Our grandparents and great-grandparents probably met at their local village dances, perhaps at one of the many heritage community halls dotted around the Northern Rivers.
It was in these halls that our forebears met to socialise and dance away the care and toil of daily life. Yet sadly, it seems that partner dancing has become something of a lost art these days – at least, until now.
One of the most popular vintage partner dances is a dance style called Swing, also known as Lindy Hop. Popular in the roaring twenties, Swing dancing is experiencing a revival that is taking the world by storm, especially among millennials – after all, it is almost the twenties again!
Across the globe, young people are exchanging nightclub casual for the vintage fashion of Prohibition and the Great Gatsby, the mosh-pit for the jazzy big-band, the music that is filled with the nostalgia and optimism of a bygone era.
And seeing as our modern digital world also brings with it an era of disconnection with, what better way to reclaim the human connection we all need than through the lost art of partner dancing?
In Johan Hari’s latest book, Lost Connections – Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression, he explains depression as a form of grief from losing the connections that we still need.
Young people are especially confused, lacking a model for healthy relationships between the masculine and the feminine, the yin and yang, and with our modern culture losing touch of these old world values, this makes partner dancing like Swing even more delightful.
Frankie Manning, the godfather of Swing dancing, once explained why he was so passionate about sharing Swing with the world: ‘I’m not interested in fame and glory. It’s just that I would like others to know what a happy dance this is.’
There’s a new group that have started up workshops and socials called Northern Rivers Swing Dance.
You can find them every second Sunday afternoon at Brunswick Heads Memorial Hall
Twenty-on- year-old Santi Esposito-Rose, one of the founding members, describes the group as ‘a not-for-profit community group promoting swing dancing for mental health and physical wellbeing. It’s also a great place to make new friends. We have created a friendly and safe environment for all ages to have fun and learn something new.’