Wednesday, August 14, 2013

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish

A year ago I started this blog with certain goals in mind. Writing weekly articles turned the blog into an online ressource mainly for Teaching but also on DJ-ing, and Dancing. I will stick to my goals and this means I'll try to not repeat myself. I have said most of what I wanted to say for now and thus will stop posting weekly. I will of course continue dancing, teaching and dj-ing. I might post an article if I feel like it should be added or is missing. All articles will stay online available for you.

Ressources you find on this blog on:

How To Be A Better Student




Different Ways Of DJ-ing 

DJ Challenges - Ways To Improve Your DJ-ing skills


  1. Nonsense series - Things that took at some point the wrong turn to my understanding:
  2. A Dance Is Like A Conversation

Thanks to:

Eli&Alf for giving me lots and lots of feedback on content and readability before the articles went online. Without them, articles would've been strings of thoughts of mine, non-understandable to others.

Thanks to Lucy who has not only checked my articles for understandability but also improved the language since I'm not native tongue.

People that have encouraged me during the year and that got involved in interesting discussions that made me think of certain topics more and often resulted in articles.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

4 Groups DJs Often Forget

There are two main DJ topics. One is handling the dancefloor and the dancers and the other one is the music itself. What we often forget is that an event has more groups than DJs and dancers. During a good event all involved parties are happy and even though the other groups are often happy without our doing, we have to be aware who they are and stay alert to their needs.

Event Organisors

What makes event organisors happy differs strongly. Most of them are happy when the participants are happy. Some of them have additional requirements like a certain atmosphere or a certain style of music. Hence we have to be sensitive to organisors needs and doing a good job means to incorporate those into our sets. These don't always have to match what dancers would prefer - for example while dancers might enjoy a change in the band break (e.g. play Swing when the band plays Jazz), the organisor might want you to keep to the style of the band.

Other DJs

Most of the times nothing is needed to keep collegues happy, a good advice is to simply don't annoy them.
Many people seem to have the idea that they can just look on the cover of the vinyl or on the screen of a laptop to figure out a song instead of politely asking. While not every DJ reacts strongly to this, I recommend asking instead of just looking.
One commonly made mistake by beginner and intermediate DJs is that they play music they got from a fellow DJ, that djs the same night. Researching music is a lot of work, and a common thought to a happy face by a collegue that tells you "Do you hear this? This is YOUR song!" is the non-spoken "Yes, and I would've liked to play it!". Stick to the music you've researched yourself when playing at the same night as a DJ who gave you music.


Most bands I like I've never had to worry about my actions during the break, simply don't play any of their recorded music, they'll rock so hard, there is nothing to worry about.
Bands that aren't good are a lot trickier. While you don't want to show them off, there are also dancers and organisors to take care off. I like the honest approach and think it's best to save the dancers night and have the band see what makes dancers happy instead of trying to spare them loosing face. Because if they do it is up to them and they might be actually happy about experiencing what is needed, so they can improve too.

Location Owners

I'm used to dancing in local venues that are pubs or bars. These venues need to make money to work. So I try to DJ that the people on the dance floor go on and off and have time for a drink. This way they might dance less that one night, but won't get kicked out after two weeks, because they only drink water in the bathroom. This way both groups stay happy. Want to know how to do it? Read how to empty the dancefloor.

Try to be aware of all parties wishes and decide from there what is best. Know that it is not always possible to make everyone happy.

+1 if you like including everyone!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

.. If It Ain't Got That Jazz

In the past years there has been a trend in the lindy hop scene - we dance a lot more to New Orleans Jazz. Many scenes have local bands that play great New Orleans Jazz, like Bolden Buddies from Montpellier, Rhythm Junkies from Vilnius or the amazing Gentlemen & Gangsters from Göteborg. Even though it is somewhat obvious we don't think about the fact that this is not the music lindy hop was created to and what that implies.

The bands that played at the Savoy Ballroom were Luis Russel, Count Basie, Chick Webb, etc. They played Big Band Swing with one of the characteristics being the syncopation which made people start to incorporate the triple step into the dance.

Different music results in different dancing. When Swing music turned Boogie the dance changed, when Boogie turned Rock'n Roll, the dance changed again. Dances match their music.

The lindy hop we dance today very often is a non-syncopated lindy hop. Lots of charlestoning and kicking as result from tempo and rhythm from New Orleans Jazz. While I do love New Orleans Jazz and most definitely dancing to it, I think it's important to keep in mind, as dancer and especially as DJ, what music made the dance what it was.

Everyone with a computer, an internet connection and a free spotify account can DJ. This is definitely a win for the scene. It's important not to let ignorance overrun the work people had to do automatically when collecting and researching music on vinyl or CD. I think it becomes even more important to be aware as DJ what kind of music you play and what kind of dancing it nurtures.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

DJ-ing Teachers - A Special Opportunity

We DJs can play the dancefloor but can't chose who comes to events we play at. So we have to cater to the needs of those who are there. If that means it's a crowd that can only dance to very slow music, we'll have to play mainly in that tempo range. Funnily enough if a DJ gets asked why (s)he is playing slow music the answer is often "beginner music". What is beginner music and how does that affect teaching?

Dancing to 28 to 32 bpm is difficult because you have to superficially keep up momentum. Thinking of simplifying as slowing it down to those tempos is adding new difficulties and if you dance for too long on super slow music when you start, it adds habits that will be tricky to get rid of later.
It is patronizing to assume that beginners can't dance to medium tempos right away and worse - demotivating when they see the cool kids dancing to faster (actually regular) tempos at parties.

Of course we have to simplify stuff, and slowing stuff down to a certain degree makes sense, but stop in reason. Beginner classes with triple steps can be done to 34 bpm as slowest. Rhythm can be taught in easier ways as Groove Walks to beginners at tempos around 38-40 bpm.

Don't create weird new stuff for beginners. Teach them what you dance. Don't dumb down, but simplify!

If you are a teaching DJ you have a special opportunity, you can decide what the people on the dancefloor can dance to, - because you teach them. So when you play slow music - play it because you want to dance to it!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Jazz Song Alphabet by DJ Maria

Lovely how this is still alive! Sunday I got a message from DJ Maria from Athens, Greece who sent me her Jazz Song Alphabet. Enjoy her lovely list of juicy songs!

