Chapter 1: The Happy Tune is My Step | My Story with Swing Dance

"In dance, I met myself,” Xiaojie said. Here is her story.

“在摇摆舞中,我遇见了我自己。“ 小杰说。

这,是一篇她的故事。

作者 Author: 秦小杰 Xiaojie Qin

时间 Date: 2021


Before Swing Dance

Back when I was just a toddler, mum said that whenever I heard music from the radio, I would move. The happy tune is my step. I remember that in primary school, I’d always participate in the group dance at the elders’ community. I remember that I was the youngest one in the dance group, the grandmas from the group said I was a good dancer, I must have been nine by the time.

Picture: One-year-old Xiaojie


In high school, every Saturday - the only night without extra study in a week, I would wait for my parents to go out for a walk and start my stress relief activities, dancing and moving my body, in crazy routines to the DVDs of Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Whitney Huston, Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, and Coco Lee.


Once I started working, for the first time ever, I had enough time to explore my hobbies. Salsa for a few months, I had so much fun. The only thing I didn’t enjoy was that the shoes were so uncomfortable, they were high heels after all!


In the spring of 2010, a friend said there is a swing dance class that day at Zhang Zizhong's. I never heard of that dance before. Why not, I thought. I didn’t have anything better to do.

Picture: 2010 swing dance in Sanlitun village (now Taikooli)



摇摆舞之前

我妈说,那个时候我刚会走路,正从屋子里外往外走。广播里开始播放一首歌曲,我颠颠簸簸的走回来,‘每一步都踩着快乐的节奏‘。


小学了,我记得一段时间,我总会去参加单位老人家的集体舞蹈,就是现在的广场舞吧。我还记得,当时我是最年轻的一个,老奶奶们说我跳的不错。那个时候,我应该9岁吧。


高中了,每周周六,那是唯一一个没有晚自习的夜晚,我就等着爸妈出去散步后开始我雷打不动的解压活动,疯狂的跟着Christina Anglera, Britney Spears, Whitney Huston, Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson还有李玟的DVD扭摆。

照片:2010 三里屯户外摇摆舞


工作了,第一次有足够的时间去探索爱好,Salsa了有几个月,挺好玩的,就是那个鞋穿着不舒服,再舒服也是个带跟的鞋啊。


然后,2010年的春天,一个朋友说当天有个摇摆舞体验课,在张志忠那里。啥是摇摆舞?我心想。反正也没事,那就去呗。

照片:2011 Swing Time Ball

照片:2018北京布鲁斯舞蹈节



The Beginning of Swing Dance

Do I believe love at first sight? Call me romantic! I felt for the first time, the meaning of love at first sight from my first swing lesson! (If you have read my story of Brazilian Jiujistu, you would know love at first sight can happen more than once in life). I remember just watching Josh and Leru’s little performance from that day back in 2010, and I knew I was in love with swing dance. After that there was the weekly class - no other options were available at that time. You only got to dance just once a week. In the same class was Simon Bressanelli. if you're a swing dancer, you know that he is a master teacher and dancer on the international stage. I used to think I had some talent, but in the class, I found out that many other people could learn the moves, but I felt I had 2 left feet.

Picture: June 2010 with Simon Bressanelli


In the same summer, I went to study abroad. In Antwerp, Belgium, I do not remember whether there were weekly lessons, I only remember that I went to observe the local classes, and we practiced bounce in that class. Eager to achieve success quickly, I would go to a special class with the local swing dancer, and I would always go to the dancing party. With full immersion at the parties, I could practice and grow, with local experts and only correct swing movements based on the natural expression of my body. Those ugly swing moves didn't stop me from ‘bothering’ the lead. It was at one dance party when I first met Sep, a famous Belgian swing pioneer - I said I didn't know how to do the moves he was demonstrating. I tried to jump around with him. I vaguely remember him saying that I have the ‘energy’ and, with time, I could be a good dancer.


I still don't know what he meant by "energy” but maybe it's the most natural response that music brings to my body, and the way I let my body express itself.



3 pictures: 2010-2011 Belgium



摇摆舞之初

信不信一见钟情,信!不是我罗曼蒂克,因为摇摆舞的第一个体验课我就感受到了一见钟情的含义。(当然,你读过我巴西柔术的故事,就知道一见钟情可不会一生只有一次。)我只记得,当天看着Josh和Leru做了一小段的表演,我就知道我没救了。接下来就是每周一次的课程,那个时候没得挑,每周就一次,同学还有Simon Bressanelli,如果你是个摇摆舞者,你就会知道这个已经是当代国际舞台大师级别的舞者了。以前我觉得自己还有点天赋,一上课发现怎么好多别人都会了的舞步,自己就是不会呢?

照片:2015 China Lindy Hop Championship in Beijing

照片:2018 China Lindy Hop Championship in Beijing


那个夏天,我出国念书了。在比利时,安特卫普已经不记得有没有固定的周课,我只记得我去观摩了下当地的课程,那一堂课就练bounce,心急想吃热豆腐的我没去上常规课,有时候会跟当地的摇摆舞着去上个特别课程之类的,有舞会的时候我都会去。没有了系统一步一步的学习,我就只能在舞会中成长,在以身体自然的表达为基础上去纠正摇摆舞的动作。非常惨不忍睹的摇摆舞步没有阻止我去骚扰lead。一次舞会,我第一次遇见Sep,比利时耳熟能详的摇摆舞先驱了,我说我不会跳,我试着跟着他蹦来蹦去的,我模糊的记得他说,我有一股劲,随着时间,我可以成为一个不错的舞者。


我现在也不知道他们口中的“劲“什么,也许是音乐带给我身体的最自然的反应,以及我允许身体对这个反应的表达。

照片:2011跟Josh在北京