30 foods a day

I quite like these stories about lunch times in Japanese schools.
The bit that western journalists seem to fixate on is the lower obesity rates in Japanese kids. The bit that I’m really interested in is the ’30 foods a day’ rule. Followed closely by the importance of sitting down at a shared table to talk and eat and enjoy each other’s company. It’s my most favourite thing, as an adult (though it was torture a teenager).

If you’re a friend on instagram, you’ll have seen that I’ve been going hard on the home cooking in the last 8 or 9 months. I started with Ottolenghi’s Simple, worked my way through Tammimi’s Falastin (fucking amazing book), through modern Indian cooks like Meera Sodha, and back to the queen, Madhur Jaffrey. With stops in books like Durkhanai Ayubi’s Afghanistan book ‘Parwana’.
I’ve been kind of obsessed with ‘middle eastern’ and ‘indian’ cooking. Though those two words are ridiculously small for such enormous and diverse cultures.

What do I like about them?
They have a lot of things in common, which makes shopping easier: rice, spinach, yoghurt, eggplant, tomato, coriander, fresh white cheese (whether fetta and haloumi or paneer), garlic, flat bread, onion, okra, lentil, capsicum, chilli, chickpea, salt…. and so many more.

In both cuisines, I’ve tended towards the vegetarian side of things. At first because that’s just where my recipe books led me. But after a while, I realised that it was easier to shop to this sort of dish (meat is more expensive, harder to get if you’re eating ethically, and makes washing up harder), and that both big families of eating leant heavily on a _range_ of dishes, not one central plate.

I think this is the key part of eating these sorts of food: variety. The ingredients are often quite samey (rice, eggplant, tomato, chilli, garlic), but the mode of preparation varies (pilaf or steamed, charred or stewed, pulped or grilled, fresh or dried, chopped or crushed). And each meal is a combination of dishes: a ‘salad’ (ie chopped fresh vegetables), a yoghurt dish or condiment, fresh herbs (so many fresh herbs!), something hot and tasty (a stew or baked dish or curry), a bread or rice, and as many pickles or chutneys as you have in the fridge.

So even though you’re sitting down to one simple main dish, it’s a very exciting feast for the senses to eat: colours, flavours, the balance of acid and base, sweet and salty. I learnt a lot about the importance of salt for balancing chilli (thank you Samin Nosrat), and when to add herbs vs when to add the spices.

This is where I think that the ’30 foods a day’ rule shines. Thirty different dishes a day is very simple when you’re eating fresh fruit and veggies, a good carb, pickles, and chutneys. I thought it would mean a lot of extra work to prepare all these new dishes. Sometimes it does. But I set aside an hour to prepare each meal, and I eat earlier in the evening (I start cooking at 5pm). Luxuries, really. I cook the full quantity of a recipe, and I freeze at least half. This means that on the nights when no one can be fucked cooking, we can dig out a little pot of ‘sour pickle chicken curry’, put the rice cooker on, and half an hour later we’re eating a delicious dinner with spoonsful of yoghurt, chutney, and quick salad.

All of this is _interesting_. It tastes good, but in so many different ways. It’s exciting to the palate, to use a hackneyed phrase. But I find, particularly as someone who looooves sweets, that this variety slows me down at meal times, has me paying more attention to the meal. Talking about it.

I’ve recently started getting very excited about chutneys. And this began with ‘Cooking with Kurma’ (Kurma Dasa), a cheap and excellent vegetarian book I bought from Community Aid Abroad twenty years ago. Kurma made chutneys easy. And they are: you just throw fresh herbs, some nuts, some salt, some chilli, some lemon juice into a food processor and mash it all up. This year I’ve been obsessing over Meera Sodha’s coriander chutney. The perfect balance of sweet, salty, chilli, acid. All these chutneys can be added to your bowl at the table, or cooked into ingredients in the pan. And if you can’t be bothered making your own (though you really should – they are super quick and easy), the local Indian grocer will have at least five shelves of chutneys in varying degrees of heat, and with a million different ingredients.

