PALAIS ROYALE SWING FRIDAYS BAND CHECKLIST                                                             1999 08 25
Dear Band Leader - I hired your band because I have faith in your professionalism and ability to play for dancers. Please read this and the Musician Guidelines. I am the event director, the host, and your primary contact. Please be sure to discuss any questions or problems about any part of this with me. The mission of this dance series is to reach out and build a swing dance community, to develop excellent swing dance bands, and to enhance the stature of swing music and dancing, and of the legendary Palais Royale Ballroom. A hosted dance gig is quite unlike a bar gig or a concert. It is more like jamming with dozens or hundreds of musicians, whose instruments are their bodies, many of whom are as passionate about and committed to the music as you are. There is a deep mutual respect between dancers and dance musicians. Dance musicians appreciate the precious 3 minute, 3-way relationship between the band (even when recorded!), and the two partners in the dance couple. The band members are invited and encouraged to attend a dance and the lesson, before their first gig, to orient themselves, No charge.

SETUP - Band parking is on the West side of the building. There is an (old) XLR house P.A. There is an upright piano. You can set up before the lesson, or (quietly) during the lesson, which is from 8:00 to 9:15. After the lesson (9:15-9:30) is good for sound checks, tuning, and warmups.

SET SCHEDULE - Please choose one, and co-ordinate set/break transitions with the host/DJ.
BREAKS -- When returning from a break, musicians must wait until the last recorded song has finished before warming up their instruments. Musicians must never make loud noises while dancers are dancing to recorded music. Please co-ordinate break/set transitions with the DJ/host .

REPERTOIRE -- swing jazz dancing music in the style of the 1930's and early 1940's. "It ain't what you play, it's the way that you play it". Make it swing. Don't make it jump, jive and wail; please don't make it rock!

TEMPO: A variety, from 100 bpm to 200 bpm, but mostly slow to medium. If you have to run to keep up with the music, it's fast! A brisk walk is medium. It's hard to dance fast. During the first set, many people are newcomers, dancing for the first time in their lives. If you play too fast, the newcomers will leave forever. The newcomers are most important! Common tempo traps to avoid -- playing too fast, too slow, always the same tempo, alternating between too slow and too fast. Variety is the key. (Oh, vary the key too.)

SONG LENGTH: 2.5-4 minutes. Slow songs can be a little longer Fast songs should be shorter. Long songs can be intimidating to newcomers. Long songs mean fewer dances, fewer partners and fewer opportunities to dance at all, for newcomers. A long song means having to spend an uncomfortably long time if the partner is awkward to dance with. Perhaps three times during the evening we may have a longer song, perhaps 8-12 minutes, for a circle mixer (slow), a performance circle (fast), or a birthday circle (medium). These jams have a partner change every 15 to 30 seconds.
SOLOS -- At 128 bpm, a 32-bar chorus lasts one minute. Clearly, there is no time for each instrument to take a 1-chorus solo. Besides, a 7-piece band that plays mostly solos is mostly a 3 piece band. A full 7-piece dance band, on the other hand, can have the vitality of a big band.

SMOKING -- Thank you for not smoking inside.

Dancing.Org Peter Renzland Toronto (416) 323-1300 Peter@Dancing.Org