In case you were not aware, I love swing dancing. And I do mean love it. There’s a student-run swing dancing club within walking distance of my college. That’s where I learned, and also where I taught (seniority; it happens). On Ryan’s and my wedding day, our first dance was–you guessed it–swing.
(Unfortunately, we forgot to tell somebody to record it beforehand. This video misses the cool part, when Ryan flips me over.)
I think that any song with the right beat should be danced to, so my favorite dancing titles range from big band to reggae. Here are just a few of my favorites:
1. “Everybody Needs Somebody,” The Blues Brothers – Yes, since it’s in the video above, this one is a no-brainer.
2. “Planet Jive,” The Jive Aces – Think you’re in shape? Think again. (For bonus points, dance this one in triple.)
3. “Say Hey (I Love You),” Michael Franti and Spearhead – This one is fun, upbeat, and unexpected. Give it a shot.
4. “Umbrella,” The Baseballs – This Elvis-impersonating cover of Rihanna’s hit promises to have you singing and dancing.
5. “Hit By a Brick,” The Atomic Fireballs – It is impossible for me to put the Atomic Fireballs on this list only once. So, instead of clogging all the slots with them, allow me to recommend that you seek out their album Torch This Place. Or, you know, look them up on YouTube. “Hit By a Brick” is excellent for beginners, but don’t be fooled: they have much more to offer.
6. “Minor Swing,” The Boilermaker Jazz Band – A classic played by a band that tours the swing circuit as we know it.
7. “Banana Phone,” Raffi – Just trust me.
8. “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” Taco – Great for solo dancing.
9. “Zoot Suit Riot,” Cherry Poppin’ Daddies – While I recognize that this is one of those bands that makes “real” dancers groan and roll their eyes… I am not a “real” dancer, and therefore feel free to recommend whoever I please.
10. “You and Me and The Bottle,” Big Bad VooDoo Daddy – See #9
11. “So Happy Together,” The Turtles – This one is excellent for triple-stepping.
12. “Sing, Sing, Sing,” BBC Big Band Orchestra – Great for mixers! Make sure you have the short version, or you’ll be going for ten minutes.
13. “Picture Perfect,” Ingrid and the Swing Katz – Good for dancing and self esteem!
14. “Fly Me To The Moon (In Other Words),” Frank Sinatra – My favorite song to Lindy Hop with. Judging by the slow pace, one can assume that I am a novice Lindy Hopper.
15. “Last Train Out of Swingtown,” Dr. Zoot – For those times when you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here. (See also Big Bad VooDoo Daddy’s “So Long, Farewell, Goodbye.”)
Honorable mention goes to “Let’s Get Loud” by J. Lo. and friends. Great for line dances.
If you don’t think you’re a great dancer (or good enough to keep up with some of these songs), keep practicing. In the words of Dr. Paul Kilpatrick, “You’re not really dancing until you forget about your feet.”