Next I move on to flat breads.

But all this is to say that the way I was raised, eating white foods prepared by English people, was completely unlike this experience. The foods my family ate had no variety. Meat and three veg from the freezer. Salt if you’re lucky. And honestly, who wouldn’t seek out a lovely big dollop of sugar, fat, and salt at the end of a sad meal like that?

Books I’ve mentioned:
Ottolenghi’s Simple
Tammimi’s Falastin
O and T’s Jerusalem
-> https://ottolenghi.co.uk/shop/hampers-and-gifts/books

Durkhanai Ayubi’s Parwana
-> https://www.simonandschuster.com/authors/Durkhanai-Ayubi/188556258

Meera Sodha’s Fresh India and Made In India
-> https://meerasodha.com/books/
-> her coriander chutney

Madhur Jaffrey (all of them, but I’m really into Curry Easy Vegetarian atm)
-> https://www.penguin.co.uk/authors/100/1006748/madhur-jaffrey.html

Samin Nosrat’s Salt Fat Acid Heat (start with the tv show)
-> https://www.saltfatacidheat.com/

Kurma Dasa’s Cooking with Kurma
Someone I forgot to mention, for which I’m ashamed: CLAUDIA RODEN.
So many brilliant books. I’ve got quite a few, but the one that introduced me to her books is ‘Tamarind and Saffron: Favourite Recipes from the Middle East’. I recommend:
-> The Book of Jewish Food: An Odyssey from Samarkand and Vilna to the Present Day (we call this ‘The Big Book Of Jewish Fun’ in our house)
-> Arabesque – Sumptuous Food from Morocco, Turkey and Lebanon

TV shows I recommend (all on netflix i think):
-> High On the Hog
(A limited series about African American food – the bits about African heritage in Black American food are really interesting. Rice. Chilli. Beans. This makes sense geographically, but also in terms of trade routes)

-> Raja, Rasoi aur Anya Kahaniyan
(A limited series about regional cuisines in India. A bit tourist-bloggish, but truly fascinating to watch, and a good place to whet your appetite for the topic)

-> Salt Fat Acid Heat
Zoe recommended this one, and it’s a great intro to the way these elements are used in cooking, internationally. The ‘acid’ ep, set in Mexico, was my favourite, as I love sour things, but I’m also fascinated by the science of acid.

Promoting your dance or jazz music business online

Here are some things I’ve learnt about promoting dance or music related businesses online. I’m not a marketing specialist, but I am a media studies specialist who’s been promoting dance events online for about 15 years now.

You need a website.

You need an email newsletter.

Why?

  • With both of these media, you are the producer broadcasting a message to your readers.
  • Audiences tend to regard these as authoritative sources, unfiltered by social opinion.
  • If a social media platform collapses or moves out of vogue, your data won’t disappear with it.

They don’t need to be fancy. In fact, the simpler the better. A single page website with clear headers and a simple structure is best. A newsletter can be sent out maybe once a month. So long as it’s sent out _consistently_, at the same time each week or month, it’s all good.

What about social media?
Important, but in a different way. Think of your behaviour on social media as your brand (which is the public version of you and your business) interacting with lots of real people and other brands out in public. It’s a way for you to develop personal and professional networks in your community or industry. And social media get used a lot, by a lot of different types of people, of all ages and demographics. Perhaps the best thing about social media, for marketing and advertising, is that it allows you to know who’s seeing your ad, when, and where. Something that was harder to judge before social media. Before social media, a brand used social media to ‘broadcast’ a message. With social media, a brand can interact with audiences in a much more complex way.

Websites are important.
Of the two, the website is most important. If you do a tiny bit of audience research (eg we used a very simple survey to routinely ask all our dance class attendees how they found us), you can see which media are most important. For our dance classes, a ‘google search’ accounted for 90% of our attendance. Even if they saw a post on facebook first, they still used a search engine to actually get them to class (and make the sale).

