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.

Dancing in all skate formats tends to be pretty boring, but even the prelims for the Champions’ Strictly Lindy had a great energy.  Though the competitors were dying individually at the end of that last 4 minute+, 210+ bpm song; collectively they got the crowd pumped up for the rest of the night.

The next contest  followed a few songs into the Boilermakers’ second set.  The band played music for the Open Strictly final round.   It was great to see that there wasn’t much of a drop off in terms of talent and effort in the Open from the Champions division even from the newer faces.

The Showcase division lived up to its name.  There were a ton of couples, 13 in all, but it didn’t feel long as there were some great performances.  It was almost too much because it was hard to remember the routines from the beginning part of the division.  I don’t envy those judges.  I’m not going to comment further because of that, and also because routines are already showing up on YouTube.  I’ll let you decide for yourself.

The Champions Strictly final was “The Show.”  Almost everyone stepped up big time.  All weekend, people were discussing the use of choreography in improv social dance contests and how it’s getting pretty old, so it was good to see people deliver just great dancing.  Choreography was kept to a minimum, and people tore it  up on the floor.  I’m hoping that this will help kill the choreography trend dead.

There were so many great moments throughout the night especially during that one contest.  But nothing topped Annie & Max and Frida & Skye swinging the eff out in the all skate.  It’s hard to focus on anything in an all skate, but I could hear the crowd reaction building on the far side of the room where they were dancing.  Then I saw them.  Side by side, no fancy tricks or even footwork variations.  Just an explosion of energy coming from that spot on the floor until it engulfed the entire room.

You can’t quantify dancing hard, but you know it when you see it and everyone in that room eventually saw and felt it. I’ve never experienced anything that crazy and pure in a Lindy Hop competition.

After it was over, everyone just felt good.  Coming off the floor, all the competitors were hugging and high fiving each other. Even people who weren’t in the contest.  It was a good night for Lindy Hop.

The rest will have to wait for later.  I’m off to get the afternoon activities started.  Teams, J & J finals, and the Champions Jack & Jill.  Awards are in the evening capped off with some social dancing and a late night soul party with Peter Strom.

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