Dizzy's Desiderata

This list of Swing dance advice has been attributed to swing bandleader and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. While it does parody Max Ehrmann's 1927 poem, Desiderata, which was popularized and set to music in the early 1970's (and properly lampooned in National Lampoon's 1972 Deteriorata), "Dizzy" offers some very good advice here, both in dancing and in life.

Dizzy's Desiderata

  1. Dance adroitly amidst the flailing limbs and flashing feet, and remember what joy there is in open floor space.

  2. As far as possible, without risk of personal injury, accept all invitations to dance.

  3. As far as possible, without entanglement, be on kissing terms with all women.

  4. Dance your moves with style and grace; observe other dancers, even the clumsy and arrhythmic; they can serve as negative examples.

  5. Avoid dancers who over-Charleston; they are dangerous to life and limb.

  6. If you compare yourself with others, you may become frustrated or overconfident, for always there will be greater and lesser dancers than yourself.

  7. Enjoy the jump blues as well as the slow drags.

  8. Keep interested in the basics, they are the fount of all innovation.

  9. Exercise caution in your dance floor romances, for the world is full of fickle lotharios and femme fatales.

  10. But let this not blind you to the joys of flirting.

  11. Exercise caution in your choice of dance instructors, cause the world is full of Arthur Murray Studios.

  12. Strive always to develop your own style.

  13. Especially remember that you can't fake skill; great skill is often manifested in a simple and elegant style.

  14. Neither be easily discouraged for skill only comes with diligence.

  15. Listen to your body, you aren't as young as you think; leave the aerials to the young and the foolhardy.

  16. Nurture skill in several dances to provide you options on contra nights at Glen Echo.

  17. Nurture skill in several dances so you can go dancing and still avoid your ex.

  18. Do not distress yourself over the accuracy of your feelings of inadequacy; you are that bad -- just work on it.

  19. Many feelings of inadequacy are generated at Steven Mitchell workshops. Therefore always follow-up a Steven Mitchell workshop with one by Frankie Manning.

  20. You are a child of the rhythm no less than the planets and the stars; stay within the pocket.

  21. And whether or not the rhythm is in your soul, the music does have a beat. Therefore be on time with the music and your partner, even if you have to count.

  22. And whatever your natural talent and intentions, in the noisy confusion of the dance, keep your eye on your partner.

  23. With all the hamstring pulls, shin splints and occasional bruises, the dance is still beautiful.

  24. Smile.

  25. Strive to hear the one.

Return to DWise1's Home Page

Contact me.

Share and enjoy!

First uploaded on 2005 January 01.
Updated on 2011 October 05.