Pleasing the Dancers

Tips and techniques of the trade

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swinginstyle
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Pleasing the Dancers

#1 Post by swinginstyle » Tue Mar 30, 2004 4:43 am

How does a DJ please the dancers? I've heard you're supposed to read the crowd, but are there hints/tricks for successful crowd reading? I DJ a dance where there are a wide variety of dancers (skill level and swing dance preference, whether it's ecs, lindy, bal, blues, etc). Do you read by looking at who's dancing, who's not dancing, etc? I'd appreciate any feedback.
Don't take swing underground!!

mousethief
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#2 Post by mousethief » Tue Mar 30, 2004 7:39 am

I'd try actually talking to them.

Kalman
"The cause of reform is hurt, not helped, when an activist makes an idiotic suggestion."

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Platypus
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#3 Post by Platypus » Tue Mar 30, 2004 10:41 am

Off the floor tips:

I second that. Find out what individuals enjoy. When I scan a room, then I might think "ah, 10 people who like it fast and monorecorded, 5 who like groove, 1 who will request Manhattan Transfer every night, 10 people who I have no clue about so must watch them, etc."

Have "spies" in the audience. Friends who will give you honest feedback. In one venue, I can't see half the floor from the booth nor the entrance. I can't always know the mix of dancers if they decide to stay in the area of the floor that I can't see. Locals are really cool about ensuring the DJ gets feedback during their shift ("you're doing great." "A slew of beginners just walked in." "Slow it down, everyone is feeling lazy tonight." Etc).

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gatorgal
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#4 Post by gatorgal » Tue Mar 30, 2004 10:45 am

I always like to talk to folks after my set to get their feelings on my set, and what they'd like to hear in general in our scene.

The only problem with this is that your friends may not want to be brutally honest with you because they don't want to hurt your feelings if you're off the mark sometimes. Pick folks whose opinions you can trust.

Platypus - I like the spy thing... will try to work on some folks this week.

Tina 8)
"I'm here to kick a little DJ a$$!"
~ Foreman on That 70s Show

mousethief
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#5 Post by mousethief » Tue Mar 30, 2004 11:21 am

I walk around during the songs and talk to the people who aren't dancing or are waiting for a new partner.

Kalman
"The cause of reform is hurt, not helped, when an activist makes an idiotic suggestion."

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Platypus
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#6 Post by Platypus » Tue Mar 30, 2004 11:46 am

The key is that you have to ASK them to be honest. Best if done by someone who can also point out the GOOD stuff for you to build on.

Roy
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#7 Post by Roy » Tue Mar 30, 2004 11:56 am

I look at who is not dancing and try to get then on the floor while keeping who is dancing still dancing. Some events, dancers tastes are much to diverse to acomplish this, so I settle with floor rotation.

I also ask people I know if they heard any comments from the crowd after my sets. this way I tend to get honest feedback from the general crowd.

KevinSchaper
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#8 Post by KevinSchaper » Tue Mar 30, 2004 12:01 pm

Everything they said - plus, look for smiles.. a lot of peopple just dont ever smile, granted, but if you scan dancers and don't see anyone smiling, maybe try something different for the next song..

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#9 Post by Nate Dogg » Tue Mar 30, 2004 12:16 pm

Aside from watching the floor, I ask people if they heard anything positive or negative about my set. When a DJ's set is not being appreciated, there is often chatter on the floor about it. I try to make sure I never cause that kind of chatter.

But, the most important thing is watching the floor and seeing how they react. The number of people sitting out is an important factor too.

If you care that people are dancing and pay attention, it ought to be obvious. Too often, there are DJs up there playing their stuff and not making adjustments. When it is obvious to everybody that energy is low , the crowd is not responding, etc... I guess if you pay attention and care about all the dancers in your crowd, you will figure things out and do fine.

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Mr Awesomer
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#10 Post by Mr Awesomer » Tue Mar 30, 2004 1:38 pm

Play what you like.
If people dance, keep being a DJ.
If no one dances, play DJ to yourself at home.
Problem solved.
Reuben Brown
Southern California

mousethief
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#11 Post by mousethief » Tue Mar 30, 2004 1:44 pm

Post your sets on SwingDJs and let the Hivemind divine an ideal solution.

BZZZZZzzzzz...

Kalman
"The cause of reform is hurt, not helped, when an activist makes an idiotic suggestion."

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djstarr
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#12 Post by djstarr » Tue Mar 30, 2004 2:51 pm

I love the HiveMind.

My friends request or talk about music enough to me that I know what their favorite songs are; if they are in the crowd, or went out of their way to come hear a set of mine, I try to play a song specifically for them (and since they all have good taste, this works for the whole crowd most of the time ;-) ).

I've also followed some advice from the HiveMind to get out on the floor more, especially where there are lots of newbies; I have a couple of new leads who I ask to dance regularly now and get feedback on the music from them. It's pretty enlightening. Tempo seems to be more of a factor than genre if you are new.

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kbuxton
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#13 Post by kbuxton » Tue Mar 30, 2004 4:34 pm

mousethief wrote:Post your sets on SwingDJs and let the Hivemind divine an ideal solution.
Does anyone else write down their setlists every time they dj? I write them down almost every time, but would be chicken to post them for fear of mockery ;)

Nate Dogg
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#14 Post by Nate Dogg » Tue Mar 30, 2004 5:28 pm

kbuxton wrote:
mousethief wrote:Post your sets on SwingDJs and let the Hivemind divine an ideal solution.
Does anyone else write down their setlists every time they dj? I write them down almost every time, but would be chicken to post them for fear of mockery ;)
I write them down, I don't really keep them long term.

I also agree, I am real leery of posting stuff like that online. The swing police is pretty hostile with the Yehoodi lists (will we have a new victim this week?).

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falty411
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#15 Post by falty411 » Tue Mar 30, 2004 7:40 pm

Nate Dogg wrote:I also agree, I am real leery of posting stuff like that online. The swing police is pretty hostile with the Yehoodi lists (will we have a new victim this week?).
Nate you should be happy. yours is no longer the worst set i have ever heard in my entire life.
-mikey faltesek

"Dancing is the union of the body with the rhythm and the sound of the music." Al Minns in 1984

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