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Possible formation of a United Kingdom Lindy Hop Association

Records of meetings held by the working party for a United Kingdom Lindy Hop Association.

Thus far there have been 2 meetings held:

  • 10/12/2000   -   Minutes published below.
  • 14/01/2001   -   Minutes published below.


Sunday, 10 December 2000, Master Brewer Hotel, Hillingdon Circus, Uxbridge

Those attending: Martin Ellis and Jane Eliot of Swingland, Dan Guest of the Lindy Circle, Andrew Winton, of "Swingtime", Fred Hunt and Beckie Menckhoff of Live2Jive, Angela Andrews (arrived a little late), Les Jones of Oxford Swing Dance Society, Claire and Robert Austin of Swingtastic

Independent Chairman: Rob McKim of Jive Junction: Minute Taker: Jean Harper

Apologies: James Hamilton, Julie Oram, Ann Peskett and Graeme Puckett, Christie Guest, Simon Selmon, Jiving Lindy Hoppers.

ITEM 1: Those in attendance and why

The Chairman asked everyone to introduce themselves and summarise their interest in the formation of a United Kingdom Lindy Hop Association (UKLHA). The Chairman started off by describing his own background where he was fairly well known on the swing/jive scene as a promoter / organiser /DJ (and mediocre dancer) with two regular venues. He had personally established good relations with virtually everyone on the Lindy Hop scene who he knew him. He hoped that in accepting the offer as impartial chairman, he would set out the meeting to be constructive with those present given the opportunity to express their views.. He also explained that Jean Harper, herself a Lindy hop teacher with a dance class in Reading, would take the notes to ensure a formal record was made for openness and wider circulation.

Martin Ellis (ME): Social dancer and teacher of lindy hop (LH). Co-founder and director (with Jane Eliot) of "Swingland". Purpose should be to promote swing music and LH in the UK and deal with international matters affecting the UK LH scene.

Jane Eliot: As above - ME’s partner in Swingland.

Dan Guest (DG): Social dancer and with his partner, Christi, founder member of the Lindy Circle performance and teaching group. Purpose is the promotion of LH.

Andrew Winton (AW): Social lindy hop dancer, enthusiast for the history of lindy hop and writer of "Swingtime" an informative website for the swing community, providing, news, reviews and listings of LH and other related events.

Beckie Menckhoff (BM): Founder (with Fred) of "Live 2 Jive", and organiser with Fred of the "Swing Jam", Lindy Hop teacher and one of small circle of UK teachers of West Coast Swing in the UK: Beckie is now becoming more involved in private gigs and charity events.

Fred Hunt (FH): (As above). Fred had danced most of his life and Beckie’s partner in Live2Jive. One of the few present not to have come to LH via modern jive but through ballroom and other forms of dancing.

Les Jones (LJ): One of five organisers of the Oxford Swing Dance Society, formed mainly to encourage dancing in the Oxford Area

Claire Austin (CA) & Robert Austin (RA) :Dancing since 1987, started briefly with LH before concentrating on Jive and forming "Le Jive" as teachers and organisers, later widening their interests. They now separate their interests under different brands: Swingtastic - Lindy/Hollywood Swing – and attending this meeting under this brand; LEJIVE - Strictly Modern Jive: Mojo Boogie - Live Bands (R&B, Swing, R'n'R).

Note: Angela had not arrived in time for the above round the table introduction session.

Item 2: The purpose of forming a United Kingdom Lindy Hop Association

FH Explained that their original proposal had been for a UKLHA for LH teachers and promoters because of the logistical problems of universal membership. This would also overcome the perception from abroad that the organisers in the UK do not speak to one another. F&B believe that teachers ought to represent the views of the people they teach.

RA: Called for a wide-bodied organisation that represents the UK LH interest internationally. Believes in the importance of competitions, particularly because they are one of the main ways the dance achieves general publicity.

ME: Expressed concern about those who were not present, stating that those at the meeting were a minority.

DG: This initial meeting was not in a position to make decisions but should rather come up with a proposal which those absent would have an option to join if they wished. He was most concerned with what the purpose of the organisation was to be.

RA: Wanted the proposed UKLHA to represent lindy hoppers in the UK

CA: Expressed her hope the UKLHA would help remove the divisiveness that currently existed within the LH community in the UK.

LJ: Felt the UKLHA prime purpose should be to promote the dance itself and was less interested in the competition aspects.

BM: Stated the belief that there is more co-operation than is given credit for and that the UKLHA would offer security for its members as they will be more inclined to do more and take more risks if supported by others. She felt it was as important to state what the proposed organisation should not be, as well as what it should and that she did not like the idea of the WRRC making decisions on the LH scene in the UK. There was a need to market LH separately from other jive organisations.

AW: Wondered if there was enough in common between potential members of the UKLHA to keep them together. He publicised the clubs and activities of those present and others, but in no way represented them He thought it was important to have an organisation that did represent Lindy Hop in the UK. Believed the WRRC to be an irrelevance. It the WRRC wanted to do something in the UK then they should have to do so via the UKLHA.

