Video Spotlight: Grenoble Swing Dance Festival 2009

YouTube-ite Vinnie38710 has posted some quality videos from this past Grenoble Swing Dance Festival which occurred November 13-15.  Here’s a couple nice teacher demo’s.  Check out Vinnie’s YouTube page for more videos of this and other events.

Nina Gilkenson & Todd Yannacone

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Note: The last entry of this mini-trilogy originally written this a year ago for an art project by my friend Sandy Yin, the blogger of “A Brief List of Rules.” I try not to get too personal on this blog, but some things should be shared.

Updated to add:  I just noticed that this is my 100th post on this blog and I don’t think I could have picked a better one.  Thanks for reading!

I have a very interesting relationship with Akemi Kinukawa. I consider her one of my closest friends, yet we don’t speak to one another very much. In fact, I can probably estimate with some confidence that we’ve actually spent more time dancing together than we have talking.

I remember the first time I ever danced with Akemi. The song was “Wade In The Water” by Eva Cassidy at K2 Dance Studio, September 19, 2001. I know the date because it was the second Wednesday after 9/11. Like a lot of people at that time, I had to get out and do something, anything to get away from the omnipresent, mind numbing news coverage. Apparently a lot of lindy hoppers felt the same way because K2 was packed that night.

This is the point in the story where I’m supposed talk about how we just “clicked” on the dance floor, losing ourselves in our connection with each other and the music. That would make for a nice story, and one day, I hope to misremember it like that.

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Note: Just re-posting more old Facebook notes just so I have all my stuff in one place.  This is also part of an art project by my friend Sandy Yin, the author of the blog “A Brief List of Rules.” She gave me good feedback and I was going to re-work it, but I edited it to fix a couple of things.  It’s just a vignette.  An example of a story that is much more interesting in your head than it is when you decide to write it down.  It seems very mundane, but for some reason these events just stick with me.

The Yehoodi 6th Anniversary in 2004 was an incredible event. The Great Day In Lindy photo shoot; The Basie Ball; music featuring surviving members of the Count Basie Orchestra; the last American Hellzapoppin contest; the surprise performance of the Mama Lu Parks Dancers; honors for some of our forbearers. Awe inspiring and epic from start to finish. But honestly, that was all just background for what I really remember from that weekend.

Leslie Wylie drove us up to Y6A that Friday. Looking back, I think between the ride, checking into the hostel, and finding a parking garage seemed to take a lot out of us. Or maybe it was because we were trying to do all those things in New York City which seems to exponentially multiply your level of difficulty by a factor of ten.

The first hostel lost our reservations of course. They sent us to a second, even shadier looking place a few blocks away. Under normal circumstances I don’t think we would have considered staying there, but it was getting late, and we still needed to change and get to the evening dance.

Skye & Lucy in the Hellzapoppin prelims

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Risk vs. Reward

Yet another opportunity to re-post old Facebook notes and consolidate my writings.  I originally wrote this a year ago for an art project by my friend Sandy Yin, the blogger of “A Brief List of Rules.” She gave me good feedback and I was going to re-work it, but I’ve decided to just re-post it as is since it combines a lot of things happening this week like Carla appearing on “So You Think You Can Dance” and that I’m about to go spend my fifth Thanksgiving with Naomi.  It’s just a nice reminder to me of the spirit of the holiday.

The story of my start in dancing begins like many others: with a girl and a smile.

I was working at The Catholic University of America where I also graduated from a little over two years before. My job was scheduling space for the student groups and academic departments to use for meetings and events. We had a ballroom dance team that sponsored dance classes for members of the campus community. One day, the president of the team came to my office to request space for the upcoming semester’s classes.

During the course of our conversation, she (this doesn’t become a story if it’s not a she) invited me to their open house event where they were going to demonstrate some dances and offer a freebie swing lesson. I said I’d think about it. Really, I didn’t need to think about it since anytime a woman asks to go somewhere and smiles at the same time, it obviously means she wants you. So I went.

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Carla Heiney & The Boilermakers on So You Think You Can Dance

Last night Ellenore Scott & Ryan Di Lello performed a Lindy Hop piece choreographed by Carla Heiney on So You Think you Can Dance.

The dancers did a great job with the performance given the tight time constraints, but any woman that can teach me how to dance should have no problem with much more gifted performers.

I remember the years taking lessons from Carla while she was still studying biology at the U of Maryland.  When she told me about her dream of becoming a full time dancer I thought to myself “A full time Lindy Hopper?  Really?”  I was worried about her earning a living, never mind any kind of notoriety.

That was a long time ago.  Longer than I care to think about, but it was also the last time I doubted her and her drive to succeed.

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AIR pt. 14: The Plot Twist

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 years ago, I compiled a list of my favorite routines from The American Lindy Hop Championships in response to an open request by that event’s promoter. As I was making the list, I discovered that I found it harder and harder to come up with stand out moments as time went on.  It wasn’t because the dancing was bad—in fact it was much better technically as years pass—but very little stood out creatively in the way Minnies’ Moochers, Jenn Salvadori & Justin Zillman, or Mad Dog did during their times.

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DCLX-Secret Origins

Well, maybe not secret, but  few people are around that remember very much.

The first DCLX-DC Lindy Exchange-was hatched in the back of a van coming back from ALHC 2001 somewhere on I-95.  Mike Miloszewski was on a dance high and wanted an excuse to relive it again.  And soon.

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Random Links & Videos: Let’s Get Physical Edition

Many new blogs on the interwebs.  Sorry it’s taken me so long to link to them.

This one is a super in depth explanation of how followers use the muscles in their backs by a licensed massage therapist.  <Hot Club of Durham>

Mary Freitag from SoCal has launched a follower centric blog.  She adds her own observations about the use of the pike in your dancing.  <Art and Dancing>

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Random Videos: Friday Blues

A few videos are popping up from The Emerald City Blues Festival last weekend.  Here are a couple nice ones.

First up is a pretty gutsy Josephine Baker inspired performance followed by a routine by Seattle’s own Sister Kate.

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Random Links & Videos: History Lesson Edition

Four weeks after ULHS and still no word on official results.  Even ALHC put up their results a week after it ended.

I still have unofficial results in my “ULHS 2009 Round Up” post, and at least lots of people are talking about ULHS online. I also just added another blog to that post from another attendee.  <Me>

Just in case ALHC was feeling neglected, someone who attended that event finally posted a review to prove that someone went.  The omnipresent and always opinionated Allen Hall chimes in with the latest installment of his  <News and Views> Read the rest of this entry »

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