Club Night Review: Swing Goth at Fat City
Last Seen: January 13, 2009
Review and Photos by Crystal Akins
Better than: Dirty Dancing. Eat your heart out, Patrick Swayze!
If the swing revival in the '90s left a weird taste in your mouth, get a load of this: Swing Goth founder Brian Gardner hosts swing dancing every Tuesday nights at Fat City to contemporary hits ranging from Hot Head Swing Band to Jesus and Mary Chain. How progressive!
"It's alternative crowds wanting to dance traditional dances but not to traditional music," Gardner tells us.
Don't be ashamed if you've been relegated the misfortune of two left feet, are devoid of rhythm, or are always flying solo. For the $5 drop-in fee, Gardner, an avid swing dancer, offers basic dancing lessons tailored to fit the skill level of the group -- no partners required. During the lessons, Gardner (wearing a dashing cranberry corset on this particular night) has his students gather in a circle while he demonstrates manageable moves and counts his students off with "one, two, back step!" Several rotations of this ensue and Gardner makes the rounds, giving extra help to those looking a wee bit lost. Take a break, though, and don't sweat it. During the lesson, you're given intermittent breathers where you can grab water or a drink from the bar. 9 p.m. marks the commencement of "open dancing," where individuals or couples take advantage of the dancefloor and show off back-breaking moves. Dips, tosses and spins (being spun around on the ground, even) are coupled with genres that progress from swing to indie to goth into the night.
The crowd (which was "all-inclusive," according to Gardner) was an assortment of gothic types and everyday Joes just wanting to dance. Stereotypes are tricky, aren't they? If we want to go by clothing, that included bondage pants alongside pretty dresses and heels. The black brick interior and orange gothic antique-looking lamps did, however, heighten the dark ambiance at the event ...
Let's be honest, though. At the end of the day we're not striving to be contestants on Dancing With the Stars or So You Think You Can Dance, meaning this place is a good start for newbies. Fun is really the objective, and Gardner encourages his students to take the moves they learned and personalize them. He's pretty funny, too, which helps alleviate those first-time jitters.
Overall, the event seems to have a pretty tight niche market, and it may not be for everyone. But if you're willing to try everything at least once, I'd give it a go.
Personal Bias: Some call me hipster. However, I teetered on the precipice of wanting to tear up the dancefloor after observing the lessons. Do I regret not doing it? Yes. Next time ... next time.
Random Detail: A substantial number of first-timers were present. Don't be scared.
By the Way: In the future, the event has live bands lined up to perform while you dance. Next band playing will be Fromagique on 2/10/09.