What there is to know
- Jerry Warwick has been DJing for “Swingin ‘at the Sons” in Dallas for 15 years.
- Since the start of the pandemic, it has been organizing virtual events every week
- Warwick says he started putting on feelers to assess the readiness of the Swingin ‘at the Sons community and the conditions to get back together on the dance floor
One Wednesday night a month, Jerry Warwick turns on his computer on his dining room table to stream swing dance music to a community that heard their mixes live every Wednesday evening at Son of Hermann Hall in Dallas.
“I miss seeing them dance,” Warwick said wistfully.
For over 15 years, Warwick has been the DJ and dance instructor of Wednesday night “Swingin ‘at the Sons”, playing music for 200 to 300 dancers who throng the Sons of Hermann Hall ballroom.
The pandemic brought the weekly social swing dance to an abrupt end on March 11, 2020.
“It was really abrupt,” Warwick said. “We left for the night thinking, ‘Hey, we’ll see you next week.'”
The following week, Sons of Hermann Hall was dark, and the pandemic was personal.
“Shortly after things stopped, I tested positive for the virus,” Warwick said.
Warwick recovered and was able to donate his plasma, but said he was left with a lingering symptom.
“Honestly, it’s a big hole in my life,” Warwick said fondly. “When you have so many memories, so many friends, so much fun, it hits you when all of a sudden you miss this place.”
Warwick wanted to keep the Sons swing dance community connected, so he moved his DJ booth to his Dallas home and started the online weekly “Swingin ‘at the Sons”. He begins each session with the song “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore”.
“It’s not real contact, but it’s close,” Warwick said while sending a message online with listeners. “Keeps that connection alive.”
Its format is similar to where he stood in the DJ booth, where at 10:30 a.m. each night he was playing the same song.
“It’s called the ‘Shim Sham’,” said Warwick, describing the solo line dance. “I can look at the list of people who are logged into my radio station and say, ‘I bet they’re doing the Shim Sham. I bet they are do the Shim Sham. Yes, they would do the Shim Sham. ‘”
Warwick has switched to monthly online sessions as things start to open up again. He began putting on feelers to gauge the readiness of the Swingin ‘at the Sons community and the conditions to end up on the dance floor.
“I really hope he comes back,” Warwick said. “I’m not ready to give up just yet.”