Swing Discussion Boards > Texas Tommy Swing

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by Spitfire, Jul 1, 2003.

  1. Spitfire

    Spitfire Well-Known Member

    Is anyone familiar with the Texas Tommy Swing?

    This was mentioned on another forum and I've never heard of it. :?:
  2. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

  3. Pass It On

    Pass It On New Member

    The Texas Tommy is also a move in Lindy Hop in which the leader switches hands behind the followers back.
  4. Spitfire

    Spitfire Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the info. :D

    I use that move; just didn't know that is what it is called. That article mentions that it is also called a whip which is the name it was given as when I learned it. :eek:
  5. d nice

    d nice New Member

    Um... don't mean to offend anyone (possibly the only time I'll actually say that on this site) but streetswing is not exactly the most reliable of places to get information...

    Great for just general info, especially on things like West Coast, but when you get to more vintage dances the info tends to be poorly researched.

    Texas Tommy was developed in San Francisco, and the best practicioners of it by general consensus were the California Poppies who were an interracial dance team that performed regularly at Lou Purcell's So Different. There is a bit of an issue which resort/dancehall originated the Texas Tommy, but it is assured that it was out of the Barbary Coast area (not the fairmont as listed on streetswing). The So Different and the Thalia are the two most likely candidates.

    For more information check out "The Barbary Coast: An Informal History of the San Francisco Underworld" -- by Herbert Asbury or even better "Jazz on the Barbary Coast" -- by Tom Stoddard.
  6. d nice

    d nice New Member

    I was asked to give a little more info on the Texas Tommy Swing. This dance was a fast circular dance that was done on the spot as well as follwoing the line of dance. Danced primarily in closed position it had a very fast and lively footwork, danced in an athletic crouch. The various breakaway variations were so explosive and done at high velocity that Ethel Williams notes that if connection was lost it was not uncommon for female performaers to be thrown into the orchestra pit!

    This is the first dance ever to be refered to as a swing dance. One shoudl note it uses a double four beat basic (eight counts) and was characterized as a swing dance for both its music it was danced to (proto-jazz at the turn of the century up to hot jazz of the early twenties) and the breakaway step.

    While the number of people who I know who can do it are few, for an idea of what it kind of looks like watch the first couple in "After Seben" or even better watch some of the lindy hoppers that do charleston swing outs... NOTE: These are NOT the Texas Tommy Swing but it will give you a pretty good impression of the dance.

    Thel Stearns notes that Lindy Hop is a descendant of The Texas Tommy Swing, and Ethel Williams a professional dancer of both dances, states they are the pretty much the same except the begining steps, in "Jazz Dance: The Story of American Vernacular Dance " -- by Marshall and Jean Stearns.
  7. simon

    simon New Member

    Texas Tommy will be taught by Richard Powers and Angela Amarillas as part of their November 7 to 9, 2003 Swing Dance Weekend in Toronto, Canada - Swing Dancing of the 1910s, 20s, 50s, 70s.

    Richard will also be showing old film footage of Texas Tommy, I believe, at his lunchtime talk on swing dance history on Saturday November 8.

    If you've never been to a Richard and Angela weekend you are missing out on something great - and this one will be especially fun and interesting, especially for anyone interested in swing dance.

    Just in case you don't know who Richard is: he teaches dance full-time in the Dance Division at Stanford University in California, is widely regarded as the world's foremost historian of 20th and 19th century American social dance, and is an exceptionally good and interesting dance instructor with an international reputation. People who go to his workshops are, in my experience, generally amazed at the calibre of the teaching and the content. Angela has been his teaching partner for over eight years and shares his passion for historic vernacular dance.

