Last night we celebrated the 79th birthday of my friend Ms. Dawn Hampton. For most of Dawn’s life, she has been a musician and a singer, playing saxophone and singing with the Hampton family band, and later the Hampton Sisters. But I’ve known Dawn primarily as a lindy hop dancer. She’s a regular at our weekly Frim Fram swing dance we run every Thursday night. Dawn always brings snacks for the dancers and sits near the DJ booth holding court.
This video is of Dawn dancing with Frankie Manning earlier this year. Dawn’s playfulness and attitude are evident, but the grainy video doesn’t catch the subtlety and intensity of her dancing. I love watching Dawn dance, and dancing with her, because she uses the most minute of movements to express what’s going in the music. She forces me to pay attention to not just the rhythm and the melody but each instrument and shift in tone and color in a song. It’s like three minutes of musicality school.
Dawn is the kind of dancer, the kind of person, I’d like to be when I grow up. As Dawn often says, "The light is on and God is good."