True politeness costs nothing, but yields the largest interest and profit to the possessor of any known securities.
-from the “Modern Quadrille Call Book and Dancing Master” – A.C. Wirth, 1902.
Every week I answer questions from people interested in Omaha Jitterbugs. Some of them are subscribers to this newsletter, but most are not. I’m asked all sorts of things, ranging from the time and place for lessons or dances to the appropriate choice of clothing or footwear. The question that is asked most frequently, though, whether it be for classes or Jitterbug’s Night Out is, “Do I need a partner?” I always reply that while it is fun to bring a partner and helpful from the standpoint of practice, it is not at all necessary. All our classes rotate partners, and at the dances just about everyone will dance with you for the asking. Which brings me to the topic at hand: asking people to dance.
In the past there has been an unspoken, and sometimes spoken, convention that only the gentleman is to ask a lady to dance. This protocol is no longer observed. Regardless of your gender, the only rule about asking for a dance is to be polite and direct. It is perfectly acceptable for a lady to ask a gentleman to dance, and in fact, it may be necessary! Sometimes men can be a bit bashful about dancing, especially if they are inexperienced. So ladies, go ahead and ask.
In general, any invitation to dance should be accepted unless there is a substantive reason not to. Again, politeness is the order of the day. “I’d love to, but I’ve promised this dance to _____. Perhaps the next?” “I’m sorry, I’m worn out from that eight minute rendition of Bugle Call Rag. Let me rest a bit and I’ll find you.” “I’m afraid I’ll have to make it up next week, my ride is leaving.” You get the idea. Once you’re on the dance floor, especially with a new partner, remember: experience levels vary, but everyone wants to have a good time. So be gentle with one another. Start in closed position, feel the music, and build from there. You are a team, creating something together. If your lead is inexperienced and off time, engage him (or her) as best you can. If your follower is struggling to keep up with your favorite combination, stop trying to lead it. If you have to dance basics for a whole song, do so with feeling and a smile. Those steps aren’t the basics because they’re lame-o. They’re the basics because they are the very foundation of cool. And no matter what, it will be over soon – three minutes, give or take. You’re in it together, so make the most of it!
A big thank you is due right off the bat to Jill Anderson and the rest of the Creighton Swing Club crew for hosting Jitterbugs Night Out last week. It was a great night, featuring lots of cool dancing and a groovy Soul-Train competition. Thanks as well to emcee Andy Meredith, who schlepped equipment over hill and dale to make the music play. Well done, everyone!
Josie Lawhon will be holding orientation and tryouts for the Omaha Jitterbugs community outreach team. This group will give informal demonstrations of historical and modern swing dancing to schools, civic groups, etc in the Omaha area. Date will be 2pm Saturday, February 9th, at Just Dance Studio, 84th and K streets. For more information write email@example.com or speak with her at Jitterbugs Night Out.
Friday February 15th will be the annual Omaha Jitterbugs Pink Party in honor of Valentine’s day. There will be a prize for the best pink outfit. There will also be a partnered, anything-goes swing contest! You pick your partner, we pick the music. We’ll have preliminaries and finals as required; finals will include a jam where every couple gets a spotlight. Entry is free and prizes will be awarded.
The following Friday, February 22, join Omaha Jitterbugs as we celebrate the birthday of America’s first President, George Washington. We’ll have live music that night, band TBA.
The Friday after that, February 29, JNO will again be relocated to St. John’s Church on the campus of Creighton University. The dance will be held as part of a workshop weekend, tentatively entitled “Son of Swing-a-ma-Thing,” sponsored by the Creighton Swing Club.
There will be a rock and roll dance featuring the Johnny O Show at the Elkhorn Eagles Club from 7pm to midnight, Saturday January 26. Tickets are $10 advance, $15 at the door. There will be a jitterbug contest and prizes for best 50’s vintage costume. For more information contact Vicki – 330-7238 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Proceeds will be donated to the Open Door Mission and Lydia House.
Owing to some unforeseen developments, the Midwestern Balboa Swing Festival is postponed until further notice. This was not an easy decision to make, but circumstances are such that the integrity of the event would be compromised were we to continue as scheduled. We have two potential weekends in May that are under intense consideration. Thank you for your understanding. The event will be much better as a result of this change!
We would like to see as much support as possible from the Omaha scene for two cool regional dance events – the Hawkeye Swing Festival in Iowa City (April 11th-13th; http://www.hawkeyeswingfestival.com/) and the MoKan Swing in Kansas City (April 18th – 20th.) These are both great events and will be even more fun if Omaha represents in force! I’d love to see thirty Omaha dancers at each, especially the very close-by MoKan Swing. Watch this space for information on housing, car pooling, and possible price breaks.
Lance Benishek, St. Paul based dance historian, instructor and Big Apple guru, says “hello!” to everyone in the Omaha scene. Lance taught at the first MBSF and Jamborama 5 and hopes to come here again soon!
If you aren’t a friend of Omaha Jitterbugs on MySpace and Facebook, do log on and join us.
Anyone interested in volunteering for Omaha Jitterbugs in any capacity should speak with Becky Lowry at JNO or drop a line to Jitterbugs@Jitterbugs.org with “Volunteering” in the subject line. I’ll forward the email on to Becky!
Please pre-register for classes by emailing email@example.com with “Class Registration” in the subject line. Specify what classes you are interested in, and be sure to include your phone number so we can contact you in the event that the class has to be cancelled. Thanks!
Last week’s trivia question was: Who said Frankie Manning would “never be a dancer”, and why? The correct answer, supplied by Tom Miller, was that Frankie’s mother, Lucille Hadley Manning, told him that he was “too stiff.” Frankie was twelve at the time. Though brought down, he wasn’t discouraged for long. He took her remark as constructive criticism and it sparked his interest even more. He kept on dancing, working at it all the time, with the famous results we are all familiar with.
So let us then be up and doing…and on to “This Week in Swing.”
DANCES and SHOWS
Friday 1/25 Jitterbugs Night Out – Eagle’s Club, 24th and Douglas Street, upstairs – 8pm to midnight; $5.
Saturday 1/26 Rock and Roll Dance with Johnny O Show – Elkhorn Eagles Club – 7pm to midnight. $15 day of show.CLASSES AND WORKSHOPS:
Continuing this Week:
Friday, started 1/04 – 7pm Dean Collins Shim Sham with Nate and Christy – Eagles Club (will meet on the 4th, 11th, and 25th; group will perform routine at JNO on 25th – $10 per session)
Saturday, started 1/05 – 12noon Lindy I with Nate and Christy – Just Dance (week 4 of 4)
Wednesday, started 1/09 7pm–Intro to Lindy Hop with Brian and Josie LaVista Community Center (week 4 of 5)Wednesday, started 1/09th 8pm-Intro to Charleston with Brian and Josie LaVista Community Center (week 4 of 5)
Upcoming With Nate and Christy:
Friday 2/01 – 7pm Balboa I with Nate and Christy – Eagles Club (4 weeks, $40)
Saturday 2/02 – 12noon Lindy Hop I with Nate and Christy – Just Dance (4 weeks, $40)
Saturday 2/02 – 1pm Competition and Show – Just Dance (90 minutes; ongoing. $60 for one month; $80 for two)
Friday 3/07 – 7pm Balboa + (will build on previous month’s Bal class) with Nate and Christy – Eagles Club (three weeks, $30)
Saturday 3/01 – 12noon Lindy I with Nate and Christy – Just Dance (4 weeks, $40)
Upcoming with Brian and Josie:
Monday, February 4th 8pm–Balboa II4 weeks $40.00 per person Location TBA
Wednesday, Feb 13th 8pm–Charleston II4 weeks–$40.00 per person LaVista Community CenterWednesday, Feb 20th 7pm–Lindy II 4 weeks–$40.00 per person LaVista Community Center
Monday, March 3, 10, and 24th 8pm–Balboa Practice NightEach class only $5 Location TBA
Wednesday, March 19th 7pm–Intermediate Lindy Hop4 weeks– $40.00 per person LaVista Community CenterWednesday, March 19th 8pm–Tranky Doo2 weeks–$20.00 per person LaVista Community Center
UPCOMING NOTABLE EVENTS
Friday 2/15 – Annual Pink Party at JNO for Valentines Day
Friday 2/22 – Live Music at JNO for George Washington’s Birthday
Friday 2/29 – Leap Day edition of JNO – location TBA (not at Eagles)
Friday 3/14 – The Rite of Swing Roman Bacchanal – Beware the Ides of March!
4/11 to 4/13 – Hawkeye Swing Festival
4/18 to 4/20 – MoKan Swing
Saturday 6/7/08 Big Bad Voodoo Daddy at the Holland Center
8/21 to 8/24/08 The Cowtown Jamborama VI
TRIVIAThe person sending the best response to firstname.lastname@example.org will receive $5 in Jitterbucks at the next Jitterbugs’ Night Out. Put “trivia” in the subject line. Ties will be broken by time of receipt.
For five jitterbucks: What is the nickname of the Savoy Ballroom, and who allegedly gave it that cheerful appellation?
This week’s swing birthdays include Wellman Braud (1.25.1881), Benny Golson (1.25.29), Antonio Carlos Jobim (1.25.27), Stephane Grappelli (1.26.1908), Oran Thaddeus “Hot Lips” Page (1.27.1908), Roy “Little Jazz” Eldridge (1.30.11) and Bobby Hacket (1.31.15).
See you on the dance floor!
executive directorOmaha Jitterbugswww.jitterbugs.orgwww.jitterblogs.orgThis message was sent by: Omaha Jitterbugs, PO Box 27618, Omaha, NE 68127-0618