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About

Bobby White, Author

Bobby is an international swing dance instructor and also has a sordid past in newspaper, magazine, and fiction writing. He has won championships of many different sorts and teaches Balboa, Lindy Hop, and Solo Jazz with his main partner Kate (and a few other partners) across the world. He gives talks on both historical and personal adventures in jitterbug history. If you would like to hire Bobby for his swing dancing services please email him at robertwhiteiii@gmail.com or visit www.bobbykate.com. He is honored to be a part of the Frankie Manning Foundation and the Master of Ceremonies of Lindy Focus.

He coined the word swungover to describe the sensation he, and, he imagined, the entire swing scene, felt the Monday following Frankie Manning’s 95th birthday/memorial weekend in May, 2009.

Check out the Swungover* sibling blog for beginner dancers: Chickta-boom: Swing 101. You may also be interested in previous blogging projects like the swing dance fashion blog Swing Dandies, or one on personal men’s fashion Fine & Dandy


To contact Swungover, please send an email to robertwhiteiii@gmail.com

Chelsea Lee, Editor

Chelsea is a professional editor and swing dance enthusiast living in Washington, DC. With her partner David Lee she travels to dance weekends throughout the U.S. and Canada, teaches dance, and has won several championships in Balboa and Collegiate Shag. When she is not fixing grammar or dancing, Chelsea enjoys cultivating her personal sense of style and making post-it-note vocabulary lists of new words inside of whatever book she is reading. She is proud to be a part of Swungover.

[Author’s Note: If an entry seems free of grammar and spelling mistakes, you can be assured Chelsea Lee has edited it. (And often I go back and add things that are misspelled and punctuated badly. But, despite it all, Chelsea has accepted the job of continually building a castle on the sand. And I’m extremely thankful for it.) Sometimes, however, I go rogue. So if a post is full of mistakes, I guarantee Chelsea hasn’t seen it.]

If you’ve gotten something out of Swungover…

Please consider making a donation. It helps keep the site up and running, and helps me pay my editor in Anthropologie gifts cards.

Copyright Information

All material on this blog is copyright 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 respectively by Robert White. Though links and pingbacks to this website are welcome, you must have authorized permission before republishing any of this material in any form.

Basically, I appreciate greatly when you like something enough to send people to my site or link to an article. But please do not republish things without asking first.

25 Comments leave one →
  1. Geunbin Lim permalink
    March 3, 2010 3:21 am

    Hello
    My name is Guenbin Lim of Korean swing dancer.
    I’m poor at English so sometime express wrong.
    I hope your understanding.
    I watch clip your performance with kate at ABW2009.
    It was fantastic!
    I have a faver ask of you. I can’t find song title of your performance. Let me know please.
    Have a nice day~

    • jackthevampire permalink*
      March 3, 2010 11:25 am

      Thanks! The song was “Clarinet Marmalade” by Benny Goodman.

  2. Maria Coveou permalink
    November 6, 2011 12:20 pm

    Love your blog Bobby! I added it to my blog’s Lindy Hop link list – http://myswingarchives.blogspot.com. I will be sending my visitors over to your blog very often I think – there’s amazing stuff in here…well done you!

  3. October 26, 2012 7:33 pm

    As someone who books bands for a dancing night here in Vegas, I often get asked for feedback from the musicians. They want to play better for the dancers, but are puzzled as to how. I give them the best advice I can, always starting with a varying tempo throughout their set. But it’s a lot more complicated than that. I wonder if that’s an issue you would like to discuss in a post. A guide from a dancer to a musician who is playing a dancing gig.

    • Bobby permalink*
      October 29, 2012 5:33 pm

      Certainly it’s worth an entire post; and one easy enough for me to put together, so I’ll add that to the list.

      Please note that I ask that question to every band leader I’ve interviewed. Check out their responses; Glenn Crytzer, Jonathan Stout, Paul Cosentino. Josh Collazo talks briefly at the end of my video interview with him about Gene Krupa and how he kept a beat during his solos so that dancers could dance to him.

      In addition to what those guys say, my advice (spoiler to the upcoming article) is:

      (1) 3 minute and under songs, tempos vary but flow from one into the other without too far of a jump. So, no bipolar tempos changes throughout the night.

      (2) Rhythm section has to know how to swing. REALLY swing, and be solid. The Rhythm section can’t be the weakest part of the band.