This is where we talk about SEO. Search Engine Optimisation. It’s not magic, it just means ‘make it easy for search engines like google to find your website’. We know a lot of things about google. We know that when it indexes your website, it pays attention to the words you use. ie it ‘reads’ your code. And google tells you how to make it easier for their search engine to find your site.

What should your website include?

  • Your name. The name you want people to use when they announce you over a microphone or list you on a program.
  • Your contact details. A phone number, and an email address. Right at the top. And in the footer too. Make it really easy for busy bookers, festival programmers, and prospective clients to find you. If someone’s prepared to pick up the phone to talk to you, they want information quickly, and they’re close to making a decision.
  • Some useful key words. What do you do? Dance teacher? Then you need ‘dance teacher’ right at the top of your page. Are you a lindy hopper? A jazz musician? Do you run weekly balboa classes? Then say so, right there in text on the page. Make it easy for google to find you when your audience does a google search.

Pictures?
Most importantly, don’t hide information away in images. Search engines like google can’t ‘find’ your information if it’s hidden in an image. All google knows about your lovely instagram graphic is that it’s a .jpg file, 1080px x 1080px, created on 2 January 2022. Even more importantly, people who use screen readers can’t find your information if it’s locked inside an image.

Do use photos on your website or newsletter, because they look nice, and it’s easier to sell a product if people know what it looks like.

Don’t hide information in an image.
Each image should have a ‘title’ tag, and ‘alternative’ text (‘alt’ text) to that tag. If you’re writing your own website code, that’s easy to do. You just add alt=”the information from your image” to the image element. Most website building tools (like squarespace) and newsletter tools (like mailchimp) offer you the option to add alt text as well. Yay!

As an example, this little graphic is very effective for instagram. It has all the information we need – there’s a party, when and where it’s on, and bring cake!

But without alt text, all your web browser knows is that this is an image, 812px x 812px, called ‘Screen-Shot-2022-04-06-at-2.30.41-pm.png’. No one will come to your party.
If you add alt text like “party time! Monday 3pm, 11 Streetname St, Bring cake!”, then a google search will be able to find the information and serve it up as a result in a google search.

What about a newsletter?
Don’t underestimate the value of a newsletter. People actively choose to sign up for your newsletter, which is a way of signalling to you ‘I am interested enough in you and your product to give you access to my inbox’.

Newsletters give you lots of useful information about your subscribers as well. How many people click on links? Or open the email at all? How many unsubscribe? How many ‘bounce’? All these analytics can help you improve your newsletter: which subject lines convinced people to open the email? Which calls to action in your newsletter got a response?

If you use a newsletter service like mailchimp (and you really should. For privacy, security, efficacy, and ease), you often have the option of displaying an archive of your past emails. Each of these past emails is another tool for improving your SEO: another hundred or thousand times a search engine will read your name on the internet and add that page to its index.

Most of all, a newsletter lets you speak directly to a group of people who are even just a little bit interested in you and what you do. Gold!

Take this seriously
If you’re going to stand up on stage and play, or run a class for people to learn to dance, you have to let people know. Even if your business runs mostly via word of mouth, having a solid website can work just like a nice business card. Something that means a lot more in a world where most people have a smartphone in their pocket (or hand!)

If you need a hand with this stuff, drop me a line I can give you some tips. For a very reasonable rate :D

Black European Dancers

I’ve just realised I missed the latest BlackLindy HoppersFund intensive (BOOO) so i thought I’d share this here, so we can all have a look. There are two more left: Dee Daniels Locke on the 30th April, and then Helena Kanini Kiirur on the 25th June.

We all love Dee, right (yes), and if you haven’t seen Helena dance, you need to follow her on instagram right now. RIGHT now.