Alreet – Gene Krupa & his Orchestra
Boo Woo – Harry James And The Boogie Woogie Trio
Charleston – Enoch Light & the Charleston City All Stars
Diga Diga Doo – Rex Stewart & the Ellingtonians
Everybody Loves My Baby – Glenn Miller & his Orchestra
Fractious Fingering – Fats Waller
Get Your Boots Laced, Papa – Woody Herman
Hotter than ‘Ell – Fletcher Henderson & his Orchestra
I’d Love to Take Orders from You – Mildred Bailey
Just You, Just Me – Red Norvo & his Orchestra
Krazy Kapers – The Chocolate Dandies
Let’s Misbehave – Irving Aaronson & his Commanders
My Woman – Al Bowlly with Lew Stone and his Monseigneur Band
Nosey Joe – Bull Moose Jackson
Old Man Mose – Louis Armstrong
Perfidia – Benny Goodman & his Orchestra with Helen Forrest
Queen Isabelle – Cab Calloway & his Orchestra
Ring ‘Dem Bells – Duke Ellington & his Orchestra
Splanky – Count Basie & his Orchestra
That’s a Plenty – Louisiana Rhythm Kings
Undecided – Chick Webb & his Orchestra feat. Ella Fitzgerald
Vol Vistu Gaily Star – Tommy Dorsey & Clambake 7
Who stole the lock – Jack Bland & his Rhythmakers
X Y Z – Earl “Fatha” Hines
You’ve Got Me Voodoo’d – Charlie Barnet & his Orchestra
Zig Zag – Casa Loma Orchestra

Want to listen to this compilation? Go here!
Want to see all alphabets? Go here!

If you are a DJ and have an alphabet, send it to me and I'll post it! Keep the alphabets coming!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Momentum - A Good Basis For Creativity

In the beginning stage of becoming a teacher I asked myself what defines me as dancer and back then I concluded that part of it was the creativity bit. I know there have been discussions about the topic and the word, but for me it's like any other discipline - not a magical property some people have and some don't, but rather something that you learn. The following is an excerpt from my creativity class.

There are two main definitions of creativity in psychology today that are accepted: A creative work is when you do something new and on purpose and A creative work is when you do something new and on purpose that is of value to the domain. When I talk about creativity, I always only assume the two attributes the definitions share.

One of the aspects that visually attributes to lindy hop to me is the exchange of energy on a line and thus the momentum that we have to have. Momentum itself can be understood as composed of two elements - a linear and a rotational energy (for simplicity we'll ignore the vertical aspects for right now). Concrete: we can go forward, backward, turn left and right. We can combine the linear and the rotational movement (turn left while going forward etc.) and we can do those movements at different speeds, which makes it scalable. This will make the difference between a turn to the right and the leader's movement of an underarm pass.

A key to creative work to me is to start with something existing and then modify it as opposed to starting from scratch. Changing the energies leaves you, depending abit on how you count, with four options: increasing and decreasing of the linear and rotational energy and the combinations of it. Decreasing an energy might lead to zero energy - no linear but only rotational energy is what we call a spin - or inversed - going forward instead of backword - energy.

You can apply this during or at the end/begining of a move. A nice side effect of this is that resulting movements are fairly easy to integrate into the dancing, because they connect automatically.

If you like this article comment on it, like or share it!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

DJ Research Challenges - In The Mood by DJ Superheidi

I've been a bit slow, but DJ Superheidi from Rotterdam sent me this awesome piece of research she did, and that's exactly the kind of research I wanted to trigger! Enjoy what she sent me:

It's about the notorious song: "In the Mood", hell yes! Maybe it's an old story to some, but it isn't to me. But this started with a musician. I wondered about the baritone sax player in Edgar Hayes Orchestra, as I really dig that low moaning sound. Heard a similar sound in the Blue Mills Rhythm Band. Finally looked it up last week and it turns out to be the same guy: Joe Garland. 

That's how I stumbled on the voyage of "In the Mood", a song that changed across the 1930s before it became a hit record by Miller's Orchestra. Joe Garland is credited for "In the Mood". A popular riff in Harlem before he wrote it down. 

I knew "Hot and Anxious by Fletcher Henderson. but not what came before: Wingy Manone's "Tar Paper Stomp" from 1930 recorded by Barbecue Joe and His Hot Dogs (1). Just after that came Horace Henderson's "Hot and Anxious", recorded by his brother Flechter in 1931 (2). But I really like the Don Redman version from 1932 (3), it's getting already closer to swing.
In 1935 the tune evolves and gets swinging in the Mills Blue Rhythm Band recording of "There's Rhythm In Harlem" (4). And in 1938 the Edgar Hayes Orchestra records (with Joe Garland playing) as "In the Mood" (5).

Garland offered the tune to Artie Shaw who didn't record it because of long arrangements (>8 minutes). But he did play it live in the Blue Room in 1938 over 6 minutes and it was broadcasted live (6). But there is a shorter and faster version from around 3 minutes. Must be from the same period but I don't know if this short version was before or after Miller's recording from 1939. And remarkably it is announced as "an original composition by Artie Shaw" (7).

Finally the song was sold to Glenn Miller and in 1940 it became a hit record. Some state it was chopped down and rearranged and recorded in 1939, but some say it's nonsense as Edgar Hayes' version is already shorter. So I'm a slightly curious from when exactly the shorter Shaw version is. (will see if there's anything on the liner notes of the CD sleeve in the library).
Had to finisch with Mora's Modern Rhythmists version of "Tar Paper Stomp" from 2000 (9) for a nice round-up. 

The much loved and hated Glenn Miller hit will always be around. Even if it seems forbidden territory for swing DJ's. but play it (locally?) and people do rush to the floor. Maybe because it's good, maybe because it holds memories for many of us, it may have been the first swing song they heard. And it just sticks in your head after the first time. Now I think I have to add it as well (8).

A few days later she sent me this addition:
Miller's recording is from August 1st, 1939. The shorter Artie Shaw live recording is from December 18, 1938. So it came before Miller's hit.

Want to listen to this music? - check it out on 8Track!
You like this completed research challenge? Thumbs up and +1 it!