      (3) If the soloists can improvise in a *somewhat* predictable manner, it’s fantastic. By predictable I mean that they use repetition, clear phrasing, and create a narrative with their solo that a dancer can follow along to. A person who solos in a more modern style with unpredictable tangents and ryhthms can be very sophisitcated, but if the dancer can’t follow along, the dancer won’t be able to “process it” and dance with it.

      That’s the difference between dancers and listeners: a listener follows the music with their ears, a dancer follows it with their feet. A good swing musician will look for the response to their music in how the dancers are responding to it with their dancing.

      This is not saying a soloist can’t switch it up and throw down a challenge. But they can still keep the dancers in mind when they do so. For instance, if a soloist throws out a wild and tricky rhythm, we love it if they repeat that rhythm a few more times in the course of their solo to give the dancers a chance to look for it and express it in their dancing.

      (4) if it’s a django style band, it’s best if they have an instrument that can resonate notes longer than a pluck — so, if they have a clarinet or violin — so that dancers don’t have a long night of interpreting the short plucks of picking guitars. Beautiful, but melodically repetitive (in my opinion) for three sets of dancing.

      • November 9, 2012 5:28 pm

        Hi Bobby,

        I was wondering if it would be possible for you to post a link to your mainpage about a music video we are creating?

        The bands who we are doing this for are called The Speakeasy Three (all girl three part haronies) and The Swing Ninjas (3-5 part multi instrument band)

        We are shooting this on a shoe string but it hasn’t stopped us getting some
        incredible equipment (such as Arri Motion picture cameras and Cinema
        lenses. We’ve set up a kickstarter page to help us with the last push for funds (about £600) to help us with actering and other expenses like travel etc. We are enlisting the help of the local (Brighton, UK) lindyhopper community and swing/jive dancers to comprise the dancefloor routines.
        They will be a mix of professionals and amateurs. We are hoping our campaign will do well but we need as much help as possible to achieve our goal.

        here’s the page:

        Thanks for your time.

  4. November 13, 2012 4:22 pm

    Hi Swungover,

    We love your site! We enjoyed it so much, in fact, that we’ve decided to feature it in our upcoming article, “It Don’t Mean a Thing: The Web’s Best Swing Dancing Resources.” As the title implies, the article is a list of the best swing dancing resources available on the web for individuals looking to learn to dance from home. Here is a preview of what your listing will look like:

    “At first glance, Swungover might seem a bit daunting. Author Bobby White is nothing if not ambitious – with a history of newspaper, magazine, and fiction writing, he’s finely crafted an in-depth and tireless look at the world of swing dancing. If you’re looking to learn some new steps, check out his Breakin’ it Down series, in which classic swing dancing clips are broken down step-by-step so even the clumsiest of beginners can shake their shoes.”

    If you have any questions or input that you think may improve your listing, please feel free to email me anytime at christian@bestdatingsites.com.

    Thanks,
    Christian
    Writer, BestDatingSites.com

  5. Matt permalink
    August 26, 2013 11:29 pm

    Dear Mr. Swungover,

    I’m sure with your abundant experience in Lindy Hop, you have a darn good thought process in your head of how one can improve his/her lindy hop all the way from beginner to, maybe even, the professional level. So, I was wondering…have you ever sat down to write out a philosophy of a step-by-step process for improving as a lindy hopper? If so, would you mind sharing it?

    Sincerely,
    Another Lindy Enthusiast

    • Bobby permalink*
      August 27, 2013 3:08 pm

      I’m working on that very thing, but it’s a large project. In time though, I hope to share it. :)

  6. Dancer & Wordie permalink
    September 16, 2013 9:35 am

    Why “invented” when “coined” is clearly a more accurate term?

    • Bobby permalink*
      September 16, 2013 4:48 pm

      You’re right that coined is specifically suited to the case.

      I’ll return the favor. Why use “is clearly” when simply “is” appears to be more accurate?

      If it was so “clearly” the more accurate term, then why didn’t I use it in the first place? “Clearly” I didn’t think it was so clear. What happened is I didn’t use my Thesaurus and remember that there was a word coined that was very specific to my needs. “Invented” worked perfectly fine until someone came along and offered a more specific suggestion.

      • Dancer & Wordie permalink
        September 17, 2013 1:16 am

        Did you take my comment personally?

        • Bobby permalink*
          September 17, 2013 2:57 am

          I didn’t, really. I just thought the wording of the way you said it came across as a snotty way of doing so. So I freely admit I replied in a similar fashion as a way of pointing that out.

          But, no, I didn’t take it personally.

