Which Way Do You Swing?

Electro Swing Sweeps Music Lovers Off Their Feet

By Kelsie Blazier

Photo by Kelsie Blazier

Acrobatic dancers at Roxy interrupted the music for a show of their own. Photo by Kelsie Blazier

Brass drum beats throbbed toward the entrance of the club. Would-be clubbers drunkenly inhaled cigarettes and cursed at the bouncers under their breath beneath the glow of the fluorescent blue sign “ROXY.” An urgent anticipation possessed the waiting crowd, dressed in the frills of black flapper dresses, long strings of costume pearls, pinstriped fedoras and sharp suspenders. This was not just any Friday night at ROXY– it was Electro Swing Fever. So popular is this theme, the crowd snaked around the block.

After spending a fee of 200 koruna, or $10, and going through a thorough full-body pat down, I descended the stairs to find a coat check line too long to stand in. Making my way past the bar and to the main dance floor, I stopped to find the area of the club with the most energy.

Under the pulsing red lights shining from the stage, I noticed a couple dancing to the beat of the music in a style unbeknownst to the modern club-goer. To the blaring sound of a trumpet and saxophone came from the height of the stage, with a crowd stopping to watch the scene unfolding before their hazy eyes: a couple dressed in costumes circa the 1920s graced the corner of the dance floor, lost in their own world of sexy swing. A cigarette draped lazily from the corner of the male’s mouth as he nonchalantly spun his partner from the tip of his index finger, the frills of her black dress lightly tapping her thighs as she whirled and twirled. There was enough enthusiasm in her red-lined lips to make up for the “too cool” attitude of her partner. The two moved their feet back and forth, left and right, swung their hips to and fro to the pulse of the music as if they had rehearsed the moves a thousand times.

“Taking his partner quickly, the stoic male dancer grabbed his partner by the waist and dipped her into a graceful backbend, plucking his hat off his head and into the palm of his hand and winking to a nondescript person in the crowd.”

Mydy Rabycad, a local Electro Swing group, was the hot band that got us all jumping. They fuse Big Band sounds of Duke Ellington with the vocals of Gwen Stefani in “No Doubt.” Their song “Blind” began to speed as the end of the set approached and the dancing couple took notice. Taking his partner quickly, the stoic male dancer grabbed his partner by the waist and dipped her into a graceful backbend, plucking his hat off his head and into the palm of his hand and winking to a nondescript person in the crowd.

Of course not everyone in the club danced in this fashion. In actuality, this couple seemed to be one of the three throughout the evening who understood the

Photo courtesy of Roxy.

Dressing for the theme is common at Electro Swing. Photo courtesy of Roxy

technicality of electro-swing dancing. That, however, did not deter the rest of the club from diving and jiving to the live band performing on the stage. Described as “the atmosphere of old-time ballrooms combined with the modern sound of French and German electro-swing scene,” electro-swing night at ROXY encompassed live music, guest DJs and acrobatic dancers that put other athletes to shame.

The crowd encompassed groups of friends, as well as the few couples who actually knew how to swing dance. More locals

sprinkled the crowd than foreigners with the age group ranging from 18 to 29-years-old. Unlike the normal club scene where men grope the air until they find something to grab, the crowd at Electro Swing Fever seemed much more interested in feeling the rhythm of the music and enjoying themselves. Because Electro Swing is a mixture of jazz instrumentals, modern vocalization and some R&B beats, the necessity to have fun outweighed the need to look cool and collected.

Unlike the regular club experience, Electro Swing Fever had an energy that invited people to dance, not in the winding-grinding style readily accepted today. Whether people were dressed in jeans, a full 1920s getup or covered in tattoos and piercings like the bartenders, the music compelled each person to move to their own rhythm without feeling the judgmental glare so often experienced on a normal evening out.

 

ROXY Prague

Dlouha 33, 11000 Prague, Czech Republic

19:00-5:00

Kelsie Blazier is in the NYU CAS Class of 2015. Her hometown is Phoenix, Arizona. 

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Categories: Culture, Spring 2014 Issue Number 2

Author:The Prague Wandering

The Prague Wandering is an NYU based study abroad webzine- the only one of its kind. It focuses on issues in contemporary Czech culture and the city of Prague, exploring beyond the study abroad bubble.

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