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.