The Swungover Year in Review

Over the past year, the things that are read most on Swungover are the posts I did on the complete P90X program. Because you have no idea how many people see those infomercials at three in the morning. (It’s one reason why I don’t have a computerized “Most popular posts” side bar on the website.)

I imagine these people, insomniacs, some of them, surfing the web during their day-job, bored, checking up on this P90X thing, and coming to a strange blog about the world of classic swing dancing. For one year now, it’s been happening. So, I thought it’d be a good time to do a little end-of-the-year/Swungover birthday round up.

Aside from the P90X blog, Swungover began with an Al Minns Essay (I plan on writing a much bigger one in the upcoming year) and a Pride and Prejudice parody set in the swing world for ILHC.

For ten years of my swing career, I experienced this dance form without realizing how differently the original dancers had experienced it as they invented it. To search for answers, I began researching, thinking, and writing The Old Timer Essay. Part one, Part Two, Part Three, , Part Four, and Part Five.

I soon wrote about my own experiences in swing dancing in a post about my first lesson and my love of the movie Swing Kids.

I’ve been extremely lucky to have an incredible dance partner, I listen only a few of the reasons I think she’s so incredible in a post in May.

My humor often takes strange forms, which is why I wrote some meeting notes from the Jam Cellar town hall meeting, a parody of Baby Got Back, and a description of what Muppet Hellzapoppin would look like in my head.

Every July, the All Balboa Weekend marks the anniversary of Kate and my’s partnership, and over the year’s I’ve written articles for their booklet. I decided to post it, The All-too-brief History of Balboa

Then, my built-up anger at something in the scene and my habit of releasing tension via Microsoft Paint lead me to an all night binge where I wrote The “Heavy” Follower essay.

Around that time we were forming a performance team with several fellow instructors that was desperately looking for a team name, and I wrote a post Figuring Out a Team Name about the search.

As fall came around and school started for many, it made me think of my own college experience running a swing club and I wrote this Swing memory piece about it.

I ended the year beginning an essay series on Judging, and an exploration of the history of the word Jitterbug

This year, Kate and I taught across the states, and in Canada, Germany, France, England, Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. If I had time, I often composed small travel essays, such as the one on Korea, England, New Zealand, Australia, and the Balboa Experiment.

These were just some of the steps along the way to what has been a great year of growth for me as a dancer and writer. I hope you enjoyed them, and there were many more posts (76 in total) throughout the year you might have missed if you’d like to check out the table of contents.

What Next?

It’s been a lot of fun writing Swungover’s first year, and you don’t have to worry about me quitting anytime soon, as I’m still in the beginning of at least five long-term Swungover projects.

Here are the projects currently in motion and some upcoming ones I will by all probability begin before all of the old ones are finished:

On Judging An essay series on the art of judging, something I find difficult. This series is taking awhile as I’m researching each post extensively and talking with great judges and having people look over the results to make sure I don’t say anything stupid.

The Art of Vintage Manliness, a series about doing things the way men in the 1850s-1940s did things and writing about the experience. Still working on it, I promise.

Classic Clips 101 A guide to the old time clips, which will take the place of the terminated A Year of Clips series. The decision to stick to old clips and not modern is (1) I’m trying to look at the dance with new eyes myself and think it’s important to start at the beginning and (2) there are already a lot of people posting great modern clips and with fascinating insight.

Swing Memories Some upcoming memories: My first contest, the experience in the style wars, and the worst event the world has ever seen ever?

Swing Culture 101 This is a possibility I’m playing with. Following an essay on stripey socks, I realized there’s a lot of info on classic swing culture that would be useful for someone coming onto the scene and not understanding why we do things certain ways. They’re also brief, which, let’s face it, Swungover could use considering most of my posts.

Speaking of which, I’d like to make a Swungover New Year’s resolution: I will strive to (1) have better grammar, punctuation, spelling, and (2) make Swungover posts as brief and powerful as possible. Please know I already spend a great deal of time on (2), striving to make each word and sentence important and necessary, either to communication, flow, or tone. But I know I can keep working on it and will do so. For instance, I probably could have cut out the last sentence I wrote.

And, that one.


7 responses to “The Swungover Year in Review”

  1. I’ll echo Derek, and add: please don’t write less! I love reading your long posts, and usually wish they were longer. But I don’t wish to stand in the way of your writer’s improvement exercises. Happy holidays to you & Kate!

  2. “I will strive to (1)Have better grammar, punctuation, spelling, and (2) I will make Swungover posts as brief and powerful as possible.”

    Only because you asked for it: The parallelism here is faulty. I’d suggest:

    “I will strive to (1) have better grammar, punctuation, and spelling, and (2) make Swungover posts as brief and powerful as possible.”

    It’s a small point, but I’d ignore the numbers for the purposes of the sentence’s grammar. Thus the “h” in “have” shouldn’t be capitalized, and you need a conjunction before (2).

    Perhaps more in line with your goals is:

    “I will strive to have better grammar and write succinctly.”

  3. I first heard about your blog at Twin Cities Balboa in July, and have been loving it ever since! (Have learned & enjoyed so much.) Can’t wait to read all the things you’ve planned!

    Is there any point in requesting a sequel to Pride & Pretzel Turns? because, um; yes please!!

    • Well, I guess I could go the route of satirizing bad Mr. Darcy houeswife-porn sequels, but then I’d have to read a few.

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