This musical captures the energy and emotion of the primary swing-time (the '30s) and flings them into the 21st century. In fact, some of the music titles could make rappers jealous. Imagine your young grandpa (great-grandpa?) asking the band for "Throw That Girl Around" or "Show Me What You Got" or "Hit Me With a High Note and Watch Me Bounce." (The "bounce" of that last title inspires a number involving bungee cords that's a showstopper.)
Dancer Michael Snipe Jr., Swing!'s newest cast member, says that when he's not onstage, he likes to stand in the wings to watch the eye-popping antics of his fellow dancers: "Even during a quick change backstage, I'm still looking at the dancers. I especially admire those doing the Lindy [hop]. It's like running a marathon, [with] backflips, over-the-head lifts and throwing lifts." Snipe, also a member of the Parsons Dance Company, adds that he's having a ball touring with Swing! "It's such a loving company," he says. "I really enjoy the other dancers, and the show is honestly fun." Having come from the concert-dance world, with its smaller audiences, he reports, "Now the houses are always full, and the audiences are so receptive. It's great!"
Snipe, a 2000 grad of the Juilliard School, has the handsome looks of a younger Eriq LaSalle (Dr. Peter Benton of TV's ER). The dancer performs a poignant duet to "I'll Be Seeing You" set in a USO dance hall during World War II. He looks at a photo of his girlfriend, who dances with him in a "memory" sequence before he leaves to go abroad. Snipe reports that his confidence is growing: "In the presses and turns, I feel more free -- now it's in my body, it's in my blood, and I can really do it ... For me, being in this show is like a dream."
The show is light on storyline, but, as Swing! director and choreographer Lynne Taylor-Corbett has said, it's more than a revue: "There is a message about swing dancing, which is that you can't do it alone." Another message: Swing ain't dead; it's evolving. From college campuses to dance halls around the world, the swing-dance renaissance continues. After swing dancing's heyday, says Taylor-Corbett, "it never went away. It underlies rock & roll, and it keeps morphing."
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