DG: Summarised his views on what the UKLHA should be for discussion:

a) It should not primarily be about competitions. He is happy that they exist and recognises they are part of the LH scene but does not believe a great number of lindy hoppers in the UK are really interested in competing as demonstrated by the low number of entries in competitions.
b) It should not be a "closed shop" for teachers, but a resource for everyone dancing in the UK and visitors to the country and provide a central point of information. The UKLHA might also provide an archive of the more expensive LH material.
c) The UKLHA should consider applying for grant money to achieve this.
In conclusion DG stated that if the UKLHA proved to be just about competitions he would still consider being part of it but wouldn’t be prepared to play an active part.

ME: Important that those present leave the meeting with a firm sense of the organisation. It’s prime purpose should be to represent the UK internationally and that the UKLHA should talk to the WRRC. He suggested that perhaps those who gave their reason for not attending to be the fact they believed the UKLHA would work with the WRRC, really wanted to work with the WRRC themselves.

Chairman: Then introduced a discussion on what the UKLHA mean by LH, i.e. was it just those interested in 1940’s swing or should have a wider genre and incorporating some of the other dance styles on the scene associated with the LH dance e.g charleston, balboa,

AA: Warned against the difficulty of defining an art form, saying that any attempt to do so will always fail. The best she could suggest is that LH is about dancing to music that swings.

RA: The focus should be LH but that the UKLHA could still incorporate other dance styles. It should be:-

a) A gateway to LH hop in the UK
b) An information and archive resource

c) A focus for competitions. These are a great promotional opportunity.

CA: Added that competitions improve dancing standards and give LH dancers a more public profile.

BM: Stressed it was important to start small and not take on too much as the organisation could always grow.

Chairman: Summarised that the discussion led to agreement by the meeting that the UKLHA’s purpose to promote and develop LH. However he added there was some dissent with some views that the organisation should represent the dance in the UK and internationally.

AA: Expressed strong reservations about the inclusion of "represent" as those present did not constitute all those involved in LH in the UK. It was not representative at the moment and never could be.

DG: Shared these reservations but thought it a reasonable "aim" for the UKLHA.

AW: The UKLHA should endure even if it’s membership changes over time.

Chairman: Initiated a vote that the purpose of the UKLHA should be:

"To represent, promote and develop Lindy Hop in the UK and internationally"

agreement on the purpose carried 7 – 1.

(AA requested that it be noted she voted against the motion)

Item 3: Membership of UKLHA

Chairman: Requested views on possible membership criteria:

ME: It should be as open as possible and include all those who had an authentic interest in LH. He believed in promoting LH as an art form.

AW: Open to anyone who shares the purpose

BM: Concerned about how membership should be structured because those involved would have different roles and interests, e.g., dancers, teachers and promoters.

LJ: Agreed it needed to be open, particularly to dispel any fears that the UKLHA was trying to be some kind of restrictive "Big Brother" organisation.

RA: Proposed a two-tiered organisation with as wide membership but stressed the need to protect the commercial interest of those for whose livelihood depended on the dance.

AW: Proposed the UKLHA needed a committee but no classification of members.

RA: Thought there should be different classifications of members.

DG: The committee must represent all the factions within the membership and that it wouldn’t be constitutional if it didn’t, but that all members should have the same status.

Chairman: Summarised the views. He proposed, with the broad agreement of those present that for wider circulation, the membership criteria should be developed as follows:

"Membership of the UKLHA is open to everyone with an interest in lindy hop and will be structured to reflect the various interests of those members."

Closing Remarks

Chairman thanked all those present for attending and summarised the overall view of those present that the meeting had been open and constructive with some concerns openly expressed. He suggested that the next meeting, proposed by FH for mid-January, should deal with what now needs to be done to move the ‘proposed body’ forward, including to a legal footing.DG, RM and FH were given the task of researching what is needed to achieve this to report back to the next meeting.

He also proposed, as agreed by the meeting, that a wider and more UK representative audience should be invited to the next meeting. This further pool of people would also be a valuable resource needed to contribute their skills and expertise to establishing and organising a UKLHA in all its processes and visions.

Date of next meeting : agreed that the next meeting would be held at The Master Brewer again, at the same time (a Sunday 11.00 – 14.00) in January 2001.

7 January 2001

Minutes from the Meeting of the Working Party to form the UKLHA - 14/01/01


Andrew Winton - AW
Martin Ellis - ME
Rob Austin - RA
Richard Evans - RE
Fred Hunt - FH
Beckie Menckhoff - BM
Dan Guest - DG
Christi Guest - CG
Rob McKim - RM
Claire Austin
Jean Harper
Les Jones
Nicky Jones
James Hamilton
Julie Oram
All agreed that Andrew Winton should chair this meeting.

Christi Guest volunteered to take minutes

1) Minutes of meeting held on 10 December 2000

Minutes were passed around for verification. ME clarified that his reference to the UKLHA talking to WRRC was not a proposal for the UKLHA to do this. Rather, he meant that if there comes a time that anyone should speak to the WRRC, the UKLHA should be the group to do this.

With some minor typographical amendments made, the minutes were accepted as an accurate record of the previous meeting.

