Swing Dancing: How Dance Effectiveness May Influence Music Preference
Strickland, Michael (author)
Gaber, Brian, 1960- (professor directing thesis)
Geringer, John M. (committee member)
VanWeelden, Kimberly D. (committee member)
Gunderson, Frank D. (committee member)
Florida State University (degree granting institution)
College of Music (degree granting college)
College of Music (degree granting department)
The overall purpose of this study is to establish the baseline for a new line of research into the effective relationship between traditional jazz musicians and swing dancers in current social dancing environments. The study is a mixed-method study utilizing a qualitative study to understand and describe the values and performance practices of musicians who play for swing dancing plus a quantitative study to examine the preferences and behaviors of dancers. The study gathered data at four different Lindy Hop swing dance events throughout the Eastern United States. Part A of the quantitative section of the study gathered demographics data with an in-person survey form. Demographics data was analyzed with descriptive statistics and tested for significant interactions within the data. A total of 236 dancers participated with 1050 different dances being rated. Participants were closely divided into "leads" (n = 122) and "follows" (n = 112). Results from the demographics study showed a median year of 2009 in which dancers started dancing the Lindy Hop. They also had a median Level of Expertise of Intermediate/Advanced. Leads reported a higher Level of Expertise than follows. Dancers attend dances a median twice a week, and travel from four to eight times a year to Lindy Hop events. The four dance events differed significantly by Starting Year (p = 0.006), Level of Expertise (p < 0.001), Travel Frequency (p = 0.001). Part B of the quantitative section gathered ratings of individual dances using a dance log in which each participant rated six different dances along five metrics: Dance Rating, Song Rating, Song Familiarity, Partner Familiarity and Partner Skill level. The means and standard deviations for each of the booklets ratings are: Song Rating (M=3.94, SD=0.78), Dance Rating (M=4.01, SD=0.84), Song Familiarity (M=3.09, SD=1.47), Partner Familiarity (M=3.04, SD=1.50), and Partner Skill (M=2.96, SD=1.12). There was a moderate correlation (n=981) between Dance Rating and Song Rating of rs = 0.427. There was a moderate correlation of rs = 0.466 between Song Familiarity and Song Rating (n=1023), and of rs = 0.336 between Dance Rating and Partner Skill (n=979). All other correlations are weak. The qualitative section utilized interviews of four musicians from the Lindy Hop community that were transcribed to identify markers of influence and descriptive terminology and categorized into five themes: Musician Descriptors, Dancer Descriptors, Environmental Descriptors, Performance Practice Descriptors, and Community Descriptors. Musician Descriptors are variables based on the musician's background and experience. Dancer Descriptors identified factors pertaining to general dancer expectations. Environmental Descriptors center on factors involving the ballroom setting, such as size and audience proximity. Performance Practice Descriptors, the most extensive group describes the specific methods and variables involved in performing for dancers. Community Descriptors lists the ideological values, relationship types and phrases used to describe the swing dance community. In the discussion, each of these three sections are combined to present an overview summary of the demographics, patterns and practices of the Lindy Hop community with the purpose of creating a baseline upon which to base future research.
Jazz, Lindy Hop, Music Preference, Swing Dance
November 10, 2014.
A Thesis submitted to the College of Music in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts.
Includes bibliographical references.
Brian Gaber, Professor Directing Thesis; John Geringer, Committee Member; Kimberly VanWeelden, Committee Member; Frank Gunderson, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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