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Ringing in the New Year with swing dancing

2013 Holiday dance at Forest City Swing
2013 Holiday dance at Forest City Swing
Stephanie Johnson

Last Thursday, your Rockford Dance Examiner attended Forest City Swing’s (FCS) annual Holiday dance. This year, they had a record breaking 282 people in attendance. There were dancers not only from Rockford, but from the swing scenes in Dekalb, Naperville, and Champagne. Here are some thoughts on the night’s festivities.

The bad:

  • The space was not adequate for the number of people in attendance. Plus, FCS always has a problem with spatial awareness which was magnified by the large number of people. For those who are unaware, spatial awareness in dance terms, means the ability to assess where both you and your follow are at any point in time and foresee any possible collisions with other couples. FCS would greatly benefit from offering a class in the subject and how to alter moves on the fly to avoid such collisions. This would make for better dancers, and not scare off dancers from the surrounding area who are quick to see this problem.
  • The floor was bad for dancing. Dancers know that the state of the floor can make or break the amount of traction (or lack thereof) you need to pull off a move. Gym floors aren’t ideal to begin with. Then add to that the moisture from people’s shoes that have gone through the snow, and you get a sticky floor. Not fun.
  • The music, though good, was difficult to dance to. Screw City Swingers had a unique sound that was rather hard to translate into 6-count swing. Those that knew other styles of dance such as Lindy Hop, did alright. Unfortunately, Lindy Hop is rarely taught at FCS.

The good:

  • The aforementioned band gave live music that was fun to listen to. They seemed delighted to be there, and mentioned several times how amazed they were at the dance moves they got to see performed. The DJ music while the band took breaks wasn’t bad either.
  • Several good dancers were in attendance. If you were knowledgeable or lucky enough to find one of these dancers, and brave enough to ask them to dance, you were sure to have a wonderful dance.
  • The price was affordable. Many places hike up their price if they have a live band play. Admission for this dance was the normal weekly admission of $3.

Can’t get enough swing? You still have two more holiday dance opportunities coming up shortly. Navarro’s in Naperville has a New Year’s dance this Thursday with lesson starting at 7:30. Also, Tri-City Swing is hosting a New Year’s dance at Baker Community Center in Saint Charles with live music from The Flat Cats this Friday with lesson starting at 6:30.

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