Anyway, BLHF is one of the very few organisations in the lindy hopping world which hires only Black artists (and pays them real money, not ‘exposure’), and makes it easier for Black dancers to attend the workshops. They are fucking legit on this. And intensives (ie workshops) are really top shelf. I’ve only managed to be involved in three, but they are just the best.
As a student, I had fun, but as a teacher, I learnt that Black teachers work in a different way. And I learnt a lot about these approaches to teaching. If you’ve been following that recent conversation we had in this group about whether a teaching method can be anti-racist, you’ll find these BLHF sessions really interesting. Because they _are_ the definition of anti-racism work.

This is Helena’s ig account. This video blew my mind. It’s such a clear example of how the history of Black dance lives in Black bodies and Black dance _today_. You can’t talk about lindy hop without talking about contemporary Black culture.

I was sorry to see I’d missed Trisha Sewell’s class on lovers’ rock. I got interested in lovers rock (which is a subgenre of reggae) after watching Steve McQueen’s brilliant film ‘Lovers’ Rock’ in his Small Axe series.

This series about Black Music in Europe talks about lovers rock in the UK.

risha is a Black British dancer. She and other female Black British dancers (including people like Angela ‘Cookie’ Andrews) are often left out of stories about lindy hop in the UK. Angela is a truly great dancer. Watching her in this, I just can’t look away. She. Is. So. Good.

Oh, and because there’s MORE, here is a video we all know and love. Featuring Angela and Dee. Cookie told me that she was _judging_ the contest, but just couldn’t help getting in there.

Grey is bringing the shit. Again.

Let’s talk about lindy hop and Blackness – part 1

Grey Armstrong has been writing about Blackness and lindy hop and blues dance for years, and is really really good at it.

Thoughtful, topical, and such engaging writing. He’s been writing at Obsidian Tea for ages and ages, and I’ve personally found this the most meaningful and useful source for information and inspiration. I keep returning to past posts because they keep popping up in my own thinking and writing about this topic.

This is part 1 of a 7 part series (!!). I recommend reading it. It’s important because it actually includes the experiences of contemporary Black dancers, something missing from most lindy hop accounts. Grey invites the reader in: “Is this news to you? When (if) you have attended or read previous discussions, what was your reaction? What were the reactions of your friends and your community?” Grey is a master of speaking to white readers, asking us to reflect on other people’s lives, and of speaking to Black readers, offering a hand of fellowship. It’s true craftsmanship, as a writer, but also the mark of an empathetic, caring person. This engagement makes me want to read more, and wish I could write like this. Very good stuff.

And if you can do (especially if you’re white), please drop a few bucks on Grey, because he works so hard, and the $$ would mean a lot.

the basics of dealing with sexual harassment in lindy hop

ok, I have a bit more time to write.
==First off. This work will fuck you up.==
I and every other woman I know who’s worked extensively on this topic since 2015 (and before) is massively burnt out, and dealt/dealing with vicarious trauma from this work. Many of us (all of us?) have been subjected to threats of violence, legal action, smear campaigns, and worse. For me, the individual offenders were kind of small potatoes. The most distressing part of this has been the way men in the lindy hop scene actively worked to protect and enable offenders. ENABLE offenders. I have generally found that any man who actively objects to safe space policies is a sexual offender, and any woman who actively objects to safe space policies is a survivor. I wish I was generalising.

==Second. If you want to get into this stuff, plan ahead for trauma.==
You need to find a good therapist to talk to, particularly if you are not a man. Because at some point you’ll really realise, at a visceral level, that all these people who object to kicking out sexual offenders are ok with you (and every other woman and girl) being the victim of violence. And that fucks you up. But the work itself (reading endless accounts of assaults, dealing with the obstructionist arseholes, threats of violence, legal actions, and personal defamation) is just so. hard. You can’t do this alone, friend. Get help.

==Third. We have to be bottom-up, not top-down in our actions.==
I eventually realised that we cannot stop men offending. We can’t change the bigger social forces that train men to believe that it’s ok to sexually assault someone, that their pleasure comes before anyone else’s well being.
So the real solution for stamping out sexual assault in a relatively self contained scene like a dance community, is to power up the sisters and potential victims.

