Frankie Jaffey

On Monday, January 20th 2020 the funeral of Frankie Jaffey took place at Brandwood End Cemetery. A clear blue sky on a cold January afternoon saw Frankie’s closest family, her partner, and a few close friends attend a traditional Jewish burial that marked the end of her fight with cancer. I first met Frankie not through dancing but through work. A bright enthusiastic lady starting a new job in a secondary school in Chelmsley Wood. With an infectious smile and positive attitude, we soon became friends and eventually, she convinced me I should attend her Lindy Hop class. At this point, I hadn’t done anyRead More →

The difference a weekend makes I’m not going to lie, the Swing Fastival weekend had filled me with dread for weeks. It had dawned on me that this was not going to be a “beginners” class and the only swing I’d been practicing for the last 12 months was on a golf course. Even then I had been perfecting a slower swing, not a faster one. I was going to be that guy, that one that everyone looked at and thought “why is he here?” and although they would smile politely during class and try to reassure me, were actually sad inside as they gotRead More →

First I would like to say a massive thank you to Jim and Nicky Key from Swingbytes, and Tony and Anna Stephenson of Dance Balboa for organising such a fabulous event. I’d like to start by setting the scene After a 6 day week, the last thing I wanted to do was travel for 3 and ½ hours after work and think about dancing all weekend! I wanted to go home, get the log burner on and have some pizza with my husband Ben, and Henry the dog. However, the drive down wasn’t too bad and got to spend some quality time with Ben catchingRead More →

This was a question I was asked at a social dance a couple of weeks ago. There are loads of resources around this topic in swing dancing but I always thought that they miss one obvious answer: The thing that could improve everyone’s dancing. Listening. Want to Improve your syncopation?  Improve improvisation?  Learn where the breaks are? Understand the structure of the song? Listen to the music. I know what you’re going to say, ‘We do listen to the music if we didn’t then we couldn’t dance’. I’d happily suggest that you’re not REALLY listening. How did the rest of my conversation go? I openedRead More →

Is it acceptable? Is it useful? Is there an alternative? This week in a drop-in class I received some unsolicited (negative) feedback from one of the follows while in rotation. This had some undesirable immediate effects on the rest of my evening. Now, I’m used to feedback on my dancing, especially when I’ve asked for it or encouraged it in a focused practice session or workshop but in a drop class? My opinion is that in drop-in classes it’s not acceptable from other students. Is it acceptable or useful? The instructors/teachers are teaching the class. They have a plan, they are observing and adapting toRead More →

Bass Sax

The Great British Swing Dance Show SO Sunday 28th April 2019 saw us with tickets in hand, head to Birmingham Town Hall (one of my favourite venues) for the extravaganza of ‘Shake That Thing – The Great British Swing Dance Show’. The tickets had been a gift and in typical fashion had been kept safe and as a result we hadn’t done much research into what this afternoon event entailed! So what was it, I hear you ask? The afternoons entertainment was led by Tony Jacobs and the Tuxedo Jazz Orchestra, taking us on a journey through some musical delights of the 1920s-1930s. The musiciansRead More →


A busy weekend So this weekends adventure was to the fabulous city of Leeds, more specifically Leeds University Union for Swing Revolution 2018. There has been a bit of a theme with my swing dance weekends this year so far – doing something different. The something different for this event was that we had signed up for the Beginner Collegiate Shag stream. It meant that I could actually spend some time dancing with my husband, as well as with Karl. We were joined in our class by fellow Birmingham based dancers, Sophie Flynn and Martin Safar. Day one On Saturday, our teachers were Adam HarriesRead More →