    Weekend details at http://www.dancing.org/w and http://www.odd-socks.org

    I think that once you see and do Texas Tommy you'll recognize it and its influences in old films and in more recent swing.
  8. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the forums, Simon! :D Thanks for the workshop info.
  9. Black Sheep

    Black Sheep New Member


    It is criminal to take away the credit for the development of the Lindy Hop from the African Americans who developed it at the Savoy in New York's Harlem in the 1920's and give credit to some red neck Texan who did a Square Dance he called the Texas Tommy Swing in S.F. in 1906. And now foist it on the public as an original.
    Just read D'nice's description above of the TTS dance. That description alone tells you someone is trying to make a buck on some cacamamie Square dance and calling it the origin of the Lindy Hop. What's the problem? Are some teachers just running out of teaching material in Swing dancing?
    I have a Swing dance that's older than the Texas Tommy Swing. It was done by my grandmother in Sicilia, called, the 'Nonna Peppa Tarentella Swing'. And it also was an eight count dance. I will announce the next group class after the Texas Tommy Swing lessons are over; I don't want our schedules to conflict.
    In the meantime I will be going through the Sicilian News files of the 1850's and see if I can come up with any historical headlines, but unfortunately they will be in the Sicilian language, which was outlawed by Mussolini in 1932, but there are still a few of us around who are fluent in that ancient language so I will be able to translate the headlines for you when I find them.
    Black Sheep, "You have to serve to deserve" Joe Lanza 2003 a.d.
  10. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    I'm sure Lindy Hop had other influences as well. Sometimes it's difficult to draw an exact conclusion in a situation such as this, but the dances are similar enough to at least make the assumption that there is a relationship between the two.

    It would be great if a teacher were to research the Texas Tommy and teach people about this historic dance. I would pay to take a few classes. I try to make a buck every day. If people were expected th share out of the kindness of their heart and never charge to help one another, I believe that would be known as Communism (I know that's not what you meant, Joe, but still...think about it). The quality of the instruction will determinr the success of the teacher over time.
  11. Black Sheep

    Black Sheep New Member

    Free Dance Lessons

    When I suggested Free Dance Lessons, in my thread, 'Socialized Dancing', I was using this as a way of getting non dancers interested in Swing. Three years ago, when I mentioned Venues in the 1950's were giving free dance lessons, the teachers were not paid by the students, but by the owners of the Ballrooms and night clubs who benefitted by the increase of patrons. Today, 3 years later, I notice most Venues are now giving free dance lessons. I don't think we could call them Communists!
    I suggested ways that teachers could earn a BUCK by soliciting business from various hospitals, comunity programs, churches etc..
    I also suggested that the more beginners in the Swing dancing population, the more paying private students would accrue from that increase: And Venues, teachers, and shoe salesmen would all make a bigger and better BUCK.
    Isn't that exactly what I stated in my thread, 'Socialized Dancing'?
    Black Sheep, 'Never mis Quote a man with a memory like a bear trap', my friend.[/i]
  12. Swing Kitten

    Swing Kitten New Member

    Yes Joe that is what you said in the other thread.

    The subtle difference I see is the difference between learning to dance for free and never having to pay for a dance lesson or frowning upon teachers trying to 'earn a buck'.

    The first is what was discussed in the Socialization thread. The second I believe is was DanceMentor was responding to.

    For most folk, I am sure that you are among the few special exeptions, it approaches ludicrus to believe one may become a superb dancer or even a professional dancer without aid at the advanced level and unless one is extremely well networked with best friends in all the right places this means paying for lessons.

    So the possible interpretations as they appear to me are:
    -- no advanced lessons-- limited to social dance experience and "figuring stuff out" on one's own --dancing education is then in a vaccuume and cannot expand
    -- advanced lessons for free-- a lot of really good friends or communism
    -- advanced lessons paid for by student-- a teacher earning a buck which sounded like a put down in Joe's post before the last.

