For those that haven’t heard about it, I often describe Lindy Focus as a series of jazz concerts held in a large, beautiful ballroom. Which is not untrue, but doesn’t really capture what Focus is all about.
Don’t get me wrong. The big concerts are definitely a big attraction for me — some of the best jazz musicians in the world are gathered together in one mega swing orchestra, playing the music that I love, just for dancers. It’s raucous, inspiring, at times sublime. What’s not to love?
But it’s also just one small part of the Lindy Focus experience.
I realized this wandering the halls of the hotel at 3:30am the other night. I was walking out of the late night dance, where Rhythm Serenaders had just finished their last, incredible set. The room was still packed with excited dancers swinging the fuck out.
To my left, I pass by the blues room. It’s dark and moody in there, with bodies pressed up against each other, moving slowly and sensually. Further down the hall, the balboa room is jumping, couples shuffling back and forth to up tempo swing.
In the lobby, groups of people are playing elaborate board games together, heads leaning in with rapt concentration. In the fireplace lounge, a jazz jam is still going strong, musicians cycling in and out of the band area as dancers sway to the beat. Couples are sharing drinks and flirting in the bar. The muffled sounds of laughter and music leak out of hotel rooms, as I get closer to my own suite.
At this point, I’m too tired to participate in any of these activities. But I’m so grateful to be in this special place, surrounded by people of all ages, backgrounds, races, sexual orientations and gender identities, connecting with each other in such a free and friendly way.
I’m with my people, my family. This is how to ring in the new year.