Swing Stuff from TC Swingin' Hepcats! Your source for all things swing!from TC Swingin' Hepcats
Info Home 

Current Swing Dance Special: 5% off orders over $35, 10% off orders over $105, and 15% off orders over $185!
New Kevin St. Laurent and Carla Heiney Lindy Hop, Charleston, Dips & Tricks and Slips & Slides DVDs!
 

Click for Lindy Hop Championship Rules Questionnaire/Proposal, 2/22/00

John Tomeny and Wendy Jo Gertjejanssen's article for 5-6-7-8 Magazine


Announcement from John Tomeny (parapharased)

Over Halloween weekend, 1999, at the ALHC in Stamford, two meetings were held to discuss: The Formation of an American Lindy Hop Organization and The World Rock & Roll Confederation/World Lindy Hop Competition and its Rules.

The meeting attendees are reviewing the minutes from each of those meetings and will be posted on the same three websites that host the debate archives (this one: www.swinginhepcats.com/debate.html, www.savoystyle.org/debate.html and www.swingout-ny.com) and distributed to other web sites around the world. 

If you would like to receive a copy of the completed minutes, with a list of action items recommended at each of the meetings, send your name and email address to John at: WLHC@savoystyle.org

Finally, recommendations were made at the ALHC meetings to form an exploratory committee to investigate the possibility of establishing a US-based, or North American based, Lindy Hop Organization. Volunteers signed up to participate on the committee at the ALHC meeting. In the interest of being inclusive of as many swing dance communities in North America as is possible, if you have recommendations for appropriate people to serve on this committee, or if you would like to volunteer yourself... please send email to: NALHC@savoystyle.org

In addition, on November 8, a meeting was held to discuss the WLHC and its relationship with the WRRC. The meetings for this meeting are being edited and will be distributed for corrections this week.

From Wendy: As a small- and part-time lindy hopper and co-moderator at the ALHC meetings, I want to thank John Tomeny for his very insightful way of handling this entire debate. The way he has dealt with all people involved has shown his impartiality and maturity. It has helped to bring people to discuss, rather than to argue. I felt honored to have been asked to help in this process.


World Lindy Hop Championship Debate

Last entry added Oct. 21, 1999. 

What follows are the emails from a debate that took place between Ryan Francois, Marcus Koch, Nathalie Gomes and others concerning the governance of the World Lindy Hop Championships, November 7, 1999, in New York City.

John Tomeny, of savoystyle.org initiated the posting of all of these messages in an attempt to stop rumors and bring some sense to the matter. I followed up on his lead to also have the material available to my viewers. 

Almost all of the messages that have been emailed to either John or myself are posted. Some have been deleted at the request of the authors; others were not posted because of their inflammatory nature. The following is from John's web page:

The material posted here is the most complete discussion of this debate that I have found with the exception of two cases:

1. occasional "one-liners" and "quips" that I have chosen not to include for lack of substance. 

2. a few unusually angry messages that contributed no significant material to the debate that I have chosen to omit 

The same is true for this web site, which is practically a mirror of savoystyle.org/debate.html. Thanks for your understanding with this. It seems that the debate has taken a much more constructive turn, with people both apologizing and beginning to actually work out differences. Hopefully, this positive energy will continue for all of us - since we all really only want to dance (not argue!), right?   :)

Sincerely, 
Wendy Jo Gertjejanssen


Note: the horizontal lines separate the various emails. In some emails there are multiple messages that people forwarded. 
From John: On 23 September I received a series of email messages from Fred Hunt of the UK Lindy Championships. Fred provided me with copies of several email exchanges between himself, Dominique De Coster, and numerous Lindy Hop dancers throughout the UK, including Ryan Francois. What follows is a reconstruction of a discussion between the parties which led to Ryan's decision to broadcast his message throughout the world. In some instances I have removed names and email addresses of recipients when those recipients do not appear to be central figures in the debate.


From: "live2jive" live2jive@live2jive.co.uk
To: "John Tomeny" lindyhop@savoystyle.org
Subject: Fw: World Lindy-Hop Championship New-York 7th November 1999
Date: Thu, 23 Sep 1999 10:38:38


John - Thank you for the stream of emails on the whole WRRC thing.

Below is a copy of the email which arrived out of the blue from Dominique De Coster. As I don't know how to link these things together I will send my reply separately, also for the email he sent me about European Lindy Hop. You will see that the basis of the WRRC action is the absence of a UK organisation. A point for Paul Overton to ponder? (Ed: A reference to Paul's letter which appears later in this discussion.)

Until Dominique rang me just before the Swing Jam to tell us that we were 'not authorised' to run the UK National Lindy Hop Championships (which the Swing Jam has been running since 1993), we had no idea that all of this was going on. Our initial response was 'who the hell are you?'

Following is Dominique de Coster's original email re. European contacts which brought my response which got world-wide circulation much to my surprise.

- Fred

-----Original Message-----

From: de Coster Dominique ddcoster@arcadis.be
To: Numerous recipients including: Ryan Francois ryan@zoots.demon.co.uk;
Fred Hunt lijive@lijive.com
Date: 10 September 1999 14:52
Subject: European Lindy-Hop Club


Dear friend Lindy-Hoppers,

My name is Dominique de Coster and I am a verry enthusiast fan of Lindy. Nearly one year ago, I created a Lindy-Hop Club under Yahoo environement to promote contacts and relationship between all Europeean Lindy-Hoppers. 

Today I have 76 members, but most of them are from the USA. I am happy to have them but it doen't fullfil my original gool to make Europeean Lindy-Hoppers to get to know each other and to communicate with each other.

The Club is however a verry powerfull way to achive this by posting messages, to advise what is going on at your end, to ask for help or question your foreign friends, to share good or bad experiences at a camp or at a party. It allows you to post photos of again party or camps or what ever you want to share with the community.

If enought members are interested we can even decide upon a date where we can chat all together.

To become a member you only have to create a Yahoo Identity (Yahoo ID) at following adress http://clubs.yahoo.com/?ins and then go to the club to access the membership (upper wright click button).

Or alternatively you can visit first the club and then click the "click here to log in button" and then create your Yahoo ID. This is 100% free of charges.

The Club adress is http://Clubs.yahoo.com/Clubs/lindyhopeurope

I hope that for the 14 septembre (first year of existance of the Club) we can reatch at least 100 members and that many mores will add before the end of the millenium.

NB: Please if you become a member give in your Yahoo ID the place where you live or at least the country so that one can more or less locate you somewhere in the world.

Waiting to welcome you soon,

Dominique Alias Blocry_dancer@yahoo.com

-----Original Message-----

From: de Coster Dominique ddcoster@arcadis.be
To: Blocry_dancer@yahoo.com Blocry_dancer@yahoo.com
Cc: Undisclosed recipients
Date: 15 September 1999 16:08
Subject: World Lindy-Hop Championship New-York 7th November 1999


Dear Lindy-Hoppers from UK,

On the 7th of November the "World Lindy-Hop Championship 1999" will take place in New-York at the famous Supper Club. Please consulte the folowing website for more details: http://www.hopswingjump.com/spevents_wlhc.html

This competition is organised under the umbrella of the "World Rock'n'Roll Confederation" which is recognised by the IOC as the sole international organisation competent for competitions of acrobatic Rock'n'Roll, Boogie-Woogie and Lindy-Hop. It has also the blessing of many of the major actors on the international Lindy-Hop sceen like Fankie Maning to mention only one." Ed: The reference to Frankie's "blessing" is unconfirmed after our attempts to confirm it.

At this point of time, there exists no unified Lindy-Hop organisation in your Country and the UK member of WRRC is not yet ready to take care of the Lindy issues.

On the other hands, we don't see a World Lindy-Hop Championship without any UK representative. Therefor and as the time is too short now to have a fair selective competition in the UK, we will proced as follows:

1) As from this very moment any UK coulpes who wants to candidate is free to apply at the below adress (E-mail or fax). The application should contain a short CV mentioning the Lindy level, the competition experience and results.

2) The speed of reaction will be the major criteria. In case needed a neutral comitee from non UK persons will make the final arbitration. 

3) In compliance with the WLHC rules, only 4 couples will be selected. (The same applies for every county. The organising country and the title defender have a wild card)

4) No applications will be taken into consideration after the 20 september. 

Attached is the official invitation to the World Championship and the Competition rules.

Good Luck to every one.

Dominique de Coster WRRC responsible
Fax: +32 10 45 44 48 
E-mail: blocry_dancer@yahoo.com

-----Original Message-----

From: live2jive live2jive@live2jive.co.uk
To: de Coster Dominique ddcoster@arcadis.be
Date: 16 September 1999 01:19
Subject: Re: World Lindy-Hop Championship New-York 7th November 1999


Dominique - your email is misleading and inaccurate.

[...] We also understand that the organisers of this year's World Championship are NOT running under the rules which you have tried to impose on the competitions, and were also unaware of the rules which you have published on your web site and which Lindy Hop teachers, dancers and organisers have not been consulted about.

As I said to you in our telephone conversation, you have not consulted us in any way prior to making decisions about the appointment of UK representation, and have insulted us as the organisers of the only internationally recognised Lindy Hop competition in the UK.

To further insult us you gave the names of rival Lindy Hop clubs to the UK 'Representative' and even included Rena and Andy who do not even teach Lindy Hop.

Please re-email all the recipients of you last communication and correct the errors in it.

Fred Hunt Live2Jive

-----Original Message-----

From: live2jive live2jive@live2jive.co.uk
To: Numerous recipients including: Dominique de Coster ddcoster@arcadis.be;
Ryan Francois ryan@zoots.demon.co.uk; Fred Hunt swingjam@swingjam.co.uk
Date: 17 September 1999 07:55
Subject: Re: European Lindy-Hop Club


Dominique - thank you for your email.

What is missing from the email is the background information which Lindy Hoppers ought to know before making any decision, and which you have conveniently omitted to give them.

On the face of it this appears to be a simple plea for co-operation from a new Lindy Hopper, but it doesn't say that you are an important figure in the World Rock and Roll Confederation, and that the WRRC is actively trying to take control of Lindy Hop world-wide.

Nor does it say that your interest in Lindy Hop is a commercial one based on the interests of the WRRC and not Lindy Hop. You claimed during our recent telephone conversation that the WRRC was invited to take over the organisation of Lindy Hop after the collapse of the WLHF. As I said to you, the un-named group of people who invited you to do this had no legal right to assign to you control of a world-wide network of clubs, events and competitions. That they did so without any form of general consultation is not only insulting to us all, but is
guaranteed to fail to win support.

You claim that you were given 'permission' to run all Lindy Hop competitions world-wide by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), based on the request of the Ballroom dance world to have their type of dancing accepted as an Olympic sport.

Lindy Hop is considered by the dancers to be a grass-roots dance which has no connection with the false and stylised world of Ballroom dancing. To use the IOC's ruling that only one governing body can represent an Olympic sport to insist that Lindy Hop is included is totally ludicrous. Not only this, you have handed UK control to the British Dance Council, one of the controlling bodies within the UK ballroom dance world and a million miles from the Lindy Hop
world!

Not only has the WRRC assumed, without requesting agreement from others, the role of competition organisers, it has decided unilaterally on a set of competition rules which are based on Ballroom jive and Ballroom R 'n' R (see attachment).

These are in no way similar to the rules used in Lindy Hop competitions world-wide, including the UK National Lindy Hop Championships which is run in accordance with the general principles of the World Swing Dance Council. These general rules have been applied to all Lindy Hop competitions or sections within competitions except for the last World Lindy Hop Championships.

The last World Lindy Hop Championships were run by the organisers, and without reference to the competitors, under WRRC rules. The competition is generally felt to have been a farce, with music to fast and too short, and competitors from some countries who were clearly not Lindy Hoppers but had won the right to compete under your 'allocation' rules to the exclusion of good dancers who could have competed.

To add to the farce, instead of having the competition at the end of the Herrang dance camp, when Stockholm would have been full of top Lindy Hop dancers, it was moved back a week by the organisers for 'commercial reasons' to the Swedish Water Festival week, by which time many dancers had returned home!

It was claimed by you that you are doing no more than the now defunct World Lindy Hop Federation. The difference is that the WLHF was set up by a group of well-intentioned dancers, mostly Lindy Hoppers but not all, to bring together a world-wide link of Lindy Hop clubs and organisers and to allow different countries to stage the World Championships.

To this end they made presentations at a number of conventions, including the Swing Jam, in order that dancers could hear their plans and raise queries. 

Their objectives for creation of the WLHF were solely based on the love of Lindy Hop and for no other reasons, ceratinly not that it be handed over lock, stock and barrel to a Ballroom dance based organisation.

Before any Lindy Hop dancers 'sign up' as your 'European Friends' I seriously urge them to consider the implications of providing you with any form of support for yourself and the WRRC which is not intended. They should be assured that they are in no way unknowingly giving support to the WRRC or its plans for Lindy Hop.

Fred Hunt


The original message from Ryan:
 Subject: Message from Ryan

 A few years ago the World Lindy Federation was founded much to the dismay of the main Lindy community of the time. at first it's goals were well intended but it had no support from anyone who would be considered to be the main core of the Swing revival - myself included - therefore it didn't quite work.

