Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Dec. 4, 2017 — A radical divergence

It was 20 years ago today that I decided to go out on the town and experience something new.

It was in one of those “destination” type restaurants with an outdoor deck that was covered during the winter.

The food wasn’t that great, but the attraction on this evening was something I had never tried before: vernacular jazz dancing.

It was a time when an advertisement for Gap Khakis, filmed to Louis Prima’s version of “Jump, Jive, An Wail” got a lot of eyeballs not for the clothing, but for the moves that the dancers did in the studio space where the commercial was filmed.

I have been very lucky in the two decades since this first lesson. About three months later, a gentleman whose father was a jazz composer and scholar, took over the lessons. He gave me my foundation into musicality and improvisation.

Three months after that, I met a member of the World Swing Dance Council Hall of Fame, who ran a weekly dance out of the basement of a restaurant in suburban Virginia.

Three years after that, I met another WSDC Hall-of-Famer at a dance weekend in Baltimore. His name was Frankie Manning, and he was in the movies in the 30s and 40s — well, at least parts of the movies that most audiences today don’t see because studios cut out the intermission to fit the movie in for broadcast on late-night TV.

These days, I still find my passion in steps, in rhythm, in frame, and in balancing my weight against that of my partner. More recently, I have become an organizer for three dance promotions in the city, and served as a willing volunteer for other events.

Yesterday, this passion took me underneath the streets of Gotham, where a few hundred musicians, dance enthusiasts, vintage clothing aficionados, art models, and train fans got together for an extended afternoon of music by the rails.

It’s an awesome experience, one which I wouldn’t have had if I hadn’t gone to that restaurant 20 years ago today — or quit my job two days previously.


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