Skip to main content

In Remembrance of Ruby Reeves





Ruby Reeves went to Smalls Paradise in the 1980s and  witnessed the transition of social dancing going from uptown to downtown. She knew Mama Lu Parks and many of  the regular Monday night Harlem crowd that listened and danced to Al Cobbs Band. She performed professionally doing the Tranky Doo (or her version the Cranky Doodle").  

It has been stated but not confirmed that she was also part of the 1982 famous Harvest Moon Ball dance competition.  But back in 1988 when a tribute was given to Mama Lu (Tapping Through an Evening in Honor of Mama Lu Parks ) she was in grand company 


Naturally she saw and experienced the "exodus" of Harlem's dance traveling from uptown to downtown. And uptown folk seemingly going with the flow because - in her words - "we weren't doing anything in our community".  Thus part of the sad reality currently in Harlem, and how the area is trying to recoup a solid growing footing on their famed dance artform of the Lindy Hop in its birthplace....


When one of our cherished elders leaves us we lose an encyclopedia of treasured heartfelt memories, wisdom and more. Sadly this month we lost this classy lady but we have documentation.  


Our sympathy goes out to her family who surely lost a gem...


Its nice to share, but a good piece of the action with Lindy Hop culture should have stayed in its Harlem home. It's not too late however with a new generation to keep it growing back.... dancers who can be inspired by the memories and experiences of Ms. Ruby. The Harlem Swing Dance Society will continue to do its part in this needed endeavor.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Call of the Jitterbug Kids!

Dominick Robinson, Matthew Cherrington, Jessica Hand, Coral Foxworth, Kelly Robinson and Matthew Hunt "I've never heard of them!" people retort.  Well you missed out to a degree but they were part of Harlem's 20th century Lindy Hop story... perhaps rightfully so the 5th generation to keep the culture going  :>) The  Jitterbug  Kids were founded in 2001/2002 and were a group of 8...ranging in the ages of 7 to 10 years old. They were a fixture in Harlem and in NYC, performing at public and private events. Sarina Robinson started the group one year after she was inspired to start taking Lindy Hop/Swing Dance classes.  Having a Dance Studio helped as she gathered this group of children and trained them at dance workshops for one year. Then they were off! While they have grown up to be young ladies and gents they influenced many and got the attention of young and old alike.  These exciting and fun memories and groundwork that was established never

Class Act: Take note of our lead Dance Instructor in Harlem - Rafal!

" He's the teacher?!   I don't want that White Boy teaching me anything!"    "He's not teaching me my dance!" And with that they - some African Americans/ Black people -  do an about face and march out of the dance classroom... ________________ Harlem and Harlemites (aw heck Black folks!) can be a challenge - and that race card goes both ways a whole lot.  With that bad word "gentrification" and the bullying tactics in the area it can have some of the locals thinking EVERYTHING is being taken/stolen away from them.  So when some folks  - Black and White - see The Harlem Swing Dance Society's main teacher Rafal Pustelny he definitely generates all kinds of reactions.  SSSSSSSSSssssshhhhh.... Most times he is unaware of it ....  ;>) Oh but what they miss out on! Rafal Pustelny has built up quite a resume from the days we met him sometime back when he proudly spoke of "Boogie Woogie" influences. Th