History of Forest of Dean Jive & Swing
Forest of Dean Jive and Swing started as small Jive class in a health club in Monmouth in the Autumn/winter of 1998, teaching and mainly dancing modern jive. The venue changed to The Mackenzie Hall in Brockwier where the base for the group really began. Gerry and Lyn Crossman were the original founders and teachers, but this has grown with the assistance of Ger' and Carolyn Dunford, Nicky Bale. The modern jive style was abandoned in 2003 and Lindy Hop has been exclusively taught since.
Lyn's dancing career started in 1993 with Le Roc and the following year she seriously pursued Lindyhop after observing a couple known as Graeme & Ann practising at a Le Roc class.Travelling to London and taking lessons with Simon Selmon at the London Swing Dance Society. Later she taught Lindy with Danny Mercer, Mark Vis, and another lady Claire Colbert who was instrumental in bringing Lindyhop to the Bath & Bristol area.
On October 1996 Gerry went to his first lesson in any type of Jive accompanied by his sister. At first he went through a modern jive format which was fused with Lindyhop hence the confusion and frustration which nearly made him quit, but after watching a video he noticed the style of two dancers Graeme Puckett & Ann Pesket . He sought them out and went to every session he could muster that was from 1998 until 2000.
During this period Lyn and Gerry would cross paths occasionally, they made a date to get together for a dance partnership but on the 21st November 1998 they were rarely apart and married on the 22nd September 2001, and since that time they have been teaching Swing Dance and Lindyhop abandoning Modern jive in 2003.
Although they would admit that they're not champions they have been on the performance circuit with Hoppin' Mad, Graeme & Ann's Dance troupe and have performed many times with their own students in the Forest of Dean as well as some film and TV work. They believe you should be a gracious social dancer and these were principles held dear by some of the greatest performance Lindyhopper's in its heyday.
At the back end of 1998 Gerry & Lyn were teaching some modern Jive at a health club in Monmouth, From there a nucleus of people From the Brockweir area persuaded them to teach at the Mackenzie hall, where they taught for the next 8 years. They also taught at various places in the Forest of Dean and in the Usk vale area, but in 2006 they ventured to Lydney town hall, the venue where they were hosting dances every other month.
The first dance at the town hall was their wedding dance in 2001, The band playing that night were called "Snake Hip Jake" were are they now.In 2004 they tried a one off dance with The Jive Aces. From 2005 dances were becoming more regular, their emphasis is to encourage various DJ's to play and also encourage Live bands to perform.
Since 2005 this momentum in Swing and Jive dancing were known as the Wyedean Swing Dance Society, from october 2007 we will be known as Forest of Dean Jive and Swing.