BMJB & TCO in DC

I like dancing.  I like it even more with great live music.  This was a fun weekend for that here in DC.  Actually, more like Glen Echo Park in Maryland.  The Boilermaker Jazz Band played the Bumper Car Pavilion on Friday night while The Tom Cunningham Orchestra held its monthly dance in the Spanish Ballroom on Saturday evening. Read the rest of this entry »

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Frankie Manning Soul Session at Lindyfest 2009

This is a pretty nice set of clips from one of Frankie Manning’s last public appearances.  It’s the Soul Session at Lindyfest which was held last March in Houston, TX, and hosted by the Houston Swing Dance Society.  He would pass away a little over a month later.

Here, Frankie shares a few tid bits and jokes about some of his favorite dance clips. Read the rest of this entry »

AIR pt. 11: Back to School

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.”

Two important developments in competitions contributed to the return so called of “Old School” dancing.

One was the development of the phrase battle by Janice Wilson for the Hellzapoppin’ competitions at the Harlem Jazz Dance Festival in May of 2002.  A phrase battle consists of couples taking a certain number of “8’s” (Two bars, eight beats total) to shine jam style, alternating with other couples.

Until Janice came up with this idea, most social dance contests, usually called “Strictly Lindy” contests[1], consisted of couples taking turns dancing to separate songs.  This allowed for a clear boundary to be established between all the contestants, and also has the logistical value of allowing judges time to evaluate each performance.

I have not seen footage of HJDF 2002, but here’s the final from the second HJDF in 2003 where Andy Reid and Sarah Spence Adams faced off against Corina Acosta & Minn Vo on the stage of the legendary Apollo Theater.  The format is still unfamilar to the dancers so there’s some confusion and inconsistency in how long they dance for their shines.


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Random Videos: Lindy on The Rocks 2009

I’m actually working on some more related ILHC posts, but my job seems to be getting in the way.  In the mean time I’ll go back to an event that happened about a month ago.  Lindy on the Rocks is held in Denver, Colorado.

I’ve already posted a video of this performance, but they just put up some super high quality HD videos up and this one blew me away as much as it did the first time I saw it.  Amazing what a well placed color adjustment will do for your viewing pleasure.

I also wanted to put this up because it features Nina Gilkenson who came in first place in the Invitational Jack & Jill with Peter Strom.

It’s funny that the International Lindy Hop Championships is quickly becoming one of the premiere events of the Lindy Hop scene, but probably the most influential dancer around doesn’t get to compete in it because she’s too busy running it.  So I decided let her shine here along with one of the ILHC MC’s, Peter.

Also note that the “Single Ladies” routine is dedicated to Nina’s ILHC partner, Tena Morales for her birthday.  Tena looks great for just turning 25.

You can see more Lindy on the Rocks HQ videos including the rest of the Invitational J & J, their Strictly Lindy Hop competition, and a bunch of performances on the event website or under YouTuber <YoungKimStudio.>

Lindy on the Rocks

AIR pt. 10: The Tightey Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers Strike

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”

Naomi Uyama likes to use the phrase “Traveling was the internet” when talking about the ol’ days of Lindy at the turn of the millennium. I think that it could be reasonably be argued that the Lindy Hop community evolved at the rate it that it has in the past 10 years because the available technology greatly facilitated the communication of ideas, and more importantly, helped to foster friendships over great distances; linking small, isolated scenes into a global community.  But unlike a lot of online social networks these days, the whole point of ours is to meet in person and dance.  There’s no replacement for seeing and experiencing dance in person.

One particular network grew between a group of younger dancers from Ithaca, NY, Washington, DC, Southern California and a few points in between.  They would form the foundation for Mad Dog.  Many of the trends that I’ve discussed previously were not going unnoticed, and the members of Mad Dog moved to contribute an alternative to the ever solidifying conventional wisdom.  With the difficulties of articulating a point about dance over the internet becoming apparent, the logical alternative was to demonstrate it on the dance floor. Read the rest of this entry »

Remembering September 11th.

I wrote the following on September 12, 2001.  Going through Facebook today reminded me of it.  At the time I thought it was important to jot down everything I remembered.

I was working as the coordinator for scheduling and event planning atThe Catholic University of America in Washington, DC at the time, so it references people, places, and events on campus on that day.

For some reason I stopped my account at mid-day and never got back to it.  In fact, according to the file properties, the last time I touched it was at 10:33 PM on Sept. 12. The writing isn’t very good because it’s a rough first draft.   I’m posting it un-edited to preserve what I felt at the time. Read the rest of this entry »

AIR pt. 9: NADC Fallout

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”

I’d also like to thank Paul Roth for his help this week in getting up the ALHC clip below.

2001 was a pivotal year.  Sensing the various trends I have outlined, many instructors and dancers were beginning to make serious efforts to actively influence the overall dance style of the community.

Ryan Francois and Jenny Thomas returned to active teaching after their long hiatus from the community for their run on the Broadway musical “Swing!”  In the aftermath of the 1999 WLHC debate Ryan talked of forming a “united front” to address the issues that came up in that original debate[1].  Nothing formal ever happened after that, but he was clearly dismayed at the state of dancing when he returned in 2001 and was not shy about making his thoughts known.[2]

He and Jenny along with Steven Mitchell and Swedish dance teachers such as Kenneth and Helena Norbelie, actively began re-emphasizing Charleston movements and faster dancing.

Southern California dancers such as Peter Loggins, Jenn Salvadori, Justin Zillman, Rueben Brown, and their supporters made more pointed and sometimes antagonistic arguments about what was and was not Lindy Hop through their posts in various online discussions.

On the dance floor, in late 2001, Skye Humphreys & Ramona Staffeld performed a routine to Glen Miller’s “Jeep Jockey Jump” at that year’s ALHC in an early attempt to dispel their growing reputations as slow groove dancers.

Even though they brought the crowd to its feet with the weekend’s most energetic Lindy Hop routine, their impact was probably mitigated by the fact that they were disqualified on a time technicality. The routine was short by a few seconds of the minimum time required.  The song was long enough, but the actual routine was not since it started a few seconds in to the song.[3] Despite that, they did inspire a number of dancers to begin re-examining their approach to the dance.

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ILHC 2009 Odds & Ends

I’ve said it before (maybe not here, but elsewhere I’m sure), but I love competition events.  There aren’t many events where dancers can just bring their stuff in front of their peers, and I’m glad that ILHC can be one of those places.

I spend a lot of my time busting my ass at events these days more than I do enjoying them, but there are little moments here and there that make all the work worth it.  I just wanted to add a couple of quick hits that I missed in my other ILHC posts

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ILHC 2009 official results are up

ILHC results are up complete with pdf files of the scores and judges and links to videos and phtotos. Come and get’em while they’re hot.

ILHC results link

Feel free to comment about them here.

ILHC 2009-Wrappin’ It Up

Sorry about the delay.  After I posted on Sunday, I didn’t have a whole lot of time plus the cold I was trying to fight off finally got to me.

The rest of the event itself went incredibly well.  Saturday night comps ended with Cabaret which was a great show with lots of different kinds of acts.

I was able to catch my breath once the comps were done, and even got to spend some quality time with Carla Heiney.  She was one of my first teachers when she lived in DC many moons ago, so it was great to spend quite a long time catching up with her.

For me, ILHC has a bit of a family reunion vibe to it.  DC has been home to so many great dancers over the years, that it takes a big event to get them back together.  I think that shared “heritage” helps to take the edge off the competition part of the event.

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