Tuesday, January 05, 2010

An Interview I did with Dan Newsome

My name is James A. Bretney.

I am compiling a history of swing in Colorado for a website that would eventually become a book. A graduate of History from the University of Arizona, i will tell you that social history is hard to document without the participants recording their memories, inspirations and influences early.

I invited Dan Newsome of 23skidoo to answer this questionnaire. I particularly wanted to get John Dwyer, Shana Worley, Mike Dancel and Mike Buckner's permission and input as I had frequently danced to thier music selections and wanted to better appreciate thier art. But feeling this newsworthiness of interview, I decided to sacrifice the influence of this interview may have in subsequent responses from all participants so that we can get the momentum going.

I would extend this invitation to all area DJs to answer this questionnaire - particularly ones I am unfamiliar with like Thain and those who have been apart of swing legend and lore - Dave and Viktor.

I also invite all dancers and music affinciandos to ask questions and share their thoughts and what led them to dance, where do you think the dance is going.

Please feel free to react to the interview and share your opinions. I would beg that all participants continue to observe the high code of polity on this discussion board.

1. How long have you been a DJ? How did this come about?

{Dan Newsome} I really never had aspirations to… When Tiffiny and I first started
venturing into Lindy Hop, we began to travel, taking camps like Swing Out
Northwest and Catalina… I began buying and collecting some of the
music. Occasionally when the DJ at the Merc, usually Victor would finish
around 10:30, I would go on for a while… People were very excited by the
music I brought back from travels… At this time it was around the
beginning of what I would call the groove era, although I brought back both
groove and high energy classic big band, the combination of which I like
to think is the signature sound of a Tuesday night at the Mercury Café.
In time the Mercury was handed down to me, and I became the house DJ.
The first few months were rough, and I would often have to repeat songs
throughout the night, but the era or 4 hour dances rather than 2 hour
dances began, and I began to get serious about developing a DJ system,
and becoming educated on the music.

2. What was your attraction to the swing and social dance scene?

{Dan Newsome} I don’t know that it was conscious… I took some classes, came to some
dances… made friends, learned more and more and just became a part of
it.. Now I realize that what I see in it is that it is truly in a ways a
lot more punk rock than punk rock. Its very underground, very
non-trendy, and has very many layers and a lot of history. Its cultural,
social, and artistic. I enjoy the creative, physical and mental challenges
of it… There is as much challenge as you want, and there is always
something new to learn, someone new to dance with, and a new song to try. I
believe it to be social revolution and personal challenge, and that is
as succinct as I can put it. I am a persona who is easily bored and
not challenged by most things… Dancing provides me both challenge and
constant mental stimulation.

3. What was your worst DJ experience?

{Dan Newsome} I was once invited to DJ in Seattle’s main venue at the time.. About 15
minutes into my set, they were like, “ok, well, why don’t you play one
more and we’ll put the next DJ on”…. It took me a minute to realize I
was getting kicked… I felt stupid and amateur.

4. At what point, you made a decision to take a part time vocation to
your full time focus, could you describe how this came about?

{Dan Newsome} Well, as we have worked on building the Mercury dance nights, we have
read a lot about business, a lot about teaching and educating, and
borrowed a lot of things to make a better and better offering. I don’t
think many people realize it, but if you add up all the people coming to
the Mercury for swing, we see about 2,000 people every month. Each of
these people comes from a flyer we put out, and ad we placed, word of
mouth, or from the web.

Each day finds me working on our website, making flyers, distributing
flyers, answering emails and phone calls, taking care of problems that
arise, and trying to work on my own dancing so that we may inspire
people to learn, all this aside from the 32 hours a week I am at the Mercury

At some point, I realized that I was putting in 50-70 hours a week to
make swing happen here, and I had to make it so that I could live off of
it… Part of it was lowering my standard of living a bit, saving some $
here and there, and part of it was finding a few extra areas we could
make a little profit. Tips on the Sunday free class was one for
instance, another was discontinuing our annual pass.

It was scary, but I was burning the candle at both ends to keep my job,
and my professional career was suffering… Its hard to tell your boss
you need to go to a swing competition this weekend and can’t work…

I will say that 5.5 months into the decision to dance full time, I have
been very stable, and we are blessed with the amount of students and
opportunities to travel to dj for instance that we’ve been given. Things
are working out for the time being.

5. A lot of DJ’s have created their venue. Not only do they become
teachers, they also become by default the DJ. Is that true in your
instance? That is a delicate balance to maintain. How do you do it?

I think its important for one person to have responsibility for a
night.. Its important that the music played goes with the dance taught at
the lesson, and its important for people to have one “go-to-guy” when
they have questions and problems.. I was a dj before I was a teacher, and
I don’t find they interfere with each other. There are similarities in
the mental mindsets required by each to be good, but they are different
enough skills that I don’t think they cross over too much. One nice
thing is that I always have the music I need to demonstrate something in
class 

6. What do you listen to when you are not dancing?

{Dan Newsome} Everything… Right now my favorites are Dashboard Confessional, the
Shins, Camera Obscura and Bright Eyes. I’m also crazy for the 80s and
awesome hip hop.

7. What does “flow” mean for you?

{Dan Newsome} Flow means grouping songs by feel, then moving to the next feel with
some padding. It means not jerking the crowd around, or playing in a way
that sounds random.. For instance great flow to me would be like

Nina Simone -> Billy Holliday - > Ella Fitzgerald -> Cab Calloway ->
Duke Ellington -> Count Basie

I would pick an Ella recording with a big band type feel so it flows
into the Cab Calloway well. I have my vocal jazz and my big band

I use Louis Jordan and Cab Calloway to flow between R&B and Big Band a
lot, and I use Ella to bridge vocal and big band quite a bit.

I use Hal Smith, the Boilermakers, Duke Heitger and Mora to bridge Neo
Swing and Big Band…

I also don’t like to play really fast and then really slow… I like my
tempos to crawl up and crawl down.

With a certain critical mass of people though, it matters less. I also
reevaluate my flow when I clear the floor with a mid-tempo song.. I
expect fast ones to slow the floor down a bit, and I don’t stay in the
fast range long, but I don’t expect them to completely clear the floor

Of course I don’t give up all my secrets, but I do think every hour you
spend in to booth you get better.

8. Are there things in your background i.e. playing musical
instruments, performance dance, singing, math or history that assist you in your
duties as a DJ?

{Dan Newsome} I did play in band, but I was a trumpet player and I had braces so it
was painful and rather unproductive.. I took piano, guitar, etc… I
practice piano and guitar pretty regularly, but it doesn’t affect my
decision much. I have no background in performance dance, other than running
our troupe.. I suppose it does make me bust out the really kick ass
tunes a little more than the average DJ.

As far as math, I don’t get too technical with the DJing… it’s a very
feel oriented thing, I don’t go for a formula.

9. In reading recent threads regarding the value of DJ’s playlists, the
praise lavished to you seemed not the mutterings of fanatic toadies
weening a bloated ego but heartfelt encouragement about your DJ playlists.
Do you go into a DJ set with a pre-planned playlist? Is there a mood
that you create? How does the crowd influence what you play versus what
you have determined you will play?

{Dan Newsome} I hope that people genuinely enjoy my music, and don’t just support me
because they like me as a person. I think there is a lot of things in
the world where people are elevated in status because they are
popular.. I honestly hope people like my music, I do put a lot into it.

I go into the night with no plans. Sometimes I have a song or two that
I remembered I haven’t heard in a while, and I try to work them in, but
I make no plans ahead of time.

The crowd will often react to one kind of music more than another… For
instance, on the first snow of the winter, people seem to like vocal
jazz, and favorite, not too fast kind of stuff. When summer hits, I
tend to play faster because people are excited about life in general, and
also because I wish to give the East Coast kids something they can hook
into. Sometimes the crowd reacts to gritty R&B. I get a more sensual
vibe sometimes.

I try not to even plan more than 20-30 minutes in advance. I listen
to the requests… What are they telling me? More energy? More vintagey?
More East Coast Friendly.. I read from there. What they seem to dance
to, I play more of. What they don’t dance to, I won’t try until later.

I keep the tempos easy in the beginning of the night… I peak with
tempos from 9-11, and then slow it down at the end of the night.

The crowd is everything… I feel the power I have.. I can make or break
everyones night, and I do my best to make it great. I use spiritual
songs like lavender Coffin, Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho, Sermonette
and Revival day to help people tap into their emotions. I like to see
the crowd feel it.

10. I have seen DJ’s rely on their CD’s whereas others like myself
enjoy MP3s, which do you prefer and why?

{Dan Newsome} I use MP3 all the way. I encode APX which is alt-preset-extreme,
which means you can’t tell the difference from the CD. I rip in secure
mode, and use a script to ensure no errors occurred. Each CD take about
an hour to add to my laptop, but its worth it.. On that little box I
have 27,000 songs at my finger tips.. When I think of the song, its in the
playlist in 10 seconds… no searching, no scrambling, no stolen, lost or
scratched CDs… I also use the computer to make notes, sort by genre,
and keep track of how often I’ve played particular songs.

11. What software medium do you use to play your MP3s? And why?

{Dan Newsome} I use Winamp. I like the simplicity and the thread priority. Its
really hard to bog the computer down enough to make it stop playing or
skip. Its also really easy to rebuild a computer when I lose a hard drive.
I also use it because it supports multiple sound cards, which I use for
cueing. I realize there are a lot of option out there, but the
simplicity is nice. I also use a plug-in called “tom-steady” which keeps my
output levels constant.

I am investigating foobar right now, but I think I will stick with

12. Back to the Unlimited Sky miles question, what scenes nationally
are close to your heart and why?

{Dan Newsome} If I could travel anywhere, My three favorites are New York, LA and

New York has great bands, great dancers, and so much history. Its
scene is a bit disjointed, but there’s nowhere else you can go 2-3 places
any and every night. Plus they have about 30 ex-Denver dancers there.
The energy of the city gets in you and can’t help but to dance. To have
seen Harlem, I understand the dance so much better. It set a new
standard (maybe one I’ll never reach) for me.

LA has the best dancers, and I learn just by watching. They have an
energy and history I just dig.

Seattle is really cutting edge with music. The Kevins are the bomb, as
is Brenda, and all the others… Their scene is strong, vibrant and full
of talent.

13. In your travels, what makes the Colorado dance scene unique?

{Dan Newsome} Well, it is unique because everyone is pretty friendly. We have
nothing in politics compared to other places.. We have a lot of dancers… and
we don’t have any gut-wrenchingly bad music, as many other places do.
We have a wonderful venue in the Mercury, and we have lots of solid

As a whole, most Colorado dancers don’t travel to dance much, and I
think people here tend to not want the scene to change, so in that fact
its frustrating. We are a little stuck in 2001, but we also have some
rising stars and things do change here enough that its always interesting,
at least for me.

I think the wonderful dance nights we have are very close to lots of
people’s hearts, and we have great memories from it, and I think we are
doing something historically important and wonderful, and don’t even
realize it. A lot of happy times are had here, and that’s why its

We have regular workshops, and our learning curve isn’t too high… You
can integrate with the scene without too much work… Most other scenes
are quite a bit faster and harder socially to integrate into.

We have lousy jams, and no good live music, but that aside we are able
to make a good time for a lot of people and really enjoy each others
company. It’s the people that make our scene great, and I enjoy the
company of all these people, I see them more than I do my own family… we
have a lot to be proud of, and we should enjoy every moment.

14. This may be an oversimplification, if it is please edify. It seems
that a DJ has to balance the tastes and preferences of the elite
dancers and the newbies? How do you achieve that balance?

{Dan Newsome} I try to play a variety. 99% of people like a mix… 1% are style
snobs.. I play stuff with energy, and I try to think about both crowds when I
pick a song. If I pick neo swing, I pick something that I can swing
out to, easily. I try to hit all the extremes.

