Open Letter to Exclusive Dancers (GTFO)


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Additional clarification: This is not about any particular scene or location, but is rather a mass of several events, scenes, locations and countries I have gone to my lindy career. Please don’t be discouraged or make assumptions about any particular scene or country.

*Rant Disclaimer: all individuals mentioned have had jerky moments, but may not be actual jerks in real life.

Dear Exclusive Dancer,

Someone really just needs to talk some sense into you. Better yet, I hope you get hit in the head with your own ego. Did you know that swing dancing is a social dance? It’s not super pretentious formal like ballroom or super confrontational sexy like salsa. It doesn’t matter if you have the latest Aris Allens or the flyest Chloe Hong tailored pencil skirt…if you act like a jerk and talk like a jerk, you might as well have a sign on your butt that says, “Don’t dance with me.” Swing and lindy hop is supposed to be fun for everyone involved, so why are you making it a high school popularity dramarama? Have you never been an adult before?

I’m sure your swivels are awesome, and you hit that beat like no other. However, given your, ahem, elitism and general jerkiness, I hope you get what’s coming to you. Follows and leads don’t like to get blown off because you’re “too cool.” You know what’s not cool? Talking to one person while ignoring their friends WHOM you have NOT EVEN ASKED THEIR NAMES. Perhaps you’re the resident amazing lead who just can’t dance Balboa, and this rhythm is strictly for Balboa. Better yet, perhaps you’re the calloused teacher who calls out someone by repeated glaring them down and asking, “Are you sure, girl in the blue skirt?” (You know who I’m talking ’bout.) WHAT?! Beware the bad vibes, man…you’re cruisin’ for losin’ new dancer friends.

If you’re an organizer, this is how you kill a scene.
1. Alienate all your new dancers. Don’t talk to them. Heck, don’t even look at them. Plebs.
2. Do some incredibly difficult dance moves in front of the newbies. Aim to intimidate. Don’t say hi or ask any of them to dance afterwards.
3. Promise dances. Don’t deliver. Avoid eye contact the rest of the dance.
4. Say, “I’d rather dance with my hat/hand/grandmother.” (True story).
5. If you have a taster lesson, make counting sound like quantum physics. Everything they do is wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. After all you can only do swing dancing one way, right? *cue eyeroll*
6. In a Jack n’ Jill, you do a tap out and immediately stand behind the people you want to cut. (I see you.)
7. Sit with only people you deem worthy. Treat everyone else “beneath” you like the scum of the earth.
8. Disrespect other dancers and their craft because only people who do lindy are worth your time, right? *bangs head on desk*
9. If you see a dancer friend, ignore all his/her other friends. Talk only with them for two hours. Refuse to ask their names. Heck, refuse to even walk with them. You’re just too cool.
10. Rely on your looks. Rely on other people for looks. Pretty people are the best dancers, after all.

If you have actually done any of those things, you need a serious ego check. The doctor called and said you have a serious case of “WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH YOU?” Swing dancing is supposed to be down-to-earth, down with the beat and downright friendly. How dare you shame Frankie Manning with your higher-than-thou, social segregation bull.

Also, I KNOW when you’re dumbing down your dance moves. I can do a perfectly decent swing out, thank you sir. I don’t need you to scat or count slowly in my face. Thank you for that lovely comment that I should probably take some more privates to stop being a “bad dancer.” What a gentlemen.

So, exclusive dancer, whoever you may be. Take a deep breath and repeat after me. “I will not make swing dancing into a hellish experience for newbies or visitors. I will try my best to be friendly and approachable. I will not make swing dancing so painful for someone they never want to see a dance floor again. Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

Alright, I think you get the picture.

Just be nice, work hard, and don’t be dance jerk, ‘k?

That’s all.
Sherry out.


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