ILHC 2010 Update

I met with ILHC co-director Tena Morales a couple of weeks ago who was in town too nail down some details for this rapidly approaching event.  Just being in the hotel with the rest of the DC based ILHC staff was enough to get me psyched for August.

I visited the hotel for the first time a couple of months ago and this place is so nice that I had to call Tena to make sure I was in the right place.  This place is swanky.  From the artsy clock in the foyer to the pimp board room where we met.  Honestly, it almost feels a little too nice for a Lindy Hop event, but never let it be said that we don’t at least try to class up the proceedings.

We got a pretty good break by getting the rooms to be the same price as the old hotel.  Part of that comes from having an event in DC in August which is a relatively dead period for tourism in the area.  A lot of people don’t want to brave the heat and humidity, but that won’t matter to ILHC attendees since they’ll be chilln’ inside most of the weekend.

It’s a great location too, just a couple of metro stops from National Aiport and just a 5 minute walk from the King Street Metro Station in Old Town Alexandria.  There are plenty of places to eat in the area and even a Whole Foods grocery is just three blocks away.

It’s hard to fiddle around too much with an event like this.  It’s pretty straight forward. People dance, listen to great music and get inspired. We adjust some things here and there to make every thing run smoother than the last event, but for the most part you leave room for the dancers to dance.

If you’ve been keeping up with our announcements, you know that we did add a new feature called LED Talks.  Based on the wildly popular TED Talks, the concept is pretty straight forward.  Get smart and creative people to talk about smart and creative things.

ILHC is one of the few events that gets most of the leaders of our scene together under one roof.  We thought it would be a great idea to take advantage of that.  Plus ILHC draws a very diverse array of dancers of varying skill levels.  Quite a few of them don’t really have an interest in taking workshops, but would still like something to do during the day.  I think this will fit the bill.  Check out what we have lined up so far:

(Topics subject to change, especially the last one)

We also have Nick Williams, Carla Heiney, Valerie Salstrom, Andrew Thigpen, Mark Kihara, Hilary Alexander tentatively committed to presenting topics.

That’s a pretty talented line up for any event, and that’s only just part of the staff.  That’s not including all the talented dancers coming to compete.  I hear we already have as many teams registered as we did last year including some from Europe.

Not registered yet?  What are you waiting for?  Let’s Get It!


  1. Kevin said,

    June 18, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    I’m excited

  2. DVS said,

    June 22, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    Mr. Jerry. While my hours of dance per week have gone down quite a bit, I’m still overly excited about ILHC this year. Maybe it’s because I don’t have to shell out a couple hundred dollars for a flight somewhere and get to sleep in my own bed. Either way, I’m so ready for ILHC.

    My one problem with this event is that you all don’t offer spectator passes. Why? The fact is, ILHC almost always falls around my birthday. My family likes to come into town. My friends want to see us dance. Many think the “International Lindy Hop Championships” might be a pretty sweet thing to take in, even if they’ve never danced a lick in their lives. And yet, I keep having to turn them away because the event doesn’t offer some type of spectator pass. To be fair, who would spend over $100 to come to this event just to watch a friend compete.

    The point is, ILHC is missing out on an opportunity to connect with friends and family of dancers. This is our premier event which – as you say – brings together the best and brightest in dance. Why wouldn’t we want to showcase that to folks who have never danced or even seen it live.

    I know, i know, we don’t have the space to have 2000 fans watching. Fair enough. But can’t an exception be made to friends and family of dancers who hold weekend passes? My parents would love to come. My girlfriend would love to come. I have friends that would as well. We might just attract a ton of new dancers to the scene if they see and are inspired by what we all know ILHC will be.

    • