Swing Discussion Boards > Snobbery on the scene

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by pygmalion, Jul 2, 2004.

  1. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Oh heck! I know I'm opening a big, slithery can of worms, here, but it's been mentioned twice already today. Snobbery on the swing scene.

    Do you think that there really is elitism on the swing scene, or is it just a misconception? If there is snobbery, does it involve the music or the dances or both? Where did it come from? Is it justified? What effect, if any, do you think it has on newbies or outsiders (or do swing dancers not care? LOL) Have you experienced it? Thoughts, anyone? :wink: 8)
  2. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Oh yeah, and a couple more questions, while I'm asking. Is it different in the different dance "worlds" lindy hop versus WCS versus shag, for example. Is it different in different countries?

    Just curious. 8)
  3. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    Okay. I'll say this and let the wrath of people fall on my poor shoulders!! Lindy hoppers tend to be snobbish. While I have not danced much outside my area I know a lot of people who do, and that is the general consensus. This consensus also includes lindy hoppers who do other dances and are good at those other dance as well.
  4. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I had a feeling people might not want to reply to this one. Understood. Let's declare this thread a rant- and flame- free zone, okay? Violators will be punishable by pygmalion's scorching sarcastic wit (to date, never witnessed on DF, but deadly, trust me. LOL)

    Now, you have dispensation to say what you really think. :wink: :D
  5. Flat Shoes

    Flat Shoes New Member

    Lindy Hop is best! It's a simple truth. And therein lies the problem, simply being truthful about it will appear to others to be snobbery! The alternative would be to be dishonestly modest, and nobody want to be dishonest. :roll:

    Ok, seriosly. I have not idea what you're talking about. :evil: Let's just dance and have fun, will'ya? :D

    (Btw: Bal really is the best anyway)
  6. jon

    jon Member

    There are a lot of people with passionately held - and not infrequently, due to youth or immaturity or general cantankerousness (will label myself in that category), arrogantly held - opinions about the dance forms they participate in, no matter what those forms are.

    "Snobbery" is usually used to mean "won't dance with me" with a subtext of "because they think they're better than I am". In reality there are a lot of reasons for not dancing with someone and that particular reason may or may not be the case, but it's easiest to assume the worst about someone who turns down a dance.
  7. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    You may be cantankerous, jon, but you try to be fair and accurate. You're a good guy to have around, IMHO. (And no, complimenting people is NOT in the moderator job description. I only say it if I mean it. 8) )

    That said, the reason I don't do lindy hop today is because of snobbery in the scene. The teachers I hooked up with are very nice. But OMG! The attitudes of some lindy hoppers (mostly young and arrogant ones) is really distasteful to me.

    I've spent much of my career fighting bigotry in one organization or another. To find it in the dance world turns my stomach. And I've found it in the lindy world. Now, the West Coast Swing people here are cool, totally laid back, and very welcoming (and older. I wonder if that's a coincidence. :? ) I haven't done a bop dance yet, but I'll check in with a report when I do. The lindy folks, some of them, made me want to either punch somebody in the nose or launch into a long and boring diatribe about the evils of prejudice. :shock: So I figured it was better for me to remove myself from that particular scene.
  8. jdavidb

    jdavidb New Member

    I still haven't gone out to see what the lindy hop scene is like around here yet. I keep procrastinating on buying the shoes that they allow on those floors. I do lindy hop in Italian supercross boots heheheh, so of course I have an ego. Just kiddin
  9. jon

    jon Member

    The one set of boppers I encountered, in Birmingham, were totally cool to this random ballroom/ECS (at the time) dancer who happened to be driving through their town. But people are people and most dance scenes are small enough that a handful of people can set a tone.

    Personally I'd probably try and do more Lindy dancing, but the age difference is enough to make me feel somewhat out of place. Not a property of anyone being snobby, just a property of my feeling middle-aged.

    (Now, I could digress into my discovery that a substantial portion of the people in my square dance club actually were racist enough to not welcome black club members - and this in a very liberal portion of the not-so-deep South in the 1990s! Extreme ickiness, and a significant part of why I stopped square dancing. There's distressingly little mixing in most dance scenes even without that sort of prehistoric garbage.)
  10. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    With generalizations it is true that there always will be exceptions. For instance, the AT group in my area has the friendliest dance scene. The typical milonga codes are broken, with followers asking leaders for dancing sometimes etc... However, realistically I know that this does not occur in most other places. I'm just happy it does in my area. :D (See how a swing thread can have AT introduced into it. :p )
  11. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Thank goodness, I've never experienced anything I'd call racial prejudice in the dance world. Then I really WOULD punch someone in the nose. LOL.

