FIRST CLASSES FOR 2014
Swing On In Tamborine – Monday 3rd February
Swing on In Broadbeach – Tuesday 4th February
Swing On In Bangalow – Wednesday 5th February
Swing On In Toowoomba – Thursday 6th February
Monday Night – Chrissy & Ray’s Dance Ranch – Email for address..
Tuesday Night – Broadbeach Bowls Club, 169 Surf Parade, Broadbeach – 7pm
Wednesday – The Bowlo @ Bangalow – 21 Byron Bay Rd, Bangalow – 7pm
Thursday – Toowoomba Indoor Bowls Hall – West Toowoomba Bowls Club – Cnr Taylor & West St – 7pm
What is Swing?
The term swing really refers to the music of an era. Before World War II, not only was the world about to face turbulent times, but a new musical era called Swing was born. By the late 1930’s the swing era was taking the United States by storm. Its roots were formed in the jazz music of the 1920’s and early 1930’s when the big bands of the day started to play music that really swung. This is where swing got its name.
Not only was the music going through a transformation but many dance styles were changing with the music. Variations emerged from early dance styles such as the charleston era of the 1920’s. Dances like the Lindy Hop and Balboa also had their roots in the early jazz times but lended themselves well to the music that was played during the swinging days.
The team at Swing On In have a passion for the music and dance styles of those early days. Hence our motto: ‘Recapturing the spirit of the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s”. The Swinging dance styles that we concentrate on are:
Sometimes refered to as the Jitterbug, this energetic, fun, groovy and sometimes goofy dance style is our first love. This was one of the first great partner dances of the era. Born in the late 1920’s in the Savoy Ballroom, Harlem. The story goes that it was named by George “Shorty” Snowden who when asked what it was that he was dancing replied that he was doing the Lindy Hop because ‘we’re flying just like Lindy did’.
He was refering to the famous pilot Charles Lindbergh who had just hopped the Atlantic. Many famous Lindy dancers came from the Savoy Ballroom and spread the word across the world. One such person is the great master Frankie Manning. Frankie is one of the last surviving members of the original Lindy Hop dance troupe, Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers. Frankie, like many others today travels the world helping keep the essence of this dance alive. This dance style has strong Afro-American and jazz influences that encourage individuality and spontaneity. All in all, it’s a lot of fun!
Chrissy & Ray have been swing dancing and teaching since 1996 (You do the Math)
Learnt from the masters all over Australia and the world – Teach mainly on the Gold Coast but travel around Australia & NZ to conduct workshops from time to time.
They teach Savoy Style Lindy Hop and derivatives of dance in the Swing era including, Charelston, St Louis Shag, Shim Sham, Jitterbug and whatever else takes their fancy..
Our rewards are helping the scene to develop into the largest, most liveliest scene – “The Australian Swing Scene”, in the world. Watching the faces of our students as they “Get it” and seeing the smiles broaden across the once frightened faces.
Teaching style is relaxed, funny, knowledgeable, you will often be seen laughing in class but will always walk away with valuable information to improve your dancing.
Classes for all ages every week
No Partner Necessary
7.00pm – 7.45pm Beginners
8.00 – Intermediate
8.30 – Intermediate Plus
9.15 – 10.00pm – Social
While you are learning to dance it is a good idea to wear flat comfy shoes that do not have a tread on them. Bring a towel..
PAYING HOMAGE TO OUR ROOTS:
The one whom we respect the most – Our Grandfather of all swing and one of our original dance Instructors and Friend – Mr Frankie Manning:
In the late 1920’s in Harlem Lindy Hop was breaking out wherever people were partying… But it wasn’t until the opening of the Savoy Ballroom that Lindy Hop got its name and a home. At the Savoy the Lindy Hop got hotter and hotter, as people danced to the top Big Bands in the land. And it got better and better, as the popular Saturday night competitions pushed good dancers to greatness. New steps were born every day. The styling got refined and was executed so well that the dance was a joy to watch as well as do. When it looked like it couldn’t get any better, a young dancer named Frankie “Musclehead” Manning created the first airsteps in 1935, and the Lindy Hop soared.
Frankie’s Timeline: – Swing Patrol – Melbourne website (swingpatrol.com.au)
Frankie Manning was born on the 26th of May, 1914, in Jacksonville, Florida. According to Frankie, his mother, a party lady, told him that even before he was born he used to kick in time to the music when she went out dancing. At the age of three, Frankie moved with his family to Harlem in New York City.
