Swing Discussion Boards > Opinions of Lindy/WCS/Jive Communities on Each Other

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by Apache, Oct 12, 2009.

  1. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    Yes, that's the place I was thinking of. :)

    As for AT, that's partly why I don't do it much anymore. I think tango music is beautiful, but I just don't want to hear it all night; too much melancholy for me. I like the candombe and milonga rhythms, but they don't normally play much of that.

    Something like this would be awesome, I wish it was offered near me.
  2. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    I know this has morphed into an AT thread, but I'll bring it back in a bit (if that's possible.
    Did anyone see the link I posted to the interivew with the milonguero who tells us that it in the 50s there would be an AT band AND a "jazz band" at the milongas he went to? "Jazz band" in those days would probably have meant "swing". Or own Angel has written that he taught swing in Buenos Aires. (You looking in on this thread, Angel?)
    Funny how the "traditionalists" leave things out, like decades and decades of AT dance and music. And very sad, too.

    This whole fragmentation of dance into insular groups has a precedent in the music world which goes back to the early days of recording. Back in the day musicians played a wide range of music, and we have to assume that people did lots of different dances that went along with the music. Selling records led people to increasinly be put in categories.

    Peter Loggins, whose Dance History site recently disappeared, lamented the lack of knowledge among current dancers about the diversity of a night of dancing even in the hay days of swing bands / Big Bands.
    And, Dean Collins was quoted or wrote (not checking my sources) that any swing dancer should be able to dance with any other swing dancer. (still thinking about that one)
  3. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    Interesting...sorry if I talked about AT too much, but the thread more generally is about different dance communities interacting with each other, so I felt I was being on topic in that sense.

    Back in my mom's day, the average person learned several different partner dances - swing, foxtrot, cha cha, etc. simply as part of their social skills. Mostly, people picked up simple steps from each other. This doesn't happen anymore.

    Now, you have to seek out specialized lessons, and many people don't want to invest time and money in a lot of different styles so they focus on one thing, get good at that, and then like belonging to their special interest group and they find it uncomfortable to break out.

  4. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    It was just an observation, and it justified a comment on the "Current" AT scene.
    It wasn't a judgement.
    My conversations wander all over the place.
  5. Light Sleeper

    Light Sleeper New Member

    I mourn those days.

    There has been some programmes on UK telly about the 1920s and they showed a lot of film clips of dancehall scenes. The dancers were just doing a fairly simple sequence around the floor (to 'swing' music of some sort), nobody was bumping into each other and the women were doing back extensions that would put most AT dancers to shame.

    In the UK, at least, I think (I could be wrong, of course) the shift from dancing occured when it became socially acceptable for women to go in pubs, there wasn't the social need to learn how to dance, then, men and women could meet each other in different contexts. Before that, there were danceschools on every street!

    It's such a shame that we've lost the impetus to learn how to do simple social dancing. My AT partner did BR for many, many years and based on the connection and technique of AT I can follow him doing foxtrot, waltz, quickstep - the power should come back to the people and there should be more dance classes that aren't based on going into competitions. I actually saw one lady at a social with a huge fixed grin on her face facing out to a non-existant audience - bonkers.
  6. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Hope no one minds my rambling thoughts on this.

    A young, white middle class man from suburban Pittsburgh, PA learned to dance jitterbug in 1939 by going to the black "Hill City" section of that city to watch dancers. They danced smoothly, without hopping and bouncing around the dance floor.
    When he ventured out into "nearby mill towns, picking up partners on location", he found that there were white girls who were "mill-town...lower class" and could dance and move "in the authenic, flowing style". "They were poor and less educated than my high-school friends, but they could really dance. In fact, at that time it seemed that the lower class a girl was, the better dancer she was, too."
    Stearns, Marshall and Jean (1968). Jazz Dance: The Story of American Vernacular Dance. New York: Macmillan. page 331. ISBN 0-02-872510-7

    I grew up "lower class" in one of those mill towns near Pittsburgh, and I can tell you that it's very doubtful that these young women took "dance classes" from someone who "could dance and move "in the authenic, flowing style"". They probably learned from friends and friends of friends.

    Let's go out to Los Angeles now, when many people migrated there to work in defense related industries during WW II. If you were old enough to go there and work you were probably old enough to go out dancing, unchaperoned.

    I have found one article in Billboard magazine in which a Portland, OR Jantzen Beach ballroom manager states that he has banned jitterbugs because they take up too much room.

    I understand there was quite the fuss in the UK, too, and jitterbug.

    And if we go back farther we can note the disruptiveness of Argentine Tango, and those darn Animal Dances from the "Jazz Age".

    So we're still talking dancing, but, you might remember that "It wasn't God who made Honky Tonk Angels". (or maybe not!) In other words there has always been the "socially unacceptable" elements of society who had their own norms.

    So, at least here in the U.S., I'm going to say things were maybe different.

    Told you up front I was going to ramble.
  7. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    hmm, that's a really interesting point - but I think the decline of social dancing skills also had a lot to do with 1960's music and culture, which put the focus on dancing separately instead of with a partner.
  8. Flat Shoes

    Flat Shoes New Member

    There were probably many factors playing together. Jazz also developed, and with new styles like bebop, jazz changed from dance music into music for sitting down and listening to.
  9. Light Sleeper

    Light Sleeper New Member

    Steve, I enjoyed your ramble :)

    I'll have one, too.

    My friend who did ballroom and latin for many, many years before migrating to salsa, then AT has many thoughts about BR dancing... one of them is to do with 'social class' - he reckons that BR was kind of the 'social climber's' dance... that it was the way that people thought that 'upper class' people danced, hence it's all a bit parodic and exaggerated in its style, almost. Another friend whose mother is in her 80s used to love BR dancing but cursed what happened to it (in the UK at least - don't know if it's the same in US).. ie that it became the preserve of 'business'... competitions and such like and all 'by the letter of the rule book'.

    Sorry, I drifted off topic there. I guess that's why I enjoy watching old films of jitterbugger's than BR jivers in strangely incongruous skimpy costumes.
  10. tsb

    tsb Well-Known Member

    ten years ago, here in LA, there was IMO a greater distinction between lindy and WCS than there is now, demographically and stylistically. i'd compare it to appreciating how B B King could make a single note sing for measures, while younger musicians tend to equate virtuosity with playing as many notes as possible. that distinction has become more blurred as the demographics for the WCS began to change and younger people began to dance WCS, some coming from the lindy crowd, some from the hip hop world, and more recently, even from the salsa world, and the change in WCS styling has reflected this. also, places like the derby (RIP) gave way to venues like lindygroove whose DJ's IMO had an influence of moving lindy more to a smoother feel, which has led to there being different camps, so to speak - those who favor events such as camp hollywood, for example, and remain loyal to faster tempo music and also dance a lot of balboa. maybe it's some of us who've aged who prefer the smoother (and slower) jazz influenced music, but you've also got a younger group that are just as comfortable if not more inclined to blues dancing - but even there, the distinction between older and younger dancers still seem to prevail - the younger ones are more into individual isolations and styling, etc. where it's the more physically mature dancers that know that it's actually more difficult to move slowly and retain control - and often more lyrical.

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