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Archive for January 2013

Tuesday, 29th January, 2013

Joining JiveSwing – Tony Morgan

When I was asked to write this blog, my immediate reaction was one of horror… I have never written anything that people might read… I don’t know who will actually read this; whether you are new to JiveSwing, an established member, or even someone who is thinking of becoming part of the JiveSwing family. Anyway here goes, and I hope you find something useful in what I have to say.

When I initially started my first class at JiveSwing, I started alone and didn’t really know what to expect having never danced before. In just a few minutes of being there, different people came up to me and introduced themselves. I felt comfortable and quickly realised these people were really nice and so helpful. They didn’t mind that I didn’t know what I was doing. They were just happy to help. It came across rapidly too that the lessons wasn’t a strict straight-faced type of learning. It was fun and very enjoyable.

At first the steps we were being shown took a while to sink in to my head… and a couple of weeks in, I found it frustrating because I was struggling to do the steps I was doing on the previous week. After about 4, maybe 5 weeks, I was picking the moves but very slowly… I was seeing some of the others in the class dance and I wanted to do what they were doing… I just couldn’t. So I made up my mind to do something about it.

I started going to a second class, the first at Brentwood and the second at Southend, and again I found the people there equally nice and helpful. I think because I was dancing more frequently and asking more questions when I didn’t quite understand, the moves started to sink in and I was picking it up quicker, but I still wasn’t leading the ladies correctly, and it felt weak.

In all this time, Joseph (the teacher), kept mentioning about the workshops and social dances that JiveSwing arrange and put on for everyone. To be honest, I avoided these at first thinking I would be holding up someone who wants to dance instead of having to put up with me. Finally I went to a social dance and had an amazing time. The more I danced with different people, the more confident I got. Yes, I was making mistakes and for me I found it frustrating as hell, but the people I danced with were great about it and helped me, and some even showed me new moves.

Tony on the dance floor at Retro Sunday in Southend, 2012.

Then I tried one of the workshops. We were learning 30s Charleston in class, and the workshop was Fundamentals II. It showed a far more in depth way to perform the moves we already learned and actually explained how to lead properly and follow properly. This workshop definitely improved they way I was leading and gave me a better understanding in what I was doing. After going to these workshops, it is very understandable that there isn’t the time in the weekly lessons to learn the steps, moves and the details of the finer points that improve our Lindy dancing. I strongly advise taking them.

Since then, I have now taken a few workshops and been to many social dances. I do feel more confident, and feel my dancing has improved a lot since those early days… lol… even though those early days was only May/June 2012. At the social dances I have met people from all of the classes and have found that not only have the people at JiveSwing been nice and friendly, they are people who are joy to spend time with.

In short… my JiveSwing experience has been brilliant and I can honestly say that I really don’t have a bad word to say.

Tony Morgan

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Friday, 18th January, 2013

A flying start to 2013

What a start to 2013 so far, with some classes hitting record levels.

Well done to all the new beginners that have joined JiveSwing in 2013 who are doing so well.

It’s so great to see and hear stories about everyone throughout JiveSwing working together, learning at such a good rate, from the advanced and performers, being pushed to new levels, but particularly the absolute nervous beginners, tomorrow’s stars who are already showing lots of promise.

Thanks goes out to all the JiveSwing teachers for their hard work, dedication and support in class, plus their planning and training in the background to stay ahead for everyone.

Flying high in JiveSwing’s first performance workshop of 2013.

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Thursday, 10th January, 2013

New Year in Italy

We arrived in the beautiful town of Pescara, with sea and mountain views, just in time to sample some Italian food, then off to start the day of classes, organised by Abruzzo Swing Dance Society. There was a great atmosphere during the day, as we shared our passion of Swing dance, singing our way through the workshop. In my efforts to learn Italian, we created a compromised language “Jam-alian”, which is a mixture of Jamaican Patwa and Italian…

Joseph and Charlotte dancing to the Billy Bros. Jumpin’ Orchestra (Credit: Mario Siega)

The evening was like a big family reunion party, as we danced all night to live music by the Billy Bros. Jumpin Orchestra, who played all my favourite count Basie classics.

On Sunday we drove 200 miles to teach another day of workshops, which took place in Rome, co-organised by Diana. We worked everyone hard with new moves, figures and technique. It was great to see everyone having fun, yet learning lots and improving by the end of the weekend.

Joseph and Charlotte at Rhythm 4, December 2012 (Credit: Roberta Bevilacqua)

After social dancing to another band, we stopped off at the famous Roman Coliseum, to take pictures and do the Shim Sham. Had to be done…

We completed the weekend, with a more relaxed New Year’s Eve, eating at an amazing seafood restaurant on the beach, where we tried fresh Shell fish, for the very first time, such as mussels, oyster and calamari. This was followed by a New Year’s Eve dance and fireworks in the town square.

We would like to say a HUGE thanks to the organisors, Roberta and Maurizio, who took care of us for the whole weekend like we we were one of their family. We love you.


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Tuesday, 1st January, 2013

Our new JiveSwing website

Today, at the start of a brand new year, we launch our brand new website!

You’ll find everything that was on our old website, plus lots of new content, including the much requested learning area, where we will post recaps of the moves you’ve learnt in class. We’ve already put up videos of adding turns to Charleston moves and Joseph’s review of the JiveSwing Stroll. If you’re not doing the JiveSwing Stroll in your sleep then you haven’t watched it enough times!

We all have so much fun at JiveSwing we thought it was about time everyone else realised it too. Have a look on the various pages and you’ll find lots of (not too embarrassing) photos of our antics in and out of class. Contained within the pages of this website is Charlotte Middlemiss dancing with a giant bear… an idea for the next Charlie’s Angels routine perhaps?

Finally, just in case you wondered where the inspiration for our new website design came from, have a look at the video below. We are passionate about the roots of Swing Dance and we have celebrated that with our own take on Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom, where the legendary Norma Miller grew up watching the world’s finest Lindy Hoppers dancing the night away, from the fire escape of her apartment.

Happy New Year JiveSwingers!