The messy beauty of Atlanta Social Dancing (a.k.a. Bobby White reveals Atlanta’s Dance Soul).

As I get older and watch the changes that go on in the social communities I move through, I appreciate patterns more. I collect. I learn. I change my mind. I see things more clearly. I shed.  It’s a process that I appreciate more and more with each passing year. Watching a community grow and change allows for deeper insight into the circle of life that operates within that community. And I sort of enjoy watching the collaborative process as it shapes our experiences. Watching the cooks and seeing what they bake up holds a special appeal for me. I’m an observer at heart.

An Uber-Serious Bobby White

One community I’ve had the chance to watch for almost 7 years now is, of course, the swing dance community here in Atlanta. Composed mostly of Lindy Hoppers, it also contains a random assortment of transient Balboa-ers, experimental Westies, earnest East-Coasters, divas, dukes (what I call male-divas in the dance scene; you’ve met them. You know them. Their drama annoys you.), rockstars, old-timers, computer dorks, and a host of other wandering souls, trying to express themselves in movement. I think I just got an ‘F’ for that run on sentence.

They all come together to try to move gracefully, to get laid, to accomplish something- sometimes all at the same time. The dance floor can get complicated.

For all it’s messiness, a lot of growth comes out of the challenges presented by this social community. The messiness is part of the appeal, as is usually the case with anything challenging. There is power to be had, influence to wield, friends to make and people to date. Most of my best friends since college (and most boyfriends/lovers/my husband) have been cultivated from the dance scene. So I am eternally grateful for all the challenges and joys that I experience through the scene, this network of people who come together for a variety of reasons, yet end up dancing the same dance. Is anything more poetic?

And moving through this social scene are a range of voices that help to grow and affect the experience of dancing for everyone. One very strong voice on the scene here recently sat down with one of Atlanta’s best dance exports to survey the current state of affairs in all things dance-related. Lindsay Longstreth, current ASEDA president (ASEDA= Atlanta Swing Era Dance Association) sat down with writer Bobby White, Atlanta native and Balboa-scene rockstar for an interview about the dancing community in Atlanta. They talked about where the dance scene is, where it is going, and some of the current goings-on around town. The interview can be found at this link.

Squirrel!

Bobby White’s blog is a cultured thing of beauty any day of the week, but this is an especially great interview for all that it reveals about the Atlanta dance scene.  When a force of nature speaks, you listen, and Lindsay is currently an in-touch force in Atlanta. Bobby asks a lot of dancer-friendly questions that elicit some great commentary, and Lindsay’s understanding of the Atlanta dance scene is authenticated by her proximity to the social hub. She is a scene organizer, a relentless mover and a committed dancer. (Full disclosure: I have known Lindsay for years, and count her as a friend. I’ve also known Bobby for years, and have always admired his writing. So biases all around!) The fusion of a plugged-in organizer and a great writer make for a deeply insightful look into what makes Lindy Hop in Atlanta tick right now, and (if you can read the writing on the wall) what possible places our path might take us in the future. For the newbie dancers, I cannot recommend this article highly enough. To the old(er) timers, ditto.

Once you’ve finished reading this interview, I highly recommend going on to read more of the blog. Whether you are a dancer or not, Bobby’s writing style is phenomenal, and worth immersing yourself into for a few hours. Minimum.

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