pastelnerd asked: So that swing dancing gif had a lot ladies dancing together in pairs which is something you don't see a lot of nowadays. Was it because dancing alone or as a group wasn't really a thing back then? Did guys ever dance together as friends like that?
Dancing in pairs was definitely a thing at the time— there doesn’t seem to have been a lot of solo or group dancing, at least not in the way we dance today.
Dancetime Publications has a breakdown of dancing in the 1930s. There were group dances and circle dances (like square dancing or contra), and many dances had callers to tell you the steps as you went.
I’m guessing that it was socially acceptable for women to dance with each other and less so for men to do so, but I don’t know that for certain. It probably depended at least in part on the social setting and the ratio of men to women at any given event.
Interestingly I’ve noticed in modern swing dancing (or at least in the Melbourne scene, which is where I am), it’s pretty much the same! Mostly m/f lead/follow couples, with a few f/f lead/follows. (I LOVE dancing with female leads, it is the greatest, and will often dance around solo with girlfriends at social gigs.) I think maybe it’s a combo of the gender ratio - more women than men in the scene, and some insecurity about learning to follow as a guy?
The whole gender roles/politics thing in modern swing is fascinating; I can’t help but wonder what Steve’d think, and also, would he want to go swing dancing/like jazz music?