The three-minute romance

Pub date September 26, 2008
SectionSF Blog

By G. Martinez Cabrera

I had heard that there were free swing dance lessons given in Golden Gate Park every Sunday from 11am to 2pm, and being a lover of all things quirky, I thought it might be worth seeing just how many people showed up. When I stopped by a few weeks ago, I assumed I’d find a few couples, some guys in fedoras and black and white wing tips, maybe a few women in chiffon. But what I found instead was a group of probably three hundred dancers of all ages, races, and ethnicities.

The day I visited, San Francisco was host to something called a Dance Exchange—think dance convention with 2,000 swing dancers from all over the US converging on the city for three days and nights of swing-a-ling fun. In part, this explained the huge turn out, though I’m told that Lindy in the Park ( regularly pulls in about 100 dancers every week.

Swing dancing is not hip anymore, but I mean that as high praise.