Swing Dancing -- Answers to Essential Questions -- Peter Renzland 416 323-1300
(If you are reading this in print, please note that the web site:
www.dancing.org has much good information about Swing dancing.)
What is Swing?
How is Swing defined?
Why Lindy Hop?
What is the origin of Lindy Hop?
Who were the great classic Swing dancers?
Who were the great classic Swing bands?
Who are today's great Swing dancers and teachers?
Who are today's great Swing bands?
What about Jive, ECS, WCS, Hustle, CW-Swing?
What about Jump Blues, Rock'N'Roll, Rockabilly, Disco, Latin?
Is Swing music big band music?
Why is Swing music and dancing popular now?
Does Toronto have Swing bands?
Does Toronto have Swing dancing?
Swing = music
Lindy Hop = dance
Named by George Snowdon in 1927 after Charles Lindbergh's solo Atlantic flight.
Frankie Manning, Norma Miller, (Shorty) George Snowden
Steven Mitchell (US/Germany), Helena Norbelie (Sweden), TRHS
Basie, Webb, Lunceford, Calloway, Waller, Johnson, Ellington, Goodman, Shaw
30's boys and girls were exuberantly joyful
50's macho boys and passive girls
Bill Elliott (California), Eddie Reid (California), Lavay Smith (California),
The Cotton Club Band (New York)
Tishomingo! Rexation! Peter Hill! Frank Evans! Hot Five Jazz Makers!
Toronto has some fine bands that play Jump Blues, Rockabilly, or
Rock'N'Roll. They may even play Swing tunes, but in the hard-driving
rocking style. But those are not Swing dance bands.
Toronto also has several big bands. None of those are Swing Dance bands.
Swing music is about a strong flow, not a strong beat
Swing music is pure joy. Pleasure. Sensuous. Harmony.
Swing bands play together. And the dancers and musicians
are on the same team and inspire and complement each other.
Swing music is Jazz music. Swing dancing is Jazz dancing.
The Toronto Scene is very new, and a lot of people don't know what Swing
music is. There are some bands that play almost entirely rocking,
hard-driving Jump Blues and Rockabilly, and even when they play an occasional
Swing song they play it in that style. Some of these bands are now being
promoted as "swing" bands. Even "swing dance" bands.
Essentially, music with a strong flow, rather than a strong beat. With
joy and togetherness. That's what's good for dancing. The jumpy stuff
is good for stomping, pounding and clapping, but not for harmoniously
dancing together. It actually drives a wedge between partners, and tends
to make people dance in jerky, aggressive ways.
Swing music makes you smile. You cannot help but smile.
Not a trace of pessimism, cyniciscm, anger, or an in-your-face hard edge.
Swing dancing is to *play* with your partner and the music. It's not
steps. And it certainly isn't pushing and pulling and yanking and cranking.
It's making music visible and tangible.
Toronto (416) 323-1300