I see your point Joe that every partner dance has its place in the ballroom although I don't think it's that cut and dry. I wasn't asking if swing was a ballroom dance... just if it's popularity correlated with that of other ballroom dances.
Lets remember to keep our posts on topic. A little bit of "migration" within a post is fine of course, but please try and include at least a few sentences to the threads topic.
If you want to persue a tangent feel free to start a new topic and reference it in the thread that spawned it.
That said I think that enrollment at a studio will increase/decrease with any rise of public attention to partner dance. I think it goes without saying that specific dances will have fluctuations depending on popular trends, and studios will experience spill-over in their other dances.
Personally I don't think that the swing population is thinning... I think it has done all th ethinning it is going to do and is actually stabilized, and has been so for awhle now. With the economy I do feel that students seeking instruction has thinned out. Dance lessons are a "luxuary item" for most people, not the necessity of life most of us probably view it as.
Swing has always been taught as a Ballrooim dance, Although you have a 'Swing Crowd', and a Salsa Crowd, and a 'Tango Crowd', etc; They have always been taught as Ballrooim dances in the same studios.
In a previous post, I have called attention to the 'Thinning of the Swing crowd these past three years as a warning of what happened in 1963 and what can happen if we do not take steps to nourish the Swing trend. A few of the suggestions I made were the following:
1) Giving free lessons at the various Swing Venues;
2) Employing Qualified Instructors;
3) And using efficient teraching techniques such as my Magioc Pilkl which I have distributed freely with no strings attached to over 11,000 Swing fans at my own cost in money, time and creative eneregy.
Much of the Salsa's popularity is due to its simplicity in learning; all you have to do is take three steps with a pause on the fourth beat and do whatever the imagination dictates with your body.
If we can sinplify the teaching and learing of Swing, than we all benefit; dancers, teachers, dance studios, dance shoe companies, and future Swing dancers world wide. And then we can begin to stem this Thinning Swing population.
That is my commitment and reason for simplifying the structure of Swing with my Magic Pill or by whatever other means.
Is Swing a Ballroom Dance? My vote for whatrever it is worth, Absolutely!
Black Sheep, your Ballroom dance instructor for over 50 years.
The only dances that have always been taught in Ballroom studios are ballroom studio created dances. Thankfully they tend to be flashes in the pan and only dances that develop naturally from music "by the people" tend to really catch on.
The Macerena and Ketchup are perfect modern examples.
The charleston has been around since the late teens, saw a rebirth as the mashed potato, the kick step (aka the "kid-n-play"), the skank, and wham rebirth in its various forms of the twenties and thirties in the late ninties and still going.
Since late 2001 I've noticed a stabilization in the scenes through North America. There is fluctuation but nothing too wild. A number of clubs closed by 2000, the fad had shifted to Salsa. Clubs that were unwilling to change their business models closed our changed to latin music. However by the very next year new clubs were opening catering to dancers.
With the close of the clubs a significant number of people who had started to teach for ego boosts and the urge to be trendy disappeared. They often didn't have the passion or dedication to become good teachers. Buh-bye.
Those left started questioning the methods in which they had been taught looking for new, different, and better ways. No more rote memorization, no more arbitrary statements with no concept about why it should be done this way. At least not as much.
While the "Summer of the Daddies" lined my pockets, and filled my club, I'm happier with my studio, my teaching, my students, and my scene the way it is now.
I like that it is no longer just the "in" thing, as helpful as it may have been for getting the word out and creating greater accessibiliy.
I also feel that there is not the need to simplify the dance. I think in trying to do so something will inevitablly be lost. The basics are not that hard or complicated as they are and I think it's perfectly fine for a new dancer to work for their accomplishments... that way, they truely are accomplishments. People value what they work for so while we shouldn't try to make it difficult, why take that away?
There is a thread entiled East Coast Swing, Ballroom or Non-Ballroom gathering dust if you care to read what some others have already said about the subject. I personally do not feel the overwheming urge to disscuss it but enjoy the reading!
It looks like the dance crowds at the Swing Venues are increasing significantly. The PBDA and Lindy Groove are thriving with hardly elbow room, and the Joshua's 3rd Street Santa Monica Promenade open air free admission Venue is drawing by far the largest crowds of audience of all the attractions on the 3rd Street Mall. What is left of our remaining Swing Venues looks good.
However, do the crowds get larger because the Venues are fewer in number? I hope not. Perhaps it's 'Survival of the Fittest'. All three Venues mentioned do an entertaining job with their choice music, thanks to good D. J.'s and the ambiance at all three is attractive, especially the 3rd Street promenade with fleecy clouds for a ceiling, an ocean breeze for air conditioning, and an appreciative audience of Sunday visitors to applaud the dancers. And it's free?
Black Sheep, dancing on the Sunny Side of that 3rd Street.
It's hard to say the Swing population is thinning if you ever attend a WCS dance convention. The dance floor is usually packed with dancers and doesn't thin out until the wee hours of the morning. Talk about bumper cars!
When this thread started a couple of months ago, several Swing Venues closed down, and I asked some Venue hosts why, and they confirmed my suspicions then by saying they weren't getting the crowds anymore. But since some of the Venues closed down, the crowds are looking bigger. The only logical explanation I can give is there were too many Venues splitting the same pie. Now that there are fewer Venues the crowds are larger.
Having said that, I am always anxious when I attend my weekly venues and seem to observe many of last weeks patrons not returning. Swing or any type of dancing is habitual weekly social event for most dancers. I wonder why too many faces do not return. And how long can we expect the well of potential dancers NOT to run dry?
I'm an optimist and positive in my outlook, but I personally experienced the ballroom dance debacle in the early 1960's. What replaced Swing, Mambo, Cha Cha, and the Slicker dances was the Trwist and Disco which was a 'turn off' for most of the ballroom dancers. So if I appear a little paranoid about the survival of Swing in particular, it is because I saw Swing/Lindy almost disappear from the social arena in the early 60's.
That is why I encourage in any way I can to attract anybody to Swing dancing in particular.
It is a dance that has kept me healthy and sane, and I want others to share in this therapeutic wholesome American sport or Performing Art whatever.
I developed the Magic Pill with this in mind, to make it quick, easy and inexpensive to get started dancing Swing. And if there is another way to simplify the teaching and learning the Lindy, I sincerely will endorsed it.
Black Sheep, always looking for greener pastures
I'm new to the forum and took notice of this thread. I'm in the St. Louis area and can tell you that swing is most definately alive in the midwest. We have 6 swing dance clubs (and at least 1 Lindy club that I know of) here whose members gather and dance at any venue we can find playing music. Additionally, each club hosts a Saturday or Sunday night dance at least once a month in a hall or bar in the area. Several of the clubs host a Tuesday or Wednesday evening every week at local bars. And nearly every event is packed.
Inexpensive or free group lessons are offered by several clubs. I help teach at one of them. We usually have so many people for our weekly group lessons that it's difficult to find someplace big enough. Another group I belong to does dance demonstrations at local events to make others aware of the dance community. I think that is important because I just started swing dancing 2 years ago and prior to that I had no idea the dance clubs existed.
We do a mix of EC and WC here and call it Imperial. Although we do have a fair amount of people who prefer straight WCS.
Welcome to the friendliest forum in the USA. You bring good news. If the Mid West is Swinging, then my fears are allayed. Since your new to the forum, check out a previous post 'The Magic Pill"; since you teach Swing, you might get some ideas from the Commentary. If the Commerntary is buried too far back from the 'Last 50 Posts', Email me the word, 'YES' and I'll Email you a copy of the "Magic Pill' <d.LANZA @netzero.net>
If you are into vintage 1950's Hollywood dance photos of the prime dancers in that time and place, log on to <WWW.LINDYBYLANZA.COM> and download to your hearts content. Just respect my Copyrights.
Let us hear more about you and your activities.
Black Sheep aka Joe Lanza
If you want to see and dance a grreat variety of Ballroom dances in one afternoon within a two block area, the Santa Monica Promemade Mall on Sundays has Salza, Argentine Tango, WCS, and Joshua's Jive Venues from 4 to 8 O'clock every Sunday; Joshua 's Swing Session is on every 1st, 3rd and 5th Sunday with Swing, Cha Cha and Mambo thrown in. A great day at the dances, Sunday on the Santa Monoicas Promemade Mall.
Tell them Joe Lanza sent you, and you get in free!
Black Sheep, the last of the big spenders.
The latest casualty in the 'Thinning of the Swing Population is the 'Satin Ballroom'. On Margie Kate's Forum it was announced that the 'Satin Ballroom' will not be a Swing Venue next year.
Three years ago they were drawing 2,200 Swing Dancers; last time I attended SB was in February and they had less than one third that number attending. I have alerted the Swing Venue hosts of the diminishing crowds three years ago. I gave my suggestions for improving the attendance, gratis, but they ignored those suggestions. The only Venues that have been holding the crowds is Lance's 'Lindy Groove' on Thursdays and Hilary's 'Camp Hollywood', but that is only once a year.
Black Sheep 'If you want to sell milk, you have to buy the hay' Joe Lanza 2003 a.d.