"We're a community of Swing Dance lovers in Saigon. We keep this jazz vintage dance art alive and kicking and you should be dancing with us! "
Who are Saigon Swing Cats (SSC)?
Saigon Swing Cats is a community of Swing dancers in Saigon since 2006 with the shared passion for Swing jazz, a Harlem-born culture from the 20s – 40s including the music, the dance, the vintage look with Michel Tosto and Catherine Tran relocating from Montreal, Canada and looking to share the dance to folks in Saigon. Since then, Saigon Swing Cats have grown to be a fun dancing community welcoming many, traveling to international dance festivals, participating in various performances in Saigon (AmCham’s Ball 2009, Kermesse Festival 2011 & 2012, Saigon Big Band Show in 2013, British Business Group Vietnam’s Roaring 20s Party 2016), organizing our own dance exchanges and festivals like Vietnam Lindy Exchange, Saigon Swing Fest, Swing Into Spring.
At Saigon Swing Cats venues, we all want to have a great time dancing and to feel safe. Every dance community has slightly different guidelines. SSC have tried to keep it short and sweet with this version (courtesy of Catherine Schmizt) - and please come chat to SSC organizers if you have any questions.
What is Swing dancing?
Swing dance is a group of dances that developed with the swing style of jazz music in the 1920s–1940s, with the origins of each dance predating the popular "swing era". During the swing era, there were hundreds of styles of swing dancing, but those that have survived beyond that era include: Lindy Hop, Balboa, Collegiate Shag, and Charleston. Today, the most well-known of these dances is the Lindy Hop, which originated in Harlem, New York City within the African American community in the early 1930s.
(read Swing Dancing vs. Lindy Hop: What's the difference? by Michael Jagger & Evita Arce)
Why Swing Cats?
It all started in Harlem in the early 30's. There was the Cotton Club with a "white only" policy and the Savoy Ballroom, where everybody was welcome to dance. Many competitions and jams took place at the Savoy, and this mythical place is where Lindy Hop was made famous. The area where musicians and dancers showed their spirit moves was called the Cat's Corner.
Back in the days, Jazz had its own slang and extended vocabulary. Cats was the name given to Jazz musicians in a big band. It also had that idea of being cool, a Hep Cat was a person who knew or understood what Jive was all about (talking, looking and acting cool, and of course, dancing like a champion). Swing Cats were not only musicians who were part of a band which more specifically played Swing -that music that had this sway to it and that we love dancing to, but included all the Hep Cats who translated that music to their feet! Watch this amazing video footage of the Cat's Corner from 1929 with some Hep Cats from the Savoy Ballroom!