We do need codes of conduct and all the institutional changes (and mad props to Sarah, Michael, Charlie etc in Baltimore for their leadership on this). But these processes don’t change the power structures that enable sexual violence by men against women. It’s still powerful people at the top of a hierarchy managing the bodies of people at the bottom. We need to change this shit.
How?
In Sydney we saw incredible results when a group of Asian women started looking out for each other and getting up in the face of an unrelenting white man who targeted Asian women. They would step in when he approached new women dancers. They’d tell young women and girls not to tolerate his shit. They’d actively him skip in class rotation (even when he tried to physically grab them). They pushed and pushed and pushed to get him banned from things. And so on. A clear result of this was a marked increase in the number of poc at our events, not only women, but _all_ poc, because those offenders aren’t just committing acts of sexual violence. They’re also bullies, racist, etc etc.

Not only do we need to get intersectional on this, but we need to reconstruct the bullshit that convinces women dancers to tolerate sexual harassment and violence. And that is often as simple as having them practice saying ‘no thank you’ to dance invites in class.

==Fourth. Know your local laws, use your local resources==
Laws RE sexual assault and harassment differ between countries. Look up your local laws. There are general human rights type laws, but there are also work place safety laws that apply. Be wary of issues like defamation law. Know your shit before you bring the shit. And that means finding a lawyer who specialises in the relevant laws (not just some rando who ‘is a lawyer’). Be ready to fundraise to cover these expenses.

There are services that can help, so you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Legal Aid can offer free legal advice here in Australia, and there is the equivalent in many other countries. Find the websites and help lines. Look up the excellent posters and campaigns that have already been going on in your country.

Get intersectional. This is a big one. The model a lot of us in the lindy hop world (in the US, Canada, UK, Australia, NZ, parts of Europe) use white, middle class, heterosexual gender roles and relationship models for ‘fixing’ this issue. Look further afield.
– How do Black women manage unwelcome sexual attention? What role do older Black women play in moderating men’s behaviour?
– How does the queer scene address sexual violence against trans kids (here’s an answer: https://www.transhub.org.au/unhealthy-relationships)?
-> You can learn from these examples. Do not, ever, generalise from your own experiences, especially if you are straight, white, living in a city, middle class, and English speaking.

==Fifth. Get local, get specific.==
There have been phenomenal projects undertaken all over the lindy hopping world to deal with this issue.
Dance Safe – 댄스세이프 in Seoul is incredible – they’ve done surveys, worked across a massive local scene to join often-unfriendly groups and individuals on board. They distributed literally boxes and boxes and boxes of info pamphlets. They used posters, they got away from gender binaries. It is just incredible. And locally appropriate, from language to age and culture.
Check out the codes of conduct that Tena Morales’ International Swing Dance Championships have. The language is very specific to the Black community of the US, where people speak English, carry guns, and are dealing with racism.
…and so on. Steal ideas from everyone, but make your work locally relevant, and locally appropriate.

==Sixth. Iterative design is the go==
Iterative design basically means that you’re never ‘finished’ with your code of conduct, your reporting process, your activism. Update your code of conduct annually. Learn from other organisations. You will get better and better at this.

==Seventh what are your limits? What is your code?==
Before you do anything else, write down (or record to camera or voice memo) your limits. What will you tolerate? What will you not tolerate?

My personal limits:
– I will not walk past someone who’s being harassed. I will intervene.
– I will risk physical violence for someone else’s safety.
– I will ask annoying questions in public about an event or person who aren’t fulfilling their duty of care.
– I won’t let men touch me if I don’t want it.
– I will not smile and make nice.
– I will walk away from an unpleasant dance.
– I will say ‘no thank you’ to an unwanted dance invite.
– I work to stay aware of my own privilege and power, and I will leverage them to help out people who need it.

