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Thread: Is MJ a Swing dance (Does the music define the dance?)

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    Senior Member Minnie M's Avatar
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    Re: Famous with out consent?

    Quote Originally Posted by Christine Keeble View Post
    ......... Maybe that is because MJ developed during the disco era ....
    Sorry Christine - not true !!!

    I was dancing "French Jive" which is almost the same as the Modern Jive I dance today in the "French" nightclubs in Wardour Street and other clubs in Soho in the late 50's.

    This style of dance appeared to die out in England when Disco came in, in the early 60's !!

    BTW we danced "French Jive" to music like Bobby Daren's "La Mer"
    Last edited by Minnie M; 14th-January-2008 at 10:12 PM.


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    Senior Member Minnie M's Avatar
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    Re: Famous with out consent?

    changed my mind about posting this ..................
    Last edited by Minnie M; 14th-January-2008 at 10:27 PM.


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    Re: Famous with out consent?

    Quote Originally Posted by straycat264 View Post
    Well - as a purist, I believe that MJ is most certainly not a swing dance. Nor is modern WCS.

    It's a tricky area though, yes. Pete Loggins, who is something of an expert on swing dance history, will tell you about the old-timers' view that 'the music defines the dance'.
    I don't really think the music truly defines the dance, otherwise all those dances done to the same music would be the same dance, and they are clearly not.
    Unfortunately, I think trying to find one thing to define a dance is just not gonna work So accepting the dances are defined by more than one/many things, and music is just one of them.....

    Swing, as understand it in my non-expert way, is a collection of dances that have some similar characteristics that make them 'swing' dances (derived from the jazz music of the time), but also optionally have additional characteristics that are unique or not swing characteristics. Hence dances as diverse as Lindy, WCS, Blues, Balboa etc. come under the swing banner.

    I rather suspect the established 'swing' community would rather eat their shoelaces than admit MJ is a swing dance. Personally, I don't believe it has anything to do with sticking your bum out or stance, but more the elasticity, the swung beats etc. and these are characteristics MJ does exhibit. Therefore, for what it's worth, MJ gets my vote as a swing dance

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    Re: Famous with out consent?

    Quote Originally Posted by TA Guy View Post
    I rather suspect the established 'swing' community would rather eat their shoelaces than admit MJ is a swing dance. Personally, I don't believe it has anything to do with sticking your bum out or stance, but more the elasticity, the swung beats etc. and these are characteristics MJ does exhibit. Therefore, for what it's worth, MJ gets my vote as a swing dance
    Ok, I didn't realise that. Could you explain how MJ exhibits swung beats? I'd really like to be able to get that into my dancing.

    Cheers,

    Dan

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    Re: Famous with out consent?

    Quote Originally Posted by gebandemuishond View Post
    Ok, I didn't realise that. Could you explain how MJ exhibits swung beats? I'd really like to be able to get that into my dancing.

    Cheers,

    Dan
    Swung note - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    You need the right music. If you get the right music, good MJ dancers will 'swung it'
    If you get the wrong music, like WCS, MJ is fine with that also.

    I'm not particularly a fan of swing music, but I do like songs that incorporate swung beats. It adds a little something to the dance rhythmically.

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    Re: Famous with out consent?

    Quote Originally Posted by TA Guy View Post
    Swung note - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    You need the right music. If you get the right music, good MJ dancers will 'swung it'
    If you get the wrong music, like WCS, MJ is fine with that also.

    I'm not particularly a fan of swing music, but I do like songs that incorporate swung beats. It adds a little something to the dance rhythmically.
    It's the bold I'm not sure of. I know what a swung beat is musically, not how to use it in dancing. When I hear those brushes caressing the snare, the high hats doing their tsss t t tsss t t tsss, the bass doing its thing, I want to 'dance swung', but I don't know how.

    Maybe by bending/slowing the movements with the rhythm, then 'lazily snapping' into place. Not sure how the footwork would change though.

    Ideas & experience appreciated,

    Dan

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    Re: Famous with out consent?

    Quote Originally Posted by Minnie M View Post
    Sorry Christine - not true !!!

    I was dancing "French Jive" which is almost the same as the Modern Jive I dance today in the "French" nightclubs in Wardour Street and other clubs in Soho in the late 50's.

    This style of dance appeared to die out in England when Disco came in, in the early 60's !!

