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Midsummer Night Swing 2013: Hand dance

Instructor: Lawrence Bradford, founder of Smooth and EZ Hand Dance Institute (smoothnez.com). Pictured with dance partner BJ Jones.

By Nadia Chaudhury |
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Photograph: Noffar GatLawrence Bradford (pictured with BJ Jones) teaches hand dance on July 3 at Midsummer Night Swing
 (Photograph: Noffar Gat)
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Photograph: Noffar GatLawrence Bradford (pictured with BJ Jones) teaches hand dance on July 3 at Midsummer Night Swing
 (Photograph: Noffar Gat)
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Photograph: Noffar GatLawrence Bradford (pictured with BJ Jones) teaches hand dance on July 3 at Midsummer Night Swing
 (Photograph: Noffar Gat)
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Photograph: Noffar GatLawrence Bradford (pictured with BJ Jones) teaches hand dance on July 3 at Midsummer Night Swing
 (Photograph: Noffar Gat)
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Photograph: Noffar GatLawrence Bradford (pictured with BJ Jones) teaches hand dance on July 3 at Midsummer Night Swing
 (Photograph: Noffar Gat)
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Photograph: Noffar GatLawrence Bradford (pictured with BJ Jones) teaches hand dance on July 3 at Midsummer Night Swing
 (Photograph: Noffar Gat)
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Photograph: Noffar GatLawrence Bradford (pictured with BJ Jones) teaches hand dance on July 3 at Midsummer Night Swing
 (Photograph: Noffar Gat)
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Photograph: Noffar GatLawrence Bradford (pictured with BJ Jones) teaches hand dance on July 3 at Midsummer Night Swing

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Instructor:
Lawrence Bradford, founder of Smooth and EZ Hand Dance Institute (smoothnez.com). Pictured with dance partner BJ Jones.

What it is: A style of swing that developed in Washington, D.C., in the 1950s, with an emphasis on close contact and turns usually accompanied by soul, R&B, Motown and blues music.

What the name means: “I have absolutely no understanding why [it’s called hand dancing], and I’m not crazy about the name, but I am crazy about the dance, so I have to take the bitter with the sweet.  When I first learned hand dance in 1956, we just called it ‘fast dance’: You danced fast or you danced slow, and it was just that simple.”

When to do it: July 3, with Urban Guerrilla Orchestra. Get nice and tight with your partner when the Philadelphia nine-piece plays ’60s and ’70s soul, R&B and Motown. Qool DJ Marv opens with an era-appropriate set.

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