 This left an open door for the World R & R federation spearheaded by Marcus Koch to attempt to take over the Lindy Fed and impose their rules and regulations into the dance form. this included standardising the movements and dictating to teachers how they should be taught so that we did the exact same things. The pure among us found this to be an intolerable idea. A dance based on improvisation standardised? Worse still owned by a federation who were not even Lindy Hoppers! There were many other reasons for Marcus and his Federation to get their fingers on the Lindy but these already were enough.

This caused uproar in Europe and after many a heated discussion the World Lindy federation was disbanded. And supposedly forgotten about. Now the scene in America and across the globe hadn't established itself at this time, so they were no doubt blissfully unaware of the rumblings in Europe which made it a perfect place to Start a World Championships run by the World R & R fed picking a continent ignorant of its prior shady dealings which is exactly what they did in Europe before the idea was destroyed.

 So all I can say is beware, this is a venture born of self interest not for the good of the dance. I have never spoke out before about anything but on this I am adamant.

This is BAD for Lindy Hop

Take care
Ryan

 You can circulate this message if you wish to whomever you wish, I'm not  afraid of my statement.

Ryan Francois


X-From_: info@hepcatswing.com Fri Sep 17 17:37 CDT 1999
Return-Path: <info@hepcatswing.com>
Date: Thu, 16 Sep 1999 17:30:28 -0500
From: Hep Cat Swing <info@hepcatswing.com>
Organization: Hep Cat Swing
X-Accept-Language: en
To: info@hepcatswing.com
Subject: Clarity on Ryan's message

So there were a lot inquiries about what Ryan francois was referring to.  I admit I was in the dark as well, but figured the intent of the message was to inform us of an upcoming event.  By the way, it was NOT intened to protest my Green Room Project Benefit party.  I don't think he would oppose me trying to raise money for a theatre company in Chicago.  Anyway, Ryan sent me another message to clarify things and hopefully this will help...

 If you have any questions, comments, or would like to endorse Ryan's position on this matter after you've fully read the following message, he has asked that you contact him directly at mrzoots@aol.com.

 IMPORTANT NOTICE

This is not a hoax

 This is an important notice written by Ryan Francois for any Lindy Hoppers interested in keeping the Lindy out of the hands of Marcus Koch and The World Rock & Roll Federation

 It is not a usual practice for me to write down my feelings about the way the Swing community operates but I am compelled to speak out on this particular subject. Please forgive me if my eloquence on paper is not up to the task of expressing my feelings as clearly as I would like it to. But these are my opinions as best I can present them. I Hope that it will spur you all to act now on behalf of the Lindy and boycott the World Lindy Championships and all other related events and/or people involved with this sneaky plan to arrest the dance from it's true following.

 Let me give you some background as far as I understand it.

 A few years ago the World Lindy Federation was founded much to the dismay of the main Lindy community of the time. At first it's goals were well intended but it had no support from anyone who would be considered to be the main core of the Swing revival - myself included – therefore it didn't quite work. This left an open door for the World R & R federation spearheaded by Marcus Koch to attempt to take over the Lindy Federation and impose their rules and regulations into the dance form. This included standardizing the movements and dictating to teachers how they should be taught so that we did the exact same things. The pure among us found this to be an intolerable idea. A dance based on improvisation standardized? Worse still owned by a federation who were Ballroom dancers not even Lindy Hoppers! There were many other reasons for Marcus and his Federation to get their fingers on the Lindy but these already were enough. This caused uproar in Europe and after many a heated discussion the World Lindy Federation was disbanded. And supposedly forgotten about.

Now the scene in America and across the globe hadn't established itself at this time. They were no doubt blissfully unaware of the rumblings in Europe, which made it a perfect place to Start a World Lindy Hop Championships run by the World R & R Federation picking a continent ignorant of its prior shady dealings. Which is exactly happened in Europe before the idea was destroyed.

 A few months ago I got an invite from Natalie Gomez to attend the World Lindy Hop Championships held at The Supper Club in New York. An idea I wasn't opposed to at first, until I found out later that it was going to be run by R&R Federation. You may not understand this at this point but it will become clear soon that there is no coincidence that both Natalie and Marcus belong to that Federation and neither can be thought of as true Lindy Hoppers.

Anyway I digress.

 I am asking you not to take me at my word but find out for yourselves about the intentions of this Federation. If you agree with my findings I'm asking you to STAND BY ME and call for a NATIONWIDE BOYCOTT of this event.

 Tell as many people as you can not to go. Put it on your web pages and if there are any lawyers out there willing to help me legally stamp this out please email me at mrzoots@aol.com.

 I will be asking for your signatures on a protest sheet which I know will be signed by most if not all of the teachers I have grown to respect over the years.

 I also plan on picketing The Supper Club on the day of the event and anyone with similar feelings is welcome to join.

 [...] and then called The UK Lindy Hop Championships in London to tell them they were no longer allowed to run there competition without the approval of the R&R Federation.

Ryan Francois Has Declared WAR

I will not go quietly

So now is the time to see where you stand in this. Please get involved, take this seriously and don't stand on the side. As far as I'm concerned the future is at stake and it's up to us to keep Lindy Hop for the Lindy Hoppers.

Act Soon
 Ryan Francois

 To follow is some correspondence from the UK Lindy Championships to the head of the R&R Federation.

From: live2jive [live2jive@live2jive.co.uk]
To: de Coster Dominique

 Dominique - thank you for your email.

 What is missing from the email is the background information which Lindy Hoppers ought to know before making any decision, and which you have conveniently omitted to give them.

 On the face of it this appears to be a simple plea for co-operation from a new Lindy Hopper, but it doesn't say that you are an important figure in the World Rock and Roll Confederation, and that the WRRC is actively trying to take control of Lindy Hop world-wide. Nor does it say that your interest in Lindy Hop is a commercial one based on the interests of the WRRC and not Lindy Hop.

 You claimed during our recent telephone conversation that the WRRC was invited to take over the organisation of Lindy Hop after the collapse of the WLHF. As I said to you, the un-named group of people who invited you to do this had no legal right to assign to you control of a world-wide network of clubs, events and competitions. That they did so without any form of general consultation is not only insulting to us all, but is guaranteed to fail to win support.

 You claim that you were given 'permission' to run all Lindy Hop competitions world-wide by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), based on the request of the Ballroom dance world to have their type of dancing accepted as an Olympic sport. Lindy Hop is considered by the dancers to be a grass-roots dance which has no connection with the false and stylised world of Ballroom dancing. To use the IOC's ruling that only one governing body can represent an Olympic sport to insist that Lindy Hop is included is totally ludicrous. Not only this, you have handed UK control to the British Dance Council, one of the controlling bodies within the UK ballroom dance world and a million miles from the Lindy Hop world!

 Not only has the WRRC assumed, without requesting agreement from others, the role of competition organisers, it has decided unilaterally on a set of competition rules which are based on Ballroom jive and Ballroom R 'n' R (see attachment). These are in no way similar to the rules used in Lindy Hop competitions world-wide, including the UK National Lindy Hop Championships which is run in accordance with the general principles of the World Swing Dance Council. These general rules have been applied to all Lindy Hop competitions or sections within competitions except for the last World Lindy Hop Championships.

 The last World Lindy Hop Championships were run by the organisers, and without reference to the competitors, under WRRC rules. The competition is generally felt to have been a farce, with music to fast and too short, and competitors from some countries who were clearly not Lindy Hoppers but had won the right to compete under your 'allocation' rules to the exclusion of good dancers who could have competed. To add to the farce, instead of having the competition at the end of the Herrang dance camp, when Stockholm would have been full of top Lindy Hop dancers, it was moved back a week by the organisers for 'commercial reasons' to the Swedish Water Festival week, by which time many dancers had returned home!

 It was claimed by you that you are doing no more than the now defunct World Lindy Hop Federation. The difference is that the WLHF was set up by a group of well-intentioned dancers, mostly Lindy Hoppers but not all, to bring together a world-wide link of Lindy Hop clubs and organisers and to allow different countries to stage the World Championships. To this end they made presentations at a number of conventions, including the Swing Jam, in order that dancers could hear their plans and raise queries. Their objectives for creation of the WLHF were solely based on the love of Lindy Hop and for no other reasons, certainly not that it be handed over lock, stock and barrel to a Ballroom dance based organisation.

 Before any Lindy Hop dancers 'sign up' as your 'European Friends' I seriously urge them to consider the implications of providing you with any form of support for yourself and the WRRC which is not intended. They should be assured that they are in no way unknowingly giving support to the WRRC or its plans for Lindy Hop.

 Fred Hunt  


Statement by John Hudson

 X-From_: Hudshop@aol.com Fri Sep 17 17:39 CDT 1999
Return-Path: <Hudshop@aol.com>
From: Hudshop@aol.com
Date: Fri, 17 Sep 1999 18:39:46 EDT
Subject: Re: A message from Ryan Francois
To: Wendy J Gertjejanssen <gertj001@maroon.tc.umn.edu>(that's me's, at jo@swinginhepcats.com)
CC: MarcusKoch@worldofswing.com,   BaerblKaufer@worldofswing.com

 Wendy, you are very special!!!! It seems that Ryan is missinformed and he has  some missinformed recruits new to this whole scene....I am sure that Marcus  will sort this out in the proper way. Marcus is one of the most honest people  I know in the entire scene...He is a genuine good sport and is always happy  to see the dancers improve and challenge or beat him on the floor.He and Baerble are the the first ones to shake the hands of the winners..I was there when the federation formed, I don't recall seeing Ryan there. Frankie was there as were several of the dancers from Sweden and other parts of the world..

FYI Marcus is not a dancer nor did he make his tapes to make a living from dance..What he is doing is for the love of the dance and to publish what he spent the last 15 years and countless thousands of dollars researhing..He is passing it on to save a lot of people a lot of time and I believe that the tapes Marcus and Baerbl have made do the best to accomplish that goal....Marcus is a computer expert. He is a trained and certified teacher..He teachs large workshops all over Germany for Microsoft,earns up to 5000. per day..He is a published writer for Microsoft and computer tech...He has no agenda other than to be the best at whatever he does and is very happy when challenged..It is not nice to insult and slander anyone with a one sided slant and with bits and pieces of a story...Perhaps these other people feel thier livelyhood theatened? 

Without rules and guidelines, there could only be confusion...I have been dancing continiously for 53 yrs. and have won over 500 first places in dance..Many were audience applause...To have a WORLD COMPETETION takes a lot of work and all should be thankful that people like Marcus step up to the challenge to help things along..He is there and being singled out by Ryan,I don't understand this since Marcus is only helping, hence the word FEDERATION, I am sure Ryan is welcome to be in the FEDERATION and his expert input would be apprieciated and welcome.....

In my entire relationship with Marcus I have never heard him say a bad thing towards Ryan, he has only spoke with admiration.....I really love seeing all the younger people out dancing and enjoying the old music and the new swing music..It is happy and we should keep it that way......for the love of the dance and music,John Hudson..........please forward this to the needed people,thanks 


Statement by Marcus Koch

X-From_: MarcusKoch@WorldOfSwing.com Sun Sep 19 00:21 CDT 1999
Return-Path: <MarcusKoch@WorldOfSwing.com>
Reply-To: <MarcusKoch@WorldOfSwing.com>
From: "Marcus Koch" <MarcusKoch@WorldOfSwing.com>
To: <info@hepcatswing.com>, <mrzoots@aol.com>, Wendy J Gertjejanssen <gertj001@maroon.tc.umn.edu>,   "Barbara Kaufer" <BaerblKaufer@WorldOfSwing.com>,   "John Hudson" <hudshop@aol.com>, "Nathalie Gomes" <ngswing@earthlink.net>,  <live2jive@live2jive.co.uk>, "Dominique de Coster" <ddecoster@arcadis.be>
Subject: Reply to Ryan's statements by Marcus Koch
Date: Sun, 19 Sep 1999 07:22:35 +0200

Statement by Marcus Koch:

 Dear readers, please forgive me any spelling or grammatical errors because English is not my native language.

 Therefore a bunch of emails were spread around attacking me in person I have to clarify some topics. After reading some of these emails that were started by Ryan Françoise I have mixed feelings. I_m upset, disappointed and very much shocked. Ryan made a lot of statements without proofing them. He himself wrote _Let me give you some background as far as I UNDERSTAND it._, which means he didn_t proof what he understood or wanted to understand. People reading these emails have to get a very bad prejudice about me, which seems he aimed for. Because some of the attacks were on topics most people don_t have enough background information to understand what was going on. This reply became quite long, but it will clarify everything for you. Even if it will take you some while to read everything, please do it completely.   

 I respected Ryan always as one of the very best dancers. I also totally agree with Ryan in a lot of points and his opinion about how things around Lindy shouldn_t be shaped. Because of my long experience in dancing and dealing with organisations of any kind I for myself had always a lot of fear that Lindy will be taken over by the wrong people and get pushed in the wrong direction. So I can understand that Ryan is very heated because he seems to believe his statements. But from anybody of good character making such strong attacks to anybody, I expect that this person talks first to the persons he is attacking to proof his opinions. I myself never got a message by Ryan! I even wasn_t on the distribution list to get informed about the attacks against me which gave me no chance to comment on these attacks. I also don_t know what other information went around the net. I just got to know about what_s going on because friends forwarded me a few mails. The way Ryan was doing this shocked me a lot and I_m very disappointed by him as a person. I thought the days of resort to lynch law have past where you consider somebody guilty without giving him any chance to defend against a reproach.

