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Tunes for a Monday Morning

Swing dancers, 1940s

In the middle of a generally stressful year we've had an incredibly stressful week: supporting an elderly family member through a difficult situation, waiting for another family member's Covid test results (after a housemate tested positive for the virus), while also waiting for tests to tell us whether the scary lump on Tilly's leg was cancer or not. I can usually stay calm in a storm (I've weathered enough of them by now), but I admit that by week's end I was shaking with exhaustion and jumping at my own shadow. I'm greatly relieved to be able to report that the Covid test was Negative, and Tilly's lump is benign; so now we can focus on resolving the first problem, and getting back to normal life, or what passes for normal life in a global pandemic. 

Lindy-hop in Harlem in the 1930sFor me, that means not only re-finding calm and quiet but also simple pleasures and moments of joy. One of the things that gave me joy, pre-pandemic, was going to weekly lindy-hop lessons (when health allowed), and monthly swing dances in Exeter -- where a variety of Big Bands played, and people of all ages danced the night away, many of them dressed in clothes of the early swing & jive era: the 1930s, '40s, and '50s. All of that stopped when Covid hit, but Howard and I are keeping up our lindy-hop practice with regular sessions of dancing in the kitchen (the one room with a wooden floor and no rug). The moment I hear swing music playing, my spirits start to lift.

Today's music goes out to fellow dancers, and to everyone else who could use a lift too....

Above: "Bring Me Sunshine" performed by The Jive Aces, a popular jive & swing band here in the UK. Yes, swing started in America, but it was brought over to England by American GIs during World War II and has spread all around the world. The dancing in this video, with its athletic lifts and aerials, is a mix of jive and swing. 

Below: "Bright Lights Late Nights" performed by The Speakeasies' Swing Band, from Thessaloníki, Greece, with classic lindy-hop dance moves. This is the style of swing dancing that goes on in our kitchen.

Above: "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen," a favourite song of mine from The Hot Sardines of New York City. You don't have to learn swing (or tap) dancing to enjoy the music....

Below: "Healing Dance" by Swingrowers, an electro-swing band from Palermo, Italy, with Sicilian rapper Davide Shorty.

Above: "Dramophone" by Caravan Palace, an electro-swing band from Paris. Electro-swing often involves more individual dancing than couple dancing, but incorporates many classic swing, jazz, and Charleston moves.

Below, ending as we started with The Jive Aces...and a pair of terrific lindy-hoppers. You're never too old to dance.

Oh heck, here's one more:

"Diga Diga Doo" by Skeedaddle, a swing & gypsy jazz band here in Devon. The violinist is Howard's cousin, Becky Doe; and the bass player is our friend and Chagford neighbour Tim Heming. They're a great band to dance to!


Nice music :) . You've perhaps not had to cope before with stressful events happening against a continuing stressful background - most people's base anxiety levels are raised at present :(. I'm glad Tilly and your family member are both OK.

Lindy and Hop

I remember those days,
me flung over your shoulder,
between the scissors of your legs,
a college legend.
We christened ourselves
Lindy and Hop.
If we still knew one another,
even liked one another,
at 81. 82, lived nearby.
not across a vast unruly,
unruled nation,
we might remember the steps,
but not the passion,
the music but not the lifts,
the slides.

©2020 Jane Yolen all rights reserved

A whoppin' wonderful dose of sunshine and jive to begin a Monday! With my earphones in place, the music and the dance smiled me into this day.
Hurray. I loved it all, and yes ... the tough stuff is there ... so glad they're mostly turned brighter for Tilly and family.
Thanks for the sheer joy available ... will pass it along. xo Moki

You might like the Squirrel Nut Zippers if you haven't heard of them, here's a link:


May things continue to get better.

What a fun way to start the day. So glad you are all feeling better. Diggitydo.

Hi Jane

Another wonderful poem -- a fun but realistic look
at nostalgia -- especially love the ending --

we might remember the steps,
but not the passion,
the music but not the lifts,
the slides.

Thanks so much for sharing!

My best
take care

Thanks, Wendy--that was my last college boyfriend, and I was smart enough NOT to marry him., though he asked. But to give him credit, he did a GREAT Lindy Hop.


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