30 Day Song Challenge, Day 6: A song that makes you want to dance

Forgive the seemingly cliched response, but–like everything else–there’s a story behind it.

It was the winter of 2001. I was a freshman at the University of Georgia living off-campus because of the lack of dormitory housing available. As such, I didn’t have the robust social circle that my contemporaries enjoyed as part of that “freshman experience”.

My friend Jessica–a high school buddy who shared my appreciation for B-movies and the waning swing music craze that had previously gripped the youngest of Generation X and the oldest of Generation Y–was one of only a few regular faces in my considerably small social circle [As an aside: “Millennial” was not really in the popular vernacular until we were in our mid-late-20s, so we never considered ourselves as such. If you are familiar to my writing, you will know that I tend to take issue with the popular definition of this term and its implications]. As it turned out, she had discovered that one of the clubs downtown ran a swing night in their upstairs dance hall on Tuesdays. Naturally, being such an awesome friend, she invited me along (she even picked me up from my apartment as I had no car)!

Tasty World was a fixture of Athens nightlife during the 90s and 2000s. It was the scrappy upstart to older, established venues like the 40-Watt Club or Georgia Theatre, but there was a charm in its hardwood floors and wobbly tables. It was brightly lit, unassuming, and located above a fantastic restaurant so it was easy to grab a bite of food during an event. The hall had great sound, too! Our DJ (I want to say his name was “Buzz”) was a great guy, and even offered to waive my cover when he found out that I walked from across town on the nights when Jessica was unable to pick me up. He also spun an eclectic mix of classic swing, new swing like Squirrel Nut Zippers and Brian Setzer, as well as some tracks that one would not normally associate with swing dancing like LL Cool J’s “Goin’ Back To Cali” or Kenny Loggins’s “Footloose”.

I mean, it suppose it seems obvious when you listen to it, but to an 18-year-old with limited experience with the greater art world, the realization was revolutionary: Music could transcend genres. Dance could transcend styles. Mashups and remixes were just becoming a “thing”, and I had just found the wellspring. This was my favorite song to dance to; it had the right tempo, the right beat, and a great little breakdown for a flip, floor slide, or some other ridiculous flourish that my dance partners and I always tried to pull off–mostly unsuccessfully.

Tasty World has since closed, and Athens simply isn’t the quirky indie-scene college town that it used to be, but I’ll never forget those cold nights walking from Riverbend Parkway to downtown to get in a few hours of Lindy hop during that strange transition from adolescence to adulthood.

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