Don't Step On My Blue Suede Shoes!
By Clare Tattersall
edition of Cyber*Kool origionally was featured in the Summer 1999
issue of ATOMIC Magazine.
of spending long nights playing solitaire against your PC and
sipping dry martinis alone? Perhaps a dash of social dancing
could add that missing olive to your evenings. You don't even
need a partnerjust a good imagination and a keen ability
to read and move your feet at the same time. So, put on your
blue suede shoes and cruise the Internet in four-four time for
a few lessons in hepcat twist and shimmy.
Score one for dancetv.com for putting together an excellently
designed program that takes you through a detailed yet comprehensble
swing tutorial. Not expecting too much frmi the enthusiastic
beginner, the site gives you just enough material in each well-planned
lesson to make you right-click on to the next one. The lessons
elucidate the basic footwork and arm movements necessary to
propell your partner about the dance floor. Once you've mastered
swing, you can move onto the fox-trot or the waltz. there are
also links to numerous dance-related sites, some as far afield
If you're searching for a little innocent fun with animation
browser, such as netscape 3.0, then this is the place for you.
click onto the graphics and watch the dancing feet move in single
or triple step. This iste even offers such valuable information
as what to wear while Lindy Hopping. For men, "baggy stripped
pants and suspenders" are appropriate, while for the ladies
it's "a beaded dress and a hat with feathers." Just
don't confuse the two.
Good intentions aside, this site attests to the fact that anyone,
yes anyone, can create a Web page. Keith Edwards (who has included
on his homepage a picture of himself looking very serious, or
confused, or seriouly confused) proudly declares that he has
"recently gotten into swing dancing" and admits that
his partner "gets her toes stepped on a lot." Mr.
Edwards' dance page lists about two dozen basic moveswhat
he calls "patterns"then offers a slightly longer
explaination for half of them from both the man's and the woman's
perspective. He was also good enough to include links to sites
relating to his seemingly limitless list of other hobbies, frmo
single malt scotch to cultural archeology. This page is a clear
example of swing fanaticism gone awry. Wanting to share his
passion for swingand swept up by the exciting bandwagon
of Web designMr. Edwards had all the best intentions.
But somehow, between the gray matter and the HTML, the sparly
enthusiasm dissolved into a mass of confusing, egotistical ramblings.
This site's creator, Dr. Deyne, obviously put a lot of thought
into passing along his knowledge of East Coast Swing as performed
on the country dance floor. The explanations of steps nad moves
are, in fact, comprehensive and clear on this page. There are
also links to sites on everything from viting preference to
dance floor etiquette. so, if you can live without an aestically
pleasing background or visuals that motivate the lazy eyeand
if you vote for Dolethen check out this page and learn
a l'il thang or two.
out of then for background braphics of hte Philadelphia Swing
Dance Society: the crumpled red velvet wallpaper is soothing
to the eye and puts you in the perfect retro mood. Although
the site focuses solely on jitterbug or East Coast Swing (described
as a repeating pattern of four steps per six counts of music),
the lessons are clear and easy to follow. there is a detailed
explanation of basic-step footwork, below which are color-coded
words that blink in six-count time (slow, slow, quick-quick)
to help the viewer find the beat. But perhaps the most helpful
lesson on the site is included in the brief list of dance floor
rules, under Rule #2: When in doubt, just "fake it for
a few seconds."
Clicking onto this page, I felt as if I had returned to my high
school science lab, where the walls were hung with periodic
tables that seemed to me an indecipherable jumble of letters
and numbers. Mr. Mernyk's site boasts a simply staggering list
of dance moves and abbreviations that will make your head spin,
such as this explanation of hte open Charleston: kick L F
Q, step F onto L G, kick R F S, kick R B Q, step B onto R Q,
kick L B S. repeatr 8C. L hand F when R foot F, and vice versa,
like walking. Bounce or skip with each step. Unfortunately,
without adequate explanation of the sylbols and abbreviations
on his site, I felt as little chance of finding a dance partner
s I would have lighting a Bunson burner.
maybe I should learn to walk before I run, or read periodic
tables before I dance. Once you decipher the secret swing code,
you'll find an almost endless supply of new moves to try. (Although
on the dance floor, your partner may ask, "Is the a cheat
sheet in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?")
what's more, Mr. Mernyk's site includes useful links to bands,
dance events of the Northeast, clubs and other intricate details.
More two-toned power to you, Daddy-O!
If you've grown tired of slogging through lessons online,
visit this site for some lighthearted relief. It offers a hilarious
vocabulary of insulting names and phrases that were coined by
frustrated hepcats on a crowded and hormonally charged dance
floor. Even if you have given up all hope of learning how to
dance, at least you'll be erudite in new ways to lurk around
the bar and pass misanthropic judgement on everyone from the
"Honey" to the "Wookie."
twisted and shimmied my way through a multitude of swing sites,
I collapsed square-eyed and exhausted onto my keyboardm yet
still found myself holding the proverbial triple-step baby.
Perhaps to learn to dance. Although many of the sites are fun
and informative, you are probably better off getting an instructional
videoor getting a life.