Alistair is the current President of the Manchester Swing Dance Society
A bright and energetic dancer, Alistair originally learned to dance in Bristol but has been a recognisable face of the Manchester Swing Dance Scene for several years.
We asked all of our team some questions about their Swing Dancing lives so far. Here is what Alistair had to say:
How did you first experience Swing Dance?
I first experienced Lindy Hop (more specifically, Charleston) at a taster class in London in December 2013; my cousin dragged me along because, at the time, I was a very boring person and needed to get a social life outside of home.
Think of the best dance you’ve had? What made it so special?
The best dance I ever had would probably have been my first! I was so nervous and afraid that I would let my partner down by being a terrible newbie. However, she was the nicest person ever and basically taught me a few basic steps, how to get the dance going, and even asked for another after we finished a song!
What is your go-to dancing outfit and why do you love it?
I used to dress up with the braces and bowtie phase to get the vintage look. Nowadays I’m more sporting a shirt with smart vintage trousers and a vintage tie. I love dressing up for social events as it gives me an opportunity to present myself differently to what I normally look like (like an alter ego!). It also gives a taste of what dancing would have been like back in the 1930s.
What positive benefits has Swing Dancing brought to your life?
EVERYTHING! I have met so many wonderful people in swing dancing that… pretty much most of my friends are lindy hoppers. Dancing means so much to me – there’s so much history and music in the past to be appreciated and I am very glad to have found people with similar interests. I feel like a totally different person since I started dancing, I am much more active and sociable, I have met so many wonderful people across the globe through dancing and dare I say, I have only recently started travelling across the world also because of how much I love dancing with other people in different countries!
Which Dance Event is a “must” in your Swing Calendar?
Any dance event with FOOD. The ones with buffets are a WINNER! Those to mention are: Gastro Swing, Leeds Swing Exchange, Lindy Shock.
Who are your favourite dancers to watch in the International Scene?
My inspiration for my dancing would probably be Peter and Naomi. They are the LOVELIEST couple in Lindy Hop and their dancing flows so incredibly well. I’ve taken a few classes from them and I really like the challenges they set for their students to explore new concepts of dancing.
What’s your social dance power move?
Charleston or any fast music! I love dancing to fast music as it really gets me energised, makes me want to get up and dance the hell out.
What motivates you to build the Swing Dance Scene in Manchester?
I would like Manchester to become a great Swing scene for the North of England. There are so many amazing dancers here but I want to help push the scene further, have more social events and energise the spirit of Lindy Hop even more. I want to try my best to spread my passionate love for the dance to other people so that they can appreciate and also grow to learn to love the dance over time.
How do you deal with “mistakes” in your dancing?
Asking for feedback and getting private lessons. Sometimes it is hard to judge yourself and I’m not always aware of things that i am struggling with so sometimes feedback can really help.
If you had to sum up Swing Dancing in one sentence, what would it be?
To live is to dance, to dance is to live.