Monday, June 7, 2010

Lindy Bombing: in which we learn how to stop being a douche and support businesses.

Ok, this is a topic near and dear to my heart. Lindy bombing.

I’ve certainly been guilty of being a being a cheapskate (in my senseless younger days, scouts honor), but I now I try to support the businesses that allow us to dance in their establishments by buying food & drinks and by tipping generously.

I’m just going to repost Mary’s facebook note because it is awesome. Heed her words! (also, check out the original note for the colorful and humorous responses).

So, what do you think?


Reposted in its entirety with permission by Mary Irwin. Original note can be found here.

Lindy Bombing: in which we learn how to stop being a douche and support businesses.

Disclaimer: This is a mild rant, but also meant as a primer on how to conduct yourself outside of your regular dance events. If you're tagged, it's not cause you do this, but cause ONLY YOU... can prevent forest fires. Share it if you want.

So, I've been dancing Lindy Hop a while. Many... er, well, MOST of my friends dance as well. We all know Lindy has amazing history, has historical significance, has affected Many Many dances that are currently popular.... etc, etc, etc.

We all love to dance to live music. The feeling you get when dancing to an amazing jazz band that is watching the dancers and playing with them musically is like nothing else on earth. The "Dancer's High" is an incredible experience. The social aspect of dancing is, I feel, something that helps shape your personality and leads to friendships and lasting relationships.

Sometimes a group of dancers will get together and go out to a Non dance establishment to hear great live music and dance. This is known as a "Lindy Bomb". Sometimes it's in a bar, sometimes a restaurant, sometimes in the middle of a mall!

This, my friends, is where it can get tricky.

You see, most dancers are used to going to their weekly dances, paying the entrance, and dancing to our little heart’s content. Lots of dances have free water, some even have snacks. The events are run by dancers, for dancers. We know what to expect, what is socially acceptable, how to behave in that situation. Dancers tend to have a sense of entitlement.

I love you, dancers, I really do, but we are notoriously cheap. We’re used to paying 4 bucks, $7, maybe 10 bucks to get into a weekly dance ( that is usually run by a non profit organization) and that’s it.

A lindy bomb is a different animal. When you go to hear a live band, you’re usually hearing them at a bar. A bar is..... drumroll... A BUSINESS. They have operating costs WAY higher than a weekly dance. They really can’t afford to lose money when they bring a band in. They pay to bring the band in to attract more clients, who in turn spend more money.

Here’s the thing.

When you go to a bar to dance you can affect it in two ways. Positively, or negatively.

Here’s some telltale signs of things that can affect it negatively that you might not even realize you’re doing.

- You come to the bar and order water after water, but never actually spend money on a drink. SODA IS NOT A DRINK. If you DO order water, tip what would be a normal tip amount for a real drink. ($2-3 or so)

- You don’t tip the band or show your appreciation. They are professionals, and honestly, everyone is there to see them NOT you. They’re the reason YOU are there. If there is a jar up there, TIP THEM. If they finish a song, APPLAUD.

- No one else can get on the floor because you’re dancing “too large”, or worse, you start to run into actual paying customers. In the same vein, don’t try to be flashy or throw aerials. Bars don't have normal dancefloors, this is a litigious society, and you're in a room full of drunk people. Be generous, and share the limited dance space by dancing a little bit smaller.

- Complaining! If you're complaining about the floor/footing, or the room temperature, or the dancefloor space..... SUCK.IT.UP. This is a BAR, not one of the local dance events. Bars don't usually have dancers in mind. They have a profit in mind. The average bargoer is not dancing at 150+ BPM, nor are they dancing song after song. What's hot for you, is comfy for the people who keep the bar in business.

- You and your friends take up a bunch of tables on a busy night but spend most of the time dancing, leaving empty tables that could have been filled with paying customers. Try to consolidate as much as you can. Order stuff!!!!! Food, drinks, a bottle of wine or two, something!! Rule of thumb: if you can't afford to be there, maybe re-think going.

You will get people that come up to you and tell you how fabulous your dancing is, where did you learn, Ohmylordyouresoamazingholycowblablabla etc, etc.. But the bottom line is, if you’re doing any of the above, You ( yes, you!) are giving dancers a bad name.

That behavior is a really great way to make bar owners hate dancers. You’ve come in, used their space and resources, taken attention AWAY from the band, and not given anything back in return. It’s actually one of the reasons the Swing clubs that were so popular in the early 90’s died... because you can’t run a bar when all you sell is water.

What I’m saying here, is that if you’re going to go hear a band at a bar, plan on spending money, MORE money than you’d spend going to a dance, and work around the establishment. Don’t expect them to work around you. Plan to tip (and APPLAUD) the band. Plan to order drinks. You don’t have to get sh*tfaced drunk, but order bottled water instead of tap. Plan to GET OFF THE DANCE FLOOR if it seems like civilians want to get up and shake their thang.

Plan to make the management love you. When you lindy bomb, it’s not just about you. It’s about how everyone in that club is going to perceive you. For the time you’re in the bar, YOU represent the dance. Give the dance, and the establishment, the respect it deserves.

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