Before I will comment on these attacks with concrete information I want to appreciated Joe Gerrits statement _all information pertaining to the matter should be completely factual_. He also said _I want to further commend Ryan for not using his high profile status as leverage to make his position known and valid._ Thank you very much Joe! I hope you help spreading this answer around, too.

 Now let_s dig in the reproaches Ryan made. For anybody who didn_t follow the earlier email conversations I attached the emails that may be important to follow the argumentation.

 Ryan_s statement #1:

 _This left an open door for the World R & R federation spearheaded by Marcus Koch&_

 I_m NOT a leader or spearhead of the WRRC (World Rock _n_ Roll Confederation). I_m not in the presidency or any committee of the WRRC, nor do I follow any order by the WRRC. I also have nothing to do with organisation or the ruling of the World Lindy Hop Championship.

 To understand the role that the WRRC plays and how I_m connected to the WRRC I have to give you some background information. The WRRC was founded 1974 and it is a non-for-profit body organisation. All people do their work voluntary and without payment and are elected by their members which are the national organisations of each country. Therefore it only deals with international issues and is not involved in any national matters. So they will be never involved in what Ryan said _& standardising the movements and dictating to teachers how they should be taught so that we did the exact same things._ What they deal with is to set up international competition rules which have to be agreed on by its members and the education of the international judges. If you want to get some more information about the history and the foundation of the WRRC you can get this at there Web site at http://www.wrrc.org/wrrc/history/. You will find also other information about the WRRC.

 I don_t know how it is in America and in all of the other countries, but in most of the other countries in the World the government supports sports. Mostly the government deals (accept and/or support) for each sport with only one non-for-profit national body organisation where all clubs and individuals have to be member of to receive the benefits (which can be a lot). In France the law is as far as I know the strictest. There, only members of the national organisation are allowed to run championships with the title _French_ in it. In other countries it is not as strict, but the national federations are well established, so nobody would have a chance to succeed with a _private_ competition. The WRRC - to make it short - is member and recognised by the International Dance Federation (ISDF) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC). In general it means that the whole sports structure is based on non-for-profit organisations.

 I hope you have a little picture about what the WRRC is. It doesn_t tell why the WRRC does Lindy Hop now. I will explain this to you later in the answer to Ryan_s statement #2. Now I want to clarify my connection to the WRRC:

 I started dancing learning a style of swing that now is called Boogie Woogie and has its base in the Lindy Hop/Jitterbug that the GI_s brought over to Europe after the war. Later it was mainly influenced by the Rock _n_ Roll music of the 50_s. (comment: I want to put up some more information about Boogi Woogie and Rock _n_ Roll on our web site www.worldofswing.com in a couple of weeks). 15 years ago people started again to organize competitions in this style, but they were mainly ruled by a privately connected  group of people. There were many complains about how the competitions were run and how some dancers were cheated. So different people came together and founded the non-for-profit German Boogie Woogie Association (GBWA) which worked on an election base. I was one of these founders. Now everybody who wanted to be part could be. Because an other style called Rock _n_ Roll was already well organised in the German  Rock _n_ Roll Association, which was the recognized organisation by the government, the German Boogie Woogie Association joined the German Rock _n_ Roll Association which is now known as the German Rock _n_ Roll and Boogie Woogie Association. This means through my membership in my national organisation I_m an indirect member of the WRRC.

 I put a lot of volunteer work without any payment in the development of the Boogie Woogie in Germany. This is were I got my background information and experience and also met many people organisations like the WRRC or the ballroom organisation. My motives were always pro the dancers and the dancing. I fought against anything were money or power tried to force the ruling. And there is always somebody who tries to influence things to give himself or herself an advantage. So in this point I can fully understand Ryan_s fears and concerns. I never changed my motives because I_m an idealist, which many people can confirm. I stopped doing work in the committee of the GRBA after everything was quite established because I wanted to concentrate on my own dancing and also didn_t have time anymore because of my studies.

 Ryan_s statement #2:

_A few years ago the World Lindy Federation was founded much to the dismay of the main Lindy community of the time. at first it's goals were well intended but it had no support from anyone who would be considered to be the main core of the Swing revival - myself included - therefore it didn't quite work._

 To give you some background information about the World Lindy Hop Federation I quote the article that was written by Porl Smith and appeared in Hoppin_ Volume 2 Issue 4 _ September 1995.

 To paraphrase Frankie Manning, getting involved with setting up a World Lindy Federation (WLHF) is your opportunity to help make history happen just as the dancers in the twenties and thirties did.

 Steven Mitchell and Freddie Haugan first suggested a federation for Lindy Hop at CAN_T TOP THE LINDY HOP celebration in New York 1994.

 Freddie wanted a universal structure for competitions and Steve, recognising Lindy Hop was once again spreading around the world, wanted to join together the world_s Lindy Hop communities.

These two contacted Lennart Westerlund, Marcus Koch and Deborah Huisken (comment form me: publisher of Hoppin_) to talk  about forming a federation. At the first Lindy Hop Championship in Oslo in early August, 1995, thirty people attended one or more of the four initial meetings._

Later in the article it says: _Existing dance competition sponsors, such as the International Dance Organisation (IDO) and the World Rock _n_ Roll Confederation (WRRC), were discussed and it was concluded that workshops should run in conjunction with Lindy competition._

The WRRC was brought in discussion by Freddie, who was in the board of directors of the Norwegian WRRC member. I also had a talk with Wolfgang Steuer, the president of the WRRC, because he wanted to know what_s going on. I told him about the WLHF and the competition. He said he would be pleased, if the WLHF takes care about the Lindy Hop by themself. He said they have enough work with the Rock _n_ Roll and the Boogie Woogie. He thought it may be also more appropriate for the free character of the dance.

The IDO is another international dance organisation that organises international dance competitions for dances that are not covered by the WRRC or the international ballroom organisation, like Mambo, Argent. Tango, Hip Hop, Disco, Hustle, Tap, etc.. They came in discussion because the secretary of the IDO called Freddie Haugan at his dance school at this weekend and claimed to be THE organisation for international competition, which meant also Lindy Hop. They are known for a lot of cheating at the competitions, I can talk out of my own experience. Freddie and Baerbl, my dance partner, confirmed my statement. So nobody wanted to work together with them. A couple of month later they organised a World Lindy Hop Championship on their own, which had 7 couples competing. They also invited Frankie ones and gave him an award. [...] The IDO is still doing swing competitions. I would describe it at a mixture between Hustle and West Coast Swing to fast music. I heard there is even a World championship in Florida this year. Therefore it mostly addresses their own community most people never heard about them.

Comparing to these organisations the purpose of the WLHF was: _To encourage recognition of Lindy Hop as a world-class, international performance and social dance, to honour its roots in improvisational Jazz, and African-American dance traditions, and to foster cooperation among all participants in its growth and evolution._

The list of the volunteered people for the working committee was also published. Frankie was named as a spiritual leader. My name therefore was under the competition resort, but I was not the main person. I didn_t have the time for it, but I wanted to help with my knowledge and experience in competitions, statutes and laws. I was and I am addicted to Lindy, so I was very interested to support the idea of a world wide Lindy Hop organization and to help spreading the word of this fantastic Lindy. Other people at the board of directors were Freddie Haugan from Oslo, Deborah Huisken from London, Christine Nelson (now Walker Sampson) from Seattle, Lindy Farr from Germany, Steve Mascioli from Edina, MN, Brian McGill from Washington. Keith Huges later volunteered for taking care of a Web site the WLHF Archives. On the picture that was shot at the last meeting you can see beside Catherine from the Rhythm Hot Shots, Kenneth and Helena also Ryan and Julie (his dance partner at this time). Beside Freddie there was no professional in the committee. The main reason was that nobody of them wanted to volunteer for unpaid work, which definitely had to be done a lot.

What Ryan was right was that _it didn't quite work_. Although there was a great feeling of spirit and connection at these meetings, these feeling didn_t seem to hold very long. Beside Keith, who did an incredible job putting up the Archives on the Web, almost no work was done by the others. The first year was meant to do the base work, so a federation can be set up with by-laws, structure and concrete aims and support for the Lindy the next year. It also would give everybody who wasn_t at these meetings a chance to bring in his or her opinions and help. To make it now shorter, every of the three additional meetings had good spirit and people volunteered for work, but nothing ever was done. It_s a big difference between saying to do something and really doing it.

In the meanwhile the Swedish Dance Sport Federation made a proposal at the general meeting of the WRRC to admit the Lindy Hop to the WRRC. To understand, at this time Lindy was very small in the whole World and Sweden was the only country with a established competition scene for Lindy Hop. Almost all the trainers and performers came from Sweden at this time. Their aim was that the other countries accept their rules and education system. Now after the proposal,  Wolfgang Steuer (president of the WRRC) had to discuss the Lindy Hop topic in the WRRC. But he invited the WLHF to come to the general meeting of the WRRC, because he knew through me about their existence. At this time I had the most knowledge about organisations and the meeting was close to my home, so I was chosen as the representative of the WLHF for the general meeting of the WRRC. I was able to stop the proposal and a committee was formed consisting of members of the WRRC and members of the WLHF with the aim to find a solution how it would be possible to work together. Sharing the benefits of the WRRC, but still be independent. The aim of the WRRC was mainly to have their dancers compete at the competitions. Unfortunately the moral for work of the other members didn_t get better, so I mainly tried to let the WLHF shine as a strong organisation, to have good negotiation stand point. I spend so much time of my life till I cancelled at a certain point.

At the fourth general meeting in Herräng 97 the by-laws finally should have been established. There was a six hours discussion period were different topics were discussed. Everybody could participate and talk. It was meant to set up the direction the majority want to go and to solve problems that can be solved beforehand. After a break there was the voting period with the voting on the single paragraphs of the statutes. Unexpectedly there were only a few people at the discussion and a lot more at the voting. So most people didn_t know what this all was about. Unfortunately there was a lot of misunderstandings at this meeting and also some intrigues in form of deliberate misinformation. So a new discussion was brought up. Ivan Berggren, dancer, competitor, teacher from Sweden, partly representing the Swedish Dance Sport Federation wanted that the WLHF only works on the social scene in form of a loose network and that it shall not have any influence on competitions. His aim was still to set up the international Lindy Hop competitions in the WRRC with the Swedish rules. He also considered competitions as pure sport, which has nothing to do with any social aspects. But people didn_t understand because the WLHF was made out to be the big danger. Finally the WLHF broke apart and some other trials didn_t succeed either.

On the 20th of November I wrote a letter and sent it to Jaana Leppälä, who was heading the ILHA (International Lindy Hop Federation), the new. I wanted to get this email out to get everybody informed. Unfortunately it was never sent. You can get some more background information about what happened and about my thoughts and my opinions out of this email. I hope that all of my explanations and also this email make clear that I was always working for the dancers. I was one of the persons who were concerned about having everything ruled by an organisation where it is hard to get influence. I warned the people many times about the things, that would be happening like what Fred Hunt reported from England. So I don_t know where Ryan got the idea that I_m the spearhead of the WRRC. I never talked to him about the ILHA or the WRRC since the meeting in Oslo 1995!

Ryan_s statement #3:

_This left an open door for the World R & R federation spearheaded by Marcus Koch to attempt to take over the Lindy Fed and impose their rules and regulations into the dance form._

(For spearheaded see Answer to statement #1)  It is true that the brake down of the WLHF/ILHF left an open door for any other organisation. But it was not a selfish president which took Lindy Hop to the WRRC. It was the Swedish Dance Sport Federation which pushed it there, supported by most of the top Swedish dancers.

In my opinion the WRRC is not a bad organisation for hosting the Lindy Hop, because it is a recognized organisation by all major countries beside America, and it has the power to spread Lindy Hop. Especially when I see that Lindy is declining in some major cities of the US and a lot of bars and dance clubs already have closed, I think we need well organised events, like the upcoming WLHC. There will be always problems and different opinions in any organisation and community. The WRRC is non-for-profit, build on elections, and is based on democracy. So it works as good as any other democracy. This means if there are people who put their heart and spirit in it it can grow well and have us all profit from it. On the other side if the elected people are just guided by their own needs, it won_t work regardless of the organisation. When the WLHF was still alive the WRRC was open to set up an own committee for Lindy Hop topics consisted of Lindy Hop people. At the moment the WRRC has for each of it_s different styles a special position. These persons do the main work and work out the proposals the elected board of directors will vote on. The board themselves are answerable to the general meeting. In the Boogie Woogie this position is held by Toni Keller from Switzerland. He does a good job, because he has no personal interest and is working for the dancers. For Lindy Hop there are to persons at the moment. It is the president of the Swedish dance sport federation and Dominique de Coster. The dancers who attended the Herräng dance camp in Sweden or Catalina will now him (he got the red nose most of the time). Dominique did a lot of work and help for the Lindy. He travels around the World, is a long time member of the WRRC and was also among the board of the directors of the WLHF/ILHF. After I left he has been continuing to try to keep the counterbalance to the WRRC, even he is one of his members, and tried to get the best for the dancers. He will probably react on Ryan_s email by himself.

