Dance Elitism

Lindy snobbbery – part of my rails against this label, as I like to think of myself as inclusive, “I’ll try to understand everyone’s dance styles” and “I may love lindy hop but your dance has its merits too”.  I like to think that lindy is easy to get into,  via east coast swing and similar simple patterns, and that it’s very much easily danceable at many tempos, to many different kinds of music. There are definitely different styles and differing philosophies on how the dance works, but we seem to get along quite well. And it’s an easy to recognise “popular” dance style – or, perhaps more accurately, it was a popular dance style.

On the other hand, I secretly revel in the “elite” tag.  I like that it’s an uncommon dance style – that it’s the slightly out of mode partner dance rather than solo dance.  There’s a bit of showboating appeal,  as this often means being one of only a few dancers, especially if you’re dancing somewhere other than a usual dance event.  It appeals to the geek in me – just like the appreciation of  traditional jazz, vintage clothing and all things really from the bygone eras. I enjoy the “tweak your nose at the serious dancers because we’re out to Have Super Fun!” culture – I guess, a bit of contra-elitism.  Conversely, I consider it to not be an easy dance – there is a significant learning curve,  there are moves that are not easy (that the trademark swingout falls into this category is perhaps a plus in my eyes) and so in my mind the fact that you can be good, and you can be bad,  and there are ways to improve makes it very much a reflection of life and reality.

But for all the points of elitism,  partner dancing is inherently a social activity – especially with the swing dance culture of social dancing and not dancing all night with the same partner. And so I find most swing folks uncommonly friendly and uncommonly kind – really, a pretty awesome community overall.  If that sets the community apart – well, I can get on board with that as well.

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