Swing Out Dancing, Hand Dancing & Other Mysteries of Ole’ Skool

September 17, 2011

Every since I was little (in single digits!!!); I have always been fascinated by couples who could “tear it up” on the dance floor hand dancing.  I also promised myself since witnessing their smoothness that I would learn how to dance like that.  As I got into my teen and young adult years, I become less enchanted, but at the periodic weddings and family events I would attend; that spark would always be relit when I would see a couple hand dancing all around the floor.  So I have officially added “learning how to hand dance” to my bucket list!

So you ask—what is hand dancing?  Well is a group of dance that developed concurrently with the swing style of jazz music in the 1920s, ’30s ’40s and ’50s, although the earliest of these dance forms predate swing jazz music. The majority of swing dances began in African American communities as vernacular African American dances.  Today there are swing dance scenes in every part of the United States, though each city prefers various dances in different degrees. Each local swing dance community has a distinct local culture and defines “swing dance” and the “appropriate” music to accompany it in different ways.

  • Washington Hand Dancing originated in the Washington, DC, Area in the mid-1950s D.C.’s own adaption of the Lindy Hop once the music changed and a new generation of dancers started innovating to Soul Music and R&B. From it’s very beginning, DC Hand-dance was referred to and called “DC Hand-Dance/Hand-Dancing”, “DC Swing”, “DC Style” (swing) and “fast dance” (meaning DC Hand-Dance). This is the first time a version of “swing” dance was termed “hand-dance/hand-dancing”. DC Hand-Dance is characterized by very smooth footwork and movements, and close-in and intricate hand-turns, danced to a 6-beat, 6- to 8-count dance rhythm. The more modern footwork consists of smooth and continuous floor contact, sliding and gliding-type steps versus hopping and jumping-type steps of the older style which was stylistically still held elements of its Jitterbug/Lindy Hop roots, and there are no aerials.

(information courtesy of Wikipedia)

For those who still don’t know what I am talking about, check out this YouTube video for a sample:

Is that not the coolest thing EVER…a lost form of dance that is quickly falling to the wayside for our children.  I am currently looking to start my dance classes in March of 2012 (after taking the Bar Exam!!!) and I will update you periodically on my progress. I think it will be fun …just one more thing in the “bringing sexy back” arsenal!

So what is on your bucket list?   List them below (no matter how crazy—we won’t judge YOU!!)


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