Know what your limits are. Be sure of what you will tolerate.

==Eighth and final: this is about gender.==
We know, beyond doubt, and with mountains of substantiating data, that sexual violence in lindy hop is a problem with men. Men are the vast, vast majority of offenders. Women and girls are the victims/targets. We don’t have data for it (yet), but if we extrapolate from the wider community, men are also the targets of men’s sexual violence.

So men need to fix their shit. They need to step in and take ownership of this issue. Because women like me are far too fucking busy fending off groping hands and lewd comments at the mic, in the DJ booth, or on the dance floor to help your sorry arses. Step the fuck up.

I have notes

Ok, so I was in Newtown this evening, and I saw a lot of young straight white people on dates. The women were dressed nicely (whatever their styling vibe, they’d made an effort), but the men. Mate. My doods. No. Have you seen the lesbians in Newtown? They have extreme game, and you, my raggedy arsed, shitty-old-tshirt-wearing-scrubbers, do not. But still, you’re sitting there in the window seats, manspreading away as you mansplain small batch brewing or some shit. And mate, later on while you’re out in the alley smoking and checking facebook, an extremely pierced woman is refilling your lady’s glass with a witty one liner and an insider’s peek at the chef’s specials.

Oh god, young straight white men. No.

1970s New York, nunchucks, and radicalism

A friend posted this the other day, and it pinged my radar.

The ban on nunchucks within the New York city limits was instituted in 1974, the year this song was released:

In this USAToday article discussing the changing of legislation, they write

“The ruling went over the history of the ban, and said it “arose out of a concern that, as a result of the rising popularity ‘of ‘Kung Fu’ movies and shows,′ ‘various circles of the state’s youth’ — including ‘muggers and street gangs’ — were ‘widely’ using nunchaku to cause ‘many serious injuries.’”

And in this New York Times article they write that

“New York lawmakers worried that some young people might be using the device nefariously. “

In 1974 ‘muggers and street gangs’ in New York was code for ‘Black kids’. ‘Kung fu’ films, tv, etc was hugely popular with Black kids (you can read more about that here).

The ‘nunchuck’ ban is interesting because it was clearly targeting this segment of the community in a period of economic freefall and city corruption.
I’m fascinated by this period in American history. There’s a really good documentary called Blank City, which looks at the rise of indy cinema in NY at that moment as well (including Lizzie Borden’s radical feminist film Born In Flames).

local v global networks of exchange and infection

…just some random thoughts from a discussion on fb that i’m posting here to keep track of.

