Swing Discussion Boards > Why is the swing crowd mostly teenagers?

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by pygmalion, May 9, 2004.

  1. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Just curious. In my time at DF, I've run across many a dancer who lamented the fact that they were "too old" for the swing crowd in their home town. It seems that swing has attracted lots of dancers who are high school and college aged, and some forty/fifties. For some unknown reason, the in-between generation seems to be missing to a great degree. Why do you think that is? Why are the swing dancers mostly teenagers? Or are they not? Comments? :wink: :D
     
  2. jon

    jon Member

    I don't see that around the SF Bay Area. The WCS crowd is 30s-50s, the Lindy crowd is mostly in their 20s, and both groups are aging.
     
  3. Spitfire

    Spitfire Well-Known Member

    Pretty much like that here as well; a younger group with the lindy scene, mostly college age, but not many who are in high school and an older group for WCS in that same age range.

    I do see more high school and college age people at the ballroom dances.
     
  4. voilsb

    voilsb New Member

    Most of the swing dancers I know are 22-35. I don't know very many under 21, though I also don't know very many over 35.
     
  5. swinginstyle

    swinginstyle New Member

    One main venue in KC is filled with these teenagers. It's so bothersome. First, the music is mainly neo-swing. Second, they lack good technique and floor etiquette skills. Third, it's all ECS. Drives me crazy here. Kudos to their enthusiasm for coming out and dancing, but it now feels like a teen hangout spot instead of the mixed ages swing club it used to be. They've run all the older people and more experienced swing dancers out of there.
     
  6. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    WCS -- older crowd -- middle aged?

    lindy - younger crowd - college age

    ECS -- mixed, I guess :?

    I do see people of all ages in my area, as the above are major generalizations. For instance, I see the younger then college kids in the summer. This place has quite a few dance socials and some families come along to them.
     
  7. Dancegal

    Dancegal Member

    Where I live, Lindy is mostly 20's and 30's (with a few high school age & college folks) while WCS tends to be 30's-50's. ECS is mixed in ages, however this crowd is not so into the "scene". I can only guess that since Lindy Hop is more athletic (body positioning, bounce) in nature, it attracts those with the energy level to match.
     
  8. danceguy

    danceguy New Member

    There is a Lindy event in my area that is always full of teenagers - high school kids. The one time I went there I felt old...there wasn't anyone there my age...just a lot of youngsters but it was great to see them enjoying themselves. :)

    At the Ballroom venues...I'm always the youngest person (I'm 29)...mainly people age 40-60's...same for the WCS crowd...with a few 30's and 20 somethings now and then.

    SG
     
  9. jon

    jon Member

    I was at a Lindy workshop at Stanford yesterday where I was not only the oldest person in the room, but the tallest by at least 8 inches. And the next tallest was a guy who was taking the class as a follow :)

    You'll get over it all too soon.
     
  10. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

    It depends on what you are looking for . . .

    Just about every event (competition) that I attend, other than the recent Reno Sensation, EVERYONE is a WCS dancer. Ages 9 through 88 compete regularly, and I seldom see a Lindy/ECS dancer. Actually, Reno was my first real exposure to Lindy - being able to see many LH doing their thing - usually it's only one out thousands in attendance. I have taken a couple of private lessons, but never have seen more than one or two couples doint Lindy!

    Of course, the events I attend are mostly WCS oriented, and the same goes for the clubs, etc. that I choose to go to . . . for WCS, and they have some "other" dances thrown in every now and then. I don't honestly think I'd attend an event that didn't have WCS.

    I think we just seek out what we like doing the most!
     
  11. TemptressToo

    TemptressToo Member

    My local swing venue is largely teens as well...anywhere from 14 to 20-somethings. I'd say the average age is 17.

    As my local venue...all the swing done is single-time, VERY fast, very demanding music. The dancers (at least the serious ones) are all pretty hard core ECS dancers having a vast variety in skills. They dance hard (I mean sweat pouring off of them) and it is full-out dancing...nothing like the occasional ECS's mixed into ballroom parties.

    I think it attracts the young because of the energy in the music, the energy needed to dance like that for four hours straight, and the ability to mix easily with one's peers in an environment free of cigarette smoke and alcohol. Plus, the kid's parents don't worry about leaving the kids there. The ECS...from Charleston to Shim Sham to Lindy and back done in my area is VERY physically demanding...at 26, I feel it the next day. Anyone older and remotely out of shape would probably feel really intimidated by the lot of us that pour ourselves into our craft. Heck...I am intimidated by some of the 17-year olds that have been dancing for years and are SO good.

    There are a few people over 30...but I could probably count them on both hands.
     
  12. BettyB

    BettyB New Member

    here in London the swing scene is all ages, from around 20 to 70+

    not many teenagers, but that might be because most classes are taught in licensed venues, so no under 18s are allowed.

    leads tend to be older than the follows though......no idea why!
     
  13. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Hi BettyB! :D

    Here, the lindy crowd is mostly 17 -22. The college crowd and their dates, and it's because the group lindy classes are sponsored through a university student dance club. That's the biggest and most visible swing demographic in town.