    make sense?
  13. Black Sheep

    Black Sheep New Member

    Learning for Free

    When I stated that I never paid for Ballroom Dance lessons, your post seems to assume, I never had professional training, which is incorrect.
    Besides going through 2 Teacher's Training courses totaling 14 weeks, 6 hours a day six days a week and actually getting paid by Frank Veloz to learn his style, after joining his V & Y Chain, I continued to get trained by my manager Mario Salveneshi an International Ballroom dance team and many other accomplished professionals who were friends, either rented my studio or worked for me. Not to mention the Ballet, Flamenco. tap and Jazz classes that I took and DID pay for.
    I do not demean dance teachers in anyway; it's your interpretation that make it appear so. I know I am the best friend dance teachers have, and someday they will realize that my critiques are challenges for them to improve and not take business for granted. I ran a studio of a staff that sometimes numbered a dozen full time teachers. I know how tough it is to get students, keep them interested and progressing. You have to love serving to teach any subject. I've been a teacher most of my working career. I do care for the success of teachers, and I hope my Commentaries provide some teaching material and motivation for students and teachers.
    I don't expect others to become proficient dancers without professional training; that would be ludicrous. It just happened I was lucky, and I had an athletic background as a four letter man, at Lafayette H.S. in Brooklyn just before WW II and I practiced countless hours in front of a mirror while the rest of the world slept. Dancing was my salvation in many ways, and I want to pay back for all those Freebees in any way I can. I believe Dancing is the Magic Pill!
    Black Sheep, Dance teachers' best friend.
  14. Black Sheep

    Black Sheep New Member

    Similarities in dances

    You stated:
    "I'm sure Lindy Hop had other influences as well. Sometimes it's difficult to draw an exact conclusion in a situation such as this, but the dances are similar enough to at least make the assumption that there is a relationship between the two. "
    I have to assume that you mean the Texas Tommy Swing is 'similar enough' to the Lindy Hop! Similarities exist in many dances, but that does not prove a 'genetic' connection.
    Here is a list of similarities that too often have zero 'genetic' connections:

    Salsa; step on 1,2,3 and hold the 4th beat SIMILARITY Balboa; step on 1,2,3 and hold 4th beat.

    Samba; rise and fall body movement SIMILARITY Waltz; rise and fall movement.

    Fox Trot; Step Patterns SIMILARITY Waltz; Step patterns.

    Charleston, feet twisting on Quarter beats SIMILARITY Mashed Potatoes; feet twisting Quarter beats.

    Salsa; step patterns SIMILARITY Mambo; step patterns.

    Square Dancing; moving in circles SIMILARITY Texas Tommy Swing; moving in circles

    Peabody; Body Style and Patterns SIMILARITY Slicker Foxtrot; Body Style and Patterns

    Argentine Tango; the Tango Music SIMILARITY Continental Tango; the Tango Music

    West Coast Swing; Rhythmic Count SIMILARITY Lindy Hop; Rhythmic Count

    Conclusion: Many dances have similarities with other dances. But similarities do not necessarily prove a 'genetic connection'.
    It takes more than dancing fast in circles to claim the Texas Tommy Swing was the origination of the Lindy Hop. And besides the Savoy Lindy Hop is characterized as dancing in a Rectangular Slot, not in circles.

    Black Sheep 'Never Assume the Unknown' Joe Lanza 2003 a.d.
  15. Swing Kitten

    Swing Kitten New Member

    Yes that would be incorrect... that's why I didn't say that --I'm sorry I did not make that clearer.

    Ok, I was going a little overboard with the best friends comment but I stand by the well networked comment. I also mean this to include being at the right place at the right time/knowing the right people. You had a wonderful opportunity to get paid while being trained but I'm confident that you would agree that this is the exception and not the rule.

    I was pointing out that that was a possible interpretation from your post... perhaps what DM was responding to even. That's all and I'm glad that it is now perfectly clear how ernest and dedicated you are as a teacher.
  16. d nice

    d nice New Member


    You might not recognize sarcasm, but it is good to know that you can you can use it.

    If you had read closely my posts about the Texas Tommy, or looked into any of the sources I quoted you realize that this whole post is so incredibly off base that it almost defies logic.
  17. d nice

    d nice New Member

    Re: Similarities in dances

    Actually the normal timing for Balboa is holding on 3/7 (or on any downbeat to be honest) switching to the up beat (most often 4/8) in what is refered to as break time. So there is not even that similarity in Salsa... however if you had looked deeper into Balboa you would have discovered a number of similiarities between Balboa and Rhumba, Charleston and single step shag.