I don_t know if this information is already out, but he told me that there is a meeting planned after the World Championship, where there will be a discussion aboiut how good or bad the rules have been and all the other topics that are important to the dancers. I think instead of picketing the Supper Club people should attend the competition, and see how it will be. If it was really bad you can all complain the next day and maybe the next year nobody will attend it anymore. If it was good you had a great time, it presented the Lindy and spread it out. From what Nathalie told this competition will be in may opinion the first real competition that is made for the DANCERS and the DANCE in the States. It will be one of the best presentations of Lindy Hop.

I never understood why people join a US Swing Open or any other events where the competitors have to pay for their tickets, even for the nights they are not there. I never heard Ryan complaining about this. Of course, you can win price money, but what_s about the spirit for the dance and about non-professional who may not have so much money to attend? At all WRRC competitions, so also at the WLHC this year, there is no entrance or starting fee for the couples. By the Rules of the WRRC the organiser even has to pay for an overnight stay of the couples. These are rules for the dancers and not for the WRRC. So I suggest you come and form your opinion.

Because our club organized the Lindy Hop World Championship 1996 I know how much work and what financial risk is implied. I think we all have to thank Nathalie a lot that she takes this financial risk (no fee for competitors, free competitors overnight stay, flights for judges, band, security, first aid, room, Ascap, etc.) and the tremendous work that comes with it. Two, three years ago, before the GAP commercial started the big craze, there weren_t many swing dancers in the States (look  for example at the American Swing Dance Championship at this time). Many European_s like the Swedes, Ryan, the Jiving Lindy Hoppers or Baerble and me helped to get the dance spreading out in the States. Even Steven who is a native American came back from Europe. Now the US has so many incredible dancers. So in my opinion, having a World Championship in the States is a action that respects this a lot. For the Americans it is the great opportunity to present their dancing and compete against the top couples of the rest of the world without having to travel overseas.

 Some people probably want to know what connection I have to this World Championship. It is that my partner and me will compete there. We are qualified through the ranking of our country. I also helped to spread the word around and tried to share my knowledge and experience with people who wanted to get information or help.

 Ryan_s statement #4:

 _There were many other reasons for Marcus and his Federation to get their fingers on the Lindy but these already were enough._

 Sorry but I can_t say very much to _many other reasons_, because I don_t know what Ryan means with it concretely.

 Ryan_s statement #4:

 _both Natalie and Marcus belong to that Federation and neither can be thought of as true Lindy Hoppers._

 Like I explained in my answer to statement #1, I_m an indirect member of the WRRC through my national organisation. Nathalie was member through her organisation, when she was still competing in Rock _n_ Roll. If she is not a member in he club at home anymore she is not a member of the WRRC anymore.

 I don_t know what I can say that Ryan considers me (I guess my partner, too) and Nathalie not as true Lindy Hoppers, because I don_t know his definition of a true Lindy Hopper. If I can_t fulfil his criteria I_m sorry, but I still would like to know his definition. [...]

 Final statement from me:

 I hope this long letter and the attachments clarified the misinformation Ryan is spreading around and it hopefully gave you also some background to understand why things went a certain way in the past. Think it_s up to you all in which way we are going now. But one thing I can tell you, working together was always the best choice. If anybody has constructive critics, please contact the people who are dealing with the WLHC (Dominique de Coster and Nathalie Gomes). They will be happy for any input.

 I hope I don_t have to get involved more in this thing. But if there are any questions on my answers or pieces that are not understandable, please let me know and I try to clarify it. Please don_t send mass email around before you gave me a chance to tell you my point of view.

 Hope to see you all out on the dance floor enjoying yourself and the Lindy Hop.

 Yours Marcus Koch

 Last message to Ryan:


A Message from Baerbl Kaufer

 X-From_: BaerblKaufer@worldofswing.com Sun Sep 19 07:52 CDT 1999
Return-Path: <BaerblKaufer@worldofswing.com>
Sender: BaerblKaufer@worldofswing.com
Reply-To: <BaerblKaufer@worldofswing.com>
From: "Barbara Kaufer" <BaerblKaufer@worldofswing.com>
To: "Wolfgang STEUER" <Wolfgang.Steuer@wrrc.org>
Subject: WG: Reply to Ryan's statements by Marcus Koch
Date: Sun, 19 Sep 1999 14:50:53 +0200
X-MSMail-Priority: High
Importance: High
X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V4.72.3110.3

 Hello LINDY Hop Dancers, these is a message for everybody who is interested in LINDY HOP. If you're not interested, throw it away. I'm forwarding these mails to all of the swing dancers I'm having the e-mail address (sended with blindcopy). Please pass it on to the people you know. It can happen then that somebody get it twice.

 Please give YOUR STATEMENT to these E-Mails directly to Ryan Francois (Founder of these mails, attacking person, makes war, is calling for a nationwide Boycott (see attached file), E-Mail: mrzoots@aol.com), Joe Gerrits (Chicago, is supporting Ryan (see attached file), E-Mail: info@hepcatswing.com), Dominique de Coster (Belgium, Lindy Dancer, responsible for Lindy Hop in the WRRC, E-Mail: ddecoster@arcadis.be), Nathalie Gomes (New York, Organizer of the World Championship Lindy Hop 1999, E-Mail: ngswing@earthlink.net), Wendy Jo Gertjejanssen (Minnesota, gave us information about this (forwarded us these messages), E-Mail: gertj001@maroon.tc.umn.edu); Marcus Koch (Germany, attacked person, E-Mail: MarcusKoch@WorldofSwing.com), Fred Hunt (London, Organizer of Swing Master Jam (see message to Dominique de Coster, E-Mail: live2jive@live2jive.co.uk), Wolfgang Steuer (Germany, WRRC-President, E-Mail: Wolfgang.Steuer@wrrc.org), John Hudson (Old Time Dancer, gave statement (E-Mail: Hudshop@aol.com); AnneBrit Neman (Sweden, responsible for Lindy Hop Competitions in Sweden, E-Mail: abnk@ekero.mail.telia.com)

Please read the stuff carefully and think about what's written there and then make your statements. Think twice about what you're writing (give your comment to Ryan for sure). It should be true and shouldn't hurt people like it was done here. This can destroy a lot in the Swing World. Even if it's kind of big at the moment but if everybody is fighting against each other and spreading lies around, it can break down very quickly. I think the people should work together to keep what they love and not fighting against it or against each other. It's not fair at all to write unproofed things (just something that somebody makes up in his mind) and spread it around. That is like poison. Thanks

Baerbl Kaufer

 Marcus dance partner, that means I'm involved, too and it hurts me badly, too)


 X-From_: info@hepcatswing.com Fri Sep 17 21:32 CDT 1999
Return-Path: <info@hepcatswing.com>
Date: Thu, 16 Sep 1999 21:25:51 -0500
From: Hep Cat Swing <info@hepcatswing.com> (Joe Gerrits)
Organization: Hep Cat Swing
To: Wendy Jo Gertjejanssen <gertj001@maroon.tc.umn.edu>
CC: MrZoots@aol.com,   Hudshop@aol.com
Subject: Re: A message from Ryan Francois

This message was removed on Friday, September 24 at the request of Joe Gerrits


Von: Nathalie G [mailto:ngswing@earthlink.net]
Gesendet am: Montag, 20. September 1999 10:04
An: Larry; Larry Kang; Manu; Manu Smith
Betreff: My answer to Ryan

TO ALL THE SWING/LINDY LOVERS OUT THERE!!!! (Please take the time to read this message and forward it. It is only 2 page long)

This week, a pinnacle point in an attempt to slander the World Lindy Hop Championships has been reached. As the founder of Hop Swing & a Jump, I&rsquo;ve labored intensely for 4 years to help promote and revive the Swing/Lindy scene in NYC. Throughout this time, I continued to endorse an inclusive open minded philosophy to all the people and all styles of Swing.

As in any public capacity I have battled my share of individuals with malice intent. This week's attack against me has been of a personal nature which strikes the essence and core of everything I have worked for. I would like to share my anger with all who are involved in the Lindy community.

The World Lindy Hop Championships (WLHC) was created to showcase and promote Lindy by introducing some of the greatest dancers in the world to the general public. The Last two WLHC were held in Europe (1996 and 1997) and organized by "Lindy People". The organization of such an event is a difficult, time consuming, voluntary task. Taken upon by people who truly love the dance. 1998 the event was not held due to lack of driving force from the Lindy community. I recognized the need for an event which will bring a year&rsquo;s work into a climactic celebration. I believe the WLHC could be such an event. When I realized that for the second year in a row the WLHC was not going to happen, I flew to the General Meeting of the World Rock &lsquo;n Roll Confederation (which I am not a member) in Switzerland, knowing they were asked by Lindy people (Swedes and more) to take Lindy under their wing. My intentions were to represent the American Lindy community and ask them to host the WLHC in New York, place where Lindy was born. I sacrificed my personal time and money to make this happen.

Much has happened in my life since the meeting (March 1999). I shot an independent swing feature film for over a month. Now, the majority of my time is consumed with running a dance studio that I just opened last May, teaching and other related matters but I still made time for the organization of the WLHC because of my strong belief in its necessity. So if Ryan believes that "true Lindy hoppers" should take care of the matter, why hasn't he taking the time to do so in the last 5 years instead of seating on the side, criticizing and attracting attention?

On September 17, 1999 I received an email from a friend notifying me of a circulated message by Ryan Francois calling for the boycott of the WLHC and attacking Marcus Koch and myself on a personal level. The same Ryan who I invited to be a judge or competitor in the event. Ryan never bothered to answer my invitation instead he cowardly opted to present the facts as he perceived them over the net.

In his concerned cry to the Lindy public, Ryan alleges that non "true Lindy hoppers" with the help of the WRRC are taking over the Lindy community and are going to standardize the dance. This could not be further from the truth (ref. Marcus answer to Ryan).

Our intention is to hold a competition on the highest level of Lindy under all its forms (including Hollywood style Lindy). The only restrictions will pertain to length and speed of the music. Improvisation remains the key element in the performance. Prior to the event, the WLHC committee will hold a special conference in order to educate the judges, not the dancers, on how to evaluate the performances. A meeting will be held at the end of the championship to encourage feedback and constructive suggestions to improve next year&rsquo;s championship.

Ryan in his letter claims "the pure among us found this to be an intolerable idea. A dance based on improvisation standardised?" He claims he is a purist. Ryan contradicts himself by the sheer use of the word "purist". As we all know a substance that is pure is free from any external influences. Is Ryan&rsquo;s style the only way to dance Lindy, the "pure" way??? Just by using the word "pure" he, himself, standardizes Lindy Hop. Lindy is a free flowing adaptive, improvised form of body expression. Frankie himself at the time was innovative, for example when he introduced airsteps into the dance.

In my view the only pure thing about Ryan is the idea of self preservation under the auspices of protecting Lindy. I believe this to be a petty and destructive form of expression. In this great yet fragile time for Lindy, his actions could have had severe consequences which only proves his selfish mind set. If Ryan is such a purist, how is it that he finds himself in a Broadway Swing Show performing as the only Lindy dancer amongst a company of jazz dancers who will perform "neo-swing" including salsa, hustle, country and more ? I guess when it comes to money and narcissism the purity of Lindy is quickly forgotten. Ryan mysteriously fails to mention that his two so claim championship titles (US Open and American Swing Dance Championship) have been awarded by West Coast Swing organizers. In addition he conveniently fails to mention that Jenny, his wife and Lindy partner is formally a trained jazz, ballet and tap dancer. Does that make her an untrue Lindy hopper ? If so, than yes I am an untrue Lindy hopper and many of us are. It appears as if Ryan could have stared and co-stared in the movie Face Off.

I could go on with the rhetoric until my fingers bleed. However, I choose the high road. I believe we are embarking a time that will determine the longevity of Lindy. My hope is to focus and generate positive energy to a dance style which represents non-conformity and freedom of expression. It is not important under what flag we march whether ILHA or WRRC or WWF or the ASPCA but that we march together seeking a joint and positive outcome for Lindy.

A journalist once asked Frankie Manning "What was Savoy Lindy?" He replied: "Which day of the week?"

I look forward to seeing all of you on Sunday, November 7, 1999 at the Supper Club, NYC. www.hopswingjump.com


X-From_: BaerblKaufer@worldofswing.com Mon Sep 20 11:44 CDT 1999
Return-Path: <BaerblKaufer@worldofswing.com>
Reply-To: <BaerblKaufer@worldofswing.com>
From: "Barbara Kaufer" <BaerblKaufer@worldofswing.com>
To: <BaerblKaufer@worldofswing.com>
Subject: WG: Full record of Francois, Koch, Gomes debate...
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 1999 17:58:54 +0200
X-MSMail-Priority: Normal
Importance: Normal
X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V4.72.3110.3


Hello Lindy Dancers,

at the end of this mail you will find a statement of Dominique de Coster (Fred Hunt was writing the first letter to him which never arrived because of a wrong e-mail-address. This was the beginning of everything).

