As per the request of one of the DanceNet readers, here are copies of the past ramblings of the DanceNet Webmaster.
I attended a milonga (i.e., "Argentine Tango dance") this weekend; actually, I went specifically to meet Jackie Wong who's a tango teacher out in western Massachusetts. We've been exchanging dance email for a while and figured it's time we met in person (she told some people at the dance that I was her brother). We're "comrade-in-arms" because we both maintain dance calendars for our respective communities (because it's the nice thing to do) and we both have to deal with difficult people who don't realize that we really don't work for them. If she takes my advice, some dance promoters are going to get a rude awakening. I'm looking forward to that.
I got a better understanding of "alternative Tango music" at this dance. In the past, I assumed it meant dancing to "weird stuff", music that didn't tell me to tango. What I heard at this dance was different types of music that didn't fit the traditional tango music mold. Back in the "old" days, everyone liked to hear the old scratchy recordings of old time orchestras like Pugliese, Canaro, or D'Arienzo (I *never* understood Pugliese...ever). It's kinda like hearing hearing Glenn Miller and only Glenn Miller...in his original arrangements...all night long (Glenn Miller really *doesn't* "swing")...on the original vinyl record pressings...after several hundred passes on the record player.
Much of the alternative music played was music done in a newer arrangement with modern instruments...basically anything except the old scratchy recordings that bordered on fingernails against a blackboard. Some alternative tango music I heard included a wonderful waltz sung in French. There was classical tango music played on electronic instruments and there was American pop or easy-listening music that was surprisingly "tango-able". The bottom line for me is the energy. The old recordings tend to have a fixed level energy that will never improve. With some of the newer music, it's easier to find something with more energy and is more motivating.
Basically, there's tango music that I can understand! Maybe I'll have to consider taking up the dance again after all these years.
Perhaps it's just me, but it seemed like Tango dancers appreciate live music better than Swing dancers. Their applause at the end of a song seemed more spontaneous and more enthusiastic than what I've seen at swing dances. Does that mean something?
It's was reassuring to know that Tango dancing has the same sort of clueless people who don't realize that they have to share the dance floor. Right in front of me, there was a woman who did a "boleo" (a high kick backwards with the heel, as an embellishment or "flourish") and she ended up kicking another woman in the rear end. I didn't know whether to be disgusted or to fall over laughing.
I keep seeing the phrase "free beginner lesson" before most dances (usually associated with ballroom dance events). I can't help wonder what it really means. Does it mean....
If it's the former, great! I encourage everyone to go and take lessons for free. However, if it's the latter, then it's *not* really free; you've already paid for the event and the lesson is *included*. That is, you can't get the lesson without paying for the dance. That makes it "not free".
In spite of the wording I almost always get from dance promoters, I never say "free dance lesson" in the listings on this website because I'm pretty sure you have to pay to get in the door for the lesson. Calling it a "free" lesson when you can't get in without paying for the dance is false advertisement and I encourage all dancers to dispute this hidden cost of going out dancing. Ask to take the "free" lesson and say you'll pay afterwards for the dance or say that you're not there for the dancing, because, as they said, the lesson is "free". Calling it a "free" lesson to get you in the door is just misleading, even if you know it's really not "free".
I talked to another AOL tech support person who indicated that the error might actually be the limitation that they placed on the number of AOL addresses that I can send to every hour. The theory is that this limits the amount of spam people can get. This also blocks legitimate email. I think that the number of AOL users on my mailing lists is about 85. This isn't a job so I'm not going to go out of my way to space out the mailings just for AOL users. Of course, I've got to ask why I get the 554 error instead of something more informative.
I called into AOL again to ask to be put on some sort of "White List" of legitimate email addresses that are allowed to get through. The person on the other end indicated that she couldn't do that. She indicated that AOL users are the ones who should be complaining to AOL about not getting my newsletter.
She also said that putting me on the AOL White List was above her pay scale, and that my server's postmaster should be talking to AOL's postmaster about this. Considering the service I use for this has cut back on their resources, I don't see this happening soon.
The person I talked to at AOL did not seem disturbed that the only thing I could do was recommend to my users that they use some other service *other than* AOL, so that's what I'm going to do. If AOL users aren't getting my newsletter (I sent one out a couple of Sundays ago), then please give me a non-AOL address to send to. I got at least 42 bouncebacks this week...probably more. AOL doesn't seem interested in solving this problem to make sure you're getting all of your email. Please write to AOL to complain about this (the address I use for the mailing is "firstname.lastname@example.org").
I got the following listing request from Al Saloky the other week:
"I would like to get the following swing dance event listed under "South of Boston":What's wrong with this request? Not much at all.
Saturday October 21st. 8:00pm-12:30pm. "Swingin' The Vineyard" with the Compaq Big Band at Outerland, 17 Airport Road, Edgartown, MA. $15 cover. Package of dinner and dancing available by calling (508)693-1137. Swing dance lesson included 8:00pm-9:00pm."
He gave me a quick and short email on an event with the date and time, along with location and address. He even told me where this listing should go (the "South of Boston" page). He gave a number to call for more information and reservations. A lesson with starting time implies that there is a dance floor and there will be dancing. The email message included the band's URL because I always like to highlight the band and let readers find the website to decide if they want to hear the band.
The only things to nitpick about is that I don't include prices on my website because I don't want people to decide to go to events based on cost. That's also detail that belongs on the venue's website. This mailing did not include the venue's website address. Since it's a "non-usual" venue, I didn't already have the restaurant's URL and I'll have to look it up, taking up a little bit of time.
In any case, Al left out all the extraneous propaganda that serves no useful purpose to me other than to waste my time and make me dig for the useful information I need for my website. He sent me just *only* the relevant information that I would use so I could just cut & paste it straight into my webpages. I wish everyone would do it this way instead of sending "press releases" or newsletters.
I purposely created my vertical calendar listing for several reasons:
I've had a couple of people had speak in favorite of each calendar style but I was wondering what other readers thought. The least persuasive comment I got was "Why aren't you using all the newest coolest technology?"
This was the band's second gig for a dance and seemed eager to please the crowd. For a 3-person band, they put out a lot more energy and sound than a lot of other larger bands. The West Coast Swing crowd in Boston doesn't seem all that interested in having live music for their dances; they should make an exception for this band. The crowd in Northampton seemed to be quite open to dancing both West Coast Swing and Lindy Hop at the same event, something more Boston venues might want to consider.
Ron Sunshine is playing there in November, which is unfortunate, because I had also considered going down to Shoreline Swing in East Lyme, Connecticut for the first time to hear Garry & the Moodswingers whom I've never hear before. However, that's also the same weekend that Sylvia Sykes and Nick Williams will be in town teaching workshops. It's either feast or famine.