Swing dancing in Vancouver – Rhythm City Mess Around Jan 27 – 28
– photos by Tamara Lee
Swing dancers from all over North America came to Vancouver this past weekend to take part in Rhythm City Mess Around, a two-day swing event organized by Rhythm City Productions. Photog Tamara Lee, a swing dance enthusiast herself, was there to take part and show the rest of us what we’re missing.
“In what other scene would you commonly see bow ties, suspenders, twirly skirts and high kicks?” says Lee. “Aside from movies dating back to the ’50s, these styles are alive and well if you found yourself out at a swing dance.”
The main style of dance at the event was the Lindy Hop. Along with the Charleston, the Hop is one of the granddaddies of swing, which includes Jive and East Coast Swing. It’s characterized by big kicks and arial moves and “was born from the ballrooms in Harlem in the ’20 and ’30s,” says Lee. “Nowadays, it continues with a global Lindy Family and swing dances are easy to find in cities everywhere. In Vancouver lessons are provided from intro level to competition (by UBC Swing Kids and RCMA producers Rhythm City Productions). Regular dances happen at St. Michaels Hall every Thursday, as well as at Royal City Swing in New West on Fridays.”
Video – RCMA:
RCMA guests included out-of-town instructors, Seattle jazz band Glenn Crytzer and his Syncopators, and a Jack and Jill competition. “And it had a lot of outrageous, creative and fun dancing,” adds Lee.
She says she was drawn in to the scene by her love for big band and jazz music. “My grandfather was a big band musician during the war and I grew up listening to it. But now, having been to these dances in Seattle, New York and Montreal I love that it really is like one big family. People come together from all places and ages to enjoy a common thread – a love of dance.”
A larger swing dance event, Lindy Bout takes place in Vancouver April 27 – 29. [Lindy Bout VI website]