About Us

All West Coast Swing information in the Boston area, in one place.

05/17/2016
The following is the story of how X-Gen: Boston came to be, written by Kyle Lapatin.

In November 2013 I had my very first introduction to West Coast Swing. My girlfriend at the time, had been dancing for a little more than a year and she took me to where she danced, FiRE+iCE in Cambridge, MA on Wednesdays. For the next year I spent almost every Wednesday at FiRE+iCE learning West Coast Swing and getting to know the community that danced their regularly, which coincidentally happened to be mostly college students and recent graduates who learned WCS at FiRE+iCE or in the academic WCS class held at Lesley University.

After 1 year of dancing, I was encouraged to try out competition when I attended Swingin' New England 2014. I was very nervous but it turned out to be a lot of fun and opened up my eyes to the possibilities of this dance. That was the start of when I decided to start dancing a little more seriously and to branch out and learn more.

Up until this point I had only ever really danced at FiRE+iCE on Wednesday with the same dancers who attend there. Little did I know that there was WCS dance every night of the week in the Boston area. Through many conversations with friends, and friends of friends, I came to find out about Kirsten's dance on Mondays, DanceBoston's multiple dances, Roberto's classes that he recently started, and the monthly rotational dance. I decided I was going to try them all out.

I quickly fell more in love with WCS and more in love with this community. At the time there were very few dancers who attended multiple venues. I had my Wednesday night dance friends, my Tuesday night dance friends, my Friday night dance friends, etc. Also at the time, DanceBoston had a page on their website that listed the monthly dances. This was the closest thing to any organized information about all the Boston WCS dance venues (at least that I knew about). Over the next 6-8 months a number of things changed, including, I started teaching various classes in the Boston area when a venue needed someone to fill in, more dancers started taking an interest in dancing at multiple venues in the Boston area, and Dance Boston stopped supporting the page that showed the rotational monthly dances.

Dancing at all these different venues and keeping up to date on who canceled their class this week, who moved locations, or other exception can get very confusing. So, I did what I always do to stay organized; I made a google calendar for WCS. I talked to friends and encouraged them to try out the other venues with me telling them why I liked each one. Whenever I taught, I would often have beginners come up to me after class and ask me where else they could dance WCS in the Boston area (the same was true if I met out of towners visiting for a few days). Eventually, I wrote a little summary of what venues were available on what nights of the week so when I was asked, I could just email it to whoever. This situation became more and more common.

Fast forward to December 2015: There were dance events 6 of the 7 nights on any given week. There was no centralized point for any of this information, and the Boston area was at an all time high of incoming new dancers. I wasn't happy with this and I wanted to address the problem. Starting in the new year I decided I was going to make a website that collected all the information of all the WCS dance venues and point it all in one location so anyone and everyone could benefit from that.

However, there was a lot more to it than that. I looked around at this community and I saw how much love and support it had. I looked back at all the events I went to and how supportive all my friends were. I thought about how much pride we had for the Boston WCS community, but not specific venues. We didn't identify as Dancing Fools, Dance Boston, Swingin' Lynx; when we went to events we identified as Boston Dancers. I thought this was such an amazing idea that we had this sense of unity. I thought to myself how much Boston dancers are making a name for our WCS community and how great that is. Other communities recognize us when we show up in big or small groups at events. Wouldn't it be cool if we got t-shirts or hat to further show our pride (like the Texans do with their flags or any sports team does)?  That was when this evolved into an idea of a brand.

That was when I started brainstorming about what this could be. I put a lot of thought into all of this and originally I can up with NxGn (pronounced Next Gen) Boston. I loved the idea because all of our teachers in the Boston area invest so much in the current generation of dancer. They are the ones shaping what the next generation of dancers will bring to the table. We current dancers, are in a way the "next generation" because we are actively contributing to what this dance is becoming, but we are also (whether it be intentionally or unintentionally) are influencing the future generations of dancer. We are setting the examples. We are helping our friends with those patterns that haven't quite figured out that. We are showing the example of styling we choose to make, and all of that influences the dancer who happened to be watching you at the time. We are all the next generation of west coast swing. By being here and by dancing you are influencing what the future of this dance and this community holds.

Unfortunately, there is a group out in San Francisco area that is called "The Next Generation Swing Dance Club". To avoid confusion, I decided to avoid that name, but that didn't change what I wanted the name to stand for. On a side note, anyone who knows me knows I love superheroes. I am not picky, I love them all and what they stand for and represent. After a lot more thought, I came to the conclusion that X-Gen would be the name of the brand for a number of reason. 1) It has the name ring as NxGn. 2) In math X is a common variable (in algebra it is one of the most common if not the most common) and X-Generation literally mean any and all generations (because again, x is a variable that could equal anything). 3) In Marvel comic books, their exists X-Men. X-Men have mutant powers because of the presence of the mysterious X gene that gives them their powers. I thought it would be cute/funny/corky to play off that and say X-Gen Dancers are so great because of the special mutant power they get from their X gene! There were a few other factors that were less important. In summary, I put a lot of thought into this name and it means a lot personally to me for a number of reasons.

Moving on, I started the website, and created a Facebook page (because a large number of people get their information through Facebook). X-Gen was officially started. X-Gen had a Facebook page, a website, a google calendar, and (very shortly after) an email list that you could join. Since then X-Gen has gotten wrist bands that can be purchased, we have submitted X-Gen tables to events, we have gotten our own custom logo, and in the near future we would like to get a T-shirts order together.

So what now? Here is my dream:

I have done a lot of this startup work on my own with a few others who have wanted to help out in their own way. I started all of this but that doesn't mean it is mine. I want people of the community to invest and instead of give me ideas to do, I want them to do them on their own. If Brittany Smith has a cool idea for an X-Gen hat design, instead of her giving it to me and I make it and sell it, I want to give her the logo and have her go do it. If John Doe wants to start running his own dance on Thursdays but doesn't want to do his own advertising or branding, then he can just call it an X-Gen dance and use the website already in place to list the information of his dance. X-Gen can be so much bigger than what it is right now, but it won't grow unless the people of this community want it to grow.

On a much larger scale (and long term) I would love X-Gen to become the first community developed national inter-community connection platform. I want to start conversation with other community in how they can centralize information in there community and link it back to a central X-Gen location (that local is TBD). How cool would it be to go to a central place, and be able to look up X-Gen: Boston, X-Gen: San Francisco, X-Gen: Seattle, etc. Instead of having to google, ask friends, possibly show up to a venue that doesn't exist anymore in a city you are not familiar with because you are just visiting. There is no way I would be able to manage all of that. This is why I want all of these things to be community run. It isn't about one person having all the power and decide who gets advertised. It is about all West Coast Swing venues being advertised so new dancer can find the dances they are best suited for their own personal development. 

I am going to say that one more time because it is the most important things I could possibly put here:
X-Gen is about the dancers. Whether they be new of dancing for year. X-Gen is about growing unifying community and about giving all available information to dancers so they can have the tools to grow and much as they wish to.

If having something like X-Gen in your community interests you, please email wcs.xgen.boston@gmail.com and we can talk more about this.