There were plenty of mistakes made in the 1960s, my own birth included, but one of the most cataclysmic was the loss of partner-dancing due to teenagers discovering acid and The Beatles. Music and mores shifted, and dancing’s become a solo event involving drugs and/or handbags, but no bodily contact.
Sane people mourn this, and since I took up swing dancing three years ago I can’t tell you how many folk sigh wistfully and say “I’d love to do that”, as though it’s an impossible dream like dueting with Barbra Streisand or riding a tiger bareback.
It’s not! You — yes, you — can go swing dancing tonight. Heck, pretty much every night if you want to. There’s not a capital city in this wide brown land which doesn’t have a thriving swing dance scene. Swing is back big time, and the only activity I’ve ever discovered that is more fun, exhilarating and good for me than lindyhop is horizontal, if you get my drift.
The advantages to swing dancing are many; inadvertent exercise, it’s social, you’re learning a new skill that cheers your body beyond measure, there’s stunning big band music, and you gain an air of mystique when you tell your friends you’re “swinging” on the the weekend.
Unlike ballroom you don’t need to front up with a partner — everyone dances with everyone else. It’s cool and daggy in equal measure, if you like vintage clothes it’s hog heaven, and above all else it’s good, clean, intergenerational fun (not wishing to diss Latin, which is a whole stack of good times waiting to happen, but it can be a tad, um, groinal. Swing is refreshingly non-sleazy). The only downside to Charleston and Lindyhop is that it’s seriously addictive.
And, you get to experience the physical conversation that is dancing with another human being, AND bust out some moves at your next wedding. Priceless.
The details: Here’s the deal. If you live in Perth, check out www.perthswing.com, in Brisbane www.swingdancebrisbane.com, in Adelaide www.theswingsesh.com, and www.swingpatrol.com will fix you up in Sydney, Melbourne and Tassie.