15. Some venues are popular because they attract a lot of people. But
they do not retain them. Yet you have done a fairly good job at
retaining your clientele. What is the secret of retention?

{Dan Newsome} Well, you must remember what you fell in love with, not what you
learned to love. So for example I teach moves that people can do and get
excited about. Lots of teachers teach things that are too hard for
newbies… I do, even without trying to. I also listen and observe what’s
going on and try to refine. Truth be told, we retain about 15% of the
dance students… So I actually wish I could do a lot better.

16. What is hot right now in the swing scene music wise?

{Dan Newsome} Nationally, it is Charleston Era stuff, traditional jazz, and Count
Basie. Stuff that goes chug chug in the rhythm section, and whack-a-do in
the horn section. Jahnky music with drive.

17. How do you keep abreast what is hip on lindy street?

{Dan Newsome} Travel as much as possible. Read swing DJs.com

18. Others have pointed that “Groove” is waning and Big Band is waxing.
Do your observations bear this out?

{Dan Newsome} Nationally, most definitely. I believe groove has enough critical mass
that it will always be around, but the classic stuff is getting more
newbies to stick, its more perfect pitch with what people expect when
they come to the dance. Flying around the floor is addicting. Jazz
movement, tight swing outs, Charleston, actually bending at the waist…. Its

19. Where do you base these observations?

{Dan Newsome} I have done several competitions, events and exchanges in the past 24

20. Do you attribute the rise of Big Band to recordings made better by
technology? Or is it reaction to overindulgence of improvisation that
groove seems to promote - an appeal to purity?

{Dan Newsome} I think that groove can burn you out.. it is great music, but it
doesn’t get into your bones as much.

I also see some new leaders emerging, Mike Faltasek, Nick Williams,
Skye Humphries, Andy Reid, Nina Gilliecksen, and many others. To see them
dance in person is awe inspiring

I think a lot of people are studying the old clips, figuring out for
themselves what they like… I think we are figuring out a lot about
rhythms and how swing movements fit into music and its coming together in the
more traditional stuff.

I also think scenes have to change every 3 years, or people get bored
and the scene dies. That may be one of the most important factors.

21. What is the influence on the swing scene by the infusions other
dancers from the westie, tango, salsa, rockabilly and ballroom scenes?

I think here in Denver, the Rockabilly scene was a big early influence
on us, but we have moved away. Westies defined a lot of our connection
in the early day… salsa took away all our trendy folks… Ballroom has no
idea what we are about.. I think we are a stand-alone scene now, but
all the other dance did help us resurrect the dance and build our own
foundation of teachers and techniques.

22. The Blues movement within the swing community has taken shape and a
life of its own. There is such a diversity of opinions what is good
dancing and danceable music at a blues venue even though there is no blues
venue per se. What observations do you wish to share on this topic?

{Dan Newsome} I like blues parties… Blues gets a bad rap, and its hard to see what
its about because it isn’t flashy. The couple of blues parties I’ve been
to the music has been difficult to bite into and has been kind of all
over the map. I think it needs better music, and some classes to teach
people what its all about, even if it takes a while to build a critical
mass. I think its an important part of our culture, and I hope someone
takes the ball and runs with it.

23. How does your blues set differ from your swing set? Who do you play
Do you have different goals?

{Dan Newsome} I guess there are really two schools of thought…. There is

All tempo blues. If I am playing all tempos of blues, I have a lot to
dig into. My favorite is Kanas City stuff, but I will touch on all
styles of blues.

Then there is all slow music, mostly blues, but also anything sung
soulfully. I like to play this kind, and mix up kind of a nightclub
two-step, tango, partner improve kind of thing.. There is a lot of great music
for this style, and a lot I don’t have, but my favorites are Nina
Simone, Billy Holiday and anything really gritty and evocative.

