Four Seasons in the Life of a Swinger

Hey everyone!

 

It is summertime, which is a sort of downtime when it comes to our local swing scene, with regular Tuesday nights suspened, leaving us to ad hoc gatherings and local or international summer camps . Incidentally, I have come to a point where I have to re-think the role of swing in my life. Where is this lifestyle leading me? Where do I want to go with it?

 

Thinking of this made me realise that this hobby has a seasonal nature to it: let me propose a brief, less-than-perfect and unpretentious pattern of an average swing dancer’s life cycle:

 

  1. SPRING. You acknowledge a desire to learn the art of swing; whether you’ve seen it on TV, in a bar, or a friend told you about it – you google to find some info, find out you don’t need a partner to sign up for workshops and BAM, you find yourself shopping for dotted dresses and/or suspenders and going out to your first social dance. Especially if you’re a follower, you start social dancing practically at once, a whole new world opens up, you meet new friends, a charismatic dance instructor, or maybe even a person of the opposite sex you feel attracted to. You are mesmerised by the performances of the more experienced/seasoned dancers and you want to be just like them (or die trying). By the end of the season, your classmates persuade you to attend first workshops, be it national or international, and you become even more enthousiastic by the new horisons that open up.
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Lindy shock 2008
  1. SUMMER. In the summer of your swinging-life, your entire life takes on a swingin’ lifestyle and your mentality is submerged by plans about which moves and  routines you have yet to master, which dancers you want to dance with, which international workshops you want to attend, etc. If you’re more of an ambitious type, you may find a dance partner to practice your moves with. All your extra money is being invested in swing workshops, your travels revolve around dance camps and maybe you’ve proceeded from one polka dot dress or suspenders to a handful of pretty vintage inspired ensembles.
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Herrang Dance Camp 2012
  1. AUTUMN. After summer’s over, you will have decided, depending on your skills, motivation and talent for one of the following options:

        1- pursue a career as local swing dance instructor, perfomer, maybe even choregrapher.

        2 – if not, you may have to opt for another additional role within the scene: a photographer, organiser, DJ, gossip spreader, hair stylist, local swing band member, vintage fashionista, odd piece of inventory etc.

    The truth of the matter is – if you stop learning new moves and/or going to international workshops, you may find your inspiration withering. Unless you are willing to invest sufficient funds, time and effort into acquiring new knowledge, it becomes increasingly difficult to enjoy it, because your dances with individual dance partners become routine, unchallenging and dull. You may then venture to related disciplines, such as blues, west-coast swing, or even indulge in blasphemy and take up salsa or tango.

    Or, you become a regular piece of inventory and find satisfaction in the smallest of pleasures: talking and dancing to newbies, flirting, socialising  – and dance itself ceases to be the main point of attraction.

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Blueberry Blues 2013 / photo: Anže Grabeljšek
  1. WINTER. Depending on the outcome of the previous season, you either stop completely, or change the frequency of coming to swing events, from only going to events you’re involved in due to one of your secondary roles (DJ, organiser, …) or only attending  a couple of »gala« events on a yearly basis (grand openings, local festival parties, and the like).
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Christmas swing party 2013
THE QUESTION NOW IS: WHICH SEASON ARE YOU? J

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