[Dixielandjazz] Don't people dance anymore?

Elazar Brandt jazzmin at actcom.net.il
Fri Dec 3 07:40:24 PST 2004

Shalom Jazz Fans,

Here in Israel we have some traditional ballroom dancing, but not a lot. There
are dance studios that teach it, and there are some places to dance, but usually
at private parties. Some of our religious folks often don't do mixed dancing in
public. And other people just don't hear the music that much, which is why
Doctor Jazz is out there playing in the streets.

What we do see is a lot, I mean a real lot of natural bodily responses to the
bounce of our music. It is a rare day when we do NOT see people in the streets,
of all ages and ethnic origins, doing some kind of dance as they walk by and our
music grabs them. Bodies seem to know how to groove with the bouncing beat if
their owners let them do it. We see elderly couples actually embrace and dance
together in the square in front of us. We see ultra-religious fellows doing, or
trying to do their more spiritual brand of dance to our beat. Young folks
saunter past stepping it out in clear time with our music.

Once I was playing alone on banjo, and suddenly found a troupe of 8 dancers,
apparently pros, doing a perfectly coordinated routine to the song I was
playing. Another time a tap dancer and his camera crew asked me for a song to
tap dance to. I don't remember what I played, but he improvised his routine
through the whole song. I heard it turned up on TV later. I probably got a
couple coins in my hat for my trouble. Oh, well.

Many times people respond to the banjo by making the strumming motion. I see
this a lot, especially with teens and younger kids. I remember once a group of
about 8 or 10 soldiers passed by and all together held their rifles as though
they were banjos and began strumming. It was classic. If I only had a camera!

But I think my favorite was one Friday afternoon when our Dr Jazz trio was
playing downtown before Shabbat, and we were especially in the groove and
drawing a good crowd. Two little kids, a boy and a girl, who couldn't have been
more than 5 years old, held each other in nearly perfect form and started doing
ballroom dance style moves to our music. They continued through several songs,
maybe for more than 15 minutes, and became something of an attraction
themselves. Who knows from where they ever even knew how to do it, but they did,
and it was one of the cutest things I've ever seen.

There is indeed something timeless and classic about our music, something that's
good for the body and the soul. We need to get out our snake oil kits and keep
selling. We need to tell people what our music can do for them, and then show
them. Long live ... ehhh... whatever you call it... OKOM!

Happy holidays,

Doctor Jazz Band
Jerusalem, Israel
Tel: +972-2-679-2537

P.S. Our CD, "Ben Yehuda Street Parade", is a fun and inexpensive gift from
Israel for your jazz loving friends and family. Ordering info and sample clips
on our website. Only $15 post-paid. Thank you.

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