When I play blues, I try to play the best I have which isn’t as much as
other styles. I like the crowd to feel comfortable

24. Do you imagine someday an all blues venue? How would it be
different from the blues venues currently offered downtown and throughout the

{Dan Newsome} I think there may be… I like blues house parties.. I think people like
to feel at ease, and the more intimate crowds help that goal.. and I
really hope someone makes a place where people can go besides “The House
of Blues” to enjoy blues. If done right, anything is possible

25. In these threads critical of certain guest DJs, a few dancers
objected to music that deviated from the lindy canon. The Lindy canon
further elucidated by you as being the Duke, the Count and Goodman. Do people
really get upset that Ella Fitzgerald gets more airplay than Tom Jones?
Are their concerns valid or are these the utterances of aesthetic

{Dan Newsome} I’m not sure I entirely understand, but I’ll put it this way…. One of
my primary goals is for the master dancers and swing musicians passing
away over the next 20 years to feel that they handed their dance down to
capable and loving teachers, djs and musicians. I feel Tom Jones can
cheapen the historical context and cultural significance of the scene..
I think its ok at exchanges and so forth, but to a mixed crowd, I think
that we should be using a lot of the great songs of the era and
enjoying them for the national treasures they are.

26. Do you think Neo Swing gets a bad rap?

It has its place, but it can be overbearing, cheesy and simplistic..
When its not, I play it… When it is, I avoid it.

27. We spoke briefly offline about the gap of continuity between the
old masters and new blood. You saw no one on the horizon noteworthy
except to re-mix the proven standards from the old masters. Yet what about
Marc Broussard, Micheal Buble and Norah Jones? Some of the stuff that
Alicia Keyes does is quite soulful as well, do you not agree?

I love all those artists.. I play Norah in my blues sets a lot. One of
my primary reasons for not playing more is that their high recording
quality and unique sounds interupts my flow. There is a place for
everything, but while some of that music can be really great at first, but it
does not have long term staying power. I have been listening to Norah
long enough that I feel she has staying power… The others I haven’t
listened to as long… Probably its more of an issue that I can only know
and learn so much music, not a commentary on their skill.

28. If you travel, you will invariably meet a dancer from Austin who
will extol the attributes of bands over DJs. Is there a difference in the
dance experience? Which do you prefer and if there is a difference,
what is that difference?

{Dan Newsome} I like both… Live bands force you to listen, because they play new
solos and arrangments… Plus the sounds quality is invigorating. Djs on the
other hand can walk a long range of feels and eras… I think we need

29. A DJ wears a lot of hats. We expect him a scholar in passively
educating us in what good music is. We expect him to be a seer to read our
moods. We expect him to be an artist to communicate not just his
preferences and background, but also to set moods. We expect him or her to be
superhuman. Are these observations valid in your opinion? Are those
expectations realistic?

Its not for the average person… it takes a lot of dedication for little
reward, and just like dancing, you have good nights and bad nights… I
think since djs are paid, it is reasonable to expect them to do a good
job, but also since they are friends, fellow dancers and part of our
community it reasonable to cut them some slack sometimes.

30. What is the role and responsibilities of a DJ in the swing

{Dan Newsome} We throw the party.. It’s the DJs responsibility to hone his or her

31. Are there DJs that you like more than others? Why?

{Dan Newsome} Yes, some are better than others.. I like all of Denver’s… I like it
when they surprise me with good music… I like it when I have great
dances… its about as simple as that.

32. On commenting about the period of his life where his popularity
waned, Sonny Bono once said there was a point the course of pop music
where he could not identify with the music. Is there some music that you do
not identify with? Is there swing music that you do not identify with?

{Dan Newsome} Well, Brittney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Mandy Moore, and other whiny
“white girl jam” type stuff hold nothing for me. As far as swing
music, I don’t prefer some of the older sweet jazz, like most Tommy Dorsey
type stuff.

33. You wrote recently in a Skidoo thread critical of certain guest
DJs, “What it comes down to is that I'd like to ask the DJs to give us
inspiration.” What that suggests to me is that you believe a DJ broadcasts
his ideas during his set about his or her background or beliefs. In
that he sells his own ideas about world through his music selections.
Would you agree or disagree with those sentiments and why?