The Savoy Ballroom opened and became the home of a new popular style of dance that would later be called Lindy Hop. At this time Frankie was still a youngster, and danced in the Alhambra, Outhammer and Renaissance ballrooms for years before moving on to the Savoy, where some of the founders of Lindy Hop, such as George Shorty Snowden and Leroy Jones were still dancing. Unlike many venues in those days, the Savoy was open to both Blacks and Whites. Norma Miller described it as a melting pot of different ethnic groups where colour wasnt important. As Frankie put it: If you walked in the Savoy, the only thing we wanted to know is can you dance?
It is to this year that many trace the invention of the Lindy Hop. George Snowden named the dance after Charles Lindbergh, who had just made his transatlantic flight, so the story goes.
Herbert Whitey White established a group of professional performers gathered from the best dancers in the Savoy scene, including Frankie, who was his chief choreographer. It was also at this time that Frankie invented the first airstep and performed it with his partner Frieda to the amazement of a huge crowd at a Saturday night dance competition at the Savoy. And so Frankie and Frieda won the dance-off with their predecessors and heroes, Shorty George and Big B.
The Marx Brothers comedy, A Day at the Races, was the first of many Hollywood films that Whiteys dancers appeared in. Frankie choreographed their scene, but was unable to perform in it due to his commitments with another of Whiteys dance troupes, Whiteys Hopping Maniacs. Frankie also got third place in the Harvest Moon Ball competition in this year.
Toured Europe and performed for European royalty
Toured Australia and New Zealand, including Melbourne, with the Big Apple dancers.
Started dancing with Ann Johnson, whom he later described as his favourite dance partner.
Hellzapoppin’ with Whiteys dancers performing one of the most famous Lindy routines on film, was released. Also in this year Frankie was profiled by Life magazine. It was around this time that Frankie joined the army as Americas involvement in WWII began.
Frankie came out of the army and started dancing again. He formed his own dance troupe called the Congaroos.
Frankie got married and settled down. In the following year he got a job at the post office and worked there for the next thirty years!
The Savoy Ballroom came down. It had closed due to rising taxes and band fees. There is still to this day no monument to mark the spot that has such significance to the history of swing dancing, a fact Frankie is trying to change.
Was contacted by Erin Stevens and worked closely with her and Steven Mitchell, teaching them the style of dance that he had learned back at the Savoy, the original Lindy Hop. Since then, Frankie has taught it to countless people around the world both directly through his own workshops and indirectly through the burgeoning network of dancers, beginning with Mitchell and Stevens, who have sought to pass on his legacy. Frankie has worked with many groups worldwide including the Rhythm Hot Shots of Sweden and has even taught with his son, Charles Chazz Young, who specialises in tap and other jazz dances.
Received a Tony Award for Choreography in the Broadway musical Black & Blue.
Malcolm X was released and included a Lindy Hop scene recreating the Savoy, choreographed by Frankie. Frankie performed in this scene as well as training members of the cast, including Denzel Washington. He commented in Perth last year that Denzel was a total natural and did all those aerials himself.
Frankie celebrated his 80th birthday with hundreds of fans at his Cant Top the Lindy Hop event. It was here that he received the National Endowment for the Arts Grant for choreography.
Frankie was awarded the National Heritage Fellowship.
Many Swing Patrollers had their first brush with Frankie when he taught workshops in Adelaide and Perth.
Frankie returns to Melbourne!
Dies April 27th New York.
(As sourced by Ben Williamson)
LETS SET THE SCENE: – A nice read and a story written by a great mate many years ago:
It’s a cool march evening in Harlem, New York City, 1927, the 26th to be exact. Charles Lindbergh has just hoped his way successfully across the Atlantic and the Savoy Ballroom is celebrating its first year since it pushed open its shining glass and timber doors for the first time and became instant meca for the city’s hottest black swinging jazz bands and best dancers. The heady call of the wild, some call dangerous, beats still lashes smiles over the faces of the young energetic kids. Night after steamy night, in the city –block- long Savoy Ballroom, with its massive dance floor and its two bandstands, one thousand, perhaps even two thousand excited and jubilant New Yorkers press together to enjoy the hot joyous atmosphere of the joint. Its your first night here. Having heard about it on the streets you cant wait to see what all the noise is about. As you turn the corner you are confronted by the massive Savoy Ballroom. The air is alive with muted sounds of dance bands coming from within. The street is a constant bustle of people hot footing it to and from the Savoy. A vale of steam seems to pulse out of the door ways. Its as if the building is breathing. Exhaling heat into the cool evening air. As you pass through the doors is like stepping into another world. There is a sea of people, dancing, laughing, living life. Such is the enormity of the Savoy Ballroom that if you can easily loose your dance partner for the whole night if you didn’t hold on tight. You have become part of a larger, living, thing. Your senses are on overload for the loudness and the heat and the enormity of life at large inside this cavern . For how long you are mesmerized by the beast you have discovered you don’t know.
