I made a few offhanded observations in my US Open post about Tatiana Mollman and Jordan Frisbee’s winning performance in the Classic division this year to Coldplay’s “Viva LaVida.” They took the unorthodox (for West Coast Swing at least) approach of performing a routine they’ve been doing for most of the year instead of performing a new one.
I thought I’d put those theories to the test by watching every YouTube example of this routine that I could find. See what I do for you?
I thought they would take opportunity of all these performances to make tweaks to the choreography over the year, but was impressed to find that they stuck to it through every performance. A side by side viewing of the first performance in Chicago and the latest one at the US Open showed that the choreography remains exactly the same throughout the year.
In fact someone more obsessive than me noted the same thing when he spliced together four videos of three performances.
In John Mueller’s DVD audio commentary of the Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers film “Swingtime,” he noted that Astaire demanded numerous rigorous rehearsals of every dance sequence before filming. The extensive rehearsals were key to the spontaneous look of the final product. “You know it sort of well that it just becomes part of you,” Astaire once said. “When you’re doing one step, you shouldn’t look like you’re thinking about the next one.”
I feel that the US Open performance looks much “looser” and relaxed than the initial one in Chicago. I think that’s a huge advantage where everyone else is super nervous about doing new choreography at the most prestigious West Coast Swing event in the world. It allowed them to really enjoy the dance and give it an extra energy.
But I’ll let you judge for yourself
March 14, 2009 The Chicago Classic
April, 2009 London?
Notes: This isn’t a very good angle and I’m not sure what kind of event this is.
April 30, 2009 “Love N Dancing” premier Atlanta, GA
Notes: There are two videos of this performance. This one cuts off the first ten seconds, but the second one is further away and the recording quality isn’t that great. You can see that one here.
May 9, 2009 Swingdiego
Notes: This is probably the best filmed video with no obstructions and a full view of the dancers throughout.
August 1-7, 2009 Sea Sun & Swing
Notes: This one is probably just a demo. You can tell they’re pretty loose here because you see Jordan messing around at the beginning whereas he’s very still in the other performances.
World Cup 2009 Moscow, Kremlin October 31, 2009
Notes: Jordan and Tatiana actually blog about this performance. She admits that she’s super nervous for it because it’s a big time ballroom event in front of a completely different crowd than a usual WCS event. This is the highest quality video of the bunch and you can clearly see their faces, which do look a little nervous. This might have resulted in the couple of minor hiccups in their execution, but nothing serious. They’re probably helped by the fact that they’ve done this routine a ton of times by this point.
November 28, 2009 US Open Swing Dance Championships
Notes: As I noted previously, I think they look like they’re having the most fun with this performance, and the crowd is super excited for them, anticipating various parts. Are they pumping up the crowd or the other way around? Probably both.
Finally, this is the video editing experiment I noted previously. Be sure to check it out on YouTube and read the original poster’s observations in the description.