Wednesday 22 April 2015

Computer Science and Lindy Hop

It would seem that Lindy Hop is the dance of computing people, physicists and engineers. If you go to any swing dance camp, an unreasonable proportion of the people in the room will be somehow involved in IT. We have Lindy hoppers who have used Androids with sensors and fourier transforms to look at the pulse of the dance, use Lindy to illustrate quantum computing, and there is even a specific Lindy dance class for engineers. Sam Carroll described how digital media savvy the community was and is, in her Step Stealing work.

Okay, so people need money to go to dance camps, and computing professions generally pay well. And it gets us away from our desks and having fun with other people and music. However, these can't be the only reasons.

I think that I enjoy Lindy for lots of the same reasons that I enjoy computing. They're both about creating complex structures that are somehow beautiful. By complex structures I mean structures that are complicated enough that they make me feel pleased when I finally successfully make them work. By beautiful I mean code/dance/ideas that become elegant because of their appropriateness in that particular situation. And in both computing and Lindy I enjoy the reusable patterns. Reusable patterns in rhythm are like reusable patterns in computing: once you've understood them, they stay with you and can often tell you something more abstract about what you're trying to do.

So I think that computing and Lindy have more in common than just having fun. They also share reusable beautiful complexity.

Added note: If you want to try it out, come and join our Vintage Swinging in the Rain party on Friday 24th April, 8pm, Marine Hotel, Aberystwyth. There's a short dance class for beginners at about 8:30, and live music from The Paper Moon Band.

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