You completed one of the challenges? Send it to me and I'll publish it!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Good Teacher Is An Improving Dancer

Many teachers are teachers because they are great dancers. Few teachers are teachers because they are great at teaching. If you are reading this blog, you probably count more into the second or at least want to become part of the second group. But great teaching alone doesn't cut it. Throughout all articles on this blog I advocate to do what you say. This applies to demonstrating at the same time as explaining, this applies to failing, and something we rarely talk about, the most basic aspect of teaching - continuing to progress. Here are three tips that helped me:

1. Train!

As simple as that - you teach your students to improve themselves and tell them to train. Get yourself access to a floor with a mirror on the wall and train!

2. Train with focus!

Just because my time for training is not all day, unlike before, I feel like I don't have time to waste, and thus train with goal. Train for a show, repeat class or workshop material or do the Total Swing Experience series. Training with a goal has drastically improved the quality and results of my training and I promise you will feel it too!

3. Train regularly!

A bit more than a year ago, I trained about monthly (hardly ever) - now I train a couple of times during the week. Together with training towards a goal, this makes training powerful!

As nice side effect to improving you will be more believable and motivating for your students.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Stop Disappointment And Create Successful Classes!

The german word for disappointment is "Enttäuschung", which literally translated means dis-deception. Disappointments arise when people's expectations are not met.  It doesn't matter if they deceived themselves or were deceived by someone else - what matters is that we can influence their expectations. If we are good at it, it can even be possible to set their expectations.  Talking about them is a first step. 

Let's look at two practical application's of this concept:
An easy expectation to create is about the class' content. Since I always set goals for myself anyway, I try to communicate those to my students. It's important to communicate goals that make sense to your students, else it will be difficult for them to adapt to the new expectations.  When you feel like your class wasn't perceived as you had imagined and planned it beforehand, ask yourself if you perhaps created the wrong expectations or none at all.  Did you communicate them effectively?  Could it be that you created unrealistic expectations for yourself?  Evaluate these questions, adapt the newly found results, and try again!

Your ability to influence student expectations varies based on whether the original expectations are deeply engrained or not.

One dance school I worked for often held regular "group" classes with only 1 to 3 participants. The expectations of the new students were everything but matched.  Many of you reading this may be thinking "woah! awesome for the students!", but consider the fact that many students like the "anonymity" of a group class. They can learn by listening and watching, and the limited amount of personal feedback they receive does not overwhelm them.  However, if they are exposed to too much feedback all of a sudden, a big gap between their expectations and reality arises. If the students can't adapt their original expectations accordingly -- and it's unfair for you to expect them to --  the experience will be very frustrating. For us as teachers, this means that we must either try to re-orient their expectations or, if this won't work, teach as if it were a class with 20 students.

Should you manage to create expectations and then exceed them, the class experience will be even better for your students. In addition to having learned the material that they would have learned either way, your students will also feel good!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Matching - More Than Mirroring

"Treat people like you would like to be treated" is an old german folk-wisdom, suggesting that people should be nice to each other. When it comes to actual interaction, psychology suggests the proverb should be changed to "Treat people like they want to be treated". Treating people like they want to be treated is called matching. The possible applications for teaching are wide-spread.

Physical Matching

Matching happens naturally physically. This means that the changes of tention are matched. You can see this when people shake hands, but also inside of our body we are naturally programmed to match ourselves e.g. when we walk our arms swing relaxed, when we jog the arms match by gaining more tention and raising. This natural tendency of matching physically can be used as technique as used by more and more people. As with all natural abilities we have, we can cultivate them, to react more sensitively and act more clearly.

Mental Matching

Matching, as suggested in the introduction, can be used for mental activities - for example when we talk with someone or a whole group. Breaking it down to various matching possibilities, you can match people by using the same vocabulary as they use. That means most of the time simple english for american and english teachers abroad.
Another possibility is the kind of thinking you underly your talking with. Is it based on reasoning (why?) or the outcome (what?) or the execution (how?). Try to cover all of them to talk to all of your students at some point in a way it matches, so they can most easily understand you.

Matching applies to a wide range of actions, and can be utilized in many more ways than above described. So go and try implementing matching somewhere!

How would you use matching in your class? Share in the comments!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

DJ Challenges - C'est l'heure de l'apéro by DJ Flow

People keep coming up with new challenges and sending me those. I love it! This one is by Florence Batu aka as DJ Flow from Toulouse, France. Enjoy!

A Mug Of Ale - Joe Venuti's Blue Four
Knock Hom Down Whiskey - Earl Hines
Gimme a Pigfoot (And a Bottle of Beer) - Nina Simone
And Her Tears Flowed Like Wine - Anita O'Day
Jazz Cocktail - Duke Ellington
Groove Juice Special - Slim Gaillard
Rhum And Coca Cola - The Andrews Sisters
Muddy Water (A Missipippi Moan) - Jimmie Lunceford
Gone With The Gin - Hot Lips Page
Ida! Sweet as Apple Cider - Benny Goodman
Scotch And Soda - Charlie Barnet
Salt Peanuts - Georgie Auld And His Orchestra
Chips' Blues - Woody Hermans Four Chips
Sweet Potato Fries - Gordon Webster

Want to listen how days sound? Download the music here.

You completed one of the challenges? Send it to me and I'll publish it! 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Memory Games - The Primacy Effect

"People remember the first and the last things". This saying? refers the primacy and the recency effect. They describe memory effects that have been observed when people memorize lists of words. The effect was that people remembered the first and the last items on the list best. These effects are of interest because we can use them to have people remember stuff better and how to use this for various improvements.

First, the saying is slightly incorrect, because the explanation for the primacy effect is usually forgotten. The primacy effect refers to remembering the first items in the list, because when trying to memorize lists of words, people tend to start from the top over and over again. That means they have seen those items most often. When we try to reproduce the effect this has to be beared in mind.

We can reproduce the primacy on everything that is repeated. A few examples:
  • regular classes: If you have weekly classes, if you always start the same way, people will remember this better. This is not very interesting yet. The interesting part is that if you use the warm-up to change the atmosphere, people will remember not only the beginning, but also the feeling or change of feeling when they come to your class. Now the only thing it needs to make them feel happy and energized(or whatever atmosphere you create at the beginning of your class), is to think of your class.

Same goes for workshops classes, if they are associated with a certain couple.
  • movements: If you always start with putting the rhythm in your body and getting together before you start, people will when they think of a movement always remember the getting together part in the beginning. That is something I've seen people lack, and as you know - it's easier to dance together once you're sharing the same rhythm.

