Posture and authenticity in Lindy Hop

>>    "White posture"?	Is there such a thing as "black posture" that
>>constitutes, presumably, being hunched-over and bouncy, just like a
>>certain fraction of Lindy dancers do in their desire to emulate a
>>particular early style?  Does it also encompass the choreographed
>>butt-out for the lead, and hand waving in the air for the follow,
>>during a swingout?
>It might be interesting to see what constructive comments Jon might
>have upon reading my article, the substance of which he only makes
>presumptions about in the above paragraph, presumptions that are
>specifically contrary to what is actually said in that article.

"Parody," "irony," and "subtlety" are terms every Usenet reader should keep in mind at all times.

I read your article, disagreed with the association of "ballroom dance", "white posture", and "stiff," and challenged *its* presumptions about the "values of a ballroom dance" with that particular phrasing. How does a dance have values, anyway? Some sort of emergent AI behavior where individual dancers are neuron analogs?

To put it a little more directly: "hunched-over" is used by analog - with exactly the same validity and generality - to the original use of "stiff."

>Someone who cares about and values the contributions of both European
>and African traditions to the dance might consider it trivialising,
>cynical, and yes, insulting that such contributions having to with
>cultural sensibilities be dismissed as mere matters of skin colour.

Then they shouldn't be labelled as such. I suppose one could make a case that how someone holds their body while dancing is a matter of "cultural sensibility." I feel it has mostly to do with people mimicking their role models and instructors.

There are and probably always have been beautiful black swing dancers who choose a smooth, upright (this is a word that can fairly be applied to ballroom, BTW, unlike "stiff") style, and beautiful white swing dancers who choose the (for lack of more precise term) Frankie Manning style.

>>yet another attempt to convince people that "swing dance" was
>>something that was only done to "swing music",
>Jessica said it very nicely.  Some words already have meanings to the people
>who have been using those words to describe what they do.  I other people
>want to do other (new) things, perhaps they might choose other (new) words?

They might, but they don't. Use of language does change. People who refuse to change with it, while they may enjoy their self-righteousness, can't communicate effectively with the majority. Take "I'm feeling quite gay today", for example. It may still work at a Victorian ball, but not in most contexts. So whatever "swing dance" meant 65 years ago - if anything, which nobody has cited any reason to believe as yet - it refers to a family of related dances now, and has for many years.

I understand the desire to set the terminology of the debate unilaterally - doing so wins most of the argument without actually talking - but it won't happen. Put a bunch of like-minded dancers together and they can agree to adopt a decades-dead usage. Throw them in the general dance environment and they are at best quaint if not shrill.

A few thought experiments to close out with; they are leading questions not meant to be answered as such:


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Last modified on: 2000, Wednesday April 12.