Christopher Carr has done the Lindy Hop from Boston to Milwaukee, and now he wants to help the Back Mountain community get in step with the beat of the big band.
Carr, 49, invites the public to share in his passion for swing dancing at a Christmas Swing Dance at the John Paul II Center (formerly Gate of Heaven School) on Saturday, Dec. 14.
He has held two previous events at the John Paul II Center with the hopes of meeting new people and starting a swing dance following in the area.
“It’s a different kind of dance environment here. The people who dance do a mixed ballroom type of thing, such as the fox trot and the tango and the waltz,” Carr said. “You can do that at any other dance studio in the area. I am trying to create a swing venue for people.”
Carr may have gotten interested in swing dancing during the revival of the dance genre in the late 1990s, but the Harveys Lake resident remained a faithful swing dancer long after the craze was kaput.
“It’s personal. Swing is the music plus the dancing – it’s a whole different experience, just learning it,” he said. “You have to get your body habituated with the rhythm. Girls are listening for the steps, but the guy thinks ahead, and it becomes like typing when you know just where your feet should go.”
Carr also said there are exciting moments as a dancer, like when one is paired with a perfect partner and the moves are “smooth as butter.”
“It’s only happened to me about a half a dozen times,” he recalled. “When I was in grad school in Milwaukee, the local VFW had a live band every Friday night. I saw a young lady there I had never seen before and I asked her to dance. Everything was right – from the moves we both knew to the way her hand felt in my hand.”
He said he enjoys the experience of meeting new people while dancing. At every event he’s hosted, there is an hour-long beginners lesson for those not familiar with the style.
“It’s always good to attend the lesson before the dance,” Carr noted. “It’s good to review, and mix and meet the people you’re dancing with before things get dark and loud.”
Even though there are decades of music to choose from, Carr said this time of the year is especially fun for swing dancing.
“Christmas swing is the best,” he said.