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March 18, 2005

djing excitement

Posted by dogpossum on March 18, 2005 1:14 PM in the category

and the comments on the recent entry have made me think perhaps i should respond in greater detail.

and then i got to making pumpkin bread and putting up dj profiles on FSP - check them out there on the right hand column.
this interests me for a number of reasons. i think it's important to promote live swinging jazz to swing dancers in melbourne as part of an effort to Keep It Real, to keep us connected to the musicians. but i also think it's important to hang on to the vast wealth of music produced in the 30s and 40s and beyond and before these decades. i mean, you could dj every night for a year and never ever play all the amazing swing danceable music recorded. this stuff was KILLER good (i almost typed killer-diller, but held myself back).
despite this cornucopia of goodness available, there's an awfully big load of shit being djed in melbourne these days.
i am a purist when it comes to my lindy hopping music. if i'm going out to dance 'swing' dances - to lindy hop or whatever - i like the music to swing. sure, it's fun to dance to other stuff, but i can hear that shit anywhere. there are so few places available for me to go hear some good swinging jazz and dance some good swinging dance on a decent floor with a crowd of fellow devotees.
i do also believe that the music you dance to informs the way you dance. so if you're dancing to un-swing, your dancing won't swing. etc etc.

i think that we need not only to teach new dancers 'moves' and body stuff and the history of the dance (i think we need to remember the afro-american history of this dance. it's the scariest type of appropriation otherwise), but also about the music. swinging jazz isn't popular music any more. young people especially don't hear it much any more. they don't know artists or styles or song names. they don't know the difference between 'cool' and 'hot' jazz, they don't know who count basie was and how important he was not only to jazz but also to jazz dancers.
so i think teachers should play swinging jazz in dance classes.
this helps dancers develop not only a knowledge about swinging jazz and 'dance' music, but also their own particular tastes.
this is important because one of the defences i've heard for playing bullshit unswing carp music at dance nights, is that the 'new' dancers want to hear stuff they 'know'.

man. and these people call themselves a business? do they know nothing about creating markets for products?

so, i think - as well as playing decent music in classes - we also need to publicly discuss and demonstrate the importance of music and musical discourse through our attention to djs and djing practice. we should ask questions about how djs work, the music they play, their working conditions and levels of 'professionalism'. we should value our djs and the work they do, encourage them to explore music and how to play it, value their own contribution and take their role in the community seriously.
and we should do this by talking about djing.

i also think it's important for dancers to get critical about the music they listen to. they should start asking for djs to research music and seek out new material, to get historical relevency up them, as well as exploring contemporary works.

so i'm doing my bit through promoting local melbourne djs on my website. maybe providing a list of djs in melbourne as i do bands and venues.

i also have lots of ideas about fostering new djing talent in the community. about how to encourage women into djing, and how to make djing accessible for people without the funds to buy big on cds.
just ask me.

Posted by dogpossum on March 18, 2005 1:14 PM in the category