Way off in the distance, at the other end of the Ballroom an excited roar of the crowd brings you back to your senses. Again and again cheers and gasps of joy being thrown up by the ever growing press of people. You need to get there, something tells you there is something going on that you need to see. You find yourself pressing your way through the swirling mass of dancers, weaving through the plodding sea of flat footers. Its taken you twenty minutes to get near. The roars continue to rise and fall with greater intensity. You can’t yet see but you can hear and feel it. A band is going crazy with what seems to be hoped up jazz number, a wailing frenzy of drums, double bass, horns, piano and guitar. ‘What’s going on over there’ you excitedly demand from a black kid of 18, glistening with sweat. With a smile so big that it lights up the space he booms into your ear “ it’s the cats corner, we’re turning the floor crazy.”
You don’t know it but you’ve just had your first encounter with Frankie Manning.
With a crash the band leaps into song, the crowd shifts, and you find yourself at the edge of a volcano of energy. The kids are dancing like you’ve never seen before. Their feet don’t seem to stop, they are flinging towards each other and swinging out again, every phrase of the music is being pushed to the rafters and through the roof as they explode their moves onto the floorboards. Its at once frantic and smooth. Its of the music and in the music yet it feeds the music. Its grabbed you by your soul and you know that you will never erase the image of these cool cats. You are witnessing the birth of something so new and raw that you are breathless.
Some fifty metres away, watching the same sceen, a newspaper reporter askes a local dance enthusiast named Shorty George ‘what dance is that’? Shorty, glancing at a newspaper article titled “Lindy hops the Atlantic” sitting on a nearby bench,just sorta reads that and says “ why that there is what we call “ Lindy Hop””…
The next day as you nurse your sore head and read the New York times you come across a note in the social pages. It seems that a new dance has emerged from the streets of Harlem. A dance called the Lindy Hop. A smile starts to spread across your face… and it just don’t stop.
CHRISSY and Ray Keepence are on a mission to bring back old-school charm and revive a golden age of glamour.
And it seems Generation Y is on the same page.
The couple, who started swing dance school, Swing On In Gold Coast, have seen their dance business morph into The Lindy Charm School for Girls and soon a Suave School for Gents.
The number of women wanting to learn about the fashions, fads and etiquette of the early 20th century has become so popular, Mrs Keepence is running a school every weekend in every Australian state.
“I taught 2000 girls last year and have had to call in the help of five charm-school mistresses as training assistants,” Mrs Keepence said.
“It started when the girls who were coming to the dance school wanted to emulate my look and the glamour of that era.
“I now have girls as young as 13 and women in their seventies attending the charm school, although the majority are women under 40 who want to emulate the pin-up era.
“And who wouldn’t want to look like Betty Grable?”
Mrs Keepence said the younger generation was discovering a passion for old-world charm and good manners.
“High tea and etiquette are cool again,” she said.
“I teach the history and fashion from the 1930s to the 1960s, hair and make-up, the importance of under garments, dressing for shape, and correct posture and poise.
“We look at what is charm and how do you use it to build confidence.
“An important element is also how to give and receive compliments.
“Charm and poise are not all about lipstick, powder and paint although they are helpful because they envelope the message.”
Mrs Keepence said in tough financial times, she also highlighted how the money-saving beauty techniques of our mothers and grandmothers could be relevant today.
“They used things like beetroot juice to colour their lips, cornflour as face powder and made their own face creams,” she said.
“It was a make-do-and-mend society but they developed great skills.”
Mr Keepence said the Suave School for Men the pair planned to start this year was the result of “many men feeling unsure about how to treat women in the wake of feminism”.
“We believe men have been left out and are feeling confused,” he said.
“We believe women still like to have doors opened for them but men are no longer sure if that’s allowed.
“But movies and shows like the Great Gatsby and Boardwalk Empire have rekindled an interest in that era and guys are digging those clothes. We can teach them when to wear a hat and whether it’s correct to wear braces with a belt.”
They plan to hold workshops and short courses on charm, chivalry, grooming, etiquette and good manners for men.