If big dance events that were held over new year could collect accurate covid infection stats, it’d be super interesting to compare these with other sample groups. 1 in 5 is lower than omicron in Sydney at the moment, so I suspect it was higher at Focus. But if it was lower, that’d be pretty interesting… maybe because it was mostly local people, we’d see a lower rate of infection?
The issue, though, is that an event like Focus brings together people from separate networks of people. ie we live and interact with a limited number of people in our day to day life (friends, family, workmates, shop keepers, etc). The big issue comes not when we interact with them, but when networks interact. So if you and I went to Focus, I’d be exposing you (and your network) to the germs of my network (and vice versa).
I’m interested in how the statistical side of things (numbers) works in cooperation with the social side of things (the ways people interact, and how relationships determine who we’ll interact with). Here in Australia, the govt health advice has been based on:
1) states (ie mid-level government borders of responsibility),
2) local government areas (ie groups of suburbs),
3) households (nuclear families in particular) in free-standing houses, and
4) workplaces.
ie we are divided up by government powers, labour practice, and patriarchal ideas of the ‘family’. So restrictions are put in place to open or close state borders (and our states are geographically massive, but very low population density), to enforce lockdowns or restrict gatherings in local communities. Contact ‘bubbles’ are defined by households (ie an actual house) rather than apartment block. Allowable activities are also defined by houses rather than apartments (eg ‘kids play in your yard’ rather than ‘kids play in your local park’).
We’ve seen these divisions collapse when it comes to people who don’t fit into the white, heterosexual, monogamous middle class parents model. ie most people don’t fit into these categories. Most people actually are: engaged in extended family networks, are in precarious employment, aren’t in a monogamous heterosexual nuclear family, etc etc. The higher rates of transmission happen in places like apartment blocks, and in extended families, whereas the govt advice has focussed on how to behave in free standing houses, nuclear families, and fixed workplaces.
We know it’s more useful to think of people as part of the relatively stable networks of family+friends+work I described above, than the ‘household’ or ‘individual’ . The networks are bigger than a nuclear family unit, but they’re also more stable; we tend to max out at a specific number of contacts. And if we think in terms of networks, we can account for extended families, networks of care (eg neighbours caring for neighbours, friendships, sexual partners, etc) and get a more accurate picture of how real people interact (the nuclear family model just doesn’t account for the majority of relationships).
We can apply this idea to dance communities. We all operate within local dance communities (eg I’m in the inner west of Sydney, in NSW, in Australia), and that community network includes musicians, DJs, dancers, venue operators, _and_ my family and friends. But when we go to exchanges, my local network interacts with other people’s local networks.
As dancers, we already think about this interaction of networks: we are all pretty good at identifying someone’s home town by the moves they dance, the shape or aesthetics of their dancing, the music they like or dance to (eg fast or slow) _and_ markers like ethnicity, etc. Even at our most athletic, we can only partner dance with about 40 people in 2 hours of dancing, max (so long as there are no birthday jams!), but are more likely to dance with between 10 and 20.
But when we go to weekend events, we dance for far more hours, with far more people. Each of us, individually, represents a different local network as well as a local dance scene. So when we interact at an exchange, we are exposing ourselves to far more germs. Or increasing the chance of catching covid.
Our state govt has just added a restriction on dancing, where our public health officers Kerry Chant explained that dancing (ie solo dancing) brings us into contact with more people, in closer contact. ie the stuff that makes dancing feel wonderful is also what spreads covid 😃
Bizarrely, years ago I did a conference paper on the way f2f and global networks interact at exchanges. The thing about lindy hop is that we _must_ interact physically – dance – as part of the community. When we travel to dance, we expand that network of physical contact.
In the lindy hop world, that network of contact spreads dance skills, aesthetics, moves, rhythms, ideas, friendships, sexual relationships, etc. But in the covid world it also spreads…covid. Because the lindy hop world is designed _specifically_ to enable that f2f physical contact, it’s as though we built a machinery specifically designed to spread covid.

Global Online Social final edition

My playlist

In A Mellotone – 2021 – Andrew Dickeson’s Blue Rhythm Band – 132 – Swingin’ The Blues – 5:18

Splanky – 2021 – Andrew Dickeson’s Blue Rhythm Band – 120 – Swingin’ The Blues – 4:57

Red Top – 2001 – Chris Tanner’s Virus – 109 – With Her Dixie Eyes Blazin’ – 4:59

Atlanta Blues – 1946 – Eddie Condon and his Orchestra (Max Kaminsky, Fred Ohms, Joe Dixon, Gene Schroeder, Jack Lesberg, Dave Tough, Bubble Sublett(v), James P. Johnson) – 123 – Complete Commodore And Decca Eddie Condon And Bud Freeman Sessions Mosaic [disc 07] – 3:07

Coquette – Carl Kress – 137 – Classic Capitol Jazz Sessions – 3:00

Summit Ridge Drive – 1954 – Billy Jack Wills and his Western Swing Band (Tiny Moore, Vance Terry, Dick McComb, Kenny Lowery, Cotton Roberts) – 143 – Sacramento 1952-1954 – 2:40

You Hear Me Talkin’ To Ya – 2009 – Luke Winslow-King (Rich Levison, Cassidy Holden, Shaye Cohn) – 142 – You Hear Me Talkin’ To Ya – 2:12

