The business of lindy hop

Zack Richard’s great post about running lindy hop businesses. Hooked up by Jerry @ Wandering and Pondering on the facey. Of course. He was linking to the #improvrespect piece, but I couldn’t give one fig about that discussion, so I didn’t even finish that piece. But he did remind me that Zach writes good stuff, so I flicked back through his earlier pieces and found this one.

I’m interested in the way we use ‘be like Frankie’ as a model for ethical business practice. He’s a pretty good role model for dance stuff. But it’s unusual to see one person become so important as a model for sustainable business practice. It does worry me a bit; smells like a cult to me. And there are some dodgy gender things at work here. And I do worry that the reality of the man is lost in the idea of the man that’s used to sell ideas. But I guess that’s how history works: the reality of the person is subsumed by the idea of the person.

…any way, Zack outlines some ideas that fit nicely with my own point of view, but he frames them in terms of Frankie’s legacy, and the history of lindy hop. Which are very interesting approaches. I like the ethics outlined in this approach, but the cultural studies scholar in me is a bit suspicious. A bit uneasy. At any rate, if you’re just looking for content, and not engaging with narrative and ideological practice in a critical way, it’s a great piece. I definitely recommend reading it.

This bit caught my eye:

Yes, we must be wary of the “ballroom studio model” that hires undertrained and underpaid staff who painfully review fifteen years old instructional videos and then regurgitate washed-out, dumbed down material to the students. To that we say: whatever their level, keep your teachers and yourself well informed and inspired to strive for betterment. Turn to Frankie and his constant need to create and top himself.

I really had no idea (naïvely, it seems) that other scenes had the same problems we do here in Sydney. It’s a relief to see that our problems aren’t unique, and that other people have thought about solutions for them.

2 thoughts on “The business of lindy hop”

  1. Well yes, the article was definitely framed in a Frankie-centered fashion since the overall theme, if we can cal it that, was how Frankie influenced all of us business owners… I agree that there are absolute metric tons of other things to say on the subject though! Thanks for the heads up!

    1. Yep, I totally understood the context of your post.
      When I wrote this post, I probably should have linked to ‘Uses of History: A Revivalist Mythology’. In that post I touched on the way Frankie’s name and identity is put to use in modern lindy hop culture. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this stuff yet.

      …I feel there’s an interesting article about iconography in lindy hop in all this Frankie talk. But I can pretty much guarantee writing it’d get me pilloried.

      But there’s lots of interesting stuff to think about RE business culture in lindy hop. LOTS.

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