patternsthatconnect

abstract art, a systems view

Posts Tagged ‘the Veleta

If you want live music you have to live it

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“If you want live music you have to live it” said dance band leader Dennis Halfpenny at the closing dance of 2011 by The Terry Peters Big Band at the Regency ballroom, Sutton in Ashfield on Saturday night.

Live music is wonderful and dancing to a live band is surely the best way to live it.

There is something always old, repetitive, and at the same time, always new, each repetition a beginning, in dancing that seems equivalent to what’s hapening with the music, and I wonder if the musicians feel the same way. This rendition of “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree (With Anyone Else but Me)” will be similar but never identical to the last one or the one to come, and likewise the jive we danced to it. This “Veleta” will be like the previous and subsequent one, without ever precisely repeating.

For me, it is this repeating whilst simultaneosuly starting anew that living live music is all about. I think this is one of the reasons why I am so fond of the old-time dances like the Veleta, and why I hope that it will continue to be danced to live music for many years to come. There is something magical about following the tradition of dancing this to its own signature tune, the continued playing of it keeping it alive.

Does all this not connect to desire and drive? In Slavoj Zizek’s The Parallax View, he says

We become “humans” when we get caught into a closed, self propelling loop of repeating the same gesture and finding satisfaction in it

It’s not old-time waltz turns, or repeat pattern abstract painting that he is referring to, but it could so easily be.

Band photo by courtesy of M&N Photography

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Take me out to the ball-room!

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Is it that I am attracted to marginal activities? I usually blog about abstract painting, a marginal activity if ever there was one. What was that article I was reading recently where the author was concerned that contemporary art might go the same way as Jazz: it will always have an audience but it is no longer a motive force for change? But then, how influential are  ‘mainstream’ activities anyway?

Going to Derby train station late on Saturday afternoon we got stuck in the traffic leaving Pride Park football stadium (for American readers that’s soccer – a very mainstream activity here in the UK). There we were, inching our way from one traffic island to another, and for a few moments I could more easily believe that we would be stuck there forever than that the system had within it the seeds of its own transformation. Needless to say, we missed the train. But for all those supporters having been taken to (or having taken themselves to) the ball game, for them half an hour stuck in traffic may have seemed a small price to pay, especially when you win 3 nil.

Later that evening, being taken to the ballroom, a marginal activity if ever there was one, less than £15 for the two of us was a very small price to pay for 3 hours of unalloyed pleasure. As we entered the Regency Ballroom in Sutton in Ashfield, the Terry Peters Big Band were playing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”.

The band play here on a regular basis, about once a month on a Saturday night. As usual, they played three 45 minute sets: big band jazz and dance band music, great just to listen to, and even better to dance to. In fact, I can think of nothing more enjoyable than dancing to a 16 piece big band!

They played tunes such as “Just the Thought of You”, “Fascination”, “Fly Me to the Moon”, “Take the ‘A’ Train”, “All That Jazz”, “It Can’t Be Love” and “My Favourite Things”, many of them featuring singer Suzanne, my own favourite being her “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree” to jive to and the Jive that immediately followed it: “Clementine” sung by the Band Leader Dennis Halfpenny (complete with dodgy lyrics).

There were modern ballroom Waltzes, Quicksteps and Foxtrots as well as Latin: Cha Cha Cha and Rumba. And where can you go these days to hear the Veleta played live, and dance to it (social version as showed on the link), along with other old-time favourites like St Bernard’s Waltz, Square Tango and the Barn Dance? And where else do you get all ages (more older than younger I admit) enjoying themselves together? And though there is a good licensed bar there’s too much fun to be had dancing than to be getting drunk (a very mainstream activity). I don’t understand why there aren’t queues all the way round the block just to get in!

Michelle and Nathan from M&N Photography were there taking a few photos and they kindly supplied these images and gave me permission to post them here. Their event website is www.michellehowardphotography.com and here’s a link to their facebook page.