Last year I went to an event and danced with a lead who I’ve known for years. He commented “Wow! How have you improved so much in the last 6 months?”. I was both proud and concerned: was I not very good 6 months ago? I’d like to say I am asked this question often but I’m really not. Perhaps people don’t rate my dancing enough to be interested in how I got to where I am. Or perhaps people already know the answer because they see me working on it. Or perhaps people just aren’t interested enough in improving to ask about it.
Shoes. There are just so many variables: the slickness of the sole, the heel height, the comfort factor, the floor you are dancing on and, of course, how they complete your outfit! Finding the right shoes is no easy task, and you’ll probably want different pairs for different occasions, but here are some tips to get you started.
Okay, so here’s the thing: dancing is a physical activity, and you want to be comfortable when doing physical activities. You want clothes that will breathe, that won’t restrict you or rub in the wrong places and that will support you in the right places. But here’s the other thing: swing dancing is a social activity. Not only that, but it comes from a time when people got dressed up to do social activities. So we can’t get so carried away with comfort that style looses out!
The Gangsters Ball is an annual vintage themed night of entertainment complete with its own vaudeville show, gambling den, and live swing band. The event has been running for eight years and aims to recreate a 1930s speakeasy club in style and atmosphere. The event runs in Sydney and Melbourne as well as at the Tivoli Theatre in Brisbane and I just happened to be there last Saturday night.
Swing is a type of jazz that evolved from the original Dixieland jazz that first appeared in New Orleans at the beginning of the 20th century. Big band swing became the most popular music in the United States from 1935 to 1946 and so that period became known as the Swing Era (also frequently referred to as the Big Band Era). During that time the most popular evening activity for young people was going to dance halls to have fun socialising and strutting their stuff. The dance halls were big and options for amplification were limited, so in order to be audible the bands grew in size (15-20 musicians) and contained loud acoustic instruments such as trumpets, saxophones, trombones, clarinets, and drums.
One of the most common things we get asked in our beginner classes surrounds finding swing music to dance to or practice at home. When I started dancing the best way to find swing dancing music was to find CDs either at second hand sales or at music stores. Luckily we live in a time when music can be accessed in so many new ways and instantly! It doesn’t matter if you like using the iTunes store, eMusic, Google Music, Spotify, Bandcamp or Amazon, you can find great music for dancing! This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of swing dancing music, but just some ideas of places to start. There will most certainly be posts in the future on this blog about specific artists and music styles.
Scott Bradlee has come a long way in the past couple of years – from recording in his tiny basement apartment in NYC with a couple of friends to touring internationally with sell-out shows across Australia’s biggest cities. It seems that Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox, which has rapidly risen to fame through the power of YouTube, is a force to be reckoned with.
Welcome to the new Corner Pocket Swing blog!
Corner Pocket Swing is a community of passionate swing dancers based in Brisbane. We love music that swings, vintage fashions, partnered and solo dance. But the most important thing for us is our community of likeminded dancers.
We’ll use this blog to tell you about things happening in the swing world and closer to home here in Brisbane, we’ll also blog about the history of the dance as well as music and fashion from the era.