Lindy Hop music *needs* drums

I posted this in a Toronto discussion after hearing a new band play at our Saturday dance in Toronto.



I enjoyed hearing the new band on Saturday. They are very good and my following comment is not a reflection at all on the quality of the band…

But we *need* to have drums.

In Lindy Hop, you need to be dancing based primarily on the rhythm section and bass alone is not enough. At minimum you need bass and drums and piano is also considered part of the rhythm section even though the piano jumps between the melody and the rhythm. It’s even better to also have rhythm guitar when it’s a bigger band. But at minimum you need drums and bass.

For an occasional themed event, not having a drummer can work as a novelty, but there’s a real danger to getting in the habit of dancing to music that isn’t primarily based in the rhythm section.

We had this problem in the early 2000s and the dancing all turned into what became known as “wiggly hop” where we started to dance so much in the melody that we lost the rhythm section and the dance morphed into something else.

>>>Great band. I hope they’ll be booked again, but next time with a drummer.



I had the privilege of helping out with a musicality class with Lennart Westerlund. I wish there was a recording of Lennart Westerlund talking about the rhythm section but you can see when it zooms in on the board what I’m getting at. And at its core, it’s critical that Lindy Hop is based on the rhythm section first and then “decorates” with the melodic instruments. Otherwise, the dance changes –

In case you missed the music lesson and you find his chart boring and hard to read, here is Lennart walking us though Flying Home’s musical structure. Edit: if FB muted the clip for you, just play your own Flying Home by Lionel Hampton and follow along! Interactive post!

Posted by Sing Yuen Lim on Sunday, March 17, 2019


Bryan Vandenberg reminded me of this terrific video, and has also voiced his rightfully strong opinion that rhythm guitar, in addition to drums, is a key foundation to swinging music. Note Wynton Marsallis, “The drummer provides the shuffle that is the foundation of the rhythm of swing.”


Wishing whoever reads this some extra rhythm-based Lindy Hop this week!


Roaring Twenties Events

For years we thought about how in 2020 it would be 100 years since the 1920s and that we would need to plan a big party. Well now the return of the ’20s is imminent and I’m doing just that! I’m the organizer of Roaring Twenties Events in Toronto and I couldn’t be more excited!

You can learn all about what I’m doing at

Get ready to party like the 1920s in the 2020s!


The first event will be Saturday, January 18th, 2020 with the celebratory theme: Welcome to the ’20s! Think of it as a second new year’s eve bash; a jubilant spree to kick off the new decade. Click here for tickets!

And for any dancers in other cities who might like to do a similar event, I’ve already invested a lot in all the branding and would be happy to duplicate it for other cities if anyone would like a running start to throw their own 1920’s event.




Swedes in New York City

Somehow I didn’t get around to doing any kind of recap of Swedes in New York City here. I was just too busy!

The event has come and gone. It was a lot of work but very rewarding. Being able to connect students with some of my very favourite dancers in the whole world is so gratifying. The fact that the event also coincided with Norma Miller’s funeral was unexpected, emotional, but also cathartic.

This is my personal thank you message from the Swedes in New York City website:

It feels strange to write the usual thank you note about what we just did in New York City.

When we lost Norma Miller, everything changed.

All of the other stuff that happened the last few days was very nice but I would rather keep the emphasis on Norma and her legacy.

10 years ago we lost Frankie Manning and now we’ve buried Norma Miller just a short distance away. The parallels are uncanny. Now the “World Lindy Hop Day” title that we established 5 years ago on Frankie Manning’s birthday takes on new meaning.

Norma was an amazing woman and a part of our history. We will never forget her.

But it’s important to say some thank yous so here they are on a high level:

Mickey Davidson, John Biffar, Cynthia BrownLisa JacobsDaphna HarelKrister ShalmBarbara Bronx & The Harlem Swing Dance SocietyPaolo Pasta Lanna & Spencer Weisbond & Swing ReMixJulia LovingRonald Jones and swingwithusnyc.comChris LeeJennifer HempelChachi,Jocelyn Hassenfeld & family, Cynthia MillmanLana TurnerBuddy StevesElliott DonnelleyJeff Liu-LeycoAmy WinnJudy Pritchett, Daniel Heedman, Lennart Westerlund, Ewa BurakÅsa HeedmanMimmi Gunnarsson BringlövFredrik DahlbergDenise Minns-HarrisSandra SchulzCameron & Larry Schulz, Paul Grecki, Margaret Batiuchok, Zita Allen, Sing Yuen LimChazz Young & Michellene Young, Olivia and Jill at Lincoln Center…

…and most importantly Norma, Al Minns, and Frankie for giving us all purpose.


