Secretly this man harbours a dark secret - he is a C# addict ...

Tonight I started up swing dancing again with Crystal, so I thought it was an appropriate time to bring a theory I’ve had for some time, out into the open and hopefully shock a few people in the process. Or not.

Ever since I took up swing dancing lessons I’ve noticed that a good percentage of the people I spoke to, including some of the instructors were geeks and worked for geeky companies like Tait Radio or Jade Software. A really good percentage. I’m talking north of 67% (it was 66.666667 but I’ve kindly done the rounding for you on this one – of course the swing-dancing geeks were one step ahead and calculated the standard deviation at the same time). Even one of the guys I work with at an extremely geeky company is a swing dancer (my geek shield is holding up well; no iPhone for me and I only tweet once a day … although I did find myself flicking through an iPhone app magazine at lunch – that’s a bad sign especially considering I have no plans to get an iPhone anytime soon).

So that’s the observation – geeks like to swing dance. But what’s behind this slightly unusual phenomenon? Could they be attracted to the lack of rules, having been confined to the overly strict ten commandments of coding all day they are bursting to break out into a sloppy hop? Maybe it restores their mojo, which drains rapidly during the day as they pick bugs out of lines of code. Maybe it’s simply a necessity to keep the right side of their brain from shriveling up or walking out on them due to being completely ignored for 95% of the time. Maybe you have your own theory, feel free to share it below (just nothing that might imply I’m one of these swing-dancing geeks ok!).

As crazy as this theory might sound and as unscientific as my correlations are, I’m not alone in making the connection. In fact, the big chiefs at Google itself obviously make the link between geeks and dancing, employing their very own dance manager. Yes that’s right Google have their own dance manager, whose job it is to put some fire into those otherwise sedentary office geeks. One lesson is called How to Dance at a Club or Party: an Analytical Approach. Yep I kid you not, the analytical approach to dancing at a party. No wonder Google loves her, it gives Googlers a formula for what is most likely their biggest fear in life. They’ve most likely coded the entire thing into a single iPhone app that gets loaded automatically on arrival at any social engagement. Handy. In fact, one lesson is about parsing the rhythm. Wow, she actually speaks geek too. Google have hired well.

So the next time you see someone swing dancing there’s a sporting chance they are a mild-mannered computer programmer by day, or possibly it’s just Moata. Whatever you do do not, under any circumstances, ask them to explain their XML schema or what they think of the current state of object handling and global variables. It will completely ruin their night, or more specifically ruin their date’s night. Just let the geek cut loose, otherwise we all suffer.

Is there a scientific correlation between geeks and swing dancing?
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3 thoughts on “Is there a scientific correlation between geeks and swing dancing?

  • Fri, 20 Aug, 10 at 9:57 am

    thanks jeff, appreciate the analogy, that makes sense. in a bizarre twist some in the class get so wet you’d think they had been surfing.

    yeh tom and amanda are always telling us to go down to the yellow cross. it goes off when they have the 920 playing.

  • Fri, 20 Aug, 10 at 9:38 am

    Yea, it’s true, it’s a world-wide phenomenon. A large percentage of swing dancers are engineers, scientists, software developers and IT. For me, (I am a software engineer but I am definitely not a geek) the attraction to swing dancing is the great music, the creativity required by the dance, and the ever lasting hunt to have that perfect dance, in sync with your partner and the music. It’s a bit like surfing…always looking for that perfect wave. Anyway, I better get back to programming my Android BPM counter.

    BTW, the Yellow Cross is the place to be Wednesday nights from 930 if you’re in Christchurch and want to swing dance or check it out! See you there.

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