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St. Louis Dancer Brings Swing To The Living Room

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Rebecca Clark

Christian Frommelt started swing dancing in 2007, and his hobby turned into a full-time job in 2014. With the coronavirus outbreak, he’s had to find a new way to reach audiences around the St. Louis area while practicing social distancing. 

During the swing era, from the 1920s to the 1940s, dancing was a way for people to feel a release during tough times. Across the U.S., people continue to dance to swing. But with the COVID-19 outbreak, today's dancers are missing out on that release.

“It’s a good reminder of how good dancing makes us feel,” Frommelt said in a conversation with St. Louis on the Air’s host Sarah Fenske on Friday’s show. 

“I think that’s the connection we feel to the original dancers … we know what that feels like. It gives us that cross-generational connection, and it also connects us to people all around the world,” he said.

As a result, Frommelt felt the need to create something that made him accountable to other dancers and that helps him remain active in the St. Louis dance scene. He did just that by hosting his first-ever online class on the St. Louis Swing Dance Facebook page on March 25.

Frommelt said he will host online classes on the St. Louis Swing Dance Facebook page every Wednesday at 3 p.m. The courses are available to everyone.

Frommelt’s style of dancing is rooted in the jazz and swing eras of the early to mid-20th century, and his influences take the form of dancing styles such as the St. Louis Shag and the Lindy Hop dance, an eight- and six-count dance that also borrows footwork from the Charleston and tap dancing. 

But for his online classes, he has chosen to focus on a classic routine every week, such as the Electric Slide, a four-wall line dance set to Marcia Griffiths' and Bunny Wailer's song "Electric Boogie."

While his online livestreams are free to the public, Frommelt’s source of income is through his dancing courses. In response, he has created a Patreon account to support his work. The three tiers range from $10 and $30 to $40 per month. The tiers offer basic support, weekly video access and personal feedback. 

Listen to the discussion below:

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill, Lara Hamdan and Joshua Phelps. The engineer is Aaron Doerr, and production assistance is provided by Charlie McDonald.

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