          • Dancer & Wordie permalink
            September 18, 2013 2:11 am

            That would have been rude.

  7. November 13, 2013 3:08 am

    Hello ! Just to say that we are swing dancers and photographers (we will be official ones at Scoz and Herrang next year) if you’d like some interviews/pictures :)
    Our website is http://www.groovy-banana.com Feel free to contact us !
    Groovy cheers !
    Gaga

  8. Jessamyn Rising permalink
    February 17, 2014 4:31 pm

    I always enjoy your blog! I have a question that I am hoping you or someone else can help me with. A friend of mine, a lead, asked me how to become a better follow in lindy. He was looking for specific tips to improve his dancing; tips to make his style more like that of a follow (or, if you’ll excuse the gender generalization, “more girly”) and less like that of a lead, for when he’s following. Now, I should be able to answer this, because I AM a follow, but I was stumped. Do you have any recommendations for things he should work on, or websites that address common problems that leads have when they’re learning to follow? Thanks!

  9. David permalink
    March 17, 2014 6:10 pm

    I am a high school teacher in the USA (Indiana) and I teach a unit on Nazi Germany centered around the Swing Kids. Can you tell me when the photo was taken showing the German kids in someone’s apartment listening to records? Is that from the 1940s or sometime later????? Thanks! Dave Moore – Fairfield High School – Goshen, IN USA

  10. Jasmine C permalink
    April 7, 2014 8:33 pm

    I’d love to see some description/contrasts of the different swing styles. I’ve heard/read about East Coast, Lindy, West Coast, Shag, etc. I like the shag style I’ve seen but wondered if other styles might be similar so I can find more classes in my area.

  11. May 12, 2014 2:40 am

    Love your site. Question: Do you have any knowledge of what they mean in Downtown Strutters Ball when the say “Dance all over my shoes”? Is there a meaningful historical context?

  12. August 8, 2014 5:25 pm

    Dear Bobby and Kate,

    I wanted to share an opportunity for New York music lovers and dancers, that I think you will find intriguing. I am the Songbird and Bandleader of the 1940s band, Fleur Seule, a Manhattan based band that is reviving classic songs of the Big Band Era to great acclaim. I would appreciate your helping us spread the word to those who are interested in trying something new and different.

    Our new concept: LATIN SWING!

    THURSDAYS IN AUGUST 8:30-11:30PM

    It’s West Side Story! Join us for a night you’ve never had before!

    Fleur Seule unveils our new concept, LATIN SWING, for an evening of Mambo, Cha Cha, Swing, Samba, Rumba, Lindy Hop, Tango, and more!

    We want latin dancers to try swing and swing dancers to try old school latin dances to expand their repertoire of steps and styles, while staying true to Fleur Seule’s genre of the 1940s and 1950s.

    You can try dances that had the latin beat with swing moves.
    Think West Side Story in the gym: “Mambo!”

    There will be a FREE DANCE LESSON every week:

    Week 1 – Mambo
    Week 2 – Cha Cha
    Week 3 – Swing
    Week 4 – Rumba

    Iguana is a 3 story Salsa club located in midtown Manhattan with an excellent Tex/Mex fare and specialty drinks to enjoy as we take over the entire lower level dance floor and private bar for this exciting new night! 21+ with valid ID.

    $15 Cash Cover for Music, Lesson, and Dancing all night.
    Iguana – 240 West 54th Street btwn 7th/8th Ave. Entrance is street level. Doors open at 8:00pm.
    212-765-5454

    Thank you for helping Fleur Seule on our mission to revive great old music we believe cannot be forgotten.

    Please visit our website for more information: http://www.fleurseule.com

    I can be reached at any time for questions or further details. You are of course most welcome to join us!

    All the best,

    Allyson Briggs, Fleur Seule

  13. jgibling permalink
    September 18, 2015 12:04 am

    Hey Bobby, great website. Thought a great piece to write on might be the history and evolution or de-evolution…hehe of lindy hop to west coast swing. It seems Skippy Blair is the one who coined west coast, west coasters tend to say Dean is their founder, yet Dean said it all came from Lindy. Kind of interesting. Seems a huge amount of the ballroom influenced swing dancers, dancing w the stars get up in arms when you try to tell them they are basically doing just a fraction of lindy hop. Any thoughts? Would really be interested in what you would dig up? Thanks again for such a great website. PS, met you briefly in Anchorage for the Bal event their. I was the Fairbanks friends with Augie. Cheers!

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