As for all effects I mention on my blog, I encourage you to use it and find more applications of it!

Got a good way of how to use the primacy effect in class? Share it in the comment section!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

DJ Challenges - A Week Of Swing by DJ Superheidi

Last week, I published DJ challenges, so DJs get to know their music better at the same time as to have some fun. The first reaction I got was from DJ Superheidi from Rotterdam, Netherlands. She sent me A Week Of Swing. Enjoy! :)

Monday At Minton's - Chu Berry Jazz Ensemble with Hot Lips Page
Tuesday At Ten Benny Goodman - Benny Goodman
Wednesday Night Hop - Andy Kirk
Thursday Evening Swing - The Cats & The Fiddle
Where Did Robinson Crusoe Go With Friday on Saturday Night? - Harry Roy & His Orchestra
Harlem On Saturday Night - Lil Hardin Armstrong
Sunday - Bud Freeman & His Summa Cum Laude Orchestra
Every Day Is A Holiday - Lary Clinton&Bea Wain

Want to listen how days sound? Check out the playlist on 8Track.

You completed one of the challenges? Send it to me and I'll publish it!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Play (With) Music

As DJ we are supposed to play music. Serve dancers with hot dance tunes. We are supposed to handle atmosphere and the dancefloor. Part of the trade and a good DJ though is also to research. I've always liked the playful approach to learning best so what better way to learn about music than to play with music.

I like to think of these challenges as games and I want to introduce some of these games to you, and maybe you'll have fun with them. In any case, they will contribute to you learning a lot about your music, which I think is one of they keys to good dj-ing.

Basicly, chosing the next song is always about connecting to the one before. Doing it by style or speed is fairly easy. But what about connecting songs by:
  • themes
  Play songs that all have the same theme like love, sex, drug, food, songs about dancing or war etc.
  Example: Big Apple Contest and Black Bottom (songs about dancing)
  • titles
  Play songs that have a theme in common in the title (ignore content of lyrics) 
  Example: Big Apple and I like Pie, I like Cake (food)
  • musicians that played together at some point:
  The following song has a musician that played with the musician before
  Example: Fletcher Henderson and Don Redman
Those are all fairly easy challenges. Some have even already been released as compilations. The ones that are more challenging and require you to research. Connect songs by
  • alphabet
  Do an alphabet with titles, artists, women names, etc.
  • same musician
  The following song has a musician that played in the song before.
  Example: Recording of Luis Russell's Hot Six - 29th & Dearborn - and Showboat Shuffle by King Oliver's Jazz Band (Barney Bigard)
  • record label
  Only play records that were recorded on a specific label, like Decca, Vocalion, Brunswick, etc.
  Example: What Goes Up Must Come Down by Count Basie and Roy Eldridge's Wabash Stomp
  • rare instruments or themes:
  Play songs that all use a rare instrument or idea, e.g. harmonica
  • location:
  Play only songs by bands that played in the Savoy Ballroom, Roseland Ballroom, etc.
  Example: Luis Russel and Jimmie Lunceford  (Savoy Ballroom)
  • date of recording
  Only play songs that were recorded in one specific year, or chronologically
  Example: Ella Fitzgerald - Whacky Dust and Tommy Dorsey and His Clambake 7 - You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby (1938)
  • by country (except USA - too easy)
  Only play bands from a specific country, e.g. only France, Germany, Netherlands
  Example: Kristian Hauger, Rowland Greenberg, etc. (Norway)
  • by city
  Only play songs by bands that resided in one city.
  Example: The State Street Ramblers - Kentucky Blues and Louis Armstrong - Weather Bird(Were both recorded in Chicago)

If you do these challenges and come up with new ones, you will gain a lot of knowledge about your music and the musicians that made it.

Challenge: Make a small set of 5 to 10 songs that are connected in some way described in the second section or come up with an own challenge. Then write down the link between each song, and send it to me. I'll publish it on this blog. Also include your DJ name and where you are located. Looking very forward to your send-ins! :)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

"This Is Not Lindy Hop!" And Other Nonsense

Recently I've read a debate about what is and what isn't Balboa and what it should be etc. It reminded me of a discussion that I've often heard in Lindy Hop - about what is and what isn't Lindy Hop. As with all articles in the nonsense series I want to offer a new approach to it.

The Discussion

To quickly outline the discussion for people that haven't been involved in it I'll mark the extremes. One group of people wants to evolve the dance and they keep experimenting with its parts. The other group wants to preserve lindy hop as it was danced back in the days by keeping new influences out. According to them there are things that are lindy and things that are not.

Preserving Lindy Hop

If we back up one step, we get to the question - What is Lindy Hop? While Lindy Hop is hard to describe there is one part I think is regularly overseen. Back in the day inventing and adding new things to the dance was part of the dance. Swivels and aerials for example weren't always part of the dance. They got added throughout the years. Two things we consider completely part of it it nowadays. Imagine someone walking up to Frankie after he pulled the first aerial and told him: "This is not lindy hop, I don't want to see you do this again in a competition or call it Lindy hop". This is ridiculous!

If we want to preserve Lindy Hop - I certainly do - this part has to be beared in mind as well. Let us preserve lindy hop by evolving it!


Does this turn anything into Lindy Hop? No, it doesn't. It opens the possibility for new things to be looked at, tried out and once evaluated either be refused or integrated into the dance. It removes the fear of "not doing lindy hop", when we try out our ideas.

I believe that dances are self-correcting. Some new things will be included whilst others won't. Lindy Hop changed already quite a lot back in the days, at some point it had changed so much it got a new label and in Europe we call it Boogie Woogie. It happened again afterwards, and it became known as Rock'n Roll. I don't think we need to artificially keep things out and attack people for inventing things. Let us sometimes back off a step before telling people they aren't lindy hopping, and just see if it could match in some way, maybe it will be the new swivel or aerial of lindy hop.

Read more in the nonsense series.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Aspects of DJ-ing

Sometimes when I tell people, that don't dance any kind of swing dance, that I DJ, they assume that I mix my own music, that I scratch etc. In the Swing scene the reaction tends to be more: "It's just music put into a playlist". To me DJ-ing for dancers is neither one nor the other. Being a DJ denotes two parts: serving music to dance to and also educating dancers about music.

