Contrary to popular belief, the Crescent City Swing team was not created in lab specifically to provide you the best swing dance instruction possible. Except for Coyle Parker, who I suspect actually was created in a lab. I took some time to speak with him and tried to determine if that was actually the case. Here’s a look under the hood of one of our primary instructors, Coyle Parker.
When Did You Start Dancing?
I started dancing in about 2008 in Portland, Oregon. I was first introduced to the music and dance by taking a class in American Studies and History at Portland State University. There was some DJed music in Portland then, we were listening to a lot of Gypsy Jazz and I got pulled in that way. I was interested in DJing then too because a lot of the DJs at the time were playing music but not necessarily dancers themselves, or had a lot to learn.
What Are Some Of The Influences On Your Dance?
When I started dancing, Skye Humphries and Frida Segerdahl were very popular. They’re still popular now, but back then they were huge. Today, Remy Kouakou Kouame and Ramona Staffeld are really amazing, especially their partner routines. If you have some time, look up Al and Leon’s “Two Cousins” – that was another big influence.
What Are Your Aspirations?
I enjoy teaching dance, but I like that I’m able to sell my art and teach at the same time. I like to have that balance.
What’s Your Day Job And What’s Your Dream Job?
I paint houses and I’m an artist. I paint, do drawings. I do some painting with gouache and sell prints too. My dream job would be to be a rock star though. Maybe the guitarist in a metal or punk rock band.
What’s Your Favorite Disney Movie?
Oh God. Long Pause. I don’t know. Back To the Future I, II, and III. I know those aren’t Disney movies, but they’re my favorite movies. Even the third one where it gets a little weird.
What’s Your Favorite Jazz Standard?
I really like Lavender Coffin. That song never gets old, it’s got a good groove, and it’s a lot of fun to dance to.
What’s Your Favorite Dance Move Or Concept?
It’s got to be the Swingout. It’s exciting and for a lot of people it’s one of the first things you’ll learn to do. I also like a lot of Charleston moves and I think it’s important to know both things.
Could You Describe Your Teaching Style?
I believe that repetition and actually trying to do something is the best way to learn. You have to get it stuck in your brain. No one can perfectly explain something and get you to understand it until you try it yourself. I think each class is different and I like to adjust based on what the class needs work on too, I think having too rigid a plan doesn’t work when we’re trying to learn to dance.
Where’s Your Favorite Place To Dance In Town?
The Spotted Cat. We used to go dancing at Mimi’s, when they had live music and the dance space upstairs. It was awesome. But at the Spotted Cat you’re close the band, the music is great, and you feel closer with your partner because the space is pretty small.
Waffles, Pancakes, Or French Toast?
I have to go with waffles here. I think it’s the texture. No soggy waffles though, I like them a little crispy. I had these gluten free cornmeal waffles recently that were actually pretty good.
What’s Your Favorite Dance Memory?
I remember going to Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown 2009 in New Orleans. This was before I lived here, and it was a really special experience. Everyone was great and I think it might have been an influence on getting me to move to New Orleans in the first place.
What’s Your Spirit Animal?
Any kind of bird. Even a penguin. Hawks especially, but probably most of all I like the Warblers that you see everywhere here. I’m always looking for birds.
What’s Your Favorite Part Of New Orleans?
I like how easy it is just to hang out with your friends. You just get a hold of your friends and figure out what they’re up to and meet them out or go to their place. It’s a really communal feeling here. You can walk around and see people you know everywhere. I like that.
We’re happy to have Coyle teaching with us. Check out Swing Dance Basics and Charleston I and get to know him yourself! If you have any questions, email him at Coyle@crescentcityswing.com.