In the meanwhile Ryan Francois called Marcus Koch on Sunday morning and apologized for the things he has written (a big stone felt from my heart because I like Ryan). He really felt sorry for this. He knows now that he was wrong. It was a big bad missunderstanding of things. But Ryan promised he will send out an e-mail into the net where he will apologize official.
Please watch out for this mail. I will mail it to everybody as soon as I have it.

I think everything will work out fine without any war or boycott.

If you are interested in all the debates you can read them under http://www.savoystyle.org/debate.html (see the following mail with some information from John Tomeny.

Let's swing together
Baerbl Kaufer

-----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
Von: John Tomeny [mailto:lindyhop@savoystyle.org]
Gesendet am: Montag, 20. September 1999 09:37
An: DanceList@savoystyle.org
Betreff: Full record of Francois, Kotch, Gomes debate...

September 20, 1999: In an effort to provide clarity to all concerned... I have attempted to record the complete record of the debate currently raging between Ryan Francois, Marcus Koch, Nathalie Gomes and others concerning the governance of the upcoming World Lindy Hop Championships, November 7, 1999, in New York City.

I have posted all of the messages I have been able to gather over the last
few days in my efforts to understand this issue. The debate can be found at:
http://www.savoystyle.org/debate.html This information is provided in the hopes of helping every concerned party to develop a better understanding of what the heck is going on!

If you have any clarifying information to add, please email it to me at
mailto:lindyhop@savoystyle.org
Thanks.
Sincerely,

John Tomeny "Spin Doctor" mailto:LindyHop@savoystyle.org
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Upper Valley Swing Dance Network Hotline: 603-643-5341
Etna, NH 03750 http://www.savoystyle.org
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Visit the Upper Valley Swing Dance Network Web site!
The most complete calendar of Swing and Ballroom dances in VT & NH.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

-----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
Von: de Coster Dominique [mailto:ddecoster@arcadis.be]
Gesendet am: Sonntag, 19. September 1999 19:47
An: live2jive
Cc: Wolfgang Steuer; AnneBritt Neman-Kilgren; Marcus Koch; Nathalie Gomes
Betreff: Let's work together instead of making war.
Wichtigkeit: Hoch

Dear Fred,

You might have received the answer from Marcus Koch to Ryan's letter. I hope it opens your eyes more on the subject and it helps you to understand that I am in no way trying to mislead neither you nor anyone. 

By reading you email "that has been also cirrculated around the world before I got it", I realise that you are talking about my message to invite people to join my Yahoo club. I think you are here acting like Ryan did, it is to say you have done assomption and without cheking you have bild your self a story up about it. I am afraid you are totaly wrong. This Lindy-Hop Europe Club is a totaly public club set up by me into the Yahoo environement which is purely design to get the people in contact with each other to make friendship, to share ideas or stories or pictures AND NOTHING AS EVIL AS YOU ARE SUGGESTING. The yahoo privacy system ensure all people that their true datas are not communicated to any one if they dont want to. You can become a member under a fake name without permitting publication of your email, real name, gender or any info about your self. So even if I had any bad intention like you said, it is impossible to do. 

So I have never "conveniently omitted to give any info about my involvment in WRRC" because the fact that I am a smal figure in the WRRC is absolutly irrelevant with this Lindy-Hoppers club. Please do me a favour and visite it before you make any new comments about it. I recall you its adress http://Clubs.yahoo.com/Clubs/lindyhopeurope.

I also confirme what Marcus is saying, WRRC is not a commercialy based organisation and has "per se" no direct interrest in Lindy-Hop. Only a part of his member counties are interrested in having a Lindy-Hop competition sceen organised world wide. As no other international organisation is dealing with it and as many Lindy-Hoppers have knocked at the door of WRRC to do so, WRRC gave right to their demand. But WRRC is giving to the Lindy-Hoppers the possibility to organise it inside the frame of its non profit oriented organisation. My humble work is to make it come true. Please visite the WRRC website at http://www.wrrc.org .

I will organise a meeting with everybody interested to discuss the competitions rules after the American Lindy-Hop Championship and after the WLHC. And from what I will hear there I will make proposal for changes to the WRRC General Meeting . It will be held the second week of March in Stockholm.

By the way Lenarts Westerlund will come to make some presentation to the WRRC delegates. I really hope that you will be part of the UK Lindy-Hop comitee that needs to be build-up to make your country participating to the world competition sceen and thereby influencing the WRRC decisions.

I remain your faithfuly
Dominique de Coster

Dear friend Lindy-Hoppers,
My name is Dominique de Coster and I am a verry enthusiast fan of Lindy.

Nearly one year ago, I created a Lindy-Hop Club under Yahoo environement to promote contacts and relationship between all Europeean Lindy-Hoppers.

Today I have 76 members, but most of them are from the USA. I am happy to have them but it doen't fullfil my original gool to make Europeean Lindy-Hoppers to get to know each other and to communicate with each other.

The Club is however a verry powerfull way to achive this by posting messages, to advise what is going on at your end, to ask for help or question your foreign friends, to share good or bad experiences at a camp or at a party. It allows you to post photos of again party or camps or what ever you want to share with the community.

If enought members are interested we can even decide upon a date where we can chat all together.

To become a member you only have to create a Yahoo Identity (Yahoo ID) at following adress http://clubs.yahoo.com/?ins and then go to the club to access the membership (upper wright click button). Or alternatively you can visit first the club and then click the "click here to log in button" and then create your Yahoo ID. This is 100% free of charges.

The Club adress is http://Clubs.yahoo.com/Clubs/lindyhopeurope

I hope that for the 14 septembre (first year of existance of the Club) we can reatch at least 100 members and that many mores will add before the end of the millenium.

NB: Please if you become a member give in your Yahoo ID the place where you live or at least the country so that one can more or less locate you somewhere in the world.

Waiting to welcome you soon,
Dominique
Alias Blocry_dancer


X-From_: tla@mascosupport.com Mon Sep 20 13:17 CDT 1999
Return-Path: <tla@mascosupport.com>
From: "Alverson, Terry" <tla@mascosupport.com>
To: "'Wendy Jo Gertjejanssen'" <jo@swinginhepcats.com>
Cc: "'jrgick@iupui.edu'" <jrgick@iupui.edu>,
"'rdowny@iu.edu'" <rdowny@iu.edu>
Subject: RE: WG: Full record of Francois, Koch, Gomes debate...
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 1999 13:16:57 -0500


Hello Wendy: I've purchased a few things from you which, I'm sure, added me to your mailing list (and that is okay too). This debate has been very interesting reading over the last week or so. Perhaps you can pass this along to those who have debated the Lindy issue. For my wife and I who have just started learning the Lindy Hop we really hope that those who want to be
competitive have a forum to do so. I would bet that the number of Lindy Hop competitors pale in comparison to those of us who really just want a place to dance. Amidst clubs closing and articles stating that swing has had its "15 minutes," I would think time and money would be better spent supporting local clubs, organizations, and workshops. In Indianapolis we have one place to dance swing, once a week and my wife and I have to drive 45 minutes to enjoy that. Cincinnati just closed the Swing Lounge there. Perhaps, as with anything, Ryan and Marcus have become somewhat tunnel visioned in their approach to this whole issue. Please ask Ryan and Marcus to help us promote what's good about the Swing dancing scene. They can start by passing our story along to others. My wife and I are middle-aged, me with a gimpy knee and my wife with a little extra weight. We don't expect to be champion dancers. The people that dance here in Indianapolis are quite a bit younger than us and are very good. To this day, without excpetion, my wife and I have been treated with respect and dignity. It is not so much the dance that keeps us alive as much as those we feel a common bond with. Wouldn't it behoove us all to model this behavior that we feel has so enriched our lives? Perhaps those who have experienced a certain amount of success with their dancing are not as hungry as we are just to keep the local scene alive. If Ryan and Marcus want to help us they can e-mail Jon Gick at jrgick@iupui.edu or Robert Downey at rdowney@iu.edu and volunteer their expertise for their fantastic efforts.


From Baerbl Kaufer
X-From_: BaerblKaufer@worldofswing.com Mon Sep 20 14:34 CDT 1999
Return-Path: <BaerblKaufer@worldofswing.com>
Reply-To: <BaerblKaufer@worldofswing.com>
From: "Barbara Kaufer" <BaerblKaufer@worldofswing.com>
To: "Wendy Jo Gertjejanssen" <jo@swinginhepcats.com>
Subject: AW: WG: My answer to Ryan
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 1999 21:38:00 +0200
X-MSMail-Priority: Normal
Importance: Normal
X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V4.72.3110.3


Hi Wendy,

thanks for everything. I think you got the message where I wrote that Ryan apologized. Here is what Marcus had written on sunday to somebody:

"Ryan called me today and apologized. We had a nice talk for almost an hour. He wanted to send out a written excuse per mail. So he will speak for himself. I'm just still waiting for it. I hope we can spend the time with more valuable things again instead of writing emails like the ones before."

I'm happy that it will work out fine. It would be a nightmare if this thing would go on. I'm really looking forward to Ryan's e-mail. Hopefully it will come soon.

Thanks
Bärbl


X-From_: jvsimmonds@aol.com Mon Sep 20 16:09 CDT 1999
Return-Path: <jvsimmonds@aol.com>
From: "James V. Simmonds, Esq." <jvsimmonds@aol.com>
To: Wendy J Gertjejanssen <gertj001@maroon.tc.umn.edu>
Subject: Fw: Ryan's Boycott will only beget more Boycotts..
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 1999 16:57:01 -0400

---- Original Message -----

From: James V. Simmonds, Esq.
To:
larry@yehoodi.com
Sent: Saturday, September 18, 1999 5:30 PM
Subject: Ryan's Boycott will only beget more Boycotts..

Sadly enough, Ryans got a bad case of Marcus Envy...call Dr. Freud !

Its reminiscent of another Broadway Play how Ryan pretends that he is both the Messenger and The Message of [the dance]...(Ryan, see Jellys Last Jam)...

Ryan presumes to speak for whats good for the dance.... like a Lindy statesman.... but he fails to politically move the institutions or memberships of World Lindy ... so, failing in statesmanship and lacking membership support he suggests a personal Boycott of World Lindy.... like the little kid who grabs the football and goes home if he cant get his way in a rules dispute...because ending the game is whats really good for the game if you cant get your own way..... sweet revenge... but Ryan threatens to spoil the hard work of the innocent persons, too..

Ryan panders to us with shades of slander to support his personal Boycott.

But, whatever petty personal issue it is between Ryan and Marcus, it is Ryan who spat first today by intruding upon this apolitical Community Lindy Website only to allege his slanderous allegations against World Lindy and Marcus with no specifics.....with just enough shade to taint World Lindy and Marcus sufficiently....based only upon Ryans credibility as "..[one] who would be considered to be the main core of the swing revival".....What an ego Ryans got !!!! Cancel the Jitterbug Stroll at Savoy Sundays by a membership vote; we should no longer pay homage to such a man. This would make a good script for yet another Broadway Play... Which broaches the prospect of a Retaliatory Boycott against Ryans Broadway Play, "Swing" .... Oh, what would Ryans producers and co-stars think about that ! Such a novel marketing strategy: Ryan slanders the larger half of the swing community without a thought whether it might affect the Show. Thats not the conduct of a team player, Ryan, to jeopardize the Show for the sake of a cheap and vainglorious attack on Marcus and World Lindy. The [swing community] persons previously most likely to buy tickets to Ryans Show now know that the Show can only be about Ryans vanity, and they will probably not attend.

But nobody need actually call for a Boycott of Ryans Show, because Ryans personal Boycott of World Lindy will automatically generate its own Retaliatory Boycott by persons of conscience who disdain slanderers.


A message from John Hudson

X-From_: Hudshop@aol.com Tue Sep 21 02:13 CDT 1999 X-From_: Hudshop@aol.com Tue Sep 21 02:13 CDT 1999
Return-Path: <Hudshop@aol.com>
From: Hudshop@aol.com
Date: Tue, 21 Sep 1999 03:12:37 EDT
Subject: Re: fyi reply
To: lindyhop@savoystyle.org
CC: MarcusKoch@worldofswing.com, modancin@webtv.net, ddecoster@arcadis.be, Wendy J Gertjejanssen <gertj001@maroon.tc.umn.edu>, ngswing@earthlink.net, swingdanceshop@savoystyle.com, TCWrites@aol.com, BaerblKaufer@worldofswing.com


Hi, This is John Hudson and as far as I can tell only Ryan seems to have problem. All the other people of the Lindy community are going to have a World Champ, with or without Ryan and anyone else who chooses to sit outside and miss all the fun going on inside and only get their information by hearsay again. This seems to be what is going on right now, a bunch of rumors and hearsay. 

This going to cause a rift that is going to cut deep and last a long time. As I expected, Marcus sent a factual report of all the events as he had documents to back up since he has the minutes kept on the meetings he attended. Marcus does not deal in rumor or inuendo, He even corrects me if he finds me to be in error of something that his younger mind remembers more correctly,And I thank him. 