{Dan Newsome} I would agree… I guess I really want the DJ to renew my energy for the
dance.. I want them to move me. They can do this through picking
particularly meaningful selections… If they pick by tempo, it probably won’t
thrill me… If they pick “Trouble in Mind”, I will know they understand
the emotions in that music and I will be moved to dance even though it
is slow…I hope that makes sense… I want music with meaning and energy.

34. Returning to this comment that you made about DJ’s offering
inspiration, I want to explore this topic more fully. What does inspiration
look like for you?

{Dan Newsome} See above

35. Because when you say inspiration to me, you almost invite the DJ to
be subversive as an artist will often appeal to his own internal
aesthetes and not necessarily that of the crowd – the plight of the pop star
“Paul McCartney” who sings to make everyone like him versus rock star
“John Lennon” whom everyone loves when he sings because he just doesn’t
care. Is it even fair to look at a DJ as an artist? That can mean a bit
of risk as an entrepreneur your experience with NYC Mike bears out.
What are your feelings on the topic?

{Dan Newsome} I think a dj is an artist… With the same materials two people will come
up with different results, so therefore there is an art to it. I do
want the person to look out and play to his crowd, but I also want the DJ
to be a whole and interesting person, so they play music that speaks to
our life experiences.

36. They say that you can tell a lot about a person by the way they
dance. As a teacher and a culture worker, what insights can you share?

{Dan Newsome} I see when people walk in the door I can telling 10 seconds if they
have a lot of responsibility, or if they hate themselves, or if they are
preoccupied. I try to make an effort to speak to their needs.. The
students that need the most get the most. I try to make peoples lives
better… There is a bit of being an empathy that goes into the job. I can
usually shake someone’s hand, pat them on the back, smile at them, and
change their day… I try to make everyone feel like they belong. I tell
people when they get it right.

This is a whole huge topic and why I do what I do… Its also very
personal. I’m not a very religious person, but its like in the bible when
Jesus healed people, and he said “you can do it to”… This has been my
motivation for what I do… I’m trying to be a shaman of sorts…

Maybe its idealistic of me to think of it that way, but I feel that
dance teaching is just a metaphor for placing lost souls in a new home.
Its really too personal to give out my whole philosophy, but sufficed to
say, its like an onion, there are many layers to it

37. Is it true that one of your students came up to you after a lesson
and thanked you for showing a way express his masculinity?

{Dan Newsome} He actually wrote me an email, but he said that he felt with dancing he
figured out how to be less forceful, and more confident. In fact, its
in the private lesson thread… Hes a writer, and in exchange for what he
felt we gave him, he helped us gather some testimonials for our
marketing. He was touched by what we do, and it changed his life he told us.

38. When I was learning to dance, my teachers Bill Stahlman and Amy
Asay brow beat “connection” into that wooden skull of mine. Do people do
dance to connect? Why do people dance? What does dance means to our

{Dan Newsome} I don’t know… I can’t pretend to know what everyone gets or looks for.
I think its important to feel listened to, and important to listen. I
think that’s what connection give us… I also think for a lot of people,
dancing is the only time they get to touch other people… its not a
sexual thing, just that each of us has a basic need to be touched. I think
dancing is something we are meant to do… Its sort of the exercise for
our soul… Its not important just to our culture, but to the human

39. Do you think social dance will remain a vibrant subculture or do
you think in the future it will mainstream into pop culture?

{Dan Newsome} I hope it remains in the background… If it becomes mainstream it will
be bastardized, marketed, faked, exploited and turned into profit
centers and mega-corps. It’s the one thing in this world that still feels
real to me, and not dominated by greed, fear, money, and corporate
mindsets.. It will become like professional sports or like TV. Expensive,
passive, non-community based and it wills suck

40. When I was in Iraq, we had three dance venues: Hip Hop, Salsa and
Swing and swing held its own against hip hop though Salsa was wildly
popular there. Do you suppose Hip Hop and modern music venues have
declined? Why do you suppose that is?