    BTW we danced "French Jive" to music like Bobby Daren's "La Mer"
    Sorry I should have said the dance "developed a lot more" instead of it just "developed". Though the dance appeared to die out in England I don't believe it did so in France (which is where I learnt it in the 70's - dancing to disco). This is why the resurrected/imported dance came to be called Ceroc or Le Roc.
    If you were doing it in the late 50's I'd love to know if you went to the original 2ii's Club and, if so, was it as fab as they say it was? What were you wearing? who used to hang out there? and what was the atmosphere like? Was it anything like the way they portray it in Absolute Beginners? Please tell all....

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    Re: Famous with out consent?

    Personally, I see the following as common elements of the "swing" dances:

    1) non-progressive (no line of dance).
    2) danceable to swing music (though not always restricted to swing music).
    3) based on six and/or eight beat moves, possibly with some extensions.

    Modern Jive falls down on the third criterion.

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    Re: Is MJ a Swing dance (Does the music define the dance?)

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidJames View Post
    Hmmm, very interesting. Yes, "pure" MJ generally should be balls-of-the-feet, I think.
    As is Lindy. Miss Molly is spot on about the downwards part - simply put, in Lindy one maintains a pulse with the beat, which is always a slight 'down' action into the floor - it's one of the fundamental aspects of Lindy connection. But one is also very much on the balls of the feet throughout the dance.

    The bum-out posture isn't one I particularly like myself - I prefer to see it as a 'running' posture so your weight is over the front of the feet, and the body canted slightly forward like a runner - but no need to stick one's bum out if one doesn't want

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    Re: Famous with out consent?

    Quote Originally Posted by gebandemuishond View Post
    When I hear those brushes caressing the snare, the high hats doing their tsss t t tsss t t tsss, the bass doing its thing, I want to 'dance swung', but I don't know how.
    Some footwork patterns can be swung. For example, on a kick-ball-change, the "ball" element can be delayed so that it is later than halfway between the "kick" and the "change". This demonstrates a swung feel. The same applies to a triple step. Other footwork patterns cannot be swung. For example, the R-L-R-L- walking pattern common to Modern Jive followers doesn't swing.

    There are other ways.

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    Re: Famous with out consent?

    Quote Originally Posted by gebandemuishond View Post
    Maybe by bending/slowing the movements with the rhythm, then 'lazily snapping' into place. Not sure how the footwork would change though.
    That's actually a perfect description of the feeling - one of the things I love about swing music is what I call either its sloppy precision, or its precise sloppiness.

    The swing aspect though comes about through the timing of the footwork. Best example is with triple steps - if one is stepping 1 2 3&4 - the '&' is not precisely halfway between the 3 and the 4 (as it would be in, say, cha cha or in ballroom jive) - it's around 3/4 of the way through the interval. That's basically what a swung triple is - it gives a radically different feel to the dance. I like to dance it in a very 'lazy' fashion - so I don't really put my full weight on the triple - I'm just skimming my foot along the floor with only a partial weight transfer on the triple. Hope this makes some kind of sense.

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    Re: Is MJ a Swing dance (Does the music define the dance?)

    Quote Originally Posted by Astro View Post
    It's a bonus IMO.

    Isn't Swing differentiated by the little skip?
    Certainly not in the footwork. Quite a few people do do a 'skippy' kind of triple step, but all that does is get in the way of the lead / follow, look wierd, and make for a very strange dance - it's a good habit to avoid, IMO.

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    Re: Famous with out consent?

    Quote Originally Posted by MartinHarper View Post
    Personally, I see the following as common elements of the "swing" dances:

    1) non-progressive (no line of dance).
    2) danceable to swing music (though not always restricted to swing music).
    3) based on six and/or eight beat moves, possibly with some extensions.

    Modern Jive falls down on the third criterion.
    Swedish Bugg is normally regarded as a swing dance, though it fails against criteria 1 & 3 that you give.
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    Re: Famous with out consent?

    Someone clever on the radio used a phrase that I like to use to describe Swing dances - "The American Dance Form" all of the dances are based on music with even beats to the bar (2 4 8) and use typically (though not exclussively) 6 and 8 count rhythms. The family includes Charleston, Lindy & Rock n Roll with all of the variants in between and beyond.

