Victoria Dancer Chat - Anthony

This month's profile is Anthony Carr. 
Originally hailing from London (yes, the one in the UK), Anthony is a wonderful gain to the Victoria swing dancing scene. Anthony is also the SDAV's newest board member!

1. What got you into dancing?

I had done some ballroom classes back in the late 90’s and then life happened and for nearly 10 years I completely forgot about partner dancing. Then a friend at work started Jive classes in London and thought I’d enjoy jive too. I was living quite far from work at that time and as most of the classes and events were in the evenings I didn’t have the energy (or will) to go. Then after a year of badgering I finally moved closer to work and had no excuse. I went to a Jive Party night at the Rivoli Ballroom in South London and it was eye-opening to say the least. All these people having a great time, great music, women asking me to dance (despite having no idea of the footwork). I was instantly sold. I immediately signed up for classes with a well-known Jive teacher and ended up going to the Rivoli every month for over a year, not missing a single event. I would be one of the first there and one of the last to leave, it helped that the Ballroom was only 30 minutes walk from me.

2. What kept you dancing?

That’s simple. The people. 

In the beginning it was flattering to be asked to dance by someone who I’d never rub shoulders with in my general life, and to be asked to dance when I didn’t really know how.  I was also keen to learn and understand more about the dances and the music of course, but it was being around both familiar and new faces, week in, week out, that kept me coming back.  Dancing is a great leveller in many respects. The dance community is full of a range of different people from different jobs, different backgrounds, different viewpoints, different places too.  And we all come together on the dancefloor. I always describe myself as a social dancer and it can only be a social activity when you have other people. 

3. How has your dancing changed?

Like many, when I first started dancing it was all about learning moves. The more the better. And I still really enjoy learning new styles and new moves to add to the data bank. There are so many varieties of music that to be able to adapt and dance to whatever music is played is amazing. However as time has gone on I’ve realised that dancing is all about connection and I don’t just mean the physical one. It’s the mental connection you have with the other person when you’re dancing (or two or three people!). Each of you responding to the music and each other that lasts for the duration of a song. It’s like a conversation without words. The more I dance the more I try to tap into this feeling.

4. What’s your best dance experience?

This is very difficult to answer, particularly as my dancing age gets older. I have so many amazing dance memories, it’s like choosing your favourite child! Instead I’ll go for the first that comes to mind, which funnily enough involves line dancing. There is a fabulous dance weekender in the UK called the Rhythm Riot (where I’ve had many amazing dance experiences) and Shannon and I went religiously every year. It attracts hundreds, if not thousands of dancers from all over the world. It takes place in a rather run-down holiday park but the main dancefloor is HUGE. They always make sure they play songs that you can Stroll to and others you can Bop to too as the Jivers and Rockabillies love to Stroll and Bop, as do some of the swing dancers of course. On this occasion they played a Sam Cooke tune and almost the entire room jumped up to stroll along. It’s probably the most people I have ever seen line dancing and moving in unison at the same time to a singer I adore. My memory recalls hundreds, but it might have been a few less!

5. What song do you always want to dance to?

Another simple question. Chonnie-On-Chon by James Brown. A song that talks about getting drunk on Gin (my favourite tipple) and having a party. I had no idea it was by James Brown when I first heard it. In my stupidity I thought JB was all about the soul and funk, but he had a rocking past.