Saturday, 23rd February 2013
It’s fair to say that swing has swung in London, and tonight’s Meet the Scene ball is the perfect introduction, reintroduction, or reminder, as to why swing dancing is such hot stuff at the moment. In the unique and impressive Art Deco Bloomsbury Ballroom, dancers old and new gathered to meet their fellow dancers and put their lessons into practice. Soundtracked by music from The London Gay Big Band, a full 18 piece jazz band, the five hundred strong crowd jittered and jumped through the numerous types of dancing that make up swing, including six beat, eight beat, lindy hop, swing, Charleston, and jive.
One of the most compelling things about these nights is the way that, oozing glamour and sophistication, dapper gentlemen and dolled up ladies get together to dance care free. It’s very easy to forget when repeating basic steps in a sweaty school hall that dancing is a fun, exciting, passionate and social form of entertainment and expression. All twenty four of Swing Patrol’s classes at different venues across London were represented tonight, and the showcased dancing testament to what determination and a sense of sound can achieve.
But, as amazing as the dancing looks, it is difficult to be a spectator for long, as the infectious tapping rhythms get into the toes, compelling movement and twitching whether you believe yourself to be a dancer or not. And it was when the crowd got moving, the drink flowing, and the inhibitions loosened that things really started to swing, right round until that 3am close. Authentic and unpretentious, swing dancing is all about a feeling, and the revelry that tonight induced was warming and welcoming. As scenes go, the swing dancing one seems to be one to stay.