    Wrong actually. The mashed Potato and the Kick Step are both descendant forms of the Charleston (which in itself is a descendant form of an African Dance step).

    Joe there is no connection the Texas Tommy Swing and square dancing. If you had bothered to even skim any of the sources I cited you'd no this. Have you seen or done the Texas Tommy? How much time have you spent researching this dance, its origins, and its ties to lindy hop?

    Wrong again. West Coast Swing is a descendant form of Lindy Hop.

    Sure many dances have similarities without having a formal connection. It requires research into music, history, and kinesiology to prove it. Of course one should not assume a connection just because of similarities, just as one SHOULD not assume a lack of connection without doing the aforementioned research.
  18. Black Sheep

    Black Sheep New Member

    Similarities in Dances

    Baboa Buffs,
    The Balboa Beat Is, Step on 1 & 2 Hold 3, AND step on 4, When going into a transition step, the Balboa beat is Step on 1, 2, 3 hold 4. My Bal instructor was Steve Garrett, 2001 National Balboa Champion. (And he never asked nor received a fee from me)
    Technicalities do not negate my main premise which is, 'Similarities in dances do not NECESSARILY prove a generic connection'.
    Almost all European and American Square dances have the same characteristics that D'nice uses to describe the TTS; 'very fast, done in a circle and uses an eight count step'. In addition to this general description that applies to countless dances, every Square Dance I had the fun in doing, uses the word, 'SWING' constantly. So how do these three descriptive words, 'very fast, done in circle, and uses an 8 count beat' prove anything?
    And Ethel Walters would have to be well over a hundred years old to be a Primary Source of a dance done in `1906.
    Black Sheep, the Turn-key.
  19. d nice

    d nice New Member

    Re: Similarities in Dances

    Steve's list of credentials are much more expansive than this sole competition win. Thank you for agreeing that the balboa rhythm uses holds on 3/7 (downbeat) as its primary step and only uses the break-timing as a deviation.

    LOL. Joe there are numerous "square dances" that are done in a square instead of a circle. There are numerous "square dances" that involve moving up and down a line/slot... wow does that mean they are talking about lindy hop? Of course not. Don't ridiculous. Why don't you try looking up the references I provided before you attempt to pass judgement on its credibility? Seems like the logical thing to do.

    An aside. We missed you at the San Francisco Lindy Exchange. I had some fun times talking with Steve, Julius, and Tise.
  20. Black Sheep

    Black Sheep New Member

    Much to Do About Nothing

    Why are we wasting so much precious time and reading space about a dead dance like D'nicer's Texas Tommy Swing? Is he trying to build a reputation as the Texas Tommy Champion? Who cares if there ever was such a dance and whether or not it has a relation to Swing?
    Is not this thread in fact a dead fish, a subject as Shakespeare would say, "Much to do about Nothing?"
    And just look at the nit-picking of my commentaries that have nothing to do with anything educational or constructive! Just because Our friendly Moderator, the Protector and Savior of the Texas Tommy Trots, throws around his big 'WRONGS' based on nothing more than his WORD, does that bring any benefit to the readers of this Forum? How much educational value has there been in this thread that tries to prove his own theory that in the end means nothing, zip, nada, zero, flim flam, smoke and mirrors that keeps this San Francisco dead fish fluttering in the air waves. Bury the dead thing! It is overdue.
    I find myself wasting time correcting false allegations made by our friendly moderator instead of making contributions by sharing my knowledge and experiences of the 1950's Hollywood.
    How many readers benefited and who loses by this thread, the Texas Tommy Swing thing?
    Is D'nice really trying to build his reputation on the TTS? Whoa! Get a better horse to ride, Don Quixote! Your old Texas Donkey can't even make it to the windmill!

    Black Sheep 'When the thread is dead, put a lock on it'

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