Serving Hot Tunes

The maybe biggest challenge for beginner and intermediate DJs is that we don't play for ourselves but for a room full of dancers. This does not mean that I play music I dislike but almost analogue to teaching - I only teach stuff I like. When DJ-ing this means something slightly different. I don't play all the music I like. I play the music that is the intersecting set of music from the tastes of the room and mine. 

Serving the room also means taking care of the ambiance. Do you want to have an easy-going or a high energy atmosphere? Do you want the floor to be crowded or not? Connecting the music in a way to shift the ambiance to where you want it can be done through tempo-managing and styles and various other ways.

And All That Jazz

The second aspect is to educate the dancers. We DJs spend countles hours on researching music, musicians, history and connections that make us the "experts". DJs should know what bands played at the Savoy and what the difference between Traditional New Orleans Jazz and Swing is.
For some people it's the music that made them start to dance Lindy Hop or Balboa or whatever Swing dance. For others the music is secondary and the interest is for example in the infectious joy. Music made the dance what it is. As the experts it is our job to play this music so people can have a chance to experience what it must have been like to dance back in the days. It is our job to play this music so people can find the spirit and joy of all those swing time era dances.

We DJs can call ourselves lucky. Swing music is considered normal in most scenes. As with any good teacher, we have to continue learning ourselves to be able to continue to teach and educate. This means continuing to research, understanding better, finding new old tunes etc.

It is for those two reasons I call myself Doctor Jazz. It's a song by Joe "King" Oliver and if you don't understand the connection, listen to the lyrics. :)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Music In Class Vol. II

Music is essential to dancing. Music inspires the dancers; Swing is the music that made and makes the dance what it is. Music is the key to our dance and, as such, should receive attention in class. We already know that music in class should swing. But what other factors related to music in class should we watch out for?


I've seen many moments where Lindy Hop was taught to 28 bpm. This is quite slow. Also when teaching beginners it is easy to fall into the trap of wanting to help them by playing very slow music so they can practice "stress-free".
One defining part of lindy hop is momentum exchanged on a line. If music turns too slow, momentum dies. So we have to have a certain amount of tempo - even for beginners - else we have no way to dance lindy hop. I've set my personal lower limit to 34 bpm which I feel is more or less the slowest where you can have easily momentum. That is generally speaking of course. In a slow lindy class, I will break that limit.

Walking bass

This aspect was touched in Volume I, but should be reiterated here. Hearing the rhythm can be troublesome for people that are not used to it. That is why I sometimes revert to music with a strong walking bass. One moment is when I teach beginners. Another moment is when I teach workshops in scenes where the music played tends to be non-swing. In both cases the walking bass helps the students to hear the rhythm without losing the swing.

Pre- and "Post"paration

Prepare your music in advance! It costs time to search for music in class and that is time that your class will lack in dancing. Try to plan at least basics; When do you want to play music in class? What you want to practice during that time? It will give you clear indicators of what kind of music you will need.
Also "post"-pare your music. I keep a list of music I've compiled for teaching that I continually update. Removing songs that didn't work as expected and adding new ones. It includes music in range from 30-56 bpm and has different styles - mainly traditional swing and New Orleans Jazz.

Having your music prepared and matching your music to your exercises and students will enrich your class and guarantee you and your students a better experience.

A Jazz Song Alphabet by DJ Paulo

Paulo Rodrigues aka DJ Paulo from Lisbon, Portugal from That Old Swing Magic gets his grove on and made this Jazz Song Alphabet:

Always - Benny Goodman and His Orchestra
Breakin' in a New Pair of Shoes - Frankie Trumbauer and His Orchestra
Cuttin' the Campus - John Kirby and His Orchestra
Don't Be That Way - Teddy Wilson
Evenin' - Jones-Smith Incorporated
Fiddle Dee Dee - Lionel Hampton and His Sextette
Good Queen Bess - Johnny Hodges and His Orchestra
Hello Dolly - Louis Armstrong
Indiana - Oscar Peterson Trio
Jump Through the Window - Roy Eldridge and His Orchestra
Keep Smilin' - John Kirby & His Orchestra
Love Must Be Catchin' - Julie London
Mack The Knife (live in Berlin) - Ella Fitzgerald
No Soap, No Hope Blues - Anita O'Day
Out to Lunch - Coleman Hawkins Quintet
Put a Lid on It - Squirrel Nut Zippers
Queen Isabelle - Cab Calloway and His Orchestra
Royal Garden Blues - Bob Crosby and His Orchestra
Spring Cleaning - Fats Waller and His Rhythm
The Gal From Joe’s - Charlie Barnet and His Orchestra
Une Petit Laitue - Roy "King Jazz" Elridge and His Orchestra
Viper’s Dream - Quintette du Hot Club de France
Well, All Right Then - Jimmie Lunceford & His Orchestra
Xico - Luisa Sobral
You Showed Me the Way - Frankie Newton and His Uptown Serenaders
Zozoi - Claude Hopkins and His Orchestra

Want to listen to this compilation? Go here!
Want to see all alphabets? Go here!

If you are a DJ and have an alphabet, send it to me and I'll post it! Keep the alphabets coming!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Freedom For Followers And Other Nonsense

Freedom for Followers sounds great. Three words starting with an f in a row. Together with "leaving space" and "micromanaging the followers movements", we've got a couple of expressions that all somehow suggest that leaders are dominating, taking away liberty from the followers. It's time to see the full-fletched liberation of following in another light.

For those that this is still a gender issue. It is not. You can stop reading. For those that want to know what it is about - the "freedom of followers" implies that followers should do more than just following. It assumes that following is inferior to or less important than leading.

Why We Lead And Follow

Back in the days there was no such thing as leading and following as we know it today. Frankie Manning tells stories on how they told their partners what the next move was.

When Lindy Hop was still small we often shared events with other dances like West Coast Swing. You can read about the revival in a great series of articles called Artistry In Rhythm. A dance is very limited if it consists only out of moves and to have more freedom and probably also inspired from other dances, we started to develop leading and following techniques.

