20s Versus 30 Charleston – July Face-Off!

800px-Baker_CharlestonJuly is unofficially Charleston month as Denver students have two weekly series focusing on Charleston thanks to Swingin’ Denver and Denver Swing Dance.

On Monday nights, Denver Swing Dance is offering 20s Charleston taught by Lark Mervine and Matthew Pait. 20s Charleston is denoted by European dancing pose as couple dance face to face. Oftentimes, you’ll see the infamous twisty feet come out as dancers dance this touch step basic. They’re teaching a routine that month featuring solo and partner moves.

On Thursday nights, Swingin’ Denver instructors, Jesse Hanus and Kenny Nelson, are teaching 30s and 40s Partner Charleston. This style features several different positions such as side by side (jockey), hand to hand, and tandem charleston. It’s a looser, more open style and shows how Charleston shook off its European roots and embraced similar aesthetics to their Lindy Hop counterparts.

Is one style better than the other? Not really. I find the 30s/40s style more versatile, but it’s nice to be able to dance as many styles as possible, so you become a better social dancer. It also exposes you to a wider range of music, which is always great.

My suggestion: if conflicted, take both. Besides, with Swingin’ Denver, you’re getting 5 weeks for $35. It’s a heck of a bargain and you’ll be with two of the most experienced instructors in town.

Also, watch The Ladies & Gentlemen as they show you how Charleston is done:

Dance Scene Economics – The Venue

Swingin’ Denver is fortunate to have discovered The Arvada Tavern last year. They serve great food and cocktails, care about service, have an upstairs speakeasy ballroom, feature live music on Fridays and Saturdays and they let us teach and run dances there. We greatly appreciate our relationship with them and work hard to keep them happy. In fact, we work hard to keep every venue happy because we realize the value of dancing inside social venues.

150403_IMT_004For me, dances aren’t just about dancing. They’re also about socializing, meeting new people, enjoying the party, and listening or dancing to great music. If we want these spaces like the Irish Snug, DADA Art Bar,  Little Man Ice Cream, Friday Night Bazaar or the Arvada Tavern to keep welcoming us dancers, we need to support their venue and I’d like to talk about this. Continue reading