    The Lindy hop thing I've seen reminds me more of religion than race. People who've discovered lindy seem to feel they've found "the light," so to speak. I can't blame them for that, really. They have found the root of all swing. Lindy is where it all started. 8)

    The snobbery piece is pretty typical human behavior, I think. Good old in group/out group dynamics. You see it in lots of organizations and communities, including some dance communities. Add the relative youth and arrogance of some lindy dancers, and you have a perfect recipe for what we outsiders see as lindy hop snobbiness. It's to be expected, I guess. :?
  12. jdavidb

    jdavidb New Member

    Ballet people are the worst. The ones I was involved with last year at Georgia Ballet weren't just snobs, they were downright discriminating (age & gender), and that includes the school director. I'm not talking about classes, ranks, promotions, roles in shows & internal school/company stuff like that. I'm talking about the school director running sort of a campaign to convince my classmates that they shouldn't communicate with me outside of class. It was an attempt at segregation, and there was no justification for it.

    I have a long history of clean, casual, out in the open, up & up communication with dancers of all ages online, in class, at shows, anywhere else I might run across them. I'm a safe adult, but the Georgia Ballet school director opted to give me the same treatment an Internet pedophile would get instead, so the stories went berzerk. I even had two teachers from that school email me after I quit implying that I had been saying inappropriate things to their minor students online. That never happened (or else I sure wouldn't mention it here). That's just how mixed up stuff got thanks to that hack of a school director.

    It was bigger than just the school director and a couple of teachers. It started as a clique of girls age 16 to 19. I confronted them twice for publicly slandering other company dancers and students. So you know, the cliquish, catty conduct wasn't just in my direction. They were out here bashing their colleagues & classmates for the whole world wide web to see. They didn't like it when I caught 'em even though I was nice about things. So, that's the seed that started it all. No much else worth mentioning except that I've never seen such an abundance of mental problems all concentrated in one place as it was at Georgia Ballet.
  13. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Yikes. I've read some horror stories about the ballet world on another board. Sorry that happened to you. :(
  14. jdavidb

    jdavidb New Member

    I think the social, ballroom & club types of dancers have it right. They do dance stuff only to the degree that it positively affects their lives (for the most part). We get practically all the opportunity we want to use what we learn. Those ballet pre-professionals and company people are destroying themselves from the inside out by being in classes way too much. Homeschoolers who get enrolled in too much dance class seem to be not doing too well also.
  15. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I've concluded that ballet is a totally different world. It's one of the few dance disciplines where you can have a dance career and be washed up at age twenty. Or you can devote your life to excellent dancing and never make the cut. Those kinds of pressures would tend to distort people's views a bit, I think.
  16. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    Ballet is a tough world Pygmalion. I know someone who works at "World Tone Muisc" in NYC, and he had to stop at age 16 because of leg surgery took away his flexibility! :? Don't remember too many details though...
  17. jdavidb

    jdavidb New Member

    Yeah it's a lot different. Each person is basically secluded in ballet class no matter how many people are in the class. Ballet students tend to go in the direction of wanting less & less numbers in their classes. Ballroom & swing classes are interactive & sociable. The more the merrier! It's better for ya.
  18. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I think it's better for ya, too. 8)

    Back to swing for just a minute. When I thought about posting this topic, I googled "swing dance elitism" or something like that. I got a couple of hits on articles that said that the elitism some of us see today actually has its roots in the BeBop era, when jazz music and swing music became the focus of in-depth intellectual study. Before that, according to a couple authors, swing and jazz were strictly grass roots -- of the people, by the people and for the people. I have no idea whether those authors were right, but that theory makes sense to me. :?
  19. swinginstyle

    swinginstyle New Member

    Well, I know all about elitism and snobbery. Sadly enough, it seems to only appear in the lindy scene. Westies seem like to everything, though they may not dance at higher tempos. ECS'ers love their neo-swing and have difficulty dancing to slower tempos. Lindy hoppers had their exclusive cliques (rarely ever mingling), their attitude toward "proper" swing music, and frequently badmouthed westies and ECS'ers. Frankly, I don't gave a care about such close-minded lindy hoppers. I'll take the openminded swing dancers, whatever they may dance to, any time.

    Right now, I hang out with a group of very openminded lindy hoppers/swing dancers. We have our opinions about music and dancing, but we're open to any swing dancers. This has made us successful within our own scene, compared to the lack of success that our closeminded "brethren" have found.

    Frankly, I hate elitism, having battled it for several years and continue to do so. People need to learn to be accepting of others' differences, insteading bashing them.
  20. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I'm glad you mentioned your group of friends, which has some open-minded lindy hoppers in it. That's cool. I'm sure there are lots more around, too. It's just the few bad folks that we hear about more often. Human nature, I guess.

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