West Coast Swing vs. Lindy Hop

In West Coast Swing the follower decides a lot on what movements she is going for. WCS differs in many aspects to Lindy Hop but the key difference to this discussion is the speed that WCS is danced to. In both dances we speak about fast and slow. Tendency is that slow in Lindy Hop equals fast in West Coast Swing. Slow dancing leaves a lot more space to fill and a lot more time to catch up. If leaders left the same amount of space by not leading in Lindy Hop we would simply be lost. So we need to lead and follow all the time anyway. Now you can start a discussion to what degree things should be lead but this is neither the reason for the problem nor the point of this topic.
Also not the topic are those experiments where leaders and followers switch roles during a dance. There is a reason they stayed at an experimental stage.

It's About Dancing!

Leading and Following are two roles we have added to Lindy Hop so we can communicate better. What we have to keep in mind though is that Lindy Hop at first is two people dancing together - no matter what role they picked in the beginning. Teaching how to lead is a lot easier than teaching how to follow and that is why leaders receive more attention in class; I encourage balance. Both roles are equally valid and don't differ in the difficulty of integrating the role into the dancing.

Following is an art! Stop undervalueing it!

Thumbs up for our fellow dancers that follow!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Dance Is Like A Conversation

Non-dancing friends often ask me if dancing isn't anachronistic, in that men are always leading, asking the follower for a dance. My answer uses a metaphor that I've heard a couple of times: A dance is like a conversation.
Interestingly, this metaphor can be taken quite far. There are many parallels. In the following article I want to discuss those aspects focussing on the parallels in leading / following and how to put them into dancing.
I'll address the leader as 'he' and the follower as 'she'. It's just a simplification, the same statements would apply if I address leaders and followers vice versa or if both are male or female.

I wrote this article about 5 years ago, and have changed my opinion on many things quite a bit since then (e.g. using the non-matching terms follower and leader, instead of dancer in analogy for dancing :)). But despite that, it's a fun analogy and demonstrates an approach to many issues in the scene. It's open for discussion :) 

A conversation isn't just there. It doesn't fall out of the sky and you start talking. A conversation needs to be started. Someone needs to ask for a dance. I've almost never run into the situation in daily life that only men start conversations, so why should it be different in dancing? Anyone can start the conversation. 

To have a conversation you need a language in which you can talk. Technique would be the equivalent in dancing. There are a lot of techniques including some that just don't work together, which is not to say that one is better than the other. Once the language is chosen you'll need a topic to talk about. The topic often happens to be the music. Of course it can also be set by the leader or the follower.

We haven't yet started talking, which is considered helpful for a conversation. Let's start out with basics. Leading is talking and following is listening. Leaders, be aware that unclear leading is like mumbling. Your partner doesn't understand you and probably will be annoyed trying to decipher what you want to say. Followers you'll please every leader with a good ear.

Clear communication in one direction is very basic. Usually conversations are much more complicated and so is dancing. A one-sided conversation, in which the leader talks and talks and just won't stop, is boring for the follower. The inverse holds true too.

There are many ways in which a follower can talk. Sometimes talking is a smile or an extra turn that wasn't lead. You have plenty of options here followers; go and explore them. Finding new ones is very satisfying.

So now that the followers know how to talk we have a problem - we might have two people talking at the same time. Experience will tell you that this doesn't work. So leaders have to learn how to be quiet and to listen. How to be quiet as a leader? It isn't easy, especially since you were probably taught to lead all the time; maybe the follower even expects you to. 

Followers, generally speaking if there is something you really want to say at that moment, go ahead. The same goes for leaders. Being quiet is definitely not the same as listening. If you want to keep a good conversation going you'll need to listen and show interest in what your partner tells you.  What is your partner doing? Switching topics? Be aware also that not listening can easily be interpreted as rude. You profit though to not do interpret it in that fashion.

Going further: Sentences from two different people do not alone necessarily make for a good conversation. What you need is not just pure talking, but the content of what you are saying should relate to what your partner just said. In a conversation, that can be an answer to a question or a response to a statement. Responding can be done for instance by taking over the new style that your partner introduced (e.g. adding a bounce), but here again there are so many ways. Be alert and play around. 

Sentences should also be intra-connected content-wise. "I like bananas. Check out that Giraffe. Did you just fart?" are totally random. This happens when leaders just lead move after move. But if you start dancing then moves should become connected. I personally really like to keep the energy of a movement going, inverse it, increase it, decrease it, but in any case use the energy of the precedent movement. This is what will make your dance flow.

A careful reader might have noticed that I suggested 'smiling' as a way to talk. Smiling is not a lead, so how come I mentioned smiling? A good connection is not just physical. In a good conversation there are quite often emotions involved. This is nice to know when you are speaking because it adds an extra communication level which will open a whole new mode of information transfer. It's not so much about the amount, which of course grows too, but you gain the possibility of transferring different types of information. There might even be different information transferred simultaneously. This level has the nice feature that both of you can transfer information at the same time.

Something I've seen a number of times is the repetitive use of one styling. If you think of everything you do in dancing as talking then repeating yourself all the time is like telling the same joke over and over again. At some point that joke just isn't funny anymore. 
If you can listen to the music, try to get new things out of it or watch yourself and when you find yourself repeating the same things be open minded, look at other dancers, change the way you used to dance moves!

The above addresses only the situation of two people interacting, specifically the couple that is dancing together. But hey, I'm sure you've had conversations with more than two people involved. Having more than two people can be difficult in dancing simply because it's unusual and seldomly taught. These conversations are usable as well as totally in accord with the above. 
Stealing is one of those situations. Assume you have one follower and two leaders. Yes, it's very likely that the leaders will communicate a lot trying to find even smoother ways of stealing the follower which doesn't mean nobody is paying attention to the follower any more. It is a different way. The follower is now the topic of the dance and thus has quite a lot of influence on the conversation. You can make it easy to be stolen or hard or.... It's a new situation, a new playground!
Another situation with more people involved can include competitions, when the other people involved might not even be dancing. Stay open-minded on conversations with more than two people. They can be fun!

One last parallel, probably the one which will draw most disagreement: If you are asked for a dance it is often considered impolite to refuse. But looking at the metaphor of conversation, I do think there is at least one good reason for declining a dance. Sometimes you get asked by someone with whom you just have nothing to talk about. It happens. That conversation would turn out to be very one-sided or pure small-talk and therefore very unsatisfying. To turn down such a dance is in my opinion totally acceptable.

Feel free to pick those parallels that fit for you. I'm very interested in your views and feedback.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Is Connection Part Of Leading and Following?