    Specifically he drew attention to the difference between this and the Latin Forms that have lead to our modern Latin Ballroom / AT / Salsa - these are definitely not "American Form" ergo they aren't related to Swing dancing.

    Sooooooo (getting to the point) Yes MJ is a Swing dance if you want it to be but it can also be a latin dance - it just depends how you dance at a given time to a given song.

    We're all aware that MJ has lifted shapes from other dances - a lady spin come straight from lindy, mambo steps from latin. So from the toolbox of things you can do when dancing, if you choose the swing ones when dancing to Candyman then you are dancing swing (generally the swing moves can be danced faster than the latin ones, so one tends to do that naturally).

    BTW as we go to a lot of Rock n Roll dances now we've adapted our Lindy to more of a Boogie Woogie as that dance fits better with the more straight feel of RnR (as well as it being more suited to the flat out nature of RnR) - I don't class it as dancing Boogie Woogie, it's just dancing appropriately to the track being played.

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    Re: Is MJ a Swing dance (Does the music define the dance?)

    I've been thinking about this a bit. I've got a question. Why do we care if MJ is a swing dance? It doesn't stop MJ being what it is and doesn't change it at all.

    It's all a bit like finding a new species on an island and having to decide if it's a member of the cat family. The new species never knew there was a cat family and will continue to do what it does regardless of where scientists place it.

    However, if there was a Lottery Grant for swing dances ...

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    Re: Is MJ a Swing dance (Does the music define the dance?)

    I've also been thinking about this and it suddenly occurred to me, I think I could tell if someone was doing Lindy, Cha Cha, Ballroom Tango, Argentine Tango, Ballroom Jive or Modern Jive, even if there was 'no' music, so for me, its the style and not the music, that defines the dance!
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    Re: Is MJ a Swing dance (Does the music define the dance?)

    Got it: the MJ definition...

    - Danced to the music
    - Danced with a partner
    - Cannot be defined soley as any other form of dancing

    As to whether it's a swing dance? If the dancers are dancing to a 'swing' track, then yes. And it's a Latin dance if they are dancing to a latin track. And it's a blues dance if they are dancing to a blues track. And it's a popular dance if they are dancing to pop music.
    Music does/should define how the dancers dance to it, but I don't think it should define the dance.

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    Re: Famous with out consent?

    Quote Originally Posted by straycat264 View Post
    Best example is with triple steps - if one is stepping 1 2 3&4 - the '&' is not precisely halfway between the 3 and the 4 (as it would be in, say, cha cha or in ballroom jive) - it's around 3/4 of the way through the interval. That's basically what a swung triple is - it gives a radically different feel to the dance. I like to dance it in a very 'lazy' fashion - so I don't really put my full weight on the triple - I'm just skimming my foot along the floor with only a partial weight transfer on the triple. Hope this makes some kind of sense.

    Triple steps are not confined to the timing you mention. There is more than one timing and is regarded as a standard for Swing. Also the movement within the dance also defines whether a dance like West Coast Swing is a swing dance it does not have to rely on the music. While taking private tuition to improve my lead within WCS I have been introduced to the 'Swing' aspect of the dance. It is a bit like Lindy that does not require the bounce to be seen on the outside. The bounce can still occur but is an inward actual that helps to make the fundamentals of the dance work. Although WCS has developed the way that the slot is used using as just one example flash lighting the Swing element within the dance is still there. It has just been refined. It can be found in the upper levels of dancers that you see the action of Swing being used.

    Another example of the progression of WCS that changes the way we look at it is the use of pitch. Although it has been elongated it still effects the dancers' execution of the dance.

    On the question whether MJ is a Swing dance not only do you have to question what Swing is but what is the dynamic of MJ as a dance and that is one that is being continually debated...

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    Re: Famous with out consent?

    Quote Originally Posted by Geordieed View Post
    Triple steps are not confined to the timing you mention.
    There's plenty of timings can be used for triples - I was answering gebandemuishond's question, and was describing swung triples - which employ a rhythm to match swing music.

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    Re: Famous with out consent?

    Quote Originally Posted by straycat264 View Post
    There's plenty of timings can be used for triples - I was answering gebandemuishond's question, and was describing swung triples - which employ a rhythm to match swing music.

    Yeah I know. Just to help though the '&' isn't always in the middle as you described.

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