Swing Revival: Putting The “Cha-Cha” Into Charleston!

1102KM1_3710HurtleyWedding240813HoneybunnPhotographyNeo-Swing made an unprecedented comeback during the late 1990’s, and while many thought the revival had peaked post-Millenium; our own continued popularity for both function, and wedding coverage is proving that swing bands are still seriously in demand.

But why swing and soul bands, among the many choices for wedding receptions? Sure, the mien of a function band influences the party atmosphere, and the affectation of the genre’s lively rhythms can really get people in the mood to dance. But judging by two of our latest booking confirmations, the reasoning is actually a little more personal.

Now, I’m not sure if this new fixation with choreographed first dances has come about due to the YouTube Sir-Mix-A-Lot Wedding viral video, or if it’s simply a case of more couples seeking to stamp their individuality on the wedding reception. One thing is clear – the trends for choreographed wedding dances such as the Charleston and Lindy Hop are surpassing even our expectations!

From the mid 1920’s, to the late 1940’s, Swing gave birth to a number of sub-genres, mostly identified by geographical influence. In Harlem, U.S.A, Swing influenced an African-American style of dance known as the “Lindy Hop” – a two-partner dance characterised by the simple 8-step count, that was often subject to improvisation on the street. The Balboa; a dance which is seeing a considerable revival in the choices for wedding dances is distinguishably faster, and favoured due to the closer embrace required of partners. The Charleston is also popular, due to the lively moves which are often given a contemporary urban twist by dance choreographers.

Seeking out dance lessons, for that first wedding dance isn’t a new concept. Couples have been doing it for years, yet the new motivation seems to be about giving something back to the guests. As my most recent client put it, “we want to give our guests a memory of our day that won’t fade too quickly, and the element of surprise is a bonus”.

So, why did she book us? “With all the work that hubby-to-be and I have put into learning the right steps, dancing along to a CD just didn’t have the same appeal. This is about giving something back, and we know a live swing band will create the kind of ambience our grandparents remember from the first time around”. She also divulged that there was something pretty romantic about learning something new together, and celebrating the achievement with that memorable first dance.

Far from being a brief fad for on-trend wedding receptions, choreographed wedding dances look set to grow even more in popularity. Judging by the guest’s faces at the last wedding we covered, they certainly weren’t expecting a journey back in time! I wonder what kind of dance our next betrothed couple has rehearsed?