Today I discovered this lovely video of Remy Kouakou Kouame and Evita Arce dancing at Inspiration Weekend 2015, a dance camp in California. As a veteran watcher of dance videos of both Remy and Evita, I know that their dancing is always clean and highly technical, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen either of them have as much fun as they’re having in this video. The song they’re dancing to, “Hallelujah I Love Him So” by Ella Fitzgerald, has a fantastic forward-driving rhythm and super catchy lyrics that you see Remy and Evita play with throughout the video, and you can see each of them doing individual styling as the fancy strikes them (notice when Evita makes a knocking motion with her hand along with the knocking noise in the song). The thing that strikes me most is how their energy is through the roof, even with a moderate tempo, and they have huge smiles on their faces the whole time.
The feeling of this dance is the same feeling that I always strive for in all my social dancing – the feeling of really connecting with my partner and enjoying the music together. That’s really what drives me to be a better dancer – not to look fancy or to win competitions, but to be able to dance along with the music and make the dance more fun for me and my partner.
And that’s also why I think good swing DJing is so important. Playing a song like this, that really lights up the dance floor and inspires people to have fun, is how we facilitate the contagious joy of partner dancing. A night of boogie-woogie, crooners, or neo-swing just doesn’t feel the same on the floor as a set that’s chock full of the original big bands. I always judge if a set is going well based on how people look on the dance floor. If they’re not smiling, it’s time to play some Basie!