growing the swing dance community

The Atlanta swing dance community is not at its best. It’s not struggling yet, but it has its challenges. It’s entirely natural — every scene goes through an ebb and flow, but I believe that Atlanta is in a valley.

So here’s my question: I know there are a few people who read this blog* who are heavily involved in their own scenes. At the very least, I know there are a few people who have more experience than I, and who have opinions on what works and what doesn’t. So I have a question for you:

How do you successfully advertise in your local city to increase visibility and the dance community? What scene-growth strategies have you found successful?

I’m also looking for answers from people who might be newer to the scene. How did you get involved? What did you find welcoming, and more important, what did you find off-putting?

All thoughts and comments are welcome — I realize this idea has probably been hashed out in a hundred places by a hundred people, so I thank you for the time you’ve taken to respond!


*Let’s be honest — most of it is because of the awesomeness of Jerry, who helps publicize the occasional dance post. Thanks, Jerry — you’re awesome.


as promised for the most awesome Tranky Doo class ever

The best video to follow along and review the steps with:

We got until about 1:34 in this class — and don’t worry, we’ll go over that last sequence just a little bit more, since we only covered it quickly in class.

The four most common songs for Tranky Doo Performances:

  • “Jump Session” by Slim and Slam (the slowest of the songs, and thus the song we’ve been using)
  • “Chant of the Groove” by Fats Waller (probably the song the Tranky Doo was choreographed to, though it is unclear)
  • “Dipsy Doodle” by Ella Fitzgerald (the song used in the Spirit Moves)
  • “Tia Juana” by Bud Freeman (I have no trivia about this one)

And finally, another plug for The Most Awesome Spreadsheet Ever (for learning the Tranky Doo, at least!). Also known as the spreadsheet where I geeked out over the intersection between the Tranky Doo and Excel for a couple hours.

You guys did really great tonight, and I can’t wait for next week!

teaching the tranky doo in Atlanta! (and nerding out with a spreadsheet)

There’s this thing. I love the Tranky Doo. In fact, I love all social choreographed dances which I can perform with strangers, so I have a lot of love for the Shim Sham and the Big Apple, too. Soon, when I have a bit of time, I will have a lot of love for the Jive.

The great thing about the Tranky Doo is that it’s somewhat more complex than the Shim Sham, but not quite as complex or intimidating as the Big Apple, which tends to be faster and harder to follow along (especially in the second half).┬áIt has become increasingly popular over the last few years, though I don’t know who started this excitement — but whoever you are, thank you.

Right now in Atlanta, you can count the number of people who knew the Tranky Doo on one hand (in fact, for a long time, it was only Robbie!) — we are a little behind the curve of the nation, which has been enjoying this dance for a couple years now. However, there’s a lot of excitement surrounding this choreography, and there’s been multiple requests for a class. And that class is finally here!

I am beyond excited about this opportunity, since it will mean more people dancing with me. The details on the class are below, and I really hope that EVERYONE in Atlanta who is available comes out to learn this dance!

Where: Hot Jam
When: 7pm – 8pm, Nov 5th, 12th, and 19th
Cost: $12 (includes your admission to HJ)

In celebration of the class tomorrow, I have been seriously nerding out.

The Tranky Doo in the Spirit Moves:

(Has anyone noticed that it doesn’t look like they’re trucking at first at 1:21? Then they start at 1:23…)

One of my favorite Tranky Doo performances:

And a great one I just got sucked into watching because YouTube knows how to draw us in…

Last but not least, because I’ve been nerding out on the Tranky Doo, and because I know a hundred people will ask me “What count is that?” tomorrow, I have typed up the entire choreography on a spreadsheet. It’s not perfect, but it will keep me from fumbling on the counts and having to dance it out and think too hard.

The format is pretty straight-forward for anyone who wants to look through: it’s arranged in sets of eight-eights, and it reads from left to right, top to bottom. Green boxes mark either significant changes in movement or movements you should strive to hit, if you’re missing everything else. Let me know if you see any mistakes or important points to add and I’ll fix it up!