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.

Reputations are made or broken at big events, but this isn’t limited to performers.   Tena Morales likes to run an event with fewer hard working volunteers instead of  having a bunch of warm bodies filling out the volunteer schedule.  She values reliability over numbers.  Exceptional volunteers are remembered, rewarded, and referred to other events.  Bad volunteers are shown the door.  Sometimes mid-event.

Don’t be one of those people. The circle of Lindy Hop event promoters is pretty small, so a bad experience by one promoter will get around to the others very quickly

No problem this year so far.  Tena has been doing events for over 10 years, so the staff we have for this year’s event reflects the elite caliber of the performers on the floor.

Yvonne, our main registration person, noted that a lot more early people showed up than we expected.   But that was still a good thing.  Attendance for our first dance last night was much better than I thought it would be.  Great mix of locals and out of towners, even from overseas, to dance to live music played by The Red Hot Rhythm Chiefs.

However, after getting here at 2:00 pm yesterday, I was just in the mood to hang out with everyone coming in after the actual dance started.

I didn’t sleep much last year, so I’m trying to pace myself better this time around.  Still, it was pretty hard tearing myself away from the ballroom watching everyone dance.  People who came in early had a lot of space to work with, and were able to make early connections with others that I think may be a little more difficult once everyone gets in tonight.  We’re expecting a big crowd.

I really enjoyed hearing the dj’s too.  Allen Kerr started off the night,and Michael Gamble wrapped it up.  Ryan Swift was sandwiched between Rayned Wiles and Reuben Brown.  I haven’t heard those two guys DJ at the same event in ages.  Most people won’t understand that significance, but I think the musical tastes of most of the dj’s in our scene can be traced back to these two guys and Jesse Miner.  These guys have been around since the beginning.

Once I did gather the energy to leave the ballroom, I got sucked into listening to some people jamming on their instruments in the lobby until about 3:30 am.

I still feel a little off.  All day yesterday I could have sworn it was Friday and today feels like the middle of the weekend, but the event really hasn’t gotten started yet.

It’s been raining on and off here in Crystal City.  The lucky ones that got in early are just chillin’, dry, in the lobby where I’m writing this.  Looks like the Lindy Focus people are cooking up some fun stuff for their event on New Year’s.  Some other people were talking about Snowball in Sweden in the staff lunch room.  There are some dancers working on routines for this weekend off to the side, and a bunch more are taking their time to relax before tonight’s festivities.

Good luck to everyone coming in today.  I think we’re all in for a great show tonight with all the competitors and live music by Brooks Tegler and the Midiri Brothers.  We start off with the preliminary rounds for the Strictly Lindy Hop and Balboa divisions followed by about a dozen routines in the Classic division and capped by the Solo Charleston competition.

ILHC is here!


  1. tracy said,

    August 28, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    It’s great to read about ILHC realtime! Thanks for sharing, especially for those of us who (tragically) can’t be there. Hope all goes well!

  2. Sandy said,

    August 28, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    Hooray! ILHC!

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