Not long ago someone asked the following question: Is (building up the) connection part of leading, or leading starts once the connection is established? (The question is not about how to connect or lead but focusing on the scope of the expressions). I really liked this question, and thought it might be interesting to more than just some facebookers.

It helps strongly to know how connection is built to answer how you use the word. Thus I'll quickly talk how the way you "create" connection is different depending on your technique. To me, you can seperate leading/following techniques into two big categories. In one you have those, where you have leading and following additionally to your dancing. It's like having a two layer cake. The other group of techniques is where leading and following is already incorporated in your dancing by using movements that are needed anyway.

Two-Layer Cake

From the two layer cake version you can derive both -  a yes and a no to the original question. The no is quite easy to derive. Since both parties know that they are using such a technique they are preparing themselves for dancing by tensing certain body parts, and I've seen instructors tell their students that follow to walk a little back to create the connection, based on a visual lead/hinting "seeing that the other one wants to start". The connection falls a little "out of the sky".
Assuming again the open position as a starter again, a leader could move back a bit to create tention, if the follower then reacts you've got a connection. In that case, it would be part of leading. It also show though that there is no leading without following in this group of techniques.


In the second group of techniques, where the solo body movement which is the dancing at the same time as it is the leading, you can derive also both answers. If the follower is just hanging out waiting for the leader to move, building up the connection is part of the dancing. Now if the follower is starting dancing herself and the leader is too, you have two solo body movements already going on. Adding a physical connection (e.g. holding hands) will have a connection that is created by those two solo body movements and thus not part of leading and following. 

The Answer

Since no matter what technique you use you have a clear nyes when it comes to if (building up) connection is actually part of leading and following. I like being honest with my students and rather give them a complete picture that is colorful instead of an incomplete black and white one, I'll use the word connection accordingly to the situation. Sometimes it is part of leading and following, sometimes it isn't.

How do you use the word connection in class? Comment below!

A Jazz Song Alphabet by DJ Superheidi

The first Jazz Song Alphabet from Rotterdam, Netherlands found its way to me. I'm happy to post DJ Superheidi's alphabet here. Don't miss this one!

Ay-Ay-Ay – Bunny Berigan
Bounce Me Brother With A Solid Four – Will Bradley & Ray McKinley
Carioca – Artie Shaw
Down Home Jump – Lionel Hampton
Exactly Like You – Count Basie
Flying Home – Charlie Barnet
Gin Mill Special – Erskine Hawkins
How About That Mess – Lucky Millinder
I Gotta Swing – Blanche Calloway
Jumpin’ Jive – Ella Fitzgerald
Kingdom of Swing – Benny Goodman
Long Gone From Bowling Green – Willie Bryant
Malady in F – Glen Gray & Casa Loma Orchestra
Now They Call it Swing – Teddy Wilson & Billie Holiday
Organ Grinder’s Swing – Frank Froeba
Please Don’t Squabble – Harlan Leonard & His Rockets
Quatre Tickets – Alix Combelle
Riffin’ – Fletcher Henderson
Stompy Jones – Duke Ellington
There’s Rhythm in Harlem – Mills Blue Rhytym Band
Ultrafox – Quintette du Hot Club de France
Vid Den Gamla Kvarnen – Sonora “Swing Swingers”
Way Down Yonder in New Orleans – Kansas City Six
XIT Song – Billy Briggs
You Must Be Losing Your Mind – Fats Waller
Zuiderzee Blues – Freddy Johnson & the Rambler

Want to listen to this compilation? Go here!
Want to see all alphabets? Go here!

If you are a DJ and have an alphabet, send it to me and I'll post it! Keep the alphabets coming!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

How To Dissect A Move

Dissecting a move is like dissecting a frog, you can do but afterwards it's dead. A move is the sum of all its components, leaving one component away changes the move. This poses a slight dilemma because in order to explain a move one often has to dissect it to highlight a certain property.

There are two main solutions to this dilemma. One solution is to increase the visibility of one component by exaggerating it. The other solution is to simplify the move by removing components either bit by bit or multiple ones right away. 


One of the upsides of exaggeration is that the move stays complete and thus the visual for students always stays complete. This is good because we know that the image we have in our mind is a factor when it comes to executing the move later on.
A downside to exaggerating is that it is sometimes impossible to increase one component without affecting others thus also increasing the visibility of another component alongside. This might blur what you actually want to highlight. For example if you want to point out that your upper body twists, your arms might swing bigger. Since the arms are extremities that are way easier visible, students might be thinking that bigger arm movement will do the job.
It is good to point out when you are exaggerating components so that students can put your movement into context.


Simplifying moves by removing components has as upside that their is less distraction around the factor you want to focus on. This makes this approach more effective than the first approach. As with many things, the implementation is the key to success. Try to simplify the move by leaving out the more obvious components. For example all mirrored movements can be simplified by doing the solo body movement first without partner, maybe even already during the warm-up. Or let's assume you are teaching a move that has a jump in it or an extra turn. Those two components are "obvious" components, because they are easily visible. Try teaching the simplified version without the jump or without the extra turn first. This way you gain twice, because you also have a variation this way that your students can use to differentiate and lead and follow better. 

The problem with this approach is that it creates a cognitive overload if you use it every time because there are two many components and you will not be able to teach this move. Another problem is when you implement it badly, in this case meaning taking away non-obvious components. The non-obvious is from the view point of students, not yourself. I've seen often that people remove rhythm first (e.g. when dancing slow), but very often rhythm is a key component and rhythm is most of the time a non-obvious component to students. If you give them a picture without rhythm you nurture this behavior. I strongly recommend to keep rhythm when simplifying moves. If you really need to take out rhythm, take out feet at the same time. This will keep them from practicing foot movement without rhythm. 

Keep in mind that you always have those two options and chose wisely between them. As a rule of thumb - utilize exaggeration when students are already doing what they are supposed to do, but not enough to make it work and utilize simplification when it is too difficult to separate only one component.

Friday, March 22, 2013

A Jazz Song Alphabet by DJ Mad Oli

Oliver Fuhrmann aka DJ Mad Oli sends an alphabet. He is from Berlin, Germany and thus this is already the third alphabet from there!

