If Lindy Hop is Pure Joy, What Are We?

It’s 6 am, I’m slightly hung over and already thinking…. What IS it that Lindy hop has that Blues Dancing doesn’t? A few hours ago I sat at a party filled with Lindy hoppers, sweating and breathing hard in Boston in the middle of the night. Their faces were a glow with happiness and wonder with each step.

When… had I lost that? Was it in all the discussions of what blues is? Was it idiom dances? Was it fusion? Was it the fighting from within? Was it the focus on blackness? Was it the White people not knowing history and culture? Was it leader stepping on follow expression? Honestly, probably a bit. We could spend all day trying to figure out what “CAUSED” it but what really matters is the difference. Is Blues dancing…. Still fun? And If not, how do we get back to it?

As an instructor I find myself thinking and worrying over such topics often. Then, as an instructor I fear that I have failed. That we, the instructors, have failed. Failed to retain the joy and passion of the dance. In some ways I see the state of the instructors as a reflection of the state of our organizers and organizations. Everywhere I turn I see people being burned and burning out. Those still going keep going out of pure spite, deep seated belief, and pulling from their own souls. The expectations stack higher and higher and everyone is buckling under the weight. I wonder If I failed as an organizer. If I should have done more….

I’d dreamed of being an organizer who could dance with new people, instead I felt so overwhelmed I knew I couldn’t be that person for my community members to give new people their dream dance. Every moment I go deeper into my transition from female to male I feel a deep unease. I don’t fully understand or agree with all the rules that come about for safer spaces but it’s clear to me that the system is broken. The very same system I, the intimate feelings/moment/touch avoidance guy that I am still feels afraid of. Still that feels like I failed.

That feeling of failure… makes me not even want to go out.

I fear that by focusing on the black part of our dance we have gotten further from understanding and joy and closer to alienation, and fetishism. I feel like I’ve failed to educate and bring people into my culture.

Of course there has to be some pain in growth, but as I watched the Lindy hoppers swing out without a care in the world, I realized we’ve lost our way as a community in a way. We are a gathering of people all feeling alone, not good enough and like failures, trying to find the joy we have lost.

This is a series about getting back to basics and our community finding our way. #fortheloveofblues

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