You, me and the scene

Isn’t swing dancing one of the best and fun ways to meet people? Just count the smiles in a room full of swing dancers and you get an idea. Roffaswing wants everybody to join in the big grinning fun of swing dancing; it’s why we try to keep prices as low as possible. Which is quite great, as we keep welcoming new dancers onto the floor. So this was never about money, it was always about people. 'Cause people makes this happen, you, me, we, the scene.

Swing dancing is a social dance and yes, for some it’s a pleasant way to do a sweaty work out. Some indulge in this pretty cool music. To some, it is the best reason to dress up for parties. But for many, it is one of the best ways to meet (new) people. Just hop on the floor with this infectious grin of excitement and cool down at the bar and chat with a bunch of people from all walks of life.

Roffaswing is a non-profit organisation (‘stichting’) consisting of a board of three members that are also part of the bigger Roffaswing Team that organises dances, parties and workshops for swing dancers. All of us are volunteers and any profit from events goes directly back to Roffaswing resources. We try and work with tight budgets as we know a (beginning) swing scene doesn’t equal great commercial oportunities. The result of the effort –yes, all the blood, sweat and tears– is a lot of joy, laughter, friends, energy, dances, a creative outlet and music.

(photo: Paul van der Blom)

People make this happen, you, me, we, the scene. So what this scene needs is people. It needs people that want to organise things. It needs dancers that do come to all the events. It needs volunteers, that are willing help out with like flyering and promotion, picking up glasses and cleaning up after parties. It needs people that contribute by sharing their skills. It needs people to teach. It needs people to play music. It needs people to answer the many e-mails. It needs people to do the numbers. It needs people to have crazy ideas. It needs people that invite friends to come along and try out an intro workshop. It needs people to grow or even to sustain the community, it needs people to make it happen. That’s a pretty precious investment, isn’t it?

How can this bliss even get better? With you! Here are some things you can do:

Show up!
This is the easiest one: come and attend events. They are organised for you to have a good time on and around the dance floor. It’s where all the magic happens!

Show off your social skills!
Work on your floorcraft, read the manual. It’s pretty easy, don’t be a dick, but show off your kind and polite side. And yes, you are allowed to politely decline a dance when being asked.

Be welcoming to newer dancers, they may feel a bit nervous or intimidated. Do you remember your first adventures as a social dancer? Yes you do…
Everyone learns from social dancing, so invite beginners for a dance as well. You learn how to adapt and improvise by dancing with dancers of all levels.
Because you have more experience, doesn’t mean you should teach beginners. Unless somebody explicitly asks you, it is is best to leave teaching to the teachers in class. The social dancefloor is not a classroom.

We hope to be a scene that is welcoming for anyone, whatever their colour, gender, shape, size or romantic preferences. We want to keep discrimination of any kind out of our space.

(photo: Paul van der Blom)

Water is great for a thirsty dancer, bring your own bottle to a class but leave it at home when you go social dancing in a bar or a similar venue where drinks are sold. It is the income of people working in these places. So why not buy and extra pint and toast on a cheap or free entrance! We may put out a tip jar to support free events, like Swingbinkie at RoffaSwingPraktijk.

Sign up early (leads)!
Every swing event organiser knows this problem… the single follow stampede when partner registration opens for events. And then the begging for leads starts as the event is so much nicer with a balanced lead-follow ratio. Well you can do the maths…
Why it is so totally pleasant when leads also sign up early? Once registered, everybody can start planning their weekend accordingly. There is time to plan (cheap) travels, babysitters, work out your thesis schedule or asking a day off work. The faster you sign up and pay for your ticket, the faster the organisation knows they will make this a sustainable event. They can concentrate on creating a damn fine event for you instead of worrying if this cool idea can be afforded.

Be a host!
Meet dancers from other scenes from other cities or from abroad. Offer them to stay at your place if you have the availability. It’s so much fun and who knows, you may have a place to stay when you are out and about. And of course, if you are being hosted, be the best guest ever!

It’s great to have a peek backstage, meet people (yes, volunteering is a different way of meeting dancers!), you feel great cause you are contributing to the event and the scene.

Be alert!
Swing dancing is general a safe thing to do and we all like to keep it that way. Do you spot any situations that look odd, uncomfortable, awkward or suspicious to you? Talk to a friend, inform one of the organisers, volunteers or venue staff to see what can be done about it. Keep an eye out on your fellow dancers and keep the community safe.

Increase your knowledge!
Swing dancing more than just a hot trend. It is a dance with a cultural history that evolved over many decades. We like to encourage everyone to learn about the origins and roots of this Afro-American dance. There is so much to discover how this dance came to be and what it represented and may represent. Watch a documentary, join a panel discussion or workshop touching on the history of the dance. Read a book about the times, music, culture and lives of the people that stood at the cradle of swing. Learning and understanding have no ending, it will take you on a rich journey if you open up to it.

We are open to suggestions to make things better. Just drop us an e-mail and we'll discuss.

Go dance!
'Cause that’s what we are all here for.

2016 23 dec