Wednesday, April 22, 2009


The joint only opened its doors a few minutes ago but already the floor is full of couples. These are hardcore hepcats, and their moves put me to shame. Now I know my Charleston kicks from my Lindy turns, but these kids have the sort of swing that god just didn't give me. There's one red-head, long and lithe, who should be on the stage. Perhaps she's on a night off from high-kicking her way through Chorus Line. The thought doesn't make me feel any less like I were all elbows and lumber. Clutching my five buck coke I shrink into the shadows, and try to take notes.

The band strike up a slinky jazz number and the dance floor empties. Red stands her ground. So would I if I could dance like her. You wouldn't be able to drag me out of that moody spotlight for love nor money, whatever the moony lyrics say. Red's partner keeps it loose and easy, dipping her and spinning her in a lazy swing which has a tango-sensuality and a bluesy syncopation. I'm trying to enjoy the show, but it's hard when I hate them so.

Thing is, in the world of Lindy-hop, no baby can stay put in her corner for very long. I've almost worked up the courage to try a little spinning in the shadows with Chris when a hand comes out and pulls me out into the glare of the lights. Now I'm whirling past Red, trying to make my feet behave. She's still out there in the centre, passed from one eager partner to another, lighting up the dance floor. I wonder if she's this elegant, this sought after, in everything she does. I imagine waiters arguing over who gets to serve her coffee; business men laying their suit jackets down in puddles to keep her feet dry - anything to watch her trip the light fantastic down Broadway way.

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