All God's Children Got Rhythm - Bunny Berigan & His Orchestra
Back Beat Boogie - Harry James and His Orchestra
Carney-Val In Rhythm - Billy Taylor's Big 8
Do You Wanna Jump, Children? - Count Basie
Every man For Himself - Coleman Hawkins
Flying Home - Lionel Hampton And His Orchestra
G.T. Somp - Earl Fatha Hines
Harlem Shout - Jimmy Lunceford
In The Groove At The Grove - Chick Webb
Jumpin' At The Woodside - Count Basie
Knock, Knock Who's There - Fletcher Henderson
Little John Special - Luckky Millinder
My Blue Heaven - Glenn Miller
Number 19 - Earl Fatha Hines
Old Joe's Hittin' The Jug - Stuff Smith & Onyx Club Boys
Passage Interdit - Glenn Miller Army Air Force Band
Queen Isabel - Cab Calloway
Riff Time - Erskine Hawkins
Swingtime In The Rockies - Benny Goodman
Traffic Jam - Artie Shaw
Up Jumped The Devil - Earl Fatha Hines
Vamp - Frankie Newton
X Y Z - Earl Hines
Yellow Fire - Roy Eldridge
Zootcase - Stan Getz

Want to see all alphabets? Go here!

If you are a DJ and have an alphabet, send it to me and I'll post it! Keep the alphabets coming!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Jazz Song Alphabet by DJ Kris

This alphabet comes from a real Ghentleman. It's Kris Bauwens aka DJ Kris from Ghent, Belgium.

At The Fat Man’s – Tommy Dorsey
Baby Face – Kid Ory and His Orchestra
Cote Azur – Fud Candrix Orchestra
Dutch Treat – Rex Stewart
Easy Come Easy Go Blues – Jimmy Bertrand’s Washboard Wizards
Fade Out – Edmond Hall
Ginger Belle – Horace Henderson
Hot Lips – Red Nichols
I Found A New Baby – Charlie Christian
Jumpin Pumpkins – Duke Ellington
Keep Rockin’ – Harlan Leonard
Lafayette – Hot Lips Page
Meet The Band – Edgar Hayes and His Orchestra
Now You’re Talking My Language – Chu Berry and His Stompy Stevedores
Octave Jump – Bob Chester
Posin’ – Jimmie Lunceford and His Orchestra
Queen Isabella – Woody Herman and His Orchestra
Struttin’ With Some Barbecue – George Wettling
This Way Out – Johnny Long
Uncle Bud – Erskine Hawkins
Virginia Plain – The Bryan Ferry Orchestra
Wir Tanzen Weiter – Stan Brenders Orchestra
XYZ – Earl Hines
You’ve Been Takin’ Lessons – Mound City Blue Blowers
Zero – Wingy Manone and His Orchestra

Want to see all alphabets? Go here!

If you are a DJ and have an alphabet, send it to me and I'll post it! Keep the alphabets coming! 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Art Of Success

Learning fast is only possible if the learner takes risks and fails from time to time. Once people start taking risks and messing up, those moments have to be used constructively to get a learn effect. How can you support that as teacher?

There are two main ways we can handle problems as teachers. One is helping, the other one is letting the students solve their own problems.

Do It Yourself

I'm always positively surprised by how much students can solve problems by themselves just by trying a few times by themselves and sometimes a change of partners does it. I always start with letting the students attack the new material by themselves when I teach something new, because the more problems students solve themselves the more independent they grow and the bigger challenges they will be able to face and solve in the future. Also the sense of gratification increases.

And Round And Round It Goes

Usually, I let students try three times with their partner, rotate and let them try again. The remaining problems will need some attention. I advocate to not just provide the solution but show how problems get solved. This way,  students can add this new variable to their problem solving competences.

Problems or mistakes are usually already what we want our students to do just missing one or two ingredients to make the soup tasty. To solve problems one needs to learn to what one can pay attention to. So make them switch their focus onto the missing part.

In the very first classes my students usually watch feet, falling into the trap of thinking that dancing is feet, they don't ask me questions about where to place their bodies. In an advanced class the focus to solve a problem for a particular move or technique or visual might be the orientation of knees or their distance.

To change their focus, e.g. tell them to watch the free arm and then demo a bad and a good version and let them try again. Making them aware of a body part they didn't pay attention to will add to their repertoire.

Making them watch their own movement (by demoing what they do, without  mocking them) and then letting them find the error would be alternative to the first option.

Watch Out!

Problems can be dissected almost infinitely. I don't advocate this. Often, something that people see my body "do", is actually a result of of something else that I do. When solving problems, try find the real source, even if it might tackle some topic that was not mentioned in the question. A classic example for this is the free right arm of the leader during a rockstep. Yes it swings back, but I don't actively move it there. It's a result from moving back with my whole body.

Teaching your students how to handle mistakes and problems will turn their failure into success!

Thumbs up/+1 for success!

Read "The Art Of Failing"

A Jazz Song Alphabet by DJ Joanna

Another DJane sent me the letters she likes to fill her words with. It's Joanna Lucero aka as DJ Joanna from Austin, Texas, USA with her alphabet!

At the Clambake Carnival - Cab Calloway
Blue Leaf Clover - Firecracker Jazz Band
Clambake in B Flat - Jimmy Noone
Doin' the Suzie-Q - Lil Hardin Armstrong
Egg Head - Benny Goodman
Feltner Alley Drag - Albanie and her Fellas
Give a Broken Heart a Break - Cleo Brown
Hawkins Barrel House - Bill Coleman
If You're a Viper - Harlem Hamfats
Just Floatin' Along - Roy Eldridge
Krum Elbow Blues - Duke Ellington
Lamplighter - Lionel Hampton
My Bucket's Got a Hole In It - Tin Pan Blues Band
No Calling Card - Wingy Manone
Onyx Club Spree - Stuff Smith
Page Mr. Trumpet - Pete Johnson
Queen Isabella - Edgar Hayes
Roll, Roll, Roll - Hot Lips Page
Spanish Shawl - Kid Ory
Throwing The Switch - Earl Hines
Uptown Shuffle - Erskine Hawkins
Viper's Dream - Mona's Hot Four
Wild Man Blues - Johnny Dodds
You Took My Man - Barney Bigard
Zigeuner - Artie Shaw

Want to see all alphabets? Go here!

If you are a DJ and have an alphabet, send it to me and I'll post it! Keep the alphabets coming!