This is my personal website. All opinions here are my own and do not represent the interests or opinions of my employers.
Comments may be deleted without explanation. That’s the way I roll, yo. Here’s some of my thinking behind my zero tolerance policy for arsehat commenters. Remember: you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.
I like dancing, music, reading, writing, watching telly and films, sewing, crocheting, canvas work, drawing, making popups, telling bad jokes and making puns, talking crap, eating excellent food, walking, cycling and swimming. I am obsessed with gluteal strength and my hamstrings. I see it as my personal responsibility to deconstruct the patriarchy and replace it with syncopated rhythms and an interest in handicrafts.
My research and writing
I am obsessed with jazz music and dance from the 1920s, 30s and 40s. I did my PhD in media/cultural studies on modern day swing dancers and how they use digital media, and have published journal articles, delivered conference papers and lectured on this and other topics. I also have an MA in media studies, a BA (with first class honours) in English and Media Studies, and a postgrad diploma in information management. I taught and researched in various Australian universities for ten years before I had jack of the shithouse working conditions. All that is behind me now. Today, I am all about writing heaps and heaps of stuff on the internet.
I write a bit about music – particularly jazz – and occasionally do reviews. These reviews look at particular recordings or performances from the perspective of DJs and dancers (well, from the perspective of this dancer and DJ). Musicians and publicists send me CDs or downloads to review, and I like this very much :D If someone sends me a CD for free for me to review, I make that clear in the review. If you’re interested in having me write about your CD or show, you can contact me at dogpossum at dogpossum dot org. Please note that my agreeing to review your act or recording does not guarantee a positive review. I don’t like to write nasty stuff about people’s art, but I like to write helpful reviews. Which means they’re honest.
Anything I write about jazz dance history which is even partly true is probably the product of my very generous dance historian friends’ work. Anything I write about jazz dance history which is untrue was probably something I made up.
As with all these sorts of things, it’s best to consult more than one source, and to be utterly sceptical of anything published by someone working in a university. I have found almost every academic source discussing lindy hop completely unreliable. I regularly reference the ones who aren’t full of shit.
I started dancing in Brisbane in 1998 or so. Then I danced in Melbourne between 2001 and 2008. Then I moved to Sydney, where I’m still dancing. And DJing. Read more about my DJing here.
Running dance events
I’ve been involved with running large dance events in Australia since 2001 when I began volunteering with the Melbourne Lindy Exchange. Since then I’ve been involved with the MLX as a key organiser (on the organising committee in 2002, and as a founding member of the Melbourne Jazz Dance Association in 2005, 2006, 2007), and more recently as head DJ (2008, 2011, 2012, 2013). Over the years I’ve been involved as head DJ with other large events, including the Melbourne Swing Festival (2010, 2011, 2013) Sydney Swing Festival (2009) and Sydney Lindy Exchange (2009, 2010). You can read more about that here.
Here in Sydney I’ve organised a number of workshop/social dance weekends, including the Little Big Weekends. The most recent welcomed Ramona Staffeld, Kieran Yee and the whole Melbourne Rhythm Project to Sydney. Previous Little Big Weekends have featured Lennart Westerlund and Georgia Brooks in May 2013, Ramona Staffeld (December 2012), and Georgia Brooks and Kieran Yee (May 2012). These weekends focus on providing high quality workshops for local dancers, covering a range of material from solo dance, lindy hop and blues dance to teacher training. My emphasis is, once again, on the best working conditions possible for all teachers and volunteers, and on equitable, accessible classes for all students.
Right now I’m working on Jazz BANG, a big all-solo dance weekend of workshops and parties with international teachers. I’ve also got a ball in the works for August, and I’m scheming a scheme for a Frankie Manning 100th birthday party in June. GOOD TIMES AHOY.
I teach lindy hop and all sorts of other dances from the jazz and swing ages, as both a leader and follower with various (lovely) partners in Sydney.
I can be found teaching with Alice every Wednesday at the Petersham Bowling Club here in Sydney.
At 6.30pm we teach a beginners’ partner dancing (lindy hop, mostly) class, and a level 2 lindy hop class at 8.30pm.
All our classes welcome leaders and followers of any sex or orientation, and you can join in any time.
You won’t need a partner – we supply those :D
At 6.30pm on Thursdays at La Fiesta Dance Factory we teach the only weekly class in Sydney focussing on authentic jazz and swing era solo dance.
You can follow our updates on twitter (we tweet as @SP_Petersham), our lindy hop classes via our Faceplant page: http://www.facebook.com/Swing.Patrol.Petersham, our solo classes by their faceplant page, or check out our site swingdancesydney.com which handles all that stuff.
Alice and I also teach the odd blues dance class at the Juke Joint, do summer session advanced dance classes over the holidays, teach drop-in classes at local swing dance balls, and work with the local lindy hop performance troupe on their solo dancing. Last year we were invited to teach a simple solo routine as part of Sydney’s One Billion (jazz dancers) Rising, a fundraising event which donated all profits to the Taree Women and Children’s Refuge. That was the best gig we’ve ever done.
This year we are off to Christchurch to teach at the Christchurch Swing Festival. We are MOST EXCITED.
Everything I teach is the product of someone else’s hard work. Dance historians are the best of all the things, second only to those badass peeps who invented this action in the first place. Without them, we’d still be sitting on the couch.
So, if you’re filled with the love of dance, making money from lindy hop or just giving a shit about those badass dancers, you might like to donate to the Lindy Hoppers Fund. Don’t be a tightarse – bring your hot action.