OUR MISSION at Second Cup Swing is to foster the appreciation and enjoyment of swing dancing in the broadest sense. Our roots are from the Charleston and Lindy-hop of the 20s and 30s and extend through all the myriad variations to the present day. While we enjoy much of the music through those eras, we do not consider swing dancing to be a time piece, but appreciate what its spirit brings to a variety of music old and new.
We particularly wish to foster the teaching of swing as a true connected, responsive, lead/follow dance. The lead/follow comes not from giving and reading signs or signals, nor from the follow recognizing moves and “doing her half” - rather it comes from sincere connection and energy through the conduit of frame, to bodies where it is viscerally, reflexively, felt and responded to.
Hank Hauffe is an experienced swing dancer who has taught, along with workshops, numerous privates and smaller lessons, many classes for the Houston Swing Dance Society (HSDS), Rice Social Dance Society (RSDS), and Second Cup Swing (ScS). Hank loves the dance and teaching what he feels to be the heart of the dance - its corporeal energy and a visceral, almost spiritual, connection with the moment, the music and each other.
Hank started the swing dance night and lessons at Taft Street Coffee along with Amber Thomas in October 2004. In July 2006 these lessons and very successful monthly dance were rechristened “Second Cup Swing.” In January of 2008 ScS then had the opportunity to start a smaller, groovier weekly dance known as Demitasse. Hank really appreciates the support that the dances have received, and is most delighted and thankful that he’s had the opportunity to work with Meagan and so many other wonderful teaching partners!
Meagan Alley first learned to swing dance in the Rice Social Dance Society (RSDS) as a Rice freshman in spring 2005, when her roommate dragged her along to Hank’s introductory class. She was decidedly skeptical since she was never “one of those dancer types,” but it wasn’t long before the chance to “zen out” as a follow became the highlight of her week.
After individually teaching several of her friends swing dance basics in hopes of getting them hooked as well, she was delighted to begin teaching with Hank in January of 2011. Dancing definitely makes her happy, but understanding the dynamics behind the dance and sharing that knowledge with others energizes her as well. Since January she has joined Hank in teaching workshops, classes, and private lessons through Second Cup Swing, as well as classes for swing dance clubs at the University of St. Thomas and Rice University. Dancing enough hours per week to constitute a part-time job, she loves the friendly nature of the social dance community plus the dance’s inherent connection to both her partner and the music. She can’t help but radiate enthusiasm and encouragement when others decide to give swing dancing a try!
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Beginning in October 2004 as a dance and lessons by Amber Thomas and Hank Hauffe, we were known simply as the Taft Street Swing Dance and Lessons. Well into our first year Amber had to move away for school and was ably and delightfully replaced by Susana Martinez until she regretfully (by me at least) returned to her home in Spain, and then briefly but superbly by Julie Wood.
In October 2005 Hank was joined by Jennifer Ngo Mohtashami (just "Jenn" to him) whose class he had previously attended at RSDS some years before. For two years Jenn and I were delighted to be working and dancing together till a guy named "Ben" took her away. ;-)
In November '07 Jenn took leave to have her first beautiful son, a natural dancer no doubt, Bennett (the a fore mentioned "Ben" - see her fantastic blog about it all at http://writesoftly.blogspot.com). Hailey Hinson, who had already been a fantastic substitute teacher on occasion and contributed key insights to the lesson contents, then took over wonderfully. In February '09 Maricarmen Cabral, who was a natural teacher as she works in front of the class as well as one-on-one, had joined me and really helped the class both in content and style. I finally lost Maricarmen to a move at the end of 2010 and fortunately I found Meagan Alley who has come through just magnificently! Her patience, insight and enthusiasm makes doing the classes an absolute delight.
My luck with teaching partners has been uncanny and without my terrific partners the classes would be much less than what they are. They have been invaluable in both actually doing the classes as well as improving our understanding and teaching of the classes. I can't thank them enough.
In July '06 the Taft St. Dance & Lessons were re-christened Second Cup Swing.
In an effort to express the spirit behind the name change, the introduction of Second Cup Swing was done in an email that said:
"The dance and lessons that have been hosted at Taft St. Coffee have been rechristened. They’ll still be hosted at the same great place but now when you get an announcement about the dance at Taft, it’ll be announcing the Second Cup Swing Dance.
So please come and stay awhile, hear the music, take a partner and dance. In swing, as in life, we enjoy it more, and do it better, when we let it pull us into the moment.
Take your time with that second cup, go where the music takes you. Feel the connection, feel the energy... savour the dance."
Ken Heil has joined us to be of invaluable help at key times, along with Leon Choi in particular, in producing the monthly dances.
Many thanks are due to all of them and many others, especially our great Houston D.J.s, who have helped in large and small ways through the life of Second Cup Swing.
We're interested in any comments or questions you may have.