2009 was a bittersweet year for Lindy Hop and its assorted and associated dances. It marked the passing the person that most embodied the spirit of the dance, Frankie Manning. However, I think he would have been proud of the kind of dancing that he inspired throughout the world.
I just want to highlight some of my favorite performances from this year. I’m going to break this up into several parts starting with coupled routines, then teams, unchoreographed dances, and finally performances in other related dances.
There’s no specific criteria for these picks. Just a some of my favorites, stuff that resonated with me for some reason or another.
Karen Turman & Andrew Thigpen at Lindy Focus.
Technically from 2008, but right before the New Year. This performance was so awesome that they got asked to do it all over the place in 2009. Brilliantly funny, combined with great dancing. I like this clip especially because of the reactions of the judges especially Nina Gilkenson and Juan Villafane reflecting everyone’s complete surprise and delight in seeing this the first time. Click here to get a better view of their facial expressions from a performance from Lindyfest in Houston.
Bethany Powell & Stefan Durham at The Frankie Manning 95th Birthday Festival
Their inspired ILHC routine in 2008 led them to be the only dancers to perform as a couple for Frankie95. Everyone else was selected as part of a team, and eventually other couples performed at the last minute, but their unique style and energy was one of the things that we wanted to highlight as part of the biggest event in Lindy Hop history. It looks fun and loose, but I know they took every opportunity that weekend before they performed to rehearse and get it just right.
Sarah Breck & Andrew Hsi at Camp Hollywood
This is one of those routines that I had to watch over and over again after the first time I saw it. Andrew’s choice of movement here is especially mesmerizing. When I showed this clip to Skye Humphries, he noted how eccentric it looked without being contrived. This is how to do something different while still paying homage to everything that came before.
Frida Segerdahl & Skye Humphries at the International Lindy Hop Championships
I already detailed the story behind this routine in one of my ILHC updates from that weekend. At first glance, it seems like an easy song to dance to, since most couples prefer something uptempo for their competition pieces. Here, I think it allows them to put a little extra stank into their dancing.
Laura Glaess & Mike Roberts at the International Lindy Hop Championships
I really enjoyed this performance and wished that it had placed better, but there was some stiff competition in that division. Lots of challenging sequences that looked deceptively simple in execution, but more importantly, performed with a free and easiness that didn’t try to draw too much attention to that. I’m big fan of dancing in dance performances.
Juan Villafane & Sharon Davis at the Provence Swing Festival
Another fun and loose looking coupled performance that capitalizes on their individual strengths as solo dancers.