This Friday night was my college’s annual Garden Party – a.k.a. meatballs and cupcakes, a photo booth background made of paper flowers, and heart-thumping amplifiers blasting the music of “Detroit’s most popular cover band,” all outdoors in the college arboretum. After about an hour of that, enough of us were feeling overwhelmed and tired that we retreated to the usual location of our Friday Night Swing event and danced for another hour or so.
Because we were all tired from Garden Party, I tried to stick with mostly relaxing songs that were fun to swing out to – hence the theme of the comments section. “Smooth feel,” “Awesome energy!”, and “Bright sound” all effectively encapsulate the atmosphere I was going for. I’d rediscovered earlier in the week what a silly song “Clementine” by Bobby Darin is, so that one was fun to pull out.
On Saturday night, I had the wonderful opportunity to DJ an hour and a half set at the Stomp in Lansing, MI! This was a special treat because there was a beginner balboa lesson beforehand, taught by the amazing Angel Jenio and Connor Cole, so I played a lot of faster music that I wouldn’t normally play.
Seeing how the dancers responded to some of the faster stuff – which is to say, they pulled out some really bomb Lindy when I was expecting them only to bal – encouraged me to try playing faster music more often! It can be hard to remember that the vast majority of the dancers are not analyzing the horn section or trying to calculate the BPM of every song that is played – as long as it inspires good movement, they will most likely enjoy it (even if they’re exhausted afterwards). “Tap’s Miller,” for instance, is a Count Basie song at 190 BPM, but it absolutely filled the floor, because it has this really catchy and infectious melody and (I think) I played it a moment when the room’s energy was high.
I hope I get to visit Lansing again soon! In the meantime, I’ll be hanging out with the Hillsdale Hepcats and tuning up to DJ at even more places! (Swing Ann Arbor, I’m looking at you…)
Reunited with my epic co-DJ, Val!