    West Coast Swing, East coast Swing and bop are a different story. Those dancers are OLD, comparatively speaking, which means thirties, forties and fifties. They're niche dancers, though, and the crowd is comparatively small. (btw, all three are regionally developed swing dances in the US, so it's not surprising you haven't heard of them. WCS was developed on the West Coast of the US. ECS was developed in the ballroom studios of the US, I'm not sure where, but it's related to jitterbug. And bop I'm not sure, although everybody I know who dances it is from the Eastern seaboard of the US.)
     
  14. DevilsBSD

    DevilsBSD New Member

    I'm actually 17, so I assume that I fall into that 'teenager' crowd :)
    I'm pretty conservative, so I dislike grinding-type dancing, and I don't really like hip-hop music that much (although at most dances, the only thing you can hear is the bass anyway). Swing happened to be the first "formal" type dance that I was introduced to. IIRC, the instructor who came to our school said that swing was the simplest type of dance to teach. (i'm sure this is judgemental, of course.)
    My $0.02.
     
  15. etchuck

    etchuck New Member

    Hey wait...

    Okay, the lindy/swing crowd tends to be in the early teens to mid-30s. WCS is roughly mid 20's to older. Salsa on the other hand tends to be fairly young (mid-20's to mid-40's for the most part).

    Of course, we're avoiding the issue... why is it that swing (ECS/lindy) attracts the younger crowd versus the older? I think it's easier for kids to learn ECS without focusing on technique as much. Besides, they see all of those GAP commercials, so it looks so damn cool to do aerials. WCS on the other hand should connect better with kids because they can dance more "modern" stuff to it, but it's much more a technique dance.

    Don't know... I am learning lindy in my early 30's, but I really have liked doing WCS a lot because I can put in a lot more music. Also, I find that the lindy crowd around here tends to be very, very picky with their music (and I think you all may have similar observations): no "neo-swing" but some conventional swing, but not too old. Can't figure that out. At least with WCS, the folks tend to handle anything I throw out.
     
  16. etchuck

    etchuck New Member

    Hey wait...

    Okay, the lindy/swing crowd tends to be in the early teens to mid-30s. WCS is roughly mid 20's to older. Salsa on the other hand tends to be fairly young (mid-20's to mid-40's for the most part).

    Of course, we're avoiding the issue... why is it that swing (ECS/lindy) attracts the younger crowd versus the older? I think it's easier for kids to learn ECS without focusing on technique as much. Besides, they see all of those GAP commercials, so it looks so damn cool to do aerials. WCS on the other hand should connect better with kids because they can dance more "modern" stuff to it, but it's much more a technique dance.

    Don't know... I am learning lindy in my early 30's, but I really have liked doing WCS a lot because I can put in a lot more music. Also, I find that the lindy crowd around here tends to be very, very picky with their music (and I think you all may have similar observations): no "neo-swing" but some conventional swing, but not too old. Can't figure that out. At least with WCS, the folks tend to handle anything I throw out.
     
  17. Dancegal

    Dancegal Member

    I mentioned earlier (on page 1 of thread May 9th) that I believe the athleticism (posture), bounce and energy in Lindy attracts those most likely (not meaning "all") to have energy levels to match.

    I agree that Lindy folks DO tend to be quite picky about music. It can come across as Lindy-snobbishness. Some songs are better to dance with than others - some songs (Neo-swing) are simply unsuitable (IMO) for moderate Lindy Hop dancing and often the songs were not written "for the dancers". Lindy is the dance of an "era" 1930's-1940's and many in the scene want to preserve that spirit.

    WCS is more versatile (IMO) - it can be comfortably danced to more types of music - from R&B to some Hip Hop to Pop music.

    Lindy is a technique dance just as much as WCS - there is a learning curve in order to execute the basic swingout correctly. Lindy (IMO) is more "high energy" and playful in spirit while WCS is definitely the sexier dance whether danced slow/sultry or with high energy.
     
  18. jon

    jon Member

    Primarily because like attracts like. Young people don't want to be surrounded by a room full of grayhairs, older people aren't as comfortable asking young people to dance. Broadly speaking of course - everyone can consider the obligatory howls of outrage and denials that this applies to themselves, already made.

    Secondarily because older people are likely to be slower, fatter, and out of shape - relatively speaking. WCS tempos have slowed down a lot from when I started around 1989, and I don't think it's just because the DJs are choosing different styles of music.

    Check back in another 15 years and the demographics will again be different. The current WCS crowd will be nearing or beyond retirement age, the current Lindy crowd will be married with 2.1 kids and a mortgage - which if nothing else will cut into the exchange scene a lot :)
     
  19. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I love your sense of humor, jon! :lol:

    That's a good point, jon. I wonder if there are any cultural anthropologists out there looking at the "aging of America," and other large demographic shifts as they impact dance in the US and elsewhere. It would beinteresting to see how popularity of various dances, even beyond swing, relates to age, if it does. Interesting train of thought.
     
  20. jon

    jon Member

    As far as I can tell, the US actually isn't aging very much - the demographic bulge of the baby boomers has a distorting effect as it moves through, but I've been seeing projections that the median age of the country will still be in the mid-30s in a few decades. Lots of immigration and a relatively high birth rate compared to most other developed nations. Very different than the projections for Western Europe and Japan, which really are aging rapidly.

    But, what I'm hypothesizing (or really, claiming based on personal obervation) it is that dancers move in age cohorts and those cohorts tend to discourage, by their mere existence, other age groups from entering particular dance forms.
     

Share This Page