{Dan Newsome} Well, I think when you go to a mainstream club, you are in an
environment of drinking, smoke, irresponsible sex, and self-destructive
behaviors.. The music and dancing are nice, but just another vehicle occupying
you for more of their self-serving ends. They try to market it like
rebellion, but it isn’t, and I think moer and more people realize that.
I don’t think they will ever be on the decline… the cigarette and
alcohol companies are relentless in their pursuit of profit, and people will
always fall for it.

41. Do you attribute some of that decline because of club promoters
appeals to our baser motives?

{Dan Newsome} Well, I think you can’t destroy people and expect to keep making money
from them.. Last week, I apologized to Marilyn for a small turnout and
she said “Its ok, they’re probably just hard at work at school, and I’m
glad… Our clientele is responsible, good people” I have suggested
things like drink specials and what not, and Marilyn refuses to encourage
people to drink… She doesn’t mind that some want to, but she’s really
very ethical… It means less money in the short term, but healthier,
happier people in the future. Marilyn has taught me that is possible to
have a successful business without being like other clubs

42. What do you think the way people dance says about its culture?
About femininity? About masculinity?

{Dan Newsome} Well, the paradigm for our dance is somewhat male dominated, as is our
culture… I think our dance speaks to a time period of energy and
change, and fads… I think we are saying a lot of things that can’t be put
into words… We also aren’t all saying the same thing

43. While I was in Iraq, after a dance venue, myself and a fellow
dancer who was crossing over from Latin to Swing argued whether all music is
danceable. I argued that it was, that you could dance to any type of
music while maintaining some connection and even make it pretty, what is
your view?

{Dan Newsome} I’m sure you can… I’m not good enough to be able to do that… I think
you can dance to about anything…. Not necessarily partnered connection
dance though.

44. In the guest DJ thread, you defended unpopular DJ by writing: “I'm
not going to pay djs less, make them compete for slots, or dictate
their sets... I'm not in a position where I can try out new djs... thats
what the other venues are for... “ That was a strong statement in defense
of some individuals that caused you quite a bit of embarrassment. I
know others in the community that do what you do and would not have
comported themselves so ethically. Where did that come from?

I’m actually being mean… I don’t want sub standard djs in my venue… I
want them to cut their teeth elsewhere, and come to me and play great
stuff… I also want other people to show me what good dance music is…
expand my mind, don’t just rehash the old stuff.

45. Can you give us an idea of the ethical dilemmas you have come
across in the business?

{Dan Newsome} Well, I think people expect when they come to dance class that it’s a
bait and switch. Arthur Murray and Fred Astaire dance studios have given
our craft a bad name. I try to always do the right thing… Even if I
have done wrong in the past, my prime directive is to treat everyone
well, and make good long term relationships..

The worst I come across is people wanting to DJ when I know people
don’t prefer them, and I end up losing friends… But I think its selfish of
them to think their desire to dj is more important then putting food on
my table and taking care of my family.

46. For a man who has made a rather successful career by avoiding
traditional career choice, you seem to exude a lot of social responsibility.

{Dan Newsome} What do you see as your social responsibilities as a businessman? Where
do these responsibilities come from?

We have a responsibility to make the world a better place…We are lucky
for so many things, but also there is a lot of thing in the world that
need to be fixed. Being a good example and a productive person is
important. If that means being a farmer, or a doctor or something in
between.. I left the corporate world because I was tired of ethical dilemmas;
I was tired of blind profit lust. Someone once told me that “Your
formal education will make you a living, your personal education will make
you a fortune”.. I believe that, and I feel like the richest person in
the world, not in terms of money, but in terms of getting to do
something fun for a living and all the hundreds of benefits that come with it.
If you always give, you will always have, and I’m willing to give more
than my share. I think Blackalicious (though not sure on the source,
doesn’t matter) said it best “The Revolution is on the dance floor”…
that’s where I want to be.
Swing Tantzen verbotten!

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