompaniment in many of the classes. The eclectic dance offerings include Lindy with Charlie Wyler and Nici Mahlandt of Washington, DC; West Coast Swing, East Coast Swing and Argentine Tango with Dianne Lachtrupp and Johnny Martinez of Stepping Out Studios in New York, Two Step and Slow Dancing to the Blues with Mary Pat Cooney, Bob Stout and Barry Koffler of Washington, DC and NYC. Another featured class is "Roots of Swing" - a dance class focusing on early jazz dance movement and music. Each night there will be live music for open dancing - big band classics, jazzy blues, western swing, swing ballads ---and some tango!

The five week Augusta Heritage Festival features music and dance instruction and performance of all kinds of traditions - for more information:

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Taping "Hot Jazz Saturday Night"
By: Christine Bamberger

Dear Frank and Carole,
I often hear from dancers that they'd listen to "Hot Jazz Saturday Night" (on 88.5 WAMU, 7-10 Sat. evenings) more often if it were on earlier, or on some other night. Unfortunately, that is WAMU's call rather than Rob's, but I asked one of the engineers at the station if he would demystify that best of all ways to catch Rob while you are out. This isn't exactly something the station wants to encourage the general public to do, but Rob understands that dancers have a special duty on Saturday nights to be out dancing, and he likes the idea of their using his music to practice. So here goes:

To record "Hot Jazz Saturday Night" uninterrupted and in its entirety on a videotape, you need a stereo VCR and a cable that connects its left and right "audio input jacks" to your stereo radio receiver's "tape output jacks."

Most receivers now have "tape 1" and "tape 2," and either one will do. Usually people have a cassette recorder connected to "tape 1."

Set the VCR up for an AUX or video input, turn the stereo radio on, and either start the VCR in "record mode" or set the timer. The VCR should be on the 4- or 6-hour record mode.

To play back, connect the VCR's left and right output to the stereo receiver's tape input jacks. There will be no picture on the TV (and there doesn't need to be).

I'd be happy to talk to anyone who needs additional help or instructions on how to do this.

John M. Holt Assistant Director
Technical Services
Washington, DC 20016
(202) 885-1242

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