ILHC 2009-Swing It On Out There

Saturday night was so good that I didn’t get to bed until 7:30 am.

When you plan an event, there’s only so much you can hope for.  Especially when you’re dealing with a creative community like the Lindy Hop one.  Most times you just hope that people don’t take the opportunity to embarrass themselves. That didn’t happen last night.  Too much.  I haven’t seen a show that consistently good in a very long time. Read the rest of this entry »

ILHC 2009: The Stuff is Here

The Friday night and Saturday day activities at ILHC are in the books.  Great music from the band and the DJ’s and awesome dancing from the competitors.

We had workshops through the day before the evening events started.  I was able to sit in on Sylvia Sykes’  “What Judges Look For” workshop which drew a pretty big crowd in the main ballroom.

I didn’t really take notes, so I don’t want to put any words into Sylvia’s mouth.  But I think that if anyone there was looking for the secret to doing well in competitions, they would have been sorely disappointed. However, it was a very pragmatic and insightful look into the other side of competitions.

The ballroom opened unceremoniously right at 8:00 pm, but filled up much faster than it did the night before.  Of course, the Open Strictly Lindy Hop preliminary round started at 8:30 pm, and that had a huge number of couples. Read the rest of this entry »

ILHC 2009: Frida and Skye, Classic Division

One of the first videos to come out of ILHC this weekend.  Frida Segerdahl and Skye Humphries performed in the ILHC Classic Division on Friday night a little before midnight.

This video hit YouTube about four hours later.

ILHC 2009: Eye of the Storm

Setting up for ILHC yesterday went pretty well, and ended ahead of schedule.

I really like the fact that we started on Thursday instead of Friday like we did last year.  Last year we dove head long into the weekend; setting everything up, having people practice their routines on a dance floor that wasn’t completed, and then going straight into the dance and competitions.

This year felt much more casual.  A lot of that had to do with the dedicated volunteers we have plus the super professional contractors. Read the rest of this entry »

Random Links & Videos: International Week in Review Edition

With the International Lindy Hop Championships coming up I noticed the amazing array of lindy videos from around the world uploaded onto YouTube just in the past week.

It makes the spread of Lindy Hop in the past two decades that much more impressive.

We start off with some video news pieces:  One about the dance’s popularity in Russia.  <BreitbartTV>

There’s also one from London which is amusing because it focuses on an instructor from Australia teaching an American dance in England.  <YouTube>

We now move onto a sampling of performances, competitions, and social dancing from around the world.

A performance in Stockholm, Sweden

Read the rest of this entry »

Ghost of ILHC past

Busy week as we make final preparations for this year’s International Lindy Hop Championships, so not a lot of time for updates.  I thought I’d take this opportunity to wheel another note from my Facebook vault.  I wrote this at the end of the first ILHC last year.

At 1:00 pm on Friday afternoon, we got official access to all the meeting spaces at the hotel. At that moment we had planned for the sound and the floors to be installed simultaneously, plenty of time before the risers arrived and the chairs to be set up for the 8:00 pm opening of the ballroom for social dancing.

At 1:01 pm on Friday afternoon, I was standing in the middle of an empty ballroom.

The guy delivering the floor was at lunch, the sound guys were delayed, and the volunteers for floor set up were no where to be found.

Everything was going according to plan. Read the rest of this entry »

America’s Best Dance Crew-1933: The Four Step Brothers

You may remember a performance  by The Harlem Hot Shots on Thursday night of  Frankie95.  Someone uploaded the original clip and I thought it would be nice to put them together.

The scene is from a 1933 short film entitled “Barber Shop Blues” featuring Claude Hopkins and His Orchestra.  He was leader of one of the house bands at the Savoy Ballroom in 1931.

The original dancers in the 1933 clip were known as The Four Step Brothers.  Despite the name, none of them were related.  They got their start at the Cotton Club performing with Duke Ellington. Read the rest of this entry »

AIR Pt. 7: Connection Junkies

This is part of a paper I wrote entitled “Artistry In Rhythm: Dialogue Through Dance in the Lindy Hop community.”  Previous and future posts can be found by searching my blog for the category “Artistry In Rhythm”

Another interesting trend during this period was the growing number of people, regardless of style, who worked intensely on partnering mechanics.   Again, this is where crossover events had a major effect.  Even if a Lindy Hopper would not appreciate the music or the general aesthetic of West Coast Swing, there could be no denying that WCS during this time period had a much more superior grasp of connection than was generally known in Lindy Hop at the time.  Since WCS dancers were seen as superior dancers because of that grasp of technique, it led many people to focus on that.  As with many other things dancers were doing at this time, it was eventually worked on to an extreme. Read the rest of this entry »

Random Links & Videos: All The Single Ladies edition

I’m not the only verbose Lindy blogger: A view from down under about what makes a good jam.   <dogpossum>

Camp Hollywood redux: Another review of Camp Hollywood from someone who was there  < The Rantings of a Lindy Hopper>

Out of everything I’ve read I’m surprised no one mentioned the end of the Camp Hollywood 2009 Pro Lindy Finals.  Check out Kim Clever and David Frutos on the right side of the screen starting at 6:32

Read the rest of this entry »

AIR Pt. 6: Groove Is In the Heart

This is part of a paper I wrote entitled “Artistry In Rhythm: Dialogue Through Dance in the Lindy Hop community.”  Previous and future posts can be found by searching my blog for the category “Artistry In Rhythm”

The combination of those trends mentioned in the previous posts contributed to the development of certain dance habits in Lindy Hoppers that were collectively called “Modern Savoy Lindy” or “Groove Lindy.”  By some accounts, dancing like this already existed in some scenes such as Chicago and San Francisco. Some of this can be also be attributed to the influence of was being seen of WCS performers at crossover events.  However, the buzz from the Minnies’ Moochers performance provided the spark for its nationwide popularity.[1]

One characteristic of this so called “groove” dancing is what Julius Yang dubbed as “micromusicality.”[2] This is the tendency for dancers to move their bodies to match the melody line of a song, and in some excessive cases, try to accent as many individual notes as possible.  This had the important effect of inspiring dancers to progress away from simply executing random moves in time to the music, and become more in touch with the music. Read the rest of this entry »

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