I am one of the judges for the western division. Modancin is Melinda Comeau a very good dancer,teacher,judge,expert on Savoystyle,dancing it and studying from the best such as Frankie,  Ryan,etc.She is also one of the people responsible for Ryan working on the west coast as are many other people that are involved in this WLHC. She is also the head judge for the western champs.. Melinda Lee is a dentist and a dancer of many disapplines. She is very involved in dance and known by many, always has a smile she is very important to the dance communacation, she keeps the people on the know in LA....

I believe Marcus did it right and Ryan needs to cook or get out of the kitchen...He never said anything based on fact or provable. He is only dealing in an angry WAR mentality based on bad information and what can he dispute in Marcus reply? ....I hope this thing gets setteled real soon....This is wasting a lot of valuable time...Yours for a dance, John Hudson


Ryan's statement from September 20, 1999. 

===== QUOTED MATERIAL FOLLOWS =====

Important quote from Ryan's last document.

"I am asking you NOT to take me at my word but find out for yourselves about the intentions of this Federation".

After writing my letter on the Internet I have been advised to write   another to clarify my position in this matter.

But before I do, I wish to tender my apologies to both Marcus Koch & Nathalie Gomes for mentioning them by name in my previous article, which was both unfair to them and STUPID of me. On Sunday I apologized personally to Marcus which he has accepted. We talked candidly about the situation, in some areas we were in agreement, others not.

What we both were in agreement about was that this should not become a personal feud or private mud slinging match but a forum for debate on issues we both believe should at least be addressed. To that end I will also contact Nathalie personally (if she will send me her number) to straighten out the personal issues in Private.

For my initial mudslinging in this debate Marcus, Nathalie I AM SORRY.

So now to my original quote at the top of the page.

"I am asking you NOT to take me at my word but find out for yourselves etc..".

And I mean exactly that. I admit that this was a drastic way to get your attention but I, like many others have enjoyed the fruits and the benefits of being a Lindy Hopper without sharing some of the responsibilities. Had I not wrote this letter nor made it so controversial, the World Championships will have come and gone with no one being the wiser as to what it was about.

I do not know every single detail of the workings of the Rock & Roll Confeds - as was pointed out to me by my reply emails - But I do know that if an organisation is going to take the mantle as the official World Championships for Lindy and then pass control of regional Competitions to governing bodies not even slightly to do with the Lindy community in those
regions (See Fred Hunt's letter and these two quotes from Dominique De Coster: representative of the R&R Confeds), that I want to know who these people are and are they our best official representatives.

Quote 1 by Mr De Coster

"This competition is organised under the umbrella of the "World Confederation" which is recognised by the IOC as the sole international organisation competent for competitions of acrobatic Rock'n'Roll, Boogie-woogie and LINDY-HOP".

Who has said that the IOC has the deciding vote on what organisation is competent to run competitions in Lindy Hop?

Quote 2 by Mr De Coster

"At this point of time, there exists no unified Lindy-Hop organisation in your Country and the UK member of WRRC is not yet ready to take care of the Lindy issues".

Does this mean that because the already existing UK Championships is not recognised by the WRRC that it is not valid? Although it has been in existence for several years happily run by hard core Lindy Hoppers. 

Again I say there are many more questions that should be asked before this Championship begins and here is where I disagree with Marcus. These questions should NOT be addressed after the event is over. 

There will be no boycotts, no picketing, but I would hope serious discussion and tight scrutiny of this organisation by everyone. If you feel they are absolutely the best representatives for you and the dance you hold dear, go ahead and support them. But please go at least armed with some prior information so that you can indeed make informed decisions. And if the majority of you feel that this is the right way forward, then I myself will stand by the majority decision.

A last thought.

The reason why an Organisation such as The WRRC can assume control so easily is because we do lack a united front in matters of a world organisation. A suggestion for a solution which actually came from Marcus is that we get off our butts and create one that works. And to remain committed to it's ideals as a world-wide elected body. 

Attached to this letter is both the original letter sent to the UK by Dominique De Coster, Fred Hunt's reply and a telephone conversation I had with John Tomeny explaining my feelings further. I found John to be a very impartial witness to these affairs and I'm sure will put these letters up for public scrutiny along side the letters that have already been previously posted.

Once again apologies to Marcus and Nathalie, it is not my ego nor am I a coward but some times my passion for the dance rules my head.

Ryan Francois

===== ATTACHMENT ONE =====


Dear Lindy-Hoppers from UK,

On the 7th of November the "World Lindy-Hop Championship 1999" will take place in New-York at the famous Supper Club.
Please consulte the folowing website for more details: http://www.hopswingjump.com/spevents_wlhc.html

This competition is organised under the umbrella of the "World Rock'n'Roll Confederation" which is recognised by the IOC as the sole international organisation competent for competitions of acrobatic Rock'n'Roll, Boogie-Woogie and Lindy-Hop. It has also the blessing of many of the major actors on the international Lindy-Hop sceen like Fankie Maning to mention only one. Ed: The reference to Frankie's "blessing" is unconfirmed after our attempts to confirm it.

At this point of time, there exists no unified Lindy-Hop organisation in your Country and the UK member of WRRC is not yet ready to take care of the Lindy issues.

On the other hands, we don't see a World Lindy-Hop Championship without any UK representative. Therefore and as the time is too short now to have a fair selective competition in the UK, we will proced as follows: 

1) As from this very moment any UK couples who wants to candidate is free to apply at the below adress (E-mail or fax). The application should contain a short CV mentioning the Lindy level, the competition experience and results.

2) The speed of reaction will be the major criteria. In case needed a neutral comitee from non UK persons will make the final arbitration. 

3) In appliance with the WLHC rules, only 4 couples will be selected. (The same applies for every county. The organising country and the title defender have a wild card)

4) No applications will be taken into consideration after the 20 september.

Attached is the official invitation to the World Championship and the Competition rules.

Good Luck to every one.

Dominique de Coster
WRRC responsible

Fax: +32 10 45 44 48
E-mail: blocry_dancer@yahoo.com


===== ATTACHMENT TWO =====

Dominique - thank you for your email.

What is missing from the email is the background information which Lindy Hoppers ought to know before making any decision, and which you have conveniently omitted to give them.

On the face of it this appears to be a simple plea for co-operation from a new Lindy Hopper, but it doesn't say that you are an important figure in the World Rock and Roll Confederation, and that the WRRC is actively trying to take control of Lindy Hop world-wide. Nor does it say that your interest in Lindy Hop is a commercial one based on the interests of the
WRRC and not Lindy Hop.

You claimed during our recent telephone conversation that the WRRC was invited to take over the organisation of Lindy Hop after the collapse of the WLHF. As I said to you, the un-named group of people who invited you to do this had no legal right to assign to you control of a world-wide network of clubs, events and competitions. That they did so without any form of general consultation is not only insulting to us all, but is guaranteed to fail to win support.

You claim that you were given 'permission' to run all Lindy Hop competitions world-wide by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), based on the request of the Ballroom dance world to have their type of dancing accepted as an Olympic sport. Lindy Hop is considered by the dancers to be a grass-roots dance which has no connection with the false and stylised
world of Ballroom dancing. To use the IOC's ruling that only one governing body can represent an Olympic sport to insist that Lindy Hop is included is totally ludicrous. Not only this, you have handed UK control to the British Dance Council, one of the controlling bodies within the UK ballroom dance world and a million miles from the Lindy Hop world!

Not only has the WRRC assumed, without requesting agreement from others, the role of competition organisers, it has decided unilaterally on a set of competition rules which are based on Ballroom jive and Ballroom R 'n' R (see attachment). These are in no way similar to the rules used in Lindy Hop competitions world-wide, including the UK National Lindy Hop
Championships which is run in accordance with the general principles of the World Swing Dance Council. These general rules have been applied to all  Lindy Hop competitions or sections within competitions except for the last World Lindy Hop Championships.

The last World Lindy Hop Championships were run by the organisers, and without reference to the competitors, under WRRC rules. The competition is generally felt to have been a farce, with music to fast and too short, and competitors from some countries who were clearly not Lindy Hoppers but had won the right to compete under your 'allocation' rules to the exclusion of good dancers who could have competed. To add to the farce, instead of having the competition at the end of the Herrang dance camp, when Stockholm would have been full of top Lindy Hop dancers, it was moved back a week by the organisers for 'commercial reasons' to the Swedish Water Festival week, by which time many dancers had returned home!

It was claimed by you that you are doing no more than the now defunct World Lindy Hop Federation. The difference is that the WLHF was set up by a  group of well-intentioned dancers, mostly Lindy Hoppers but not all, to bring together a world-wide link of Lindy Hop clubs and organisers and to allow different countries to stage the World Championships. To this end they made presentations at a number of conventions, including the Swing Jam, in order that dancers could hear their plans and raise queries. Their objectives for creation of the WLHF were solely based on the love of Lindy Hop and for no other reasons, ceratinly not that it be handed over lock, stock and barrel to a Ballroom dance based organisation. 

Before any Lindy Hop dancers 'sign up' as your 'European Friends' I seriously urge them to consider the implications of providing you with any form of support for yourself and the WRRC which is not intended. They should be assured that they are in no way unknowingly giving support to the WRRC or its plans for Lindy Hop.

Fred Hunt

===== ATTACHMENT THREE =====

To the global communities of Lindy Hoppers...

I received a telephone call today from Ryan Francois. Ryan is presently in London and has been in transit during the last 24 to 48 hours while the debate concerning World Lindy Hop Championships has been raging across our electronic bulletin boards and mail lists. He has not been able to get on-line to respond to anyone's concerns and will not be able to get on line
for a while longer.

However, Ryan wishes to convey some thoughts to our global communities, and will do so in his own words as soon as he can get on-line. In the meantime, I have offered to convey - as best as I can - my own interpretation of his thoughts and feelings. And so, with that... here
goes:

Ryan said: "I don't consider myself a great writer or statesman. I can express my feelings better verbally than by writing them down." He explained that he wrote from his feelings in an effort to raise an important topic for discussion. But that, due to his limited ability to express himself clearly in written form, his intentions were misunderstood by many. He will offer his apology to all, soon.

Ryan told me that he and Marcus had a conversation with each other prior to most of us becoming aware of this debate. And that in that conversation, each of them developed a greater appreciation for each other's concerns. He has offered an apology to Marcus and Baerbl and will extend his apology, personally, to Nathalie and others as soon as he is able to get back on line.

He said: "I have basically shot myself in the foot by getting distracted from my original intent. This is not a personal war. My intent was to introduce some important topics that we must all think about if Lindy Hop is to survive." Ryan asked the questions: "What made Lindy Hop die the first time around? Why did it not survive? Some people believe it was because of the war. But I don't believe that." He suggested that it may be that the movement wasn't properly organized and properly supported. Because of that, the dance form continually changed... from Lindy Hop to Jitterbug and then to other forms of Swing. Eventually the dance form
originally known as Lindy Hop was no longer present in any of the common forms of swing.

Ryan said: "When I wrote the letter it was not the smartest thing. I wrote it out of fear and anger more than anything else. I should not have singled out individuals in my complaint. But having done so, this debate now brings to the forum questions that Lindy Hoppers should be asking. I still feel the WRRC is not the best organization to represent Lindy Hop. There are many organizations that could adopt Lindy Hop, but that may not be the best way to represent this form of dance. We still need to understand the goals of the WRRC. What are their intentions in taking Lindy Hop on into the future? Are their goals - whatever they may be - the
best for the dance form."

In our conversation Ryan expressed his remorse at the manner in which he attempted to introduce this important discussion. His true concerns were focused on the future of Lindy Hop. He said: "When I see talk of making Lindy Hop an Olympic art form, I am concerned that such an effort would require too much standardization in the form." He explained that that is not how the dance should survive. He said it is a creative art form that should be allowed to grow and evolve while being firmly supported by an international organization properly equipped to guide its participants and preserve the dance form itself while still allowing for the improvisation and spontaneity that is so much a part of this grass-roots dance form.

As an example, Ryan said: "If I showed you an image of the Tango in International competition, and then showed you the Tango as it is danced in it's native countries, you would see two completely different dance forms that have almost no connection to one another except for the common music to which the two styles are danced." He continued: "Lindy Hop is a grass roots dance." We must be very careful as a global community to preserve the creative nature of the dance form as we move ahead in efforts to standardize judging of the form in international competition.

We must ask ourselves; 'Is the WRRC the best international organization to represent Lindy Hop?' Or, is there another organization more appropriate for the task?

In the "war of words" that we have all witnessed over the past few days, every line, every statement has been heavily scrutinized by a myriad of readers. Some readers have misinterpreted the thoughts they have read. There has been some mudslinging, some flaring of tempers. It is time now to sit back, take a deep breath, think about the real issues at hand for us all, and focus our energies on the important questions of how we can lay a strong foundation for the future of the dance form we all love so much: Lindy Hop!

Respectfully submitted by:
John Tomeny, Upper Valley Swing Dance Network


From: Hudshop@aol.com
Date: Tue, 21 Sep 1999 03:12:46 EDT
Subject: Re: My answer to Ryan
To: ngswing@earthlink.net


Nathalie, Your answer as to the truth as I personally Know it is right on as is Marcus report.....Hip Hip As Ryan would have said it in the past...Yours for a dance, John Hudson


Date: 99-09-20 16:17:11 EDT
From: MarcusKoch@WorldOfSwing.com (Marcus Koch)
To: TCWrites@aol.com


Hi Tanja,

fortunately things are not eaten as hot as they are cooked. I was very shocked when I received the email Ryan spread out to the Internet. It holds a lot of mistakes and misinterpretations and was totally wrong about the position I should have played. I wrote a long statement and Nathalie wrote one, too. You can follow the conversation on http://www.savoystyle.org/debate.html where you also find the statements. It's quite some to read, but I hope it will clarify the background. 

Ryan called me yesterday and apologized. We had a nice talk for almost an hour. He wants to send out a written excuse per mail today. So he will speak for himself. You will most likely be able to read it on the same website that I mentioned above.

I hope we can spend the time with more valuable things again, which help the dance and the people.

If you have any more questions, don't hesitate to write me again.

Yours Marcus


Date: Tue, 21 Sep 1999 03:02:59 -0700 (PDT)
From: Dominique de Coster blocry_dancer@yahoo.com
Subject: Let's work together
To: John Tomeny lindyhop@savoystyle.org


Thank you for putting up this web site that gives to all parties the possibility to express their view and comments.

English is not my mother language so I know I am making a lot of spelling mistakes and also some time I might use words that have a different meaning to the people than what I wanted to express. But I guess, this is a risk I have to face. Could I ask you nonetheless to correct my English spelling before publishing my text.

Also you published a letter from me to Fred Hunt which was truncated. The last paragraphs where apparently lost. I attach my original text to this email so that you can add the missing part.

So here is my current contribution to the clarification that you are allowed to publish.

QUOTE

I am afraid to understand from a 2 hours phone call with Fred Hunt in the UK and from a 3:30 hours phone call with Marcus Koch that I involuntary am the starting cause of all this debate. If this is the case I take the entire responsibility of this quarrel on my shoulders.

I guess it is up to me now to give an explanation and I will, but as I feel it is of utmost importance to stick to the facts and to document strongly any statement, I will take a little time to gather the information that will give credit to my explanations.

In the mean time I want to express my thanks to Fred Hunt, despite what he published about me, for our recent long phone call. Although we still have some disagreements, especially on the role of WRRC, we are both open minded and both dedicated to make the Lindy-Hop grow World Wide.

Thank you Fred for having recommended to your UK championship winner to be one of the UK representatives to the WLHC.

I also want to announce that I will be in the Sates the end of October at the American Lindy-Hop Championship organized by Paulette Brockington and I will be staying one week in New-York till after the WLHC, I would like to take the opportunity to organize a forum where all people interested in the building of an international Lindy-Hop competition scene could meet and discuss this issue. I think one meeting during ALHC and one after the WLHC should be possible to arrange.

CLOSE QUOTE

Email received from Angel Whitworth as posted to the Swingtown (Atlanta) Public Forum

From: Angel.Whitworth@weac.com

This whole thing with the championships is a serious thing if you are a competitor. It really does not affect anyone here in Atlanta (at least right now). There are no world class competitive Lindy Hop dancers here in Atlanta. It does however affect the swing communities where there are representatives competing. This whole thing has been under debate for a long while. But, it has basically just been a debate within the "competitive community". Ryan has valid objections to having the R&R federation involved in LINDY HOP. But, I am not getting into all of that. If you are a COMPETITIVE dancer or teacher. You would be wise to get all of the facts. Just so you know! 

Angel

PS. For those who will be in New York during the championships, make sure you go see the new Broadway show "SWING". Starring Ryan & Jenny! I am definitely going! My sis is going to go to the premier. I will get a review from her and let everyone know what she says about it! If anything you know the dancing will be great!


Email received from Judy Pritchett, author of the "Archives of Early Lindy Hop" and well known authority and historian on Lindy Hop.

Date: Tue, 21 Sep 1999 14:57:17 -0700
To: John Tomeny <lindyhop@savoystyle.org>
From: Judy Pritchett <swingdanceshop@savoystyle.com>
Subject: Ryan and the History of Lindy Hop


Dear John,

I'd like to add my two cents.

Ryan Francois is a magnificent Lindy Hop dancer, but no diplomat. And he can't write a letter worth a damn. I think he is overwhelmed by his passion for Lindy Hop and his fear that it will be destroyed by the upcoming contests.

Marcus Koch and Natalie Gomez are also very good dancers and teachers. But the dance they do is not Lindy Hop. Perhaps the World Rock'n'Roll Federation should simply use its real name in the upcoming championships and not call them Lindy Hop Championships. Then, whatever rules and codes they come up with will not interfere with the natural and beautiful
development of the art form called Lindy Hop.

No dancer in the world today is closer to the original Lindy Hop as it was done at the Savoy Ballroom than Ryan Francois. Oh, sorry. And Frankie Manning. If Frankie were Ryan's age, I'd love to see the two of them dancing against each other. Now that would be a contest!

Swing is a big umbrella (more like a tent top) and lots of styles dance under it. It is delightful and healthy for them to coexist. But let's watch what we call Lindy Hop.

From my heart,
Judy Pritchett


Posted to "The Swingin' Speakeasy" Public Forum (Boston)
Use this link to go directly to the discussion:
http://216.22.166.224/cgi-bin/discus/show.cgi?43/388

Date: Tue, 21 Sep 1999 14:10:51 -0400 (EDT)
SUBJECT: Announcements & Issues: Ryan Francois, Marcus Kotch, Nathalie Gomes debate

------------------------------------------------------------
The Swingin' Speakeasy: Announcements & Issues: Ryan Francois, Marcus Kotch, Nathalie Gomes debate 
------------------------------------------------------------

By Big Daddy on Tuesday, September 21, 1999 - 02:10 pm: 

Benson,

I think you have some valid points about competitions as it pertains to lindy/west coast items. I for one think this debate may turn out to be a good thing for the global lindy community. How many of us actually knew all of the ongoings prior to this? Now that the information is out there and available to all dancers it is up to us to take action and control the future of our art form.

Regardless of who said what to whom. I feel that Ryan's point of "Again I say there are many more questions that should be asked before this Championship begins and here is where I disagree with Marcus. These questions should NOT be addressed after the event is over." . Even though I am far from a competition level dancer I feel that competition rules and governmental structure should be discussed PRIOR to holding an event of this magnitude. If we as a community wish to grow and prosper a healthy dose of competition is a valid way to strive for improvement.

For a fair competition to be held a level playing ground must be prepared. Who better to set up this playing ground than members of our own community. We, as lindy dancers, should support our peers in an effort to properly address our individual concerns as to the future of this dance. If we are to be regulated shouldn't we be regulated by ourselves and not be under the thumb of any organization whose sole interest is not that of our own?


Message sent to
X-From_: dormouse@wonderland.com Wed Sep 22 19:14 CDT 1999
Return-Path: <dormouse@wonderland.com>
X-Sender: dormouse@216.112.6.38
Date: Wed, 22 Sep 1999 17:08:05 -0700
To: jo@swinginhepcats.com
From: dms <dormouse@wonderland.com>
Subject: [sfswing] Ryan, Marcus, Acronyms, and the future


I'm putting this up on my site, I think it is a very good message overall, one which many of the more experienced dancers and instructors in my city seem to share to varying degrees. The message is from Paul Overton directly.

dms
-----------------------------------------------------
Fellow enthusiasts,

As you know, my tolerance for reactionary and passionate e-mails is very high. Therefore, I don't post very often. But in terms of the current subject on the table for review, I feel I must.

Here are the lessons I have learned about dancing and, indeed, life in the past 5 years.

1. Organized competitions (as they are now) are bad for the dance. Knowing what I know now, I wish I could go backward in time and un-enter every contest I have ever been in. Here's why:

The judging criteria is sketchy at best. I have seen people go out and absolutely SMOKE everyone else and then lose. One judge at NADC actually put Dawn Hampton in 2nd place after she pounded every 20 year old that went up against her in to dust. Luckily, she won anyway. Second, competition breeds homogenization. This has happened to many dances as they have turned in to sports. Competitors watch the couples who win and strive to make
their dancing the same as the winner's. West Coast swing is a great example of this. Competitive trends in West Coast Swing are almost as traceable as fashion trends in society. Do we really all want to dance the same? Lastly, a BIG truth about competition. The title you win means bupkus. NOTHING. It doesn't mean you are the best. In fact, you probably aren't. You just happened to be the best that showed up. Or the one that the judges prefered (see paragraph above). I know that if Steven, Ryan, David, or a host of others had shown up at ALHC last year, I would have been dogmeat. I'm not the dancer they are. I have no illusions about that. So, I guess what I'm saying is, do yourself a favor and stay home. The only real competition is against your ego. I'd much rather be known as Paul, the capable teacher and
ambassador of Lindy Hop than, Paul, American Lindy Hop Champion. The latter means less than nothing to me. I know, "easy to say in hindsight."

2. People and organizations who deserve a comeuppance, WILL get one. Sooner or later, you gotta make a deposit in the Karma bank. There is NO overdraft protection. No action on your part need be taken.

3. Nobody can take over Lindy Hop. So don't worry about it. People have tried, people have failed. There is no Great Menace lurking in the shadows, just waiting for the right moment to jump out and destroy what we've built. Lindy Hop's foundation is stronger than any one person's influence. Being paranoid when you could be dancing is a waste of time.

4. Don't talk smack in public. Everyone has an opinion. Most of them are adopted from the leaders of any given community. Express your feelings, state your opinion, but don't say hurtful things.

5. The only thing worse than an ineffective organization, is an effective one. Stop forming groups. Seriously. It makes people feel bad. Whether it be the High Level Group, The Savoy Style Group, or whatever, just know that by joining, you are alienating someone.

6. Lindy Hop doesn't need a governing body. It is a SOCIAL dance. To survive, it needs only enthusiastic people who are willing to show the absolute beginner how to do a charleston. The community's success in San Francisco is based on a non-competitive, relaxed, and open minded approach to the dance. Don't get sucked in to arguments and take sides with people.
Think for yourself! Instead of asking who is right and who is wrong, we should be asking: " who cares?".

Lastly, just because I have observed and learned these things, doesn't mean I'm good at them. But I do try. Everyday.

Sincerely,
Paul

p.s. Read Lao Tzu.


Larry Kang, Yehoodistrator (NYC) Responds to Paul's Message. Larry is one of several webmasters of the NYC based Yehoodi web site (and an accomplished digital photographer)

My two cents...

I think Paul Overton made many good points which I agree with. Here my slant on things:

I believe there is room for competitions in swing. It provides an opportunity for many to see top notch choreography and performance. It can drive the level of dance higher. It is a different type of event than a camp or dance weekend. I don't compete (except for fun joke  club $250 events), but I go to the competitions and have a good time. Hey, its different strokes for different folks. But, I agree judging is very hard to do, but not to the point of negating this kind of event.

Regarding his Point 6. "Lindy Hop doesn't need a governing body." It probably does if Lindy is to grow and be sustainable at a large level. Grassroots can only go so far without supporting structure. Do I want Lindy to get big? To be in the Olympics like Ballroom is? Yes and No. I'm sure all of you can think about the potential positives and negatives of that.

Again, I'd like to stress that fighting about these things is a horrible thing to do and the whole WLHC debate only applies to a few people. It seems some people who really shouldn't care much were getting upset or excited about allegations of a non-lindy group taking over the lindy hop. I think all of us should have been disturbed over the infighting happening in the scene. My belief is that what they do with WLHC does not affect the average Lindy Hopper. (Potentially, in the future it could make some big differences, but it is only a small first step). And Paul is right, Nobody Can Stop the Lindy Hop!

An e-mail list is not the best place to dialogue about complex deep topics... so I'll stop here. Please reply to me personally if you have questions or need me to elaborate. I apologize in advance if I've misread anyone. Thanks for your time.

Larry Kang
larry@yehoodi.com
http://www.yehoodi.com
(hoping to be remembered one day as an ambassador of swing because I sure
won't be remembered as any champion!)

"Don't believe the hype"

Public Enemy


Paul replies to Larry.

Larry,

Governing bodies, in my experience, have never made anything grow or enhanced creativity. Li dy Hop is Art. Art refuses to follow rules. If people would let things unfold, let them just happen, the dance would grow on it's own. And it has! Brian Setzer and the Gap and any federation have done less for this dance than most of my level 2 students who simply took the time to help somebody with their swing out.

Everyone always talks about pushing the dance forward. What does that mean? I don't think the dance wants to be pushed forward. I think it's pretty groovy the way it is. There are enough people who are serious about it now to sustain it for decades. Lindy Hop only needs our help in that, as leaders of the dance community, we teach well, pass on the spirit of the dance, and make sure there is always a comfortable place for people to swing out.

It sounds trite and a little goofy to say: "If you love something, set it free". But it is so true. Those who try to control the dance only get smacked upside the head. I've been many places and seen many scenes and they are all full of people who seek to control the dance. Consequently, none of them work. The feeling in places like London or Stockholm is terrible. People fight for control, organize groups who are pitted against each other, and spend most of their energy talking smack about each other. Not in my town! Not while I'm still breathing. San Francisco works because we all love the dance enough to let it go and do it's thing. Trust me, it's a much more fulfilling and stress free philosophy than trying to organize groups and look over your shoulder for the rest of your career.

Regards,
Paul


Some thoughts from Bob Thomas, faculty member of dance at Roger Williams University and director of The Kamikaze Jitterbugs. Submitted to John Tomeny, Thursday September 23, 1999.

Barbara, Marcus, et al,

I think that this brouhaha about Lindy and World Rock and Roll, etc. brings up viewpoints regarding two separate issues. The first what most people would consider the historical nature of the lindy, and the second is the historical style of lindy. Briefly, my thoughts are this.

Lindy Historically

Lindy began as an entirely improvised dance. By most accounts it was created by kids in Harlem, predominantly at the Savoy Ballroom. As a result of oppressive American plantation culture, to preserve African culture enslaved Africans in the U.S. became accustomed to having to combine their African dance traditions with European dance traditions. This resulted in what we now benignly call African-American dance.

This tradition of synthesis in African-American society played a role in the development of the Lindy Hop. At the Savoy Ballroom African-American kids quickly fused European-American social dances with African dance movements, developing what became known in the late 1920's as the Lindy Hop.

The point of all this is that Lindy, from the beginning, was an improvised dance that freely combined contemporary dances and steps into a new social dance style. "Preserving" a freely improvised dance style is a contradiction. So I have trouble when people begin talking about the "true lindy" which brings me to my second point.

Lindy Stylistically

Early Lindy (1920's-30's) showed a strong African-American influence. The body posture, the stylized use of the legs, arms, and feet, and the use of jazz rhythms all show a powerful African-American influence.

But in the 1950's American media became determined to portray Rock-and-roll as European-American. The American media, controlled by European-Americans almost totally ignored the dance styles and the cultural influence of African-Americans in the evolution of the 1950's Rock-and-roll craze. To watch most American news and movie clips from the 1950's, one would have thought that rock-and-roll was the nearly exclusive domain of European-Americans.

African-American society, discouraged by the unwillingness of white society to recognize and reward black musicians and singers for their remarkable and innovative contributions to American culture, developed an intense suspicion of European-American culture and business, and thus, to some extent, many African-Americans withdrew their participation in music and dance that they felt had become dominated and irretrievably changed by European-Americans.

Since the late 1940's European-Americans and Europeans have whole-heartedly embraced swing dancing and music, freely adapting what they saw and heard of African-American music and dance and infusing it more and more with European music and dance influences. Hence, West Coast Swing, Shag, Jive, Boogie Woogie and the many other lindy variants that have since became popular around the world.

The early Lindy Hop (1920's-30's) was clearly African-American in style and it is that style that seems to most appeal to the most Lindy Hop dancers. I think it is the desire to keep an African-American style in the Lindy Hop that leads people to speak of the "true Lindy Hop" style. I, too, believe strongly that the African-American influences are integral to Lindy Hop's excitement and appeal.

But as Lindy and Swing become more popular, it is only natural that it will change and evolve. Given that most dancers of Lindy are European and European-American, it is inevitable that Lindy Hop will--as it did before in the 1950's-- take on more and more European stylings.

It should be understood that African-American dance is as much about African-American culture and all its intricacies and the ways of seeing and thinking that go with that culture, as it is about style. Without a strong African-American presence in the Lindy Hop scene, it can be expected that Lindy Hop and the many swing variants that are popular will take on the characteristics fo the cultures of the dancers. In this case European and European-American dance traditions.

The "original" or "true" Lindy Hop will never be the evolutionary cutting edge since it is a historical dance rather than a contemporary one. Original and true Lindy will be the domain of a group of dedicated dancers and historicans--some of whom are African-American, some African-European, some European-American and some European-- who are deeply interested in the styles, points-of-view, and other intricacies of African-inspired dances.

For Lindy Hop to be true to its history, even reinstated from the 1930's to the 1990's, it will change and evolve according to the dancers who love it and dance it.

What disappoints me is not that the Lindy is changing. To keep it from changing is an impossibility. What I miss in the Lindy Hop revival is fusion, newness, and innovation--both in the dancing and in the music. Without some sort of genuine newness (fusion of swing with... hip hop --as with Steven Mitchell's work and musically in K7's "Hi De Ho"-- or rap or Latin or other contemporary dance and music styles) the Neo-Swing movement is far more "Retro" than "Neo." 

Lindy and Swing here in the US and in Europe have for some time been dominated by European and European-American dancers. Whatever our feelings about this fact, to try and mandate that Lindy "evolve" in direct line from an African-American dance style that is now seventy years old, or to try and dictate that Lindy keep its original African-American style and quality--this I think is silly and pointless.

I sympathize with Ryan and his discouragement about the direction of Lindy Hop. And I sympathize with Marcus for his desire to best serve the interests of the many people who love Lindy and are interested in seeing it grow and change. I hope that the current dispute will be resolved and rather than lamenting what is not, everyone will look to their hearts and use their passion for dancing to support what will be.

Bob Thomas, The Kamikaze Jitterbugs, Boston
bobethomas@earthlink.net
http://home.earthlink.net/~bobethomas/


A Question about Hollywood Style Lindy and Savoy Style Lindy. John Tomeny is the custodian of these archives. Hilary Alexander is the sponsor of Camp Hollywood.

From: John Tomeny lindyhop@savoystyle.org
To: Hilary Alexander Camp Hollywood@earthlink.net
Date: Wednesday, September 22, 1999 12:39 AM


Hilary,

I've got a question. I have never seen Marcus & Baerbl dance so I don't know this first hand. Some folks have claimed that what Marcus dances is not Lindy Hop.

Do you think they are Lindy Hop dancers? Could it be the old rift of Savoy Style dancers insisting that Hollywood Lindy is not Lindy? Or is it that Marcus actually does not do Lindy?

Spin-

From: "Hilary Alexander" Camp Hollywood@earthlink.net
To: "John Tomeny" lindyhop@savoystyle.org
Date: Wed, 22 Sep 1999 23:13:31


Hello -

Yes, I would definitely call Marcus & Baerbl lindyhoppers, sure. They aren't West Coasters. They may be more known for their Boogie Woogie, but it's because of Marcus & his film clips that all of us - Erik, Sylvia, me, Alicia Milo, Peter Loggins, first heard about Dean Collins et al. So to me they are sort of the grandparents of Hollywood Style even though it was Erik & Sylvia that gave it a name and made it popular.

Hilary


WLHC Judges - A Message from Nathalie G

From: "Nathalie G" ngswing@earthlink.net
To: "John Tomeny" lindyhop@savoystyle.org
Subject: Fw: Judges at the WLHC
Date: Wed, 22 Sep 1999 18:53:59


For all of you who are worried about the judging at the WLHC, please note that the judges are as follow:

Rob Van Haren (San Francisco, USA)
Paul Grecki (NYC, USA)
Helena Norbelie (Sweden)
Isabelle Theede (Germany)
Simon Selmon (England)
2 more to be announced

As you will notice, all these judges have been involved in the LIndy community for many many years.

Nathalie


From:James V. Simmonds, Esq.
To:
gov.pataki@chamber.state.ny.us
Sent: Friday, September 24, 1999 6:08 PM
Subject: Gov. Pataki: make Lindy Hop NYS's official dance

Dear Governor Pataki:

I requested today of the offices of NY Senator Nicholas Spano, to sponsor legislation to designate "Lindy Hop as the Official Dance of the State of New York, just in time for the upcoming World Lindy Hop Championships in NYC, and the opening of the Broadway Musical, "Swing". Senate Research confirmed for me today that New York State has no designated official dance. How timely, to cure this oversight ! But I realized in talking to Senator Spanos office that this might not happen without Gov. Patakis personal backing to preserve the rightful claim to the heritage on behalf of the residents of Harlem, or it would have been accomplished long ago. So many of the gifted Lindy Hop dancers have since past away, a few remain with us.

I believe you are the proper Governor to finally due justice to the people of Harlem who gave Lindy Hop to the world because I was greatly inspired to witness your efforts to keep the New York Yankees baseball team in the Bronx, to maintain the heritage in equity to the residents of the Bronx...despite the political fray you fought..... it represents so much more than just a business to Bronx residents. Your efforts and backing will not be forgotten in the Bronx, and all New Yorkers realize now that Gov. Pataki will never hesitate to enter a political fray in order to protect the rightful claim to heritage of New York State residents.

Now, your leadership is similarly needed on the issue of the "Lindy Hop". You know the Lindy.... its the dance that you always dance with your wife when the band plays that big band sounding swing music and you cant stop your feet from tapping. Lindy Hop was Harlems gift to the world, and many styles of swing dance were derived directly from it, like: West Coast Swing, East Coast Swing, St. Louis Shag, Carolina Shag, Boogie Woogie and Jive. Lindy Hop was the dance that won the world war, that the soldiers danced at the USO and on the decks of the carriers. A hit movie had to have a great Lindy Hop performance to be a success.

Sadly, New York State has never given appropriate recognition or thanks to Harlem for the heritage of the Lindy Hop, nor to the dancers at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, where the Lindy Hop developed, some of which dancers still live today, though the Savoy Ballroom has since been demolished. The Savoy Ballroom in Harlem was a place where blacks and whites danced together, like a "camelot" enclave of brotherhood, at a time when blacks were not welcome at places like the Roseland Ballroom. Harlem gave us their greatest gift of dance, they gave us a spirit of brotherhood and a place to dance it together, but the State of New York has yet to give to Harlem the official" thanks for the heritage. The Savoy Ballroom was way ahead of its time, yet we have so much to learn from it still.

The State of California, by contrast, has designated "West Coast Swing" as the official dance of California. We should follow suit in designating an official dance, although I wish we did it first. We cant wait until all the original Lindy Hop dancers are dead and then recognize the oversight.

It is now a realistic prospect that the Lindy Hop may become an event in the Olympics. Did I say there might be a political fray?? There is a continuing battle of a semantic nature about who in the world should define the Lindy Hop and how. I believe if Gov. Pataki backs the designation of the Lindy Hop as NYS's official dance, our claims to authority will be respected around the world, and establish New York States right to preserve this heritage by promulgating a description of the traditional dance steps and styling considered to be proper Lindy Hop by New York State, which will provide some "persuasive authority" for the rest of the world in defining what is the "Lindy Hop" and what we consider "other Swing Dances", if that is at all possible.

The French have regulations governing what can be called Champagne and what must be called "sparkling wine", and the Italians have similar regulations concerning cheeses and olive oil. New York State should protect its resources of artistic heritage, similarly, by becoming part of the dialogue and offering its good offices.

In researching the Lindy Hop, you will certainly want to meet with Mr. Frankie Manning, of Harlem, NYC, a current board member of the NY Swing Dance Society, a not-for-profit arts organization organized under NY Foundation of the Arts, who is one of the surviving members of the famous Whiteys Lindy Hoppers performance group (see the movie, "Hellzapoppin"), and now a great dance instructor and Lindy Hop historian, because he was there at the creation and continues as the single most prominent worldwide ambassador of Lindy Hop. New York State thankfully has his authority still available at 85 years of age, and he can testify to relative semantic and political issues about what is the Lindy Hop so far as concerns values to be protected by New York State for the sake of heritage, tradition and history, before the International Olympic Committee attempts a free hand at it, and perhaps fails in giving proper allowance to the dance as it was originally danced in Harlem.

Did you know, that they teach Lindy Hop in the high schools of Sweden, and that our friends the Swedes produce a large number of the world class Lindy Hoppers, and they claim title for the worlds greatest Lindy Hop Production Group called "The Rhythm Hot Shots". How will we compete with them on the dance floor unless we develop a good system like Swedens? Ask your staff, or ask your own neighbors, Frankie Manning and the NY Swing Dance Society! The Swedes have more pride in the Lindy Hop than has yet been shown by New York State. It will soon be an issue of Olympic proportions.

One of Frankie Mannings ideas is to place an appropriate plaque at the site of the former Savoy Ballroom. Im sure he could use Gov. Patakis help in making this tribute, also.

Personally, I like the concept of Gov. Pataki building the new Savoy Ballroom in NYC, to train a new generation of Lindy Hoppers to compete in the Olympics; you might consult your own NY Swing Dance Society about running such a program and such a ballroom, inasmuch as they are very committed to the worldwide revival of Lindy Hop. You dont have to reinvent the wheel, when your Lindy Hop brain trust is already doing a great job with small resources. Perhaps the ballroom can be a permanent site within New York City for the World Lindy Hop Championships. How fitting, for a new Harlem tradition.

I look forward to further discussing this matter with your office, and referring you to NY Swing Dance Society : http://www.users.interport.net/~zebra/nysds/ for all authoritative assistance and support in this designation.... always wear some comfortable shoes when you meet with those folks... as our state's first executive, theyll have you doing the Lindy Hop at the signing of the formal ceremony designating New Yorks official state dance, the Lindy Hop.

Very truly yours,

Jim Simmonds jvsimmonds@aol.com


DEBATE CONTINUED

Disclaimer: TC Swingin' Hepcats is not attempting by publishing this information to present one side better than another. We have posted these letters for those interested in this debate. It is also an attempt to help reduce rumors and ill feelings on all sides. 

TCSH donates 1% of its gross profit to the non profit organization RSAC in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 
Call 612-374-9077 for more information. TCSH email: jo@swinginhepcats.com.