The Socially Distant Swing Dancer -- Supporting the Scene in Uncertain Times
Updated: Mar 30
The whole world, swing dance scene included, is going through a stretch of time unlike any in recent history. With towns, states, and even some entire countries on lockdown, meeting sizes heavily regulated, and physical contact kept to an absolute minimum, group social dancing as we know it has come to a grinding halt. Unfortunately, it looks like this will be the new normal for at least another month. Here at Jazz Attack we’re lucky to be a volunteer-run organization with great and understanding venue partners, so we’ve been able to weather the storm better than most, but for professional studios and individuals that rely on dancing for their income this pandemic could easily spell disaster.
But we can help. We can all help.
Lindy hop & swing dance have been around for nearly a hundred years now. This dance has seen plenty of seismic shifts. It will make it through another one if we all act together. Here’s a short list of things you can do to support the swing scene through the storm:
For Dancers with Disposable Income
1. Book a 20-60 minute ZOOM/Skype/FaceTime private lesson with your favorite instructor. Full-time professionals usually charge $50-100/hr, but shorter lessons are a great option if that’s too much!
Around Philly: Carla Heiney, Lily Kind, Randi Stauffer, Christian Muñiz
If you’d prefer to take a lesson with a partner, consider paying it forward and purchasing a lesson now to redeem once this whole thing blows over.
2. Watch & donate to live stream live band concerts. There’s one happening almost every night. Check the pages of your favorite bands, or look in this Facebook Group.
There are also some live stream lessons happening -- check out this sheet
You can also add this handy online lessons & dances calendar to your GCal
3. Buy albums, swag, shoes or anything your favorite instructors/bands/pros/studios sell.
Check out Bandcamp and note any no-fee days -- all $$ goes to the musicians!
If your local pro/studio sells memberships, consider purchasing one for a future month or set of classes!
Support full time musicians by joining their patreons, inquiring about private music lessons, or simply following and engaging with them on social media
Around Philly: Chelsea Reed & The Fair Weather Five (bandcamp link), Christopher David Shannon (patreon link), Parlour Noir (music download), Anna Cecilia & the Big Time (bandcamp link), Dot Levine’s singing telegram service (FB profile for contact)
4. Get an online swing subscription!
There are many great sites including ilindy (with Kevin & Jo), Syncopated City (with Michael & Evita), Rhythm Juice (with Dax & Sarah), Solo Jazz Power (with Egle), Jazzamonth (with Pamela), stuff coming from Peter & Naomi, Laura Glaess, and more!
5. Donate to the Frankie Manning Foundation Emergency Support Fund -- goes to support full-time swing artists
For Dancers Looking to make Non-Monetary Contributions
1. Like, share, and leave a review on your local swing scene/studio’s Facebook page. This will help more people find them when we all start dancing again! (5 stars!)
2. Watching a live stream? Share it! Comment on it! Like it! This will all help more people find the stream. Remember, even $1 donations add up!
3. Message or schedule a short call with your local pro or studio owner. Tell them how much you appreciate them and that you’re there for them! This is probably a pretty tough time for them, and having that support may be the boost they need that day.
4. Stay inspired! There’s so much happening in the swing world right now. Follow #SwingDance or #LindyHop on instagram to see great worldwide content. Check out the #HereIsMyIdea challenge and maybe even join in yourself! Follow us @jazzattackswings
5. Follow your local content creators too! Lily Kind @TheLilyKind , Mary Ludwig @MerryMarySwings , Hana Yanello @Dancin_Bella_ , Christian Muñiz @munizcm , Mike McDermott & Amanda Salay @mikeandamandaswingdance , and yours truly Nick Cruickshank @NickSwingsOut
Keep dancing, keep sharing. Pull up Virtual Jazz Attack on ZOOM every Thursday night at our usual time. We’ll have a lesson with an awesome full-time artist (8pm), a camp meeting where we can all chat and hang out (9pm), and then a DJ Set with one of Philly’s finest (9:15-10pm). Rock your solo jazz, challenge someone else on-screen, join in the group shim sham, or just sit back and enjoy the music and community. Stay tuned for fun events on the horizon like dance history & scene member trivia, piecemeal group choreographies, and more! Send us your fun ideas too!
And of course, most importantly, never stop swingin’
-Nick Cruickshank // Jen Dandy
Jazz Attack Community Engagement Coordinator // JA Quarantime Adviser