Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Lindy Exchange

The Orlando Lindy Exchange is a yearly Swing Dancer's dream marathon. For close to a week, swing dancers from all over the country converge on Orlando to shake their hips and kick up their feet. Damon Natch Burke is my tech guru and he helps organize the event. I found out there would be a free dance in the Lake Eola band shell and I had to go down to sketch. Walking around the lake, I could hear the energetic retro beat and soon I saw flashes of color as people twisted and turned on stage. There were up to 50 dancers on stage and boy did they know how to dance! When the song changed, people would switch partners to add some variety to their steps.

It had been boiling hot all week, but on the day of the dance, the temperature dropped drastically. An ice cream vendor stood at the foot of the stage offering his ice cold treats. I had a sweatshirt on and when I slipped into the shade, I started to shiver. Still, when couples strolled past me away from the stage, they were glowing with sweat. It was getting towards sunset, yet when Damon walked by with his dance partner, he said they had forgotten to eat since the night before. They were heading out to find some breakfast. A couple saw that I was sketching, and they stood directly in front of me and "vogued". He said, "Check out this move!" and he leaned his dance partner back, arching her back over his arm. I laughed, and said, "That's great, now hold that for about 15 minuted!"

A young woman liked the sketch. She asked if I was cold and I shivered dramatically. She said, "If you want to warm up, then come on up on the stage and dance! You'll warm up fast." I was still messing with washes on my sketch, besides I don't know any swing moves. Chances are, I would get up there and trip up the whole swinging crowd. Fred Astaire, I am not. But, with a few lessons, I might be able to keep up with these hip swinging kids. I'll put it on my bucket list.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

No comments: