Dancing to live music is a unique and fulfilling experience as a swing dancer. While I do know some people who prefer dancing to recorded music, you just can’t get the same connection and energy from a DJed song as you can dancing in front of a live band.
Many current swing dance bands play almost exclusively for swing dancers, including Gordon Webster’s band. He just returned to Rochester on Saturday, January 21 to play at the monthly Groove Juice Special dance.
For bands, there is a difference between playing for swing dancers and playing at gigs without dancers. Though I imagined they played slightly differently, Gordon described it to the extreme contrast as speaking two different languages.
It was interesting to hear about this topic from the musicians perspective. Gordon, his trombone player Matt Musselman, and Rochester dancer Laurel Issen all give their personal thoughts about this in the video below.
For those interested in video production/editing, here is what I learned on the tech side of things:
1. Manually set the brightness of the camera. It’s on auto in this video, and changes brightness during the interviews quite often.
2. Use a shotgun microphone for interviews (or a lapel mic if you have one). I actually did use a shotgun microphone, but it did not get set to shotgun mode so it picked up a lot of background noise from the air conditioning in the room.
3. Take lots of b-roll footage! I wish I had a few more angles of the dancers, band, and interviewees.
As a dancer, do you prefer dancing to live or recorded music? Why? Or for musicians, do you prefer playing for dancers or non-dancers? Why?