Squatty Roo – 1956 – Ella Fitzgerald – Ella Fitzgerald Day Dream: Best Of The Duke Ellington Songbook – 3:42

Bli-Blip – 1957 – Ella Fitzgerald with Duke Ellington’s Orchestra – 128 – The Complete Song Books (Disc 07) Duke Ellington Vol. 3 – 3:05

C-Jam Blues – 1998 – Lincoln Centre Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis – 143 – Live In Swing City: Swingin’ With Duke – 3:34

Moten Swing – 2017 – Andrew Dickeson’s Blue Rhythm Band – 166 – BRB Live at Jazz with Ramona – 5:27

Lemonade – 1950 – Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five – 121 – Let the Good Times Roll (1938-1954) [Disc 6] – 3:18

Li’l Liza Jane – 1961 – Kid Ory’s Creole Jazz Band (Andrew Blakeney, Bob McCracken, Bob van Eps, Johnny St Cyr, Bob Boyack, Ennis Doc Cernado) – 175 – The Complete Kid Ory Verve Sessions (Mosaic disc 8) – 4:06

I smell bullshit

Yesterday a white guy had a troll on a productive discussion about teaching lindy hop. The original post in that discussion was

I was teaching “jig walks” today and it was pointed out to me that the word “jig” miiight not be the best of words. Anyone know anything about this?

This is a pretty good way to open a discussion about race in jazz dance, and it’s not the first time it’s come up in that forum. I won’t go into details here, because that’s not the point of my post.
This discussion had last been active about three months ago. Yesterday a white guy commented:

I am the only one with a Color Screen? or all screens are in black and white now?

I could just hear the eyes rolling from the southern hemisphere.

This is a classic tactic by antagonists in a social setting. We see this sort of behaviour in dance classes quite often, where a student (usually a white man, but not always) derails a discussion or activity with a ‘question’ that centers him and his feelings.

In a dance class setting, I would not engage with this questions, as it will eat up time and energy. As a woman teacher (who usually taught as a lead), I would be very quick to manage this sort of behaviour, as it’s a common tactic used by male students to grasp power in the class. So I’d probably ignore that comment and move us along with a practical exercise that demands attention. If the question is actually relevant to the class matter we’re working on, I would make very clear our position on the topic, and then move on. I think it’s worth looking at how we can, as teachers, respond to racist comments in class. Some of the strategies we use for dealing with sexism and homophobia will work here.

This is also a fairly classic and predictable tactic used by white men to derail discussions about racism. Again, the premise of this sort of question is that the interests of white men are more important than those of Black folk, and that antiracist action is somehow less important than ‘real’ topics.

In the context of dance, ‘historical accuracy’ is frequently used as a tactic for de-centering the interests of living Black dancers. In other words, it’s very common to hear a white male ‘dance historian’ argue that Black dancers in the past did X, Y, or Z, and did not talk about how a word was racist, and that if we are interested in historical accuracy, we must center _their_ behaviour. These sorts of ‘historians’ very rarely ask themselves why a Black dancer of a previous generation, making their wage from teaching white people, would not have spoken up about racism.

This is racist because a white person is using the name of a Black person who has passed as a sigil of authority, rather than standing aside for living Black people to speak and address their interests. They are, effectively, taking ownership of a Black elder and that elder’s knowledge. I can only imagine how maddening and infuriating this is for Black dancers.

In my own mind, when I hear this sort of talk from white, male ‘historians’, I think “Ah, here is a white man using the name of Black elders to maintain his own patriarchal power. He is not comfortable with young Black people (of all genders) changing the discussion to address their living needs and issues. So he dismisses issues like ‘language’ as ‘irrelevant’, and derails a productive discussion to recenter himself and his own interests.”

I find this co-opting of Black lives and people very disturbing. It is as though white jazz dance historians are more comfortable with a dead Black man than with living Black people.

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