Possible topics for the meeting were discussed, and the group prioritized legal structure and administrative procedures for the agenda.

2) Legal Structure

FH, RM, and CG had been asked to look into legal structures for the proposed UKLHA. According to FH’s findings, the UKLHA at present is not a legal association. RM in the previous meeting suggested that the group is actually a working party to set up a UKLHA, and FH agreed with this.

RM had also sent the group information in regards to legal structures of trading organizations. FH highlighted that there are qualifications to business names and that companies must have approval by Companies House to use certain words like United Kingdom in their name.

AW expressed his concern that most of the information from the Model Trade Association may not relate to the non-profit sector.

CG presented information in regards to legal structures for non-profit organizations. She stated that her information was biased towards groups wishing to become a charity.

According to CG, there are two relevant structures, an unincorporated association and a company limited by guarantee. The unincorporated association is fast and simple, with fewer monitoring obligations until the organisation holds money. It is appropriate for groups that will have few assets, as trustees can be liable.

Companies limited by guarantee are subject to stricter monitoring, as they must register with Companies House. This type of structure limits liability for the members. This limit is usually not more than £10 per member.

Organizations that have charitable aims must register with the Charity Commission once they have over £1000 turnover. This is applicable to either structure, and is separate from legal structure.

CG answered questions and it was suggested that she send further information to members of the working party. CG to send model constitutions and information regarding legal structures via email. AW to send formatted DTI to the working group. FH to send his findings to CG to collate the information.

AW presented information about various groups that he had found. He had spoken to 3 groups, ranging from hobby and interests groups to a sporting association. Two of the groups were unincorporated associations, and the sporting association was a company limited by guarantee. AW emphasized that charity status can come at a later time. AW to forward information about these organizations to CG for distribution.

ME proposed that one objective of the next meeting is to agree a legal structure for the proposed UKLHA. This proposal was agreed unanimously.

There was a brief break, and all attendees contributed £10 to the hall hire of £70.50.

3) Administration procedures for the working group

FH formally proposed that the group was a working group for the formation of a UKLHA. It was agreed unanimously.

There was discussion as to what would need to occur for the next meeting to be opened to everyone.

CG suggested that there be two further meetings, an open meeting for consultation where others can find out more about the proposed UKLHA and become involved in the working group, and another working party meeting to decide on legal structures. There was general consensus on this.

ME stated that there needed to be an agreement of the agenda and responsibilities of the organisation of such a meeting, as well as a presenter.

RA stated that there needed to be an agreed press statement inviting all interested parties.

The discussion turned to dates of the meetings.

ME stated that the group was effectively actively excluding Julie Oram because, while others have made apologies, she has specifically stated that she is unable to make Sunday meetings. ME suggested Saturdays for the next meetings, and the working group agreed the following dates

Saturday 24th February 2001 for the open meeting
Saturday 10th March 2001 for the working party
After discussion in regards to a public statement, the following statement was agreed:
Calling All Lindyhoppers!

A working party has been set up with the intention of forming a United Kingdom Lindy Hop Association with the following aims:

"To represent, promote and develop Lindy Hop in the UK and internationally"

Two meetings have now been held and minutes are available on several websites including [working party member to insert own website]. To find out more, come to the next meeting:

Saturday 24 February 2001, 11.00-14.00

Master Brewer Hotel, Hillingdon Circus, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB10 9NX

opposite Hillingdon Underground Station (Metropolitan Line)

All are welcome so let everyone know. If you are interested in coming, please contact [working party members to put own contact details].

Apologies if you receive this email more than once.

NB: Attendees will be asked to contribute (maximum of £3) to the hall hire and refreshments.

It was also agreed that attendees would publish the minutes of the two working group meetings on their websites.

BM to distribute to initial working party list the dates of the next two meetings.

CG to distribute the public statement the next day to those at the meeting for feedback. CG to then distribute the publicity again (with any amendments) to the entire working group on Wednesday for distribution to the public.

BM suggested that the group discuss an agenda and chair for the open meeting.

It was agreed unanimously that AW chair the open meeting, and he accepted.

After discussion about the agenda, the following agenda was suggested, but not agreed as RA and ME had to leave before the discussion finished.

1. Introduction
2. Overview of what has happened in the 2 meetings
3. Statement of aims as agreed in the first meeting
4. Brainstorming session for people to discuss the broad aims of UKLHA
5. Presentation on legal structures
6. The purpose of the working party – invitation for others to get involved
AW proposed that this agenda be circulated to those at the meeting for comment, with a deadline for comments. CG to circulate the agenda and collate comments.

BM suggested that there be regular open meetings. There was general consensus on this point, although the frequency of these meetings was not agreed.

DG queried the logistics of the open meeting and it was agreed that the working party would meet an hour before the open meeting to finalize the agenda and agree upon the logistics of the meeting.

Date of next meetings:

24/02/01 10.00 – 11.00 pre-meeting, Master Brewer Hotel
24/02/01 11.00 – 13.00 open meeting, Master Brewer Hotel
10/03/03 11.00 – 13.00 working party meeting, Master Brewer Hotel




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