scoop

What’s the scoop?  You’re thinking about attending a swing dance event (out-of-town or local) you’ve never attended before.  So you go to the event web site or Facebook (FB) page and what do you read:  the event is…..“awesome”, “amazing”, “fantastic”, “coolest ever”, “legendary”, “fabulous”, “incredible”, “super amazing”.  But then when you attend, it turns out the event was just okay, or maybe not even okay, maybe the event just plain sucked.

The music was bad, the dance floor was carpet, or tile, or had nails sticking out of the floor, the venue was not air-conditioned, but of course, you wouldn’t read anything about that on FB.  And you wasted your time and good money on an event everyone said was “awesome”.  Of course, no event is perfect, but what you would have really liked was fact based information on the event so you could make an informed decision on whether or not to attend.

Let’s face it, everything and every event in life is not awesome and amazing – that’s life.  What are some truly awesome and amazing things Mike & Mary have experienced in their  life?  The birth of our children, seeing Niagara Falls, our children’s weddings….yes, those were awesome events.  And Mike & Mary have experienced their fair share of what we would describe as great swing dance events (perhaps more on that later).

For swing dance event promotion on FB and event web pages, hyperbole is rampant and commonplace these days.  It can be a real challenge separating fact from fiction when it comes to swing dance event promotion.  Is there anyplace you can get down-to-earth, fact based information on swing dance events?  Yes, there is – from Mike & Mary  Richardson. 

A little background on why we are providing this info.  On April 10th, 2018, there was a swing dance at the Music Hall Ballroom in Cincy featuring music by the Harry James Orchestra.  Prior to the event, Mike & Mary had some questions from some new dancers on this event:  what was the music  like, the dance floor, the cost, etc.  So in the Hepcats Email Newsletter before that April 10th event, we provided some info on the event (see below), and we received feedback that people found that info useful.

So we’re going to provide info on future swing dance events called – – What’s the Scoop?

To get the most current What’s the Scoop? info please subscribe to the Hepcats Email Newsletter!  At some point after the event, we’ll post the info for that specific event in a section below.

To subscribe to the Hepcats Email Newsletter, send an email to Mike Richardson at info@luv2swingdance.com and we’ll get you signed up.

Cincy Museum Center annual 1940's days, Sat., Aug. 11th, 2018

More info to follow.

The All Balboa Weekend, June 13-16, 2019

There really is no debate - when it comes to a combination of high quality instruction, dancing and competitions - ABW is one of the best (if not the best for Balboa dancers), it's really that simple.  For Balboa dancers, this is a must attend event!

Here's the scoop from Mike & Mary about the All Balboa Weekend (ABW):  “We’ve been dancing Lindy Hop and Balboa for quite a few years, and over that time we’ve attended a lot of weekend workshop events, regionally and nationwide.  There is one weekend workshop event that stands out for us, one we make plans to attend every year:  ABW.

2019 will mark the 18th year for ABW, and we’ve attended for 14 of the past years.  For Balboa enthusiasts, those wanting to learn Balboa, or those wanting to take their Balboa to the next level, ABW is a must attend event.  Not to sound harsh, but you shouldn’t call yourself a serious Balboa dancer – and you shouldn’t attempt to teach Balboa – if you don’t attend ABW on a regular basis, it’s really that simple – ABW is that quality of an event.  (This is especially true for those swing dancers that live in our neck of the woods/within a reasonable driving distance of the event, i.e. KY, Ohio, Indiana,…).

We know ABW is not “cheap” when compared to exchanges, a typical DJ dance, etc…but people, to include swing dancers, make choices all the time about how to spend their money and one of those choices for swing dancers should be to attend ABW!  Don’t be a person that “knows the price of everything and the value of nothing”.  When you consider what you get at ABW – world class instruction, high quality music (both live and DJ), high level competitions, high quality social dancing with hundreds of other Balboa enthusiasts – ABW is a great value.

And if it wasn’t for ABW, the Balboa dance scene in the US and internationally would not be where it is today.  The swing dance community owes a big thanks to Valerie and the ABW staff for their efforts in putting together a consistently first-rate event year after year.  Hope to see you at ABW in June."

Swingin' on Short. Sat., June 2nd, 2018

What's the scoop on Swingin' on Short?  Mike & Mary and the Hepcats have been involved with the Swingin' on Short event for a number of years.  In spite of our involvement, we'll give you some straight scoop on the event.

Swingin' on Short is Lexington's annual street dance event, that usually takes place in early June.  It's a Lexington Parks & Rec event, with support provided by the Hepcats and the Lexington Arthur Murray Dance Studio.  It's a free, family friendly event.

The event takes place at the corner of Short & Limestone Streets, near the Courthouse Plaza.  You are dancing on a street surface, so keep that in mind concerning shoes, and you should "pace" yourself.  (And I would say no more that one spin for your partner!)  Of course, it's an outdoor event so weather is always a factor.  Note that an inclement weather  decision is normally made by 3 pm on the day of the event; in case of inclement weather, the event location is moved to the Lexington Arthur Murray Dance Studio.

The event starts at 7 pm with a free beginner type lesson, with the live music starting at 8 pm.  By 8:15-8:30 pm, the sun has gone down behind the buildings so even on a warmer than usual early June night, the temperature is normally pleasant.  But still, dress for comfort and for warm/hot weather, and depending on how "energetic" you dance, bring an extra shirt or top (guys, bring an extra, or two, t-shirt!).

Mike coordinates the music for the event.  Due to the limited budget, Mike books bands of 4-7 musicians that play energetic and swingin' music.  (If you would like info on some of the past bands at Swingin' on Short, contact Mike.)

There is a dance contest during the band's break, c. 8:45 pm (you should enter!).  Mike provides the music for the dance contest (and for any general dancing time).

There are usually 2-3 vendors selling soft drinks and snacks, plus you can always get a bite to eat at one of the downtown establishments before the event starts.

Overall, it's a fun, well attended community type event.  Mike & Mary always get a lot of positive feedback from event attendees.  Hope to see you there!

May 26, 2018 USO Swing Dance at Coney Island, Cincy

So what about this event on Saturday, May 26th at Coney Island?

Here's the scoop.  For the last few years, the Cincinnati Warbirds have sponsored a USO Swing Dance/Salute to Veterans dance at Coney Island on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.  The music is provided by the Tom Daugherty Orch., and their re-creation of the Glenn Miller Army-Air Force World War II band.

Overall, it's a fun event to attend, with a patriotic theme, which you don't see very often these days.  The colors are posted before the event starts (guys, make sure you take off your hat for the posting of the colors), and Cincinnati area veterans are recognized during the intermission.

The Tom Daugherty Orch. is a good band and overall they do a nice job.  Of course, they play a lot of Glenn Miller Orch. songs - a lot of "mayonnaise and white bread" music at this event.  You're going to hear very few (if any) hard swinging arrangements from the 1930's and 40's big band era.  (BTW, the only place to hear the original 1930's/40's big band swing-era arrangements in this geographical area is events featuring the Kentucky Jazz Repertory Orchestra (KJRO) and the nightly dances at Lindy Focus.)

The cost of the event is $20 at the door, plus you have to pay $8 for parking at Coney Island.  The venue is Moonlight Pavilion (outdoors but covered) and the floor is a tile type floor.  Depending on the weather, the floor can be sticky, or also very slick, so plan for that.

Generally, Mike & Mary try to attend these events; and we recommend people attend (but keep the caveats above in mind when making your decision).

Apr. 11, 2018 WMKV Big Band Dance at Music Hall Ballroom, music by the Harry James Orch.

What's the low down on the big band dances at the Music Hall Ballroom in Cincy?

(Some people have asked Mike & May for info on the big band dances at the Music Hall Ballroom in Cincy: what kind of music is played, what's the venue like, etc.... So here it is - hope you find the info below helpful. Feel free to contact us if you need more info or have any questions.)

Since about fall of 2013, WMKV Public Radio in Cincy has been sponsoring big band dances at the Music Hall Ballroom in Cincy, about twice a year.  The bands are normally "ghost band" orchestras from the swing era:  Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, Harry James, and Count Basie, to date.   Mike & Mary have been to five such events featuring the aforementioned bands, so we have a pretty good idea what these events are like.

The next such event is Wed., Apr. 11, featuring the Harry James Orch. (see info below in "other events of interest").  I've seen some posts on FB describing this event as "a rare chance to hear authentic big band music"; "an opportunity of a lifetime"...

As evidenced by the above statements, hyperbole is rampant and commonplace these days, especially on FB, in swing dance event promotion, etc.  Words and phrases like “awesome”, “amazing”, “fantastic”, “coolest ever”, “legendary”, “fabulous”, “incredible”, “super amazing”…… are so vastly overused those words have almost lost any real meaning.

It can be a real challenge separating fact from fiction in swing dance event promotion - - so what about this big band dance on April 11 featuring the Harry James Orchestra?

Here's the scoop.  The WMKV big band dances are nice events to attend; the Music Hall Ballroom is a beautiful facility, with good acoustics.  WMKV is a good organization to support.

The bands generally feature good musicianship, but.... the bands play a lot of "jazzy", slow ballads, and "mayonnaise and white bread" type music.  You're going to hear very few (if any) hard swinging arrangements from the 1930's and 40's big band era.  The music can get really old, really quick. (BTW, the only place to hear the original 1930's/40's big band swing-era arrangements in this geographical area is events featuring the Kentucky Jazz Repertory Orchestra (KJRO) and the nightly dances at Lindy Focus.)

The cost of the event, $30-$35 each (plus parking) is a little pricey, especially for the very average quality of music you get.

Generally, Mike & Mary try to attend these events; and we recommend people attend (but keep the caveats above in mind when making your decision).