Panel: The Pivotal Role of Al Minns on Modern Day Lindy Hop

In partnership with Lincoln Center

Friday Teacher Introduction

Saturday Performance

Sunday Tribute to Frankie Manning

Videos of the panels coming soon…

**Norma Miller honored throughout the weekend**

For information about Norma Miller’s viewing, burial, and celebration of life on Friday, May 24th, click here


Dance Organizers & Gero Hajek

I’ve been thinking a lot about community organizers since Gero Hajek passed away.

In the dance community (and I’m sure in most communities) organizing is a labour of love. It’s not “thankless” but the level of thanks that you receive is never equal to the amount of work that you put into it. And that’s ok because people who organize are rarely motivated by that kind of attention. It’s not about being thanked. It’s about the deep satisfaction you get from creating something beautiful for other people to experience.

When you’re an organizer, you don’t experience events in the same way. To one degree or another, there’s always some level of pressure on you. You absorb that stress and you carry it with you out of love for the community and for creating magic for other people.

Every individual dancer in the community benefits from the work and the pressure that a small handful of organizers are shouldering. When you experience joy on the dance floor, someone has fostered the circumstances that have allowed you to experience that pleasure.

In Toronto, whether you’re a newer dancer or you’ve been around for a very long time, you are benefitting from work and love that a wonderful man named Gero Hajek put into dancing in this city.

What I’m trying to say is that in Toronto, we are all part of Gero Hajek’s legacy.

Thank you Gero.

February 14th, 2019

It’s with a heavy heart that I share the news that Gero Hajek, longtime president of the Toronto Swing Dance Society, passed away on February 8th. 

Tokyo Workshop, March 2019

This weekend I had the privilege of teaching workshops in Tokyo with Lennart Westerlund and Sing Lim. Lennart is an old friend and one of my most important dance mentors, and Sing is one of my dear friends and partners in crime from Frankie 100. It was a real treat to travel across the world and to share a great teaching experience with them.

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It was a pleasure to teach with my old friend and mentor, Mr. Lennart Westerlund, in Tokyo on Saturday and a jazz class with my pal and partner in crime, @sing_lim! #lindyhop #jazz

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Sing and I taught a jazz class together and then she and I alternated partnering with Lennart. I was lucky enough to participate in an excellent musicality class with Lennart… with comfortable seats and a white board!

Evening Group

Sunday Panel

We also participated in a panel discussion about Lindy Hop, which included three incredible Japanese guests. One was a Japanese jazz critic who attended a Marshall Sterns’ jazz music and dance lectures and lived in New York City. He even had the opportunity to attend Count Basie’s “breakfast and BBQ” jam sessions in Harlem. Another was the daughter a Japanese Broadway Tap Star who was friends with Fred Astaire and was very famous in Japan; he brought some Lindy Hop back to Japan at that time. And the third was the “Teddy Wilson” of Japan, a piano player who used to play boogie woogie for the GIs.

Thank you Hiro Yamada and Tokyo Swing Dance Society for organizing it, it was amazing event!

Sunday Evening Dance

Saint Savoy Shoes

My shoes have arrived!

I actually ordered a pair of Saint Savoy RIVIERA shoes that came in when I received my bag but I had ordered the wrong size. I was so nervous about them being small that I wore socks when I did my measurements and they ended up a size too big.

When I exchanged the shoes, I added another pair along too: WEST in black.

I’ve been waiting to invest it really great shoes in neutral black and white for a long time. For years I’ve been wearing character shoes, which were great when I had my studio, but I wanted something I could wear both on and off the dance floor.

I’m thrilled with the choices I made!

Unboxing my WEST & RIVIERA shoes from Saint Savoy

I did find that the Rivieras were a tiny bit tight/pinchy around the ball of the foot. Not to fear! My husband has cobbler tools and he helped me to very gently stretch them out a bit overnight.

A little pinchy

The WEST fit perfectly as is.

I’m really excited to take these shoes with me for my workshop in Japan next week!

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Happy feet. #saintsavoy #saintsavoyshoes #shoelove

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Unboxing & Review: Saint Savoy CARRYALL bag

I’ve just received my Saint Savoy CARRYALL bag in Magnolia and I love it!

Since Saint Savoy is a Lindy Hopper owned and operated business, I decided to make my first ever unboxing video. I’ve been thinking of ordering from them for a long time now and I know how helpful online reviews and videos can be so I thought I’d do a quick one of my own to help others.

Unboxing the CARRYALL bag!

Do you know about our CARRYALL bags? Watch this unboxing video with Mandi Gould as she takes her first look at the CARRYALL in Magnolia. This handbag is a harmonious merger of the timelessly elegant Kelly bag and an early 1920s bowling bag. Browse all our our bags here:

Posted by Saint Savoy on Saturday, February 2, 2019


I needed a bag that wasn’t too big or too small; just right for going dancing in Toronto and staying over night. This bag seems to be the perfect size! It’s got the compartment for dance shoes on the bottom and with my size shoes, there’s some wiggle room to spare. And up top there’s enough room for all my other stuff I would need but without it getting oversized like a gym bag.

It’s the perfect size for my wallet, phone, ipod, a few cosmetics, and a little bag for a change of blouse and underwear.

I really like the ventilation holes at the bottom of the bag. I always air my sweaty shoes out when I get home but this is great in case you forget or you won’t be home for a long time. I would still put my shoes inside a soft shoe bag inside the bag so it doesn’t get dirty. I would put a sweaty blouse or tee in the bottom too after wearing it. So I’d keep the clean stuff up top and after wear put it down below.

The zippers and leather are very high quality but a bit stiff from being brand new. I can tell they’ll soften up and that it’s a solid item made to last.

The colour is even better in person that I had hoped. Burgundy and salmon; really lovely. Coincidentally I have a wallet in the same shade of pink so it was obviously meant for me.

I was also worried about the bag being heavy. Sometimes bags are heavy before you even put anything in it! Not so with this bag. The box it came in was also light, despite including both this bag and a pair of shoes! That was a big relief.

I was also concerned that I might get dinged with a customs charge when it arrived in Canada but I didn’t. Hurray!

I also ordered a pair of Riviera shoes with this and they arrived and are beautiful but I’m going to exchange the size. I was so worried about them being too small that I sized up from my usual size and that was a mistake. So I’m sending them back for a 39 (instead of a 40) which is an 8 in North American sizing. I’m also ordering the West in Black and she has a line of flats coming out soon that I’m excited about.

Super happy with this bag! It’ll be perfect for all my Lindy Hop events. 🙂


Somewhat recent social dancing videos

As I’ve been preparing to teach a workshop in Tokyo in March (yay!) I started to realize that I don’t have much recent dance footage of myself. There are lots of cameras around at events these days so I’ve started to try to dig up some videos so I have some reference point.

Social dancing with Bryan – Winter 2019

 Social dancing with Riz – Fall 2018

“Lindy Bomb” in Vienna with Geoffrey, Sing, and Leah – June 2018

The party is on…

Posted by Andreas Chiou on Monday, June 25, 2018

Dancing with Krister – January 2018

Dancing with Bryan – Spring 2017


Some thoughts about following –

I’ve been thinking a lot about what Åsa said in this article since I read it last night. Whenever I see LH following that gets me really excited, it’s assertive, musical, and playful. It has a strong voice. It’s almost never “cute” that inspires me. So why do I let these little dainty things creep into my own dancing?

I suppose sometimes it can be fun to dance in a dainty/cute way, but truly it’s not as fun as the assertive dancing that I prefer. I think it’s just another of the many trends that creeps into our dancing. So this is something else I’ll be paying attention to in my Lindy Hop in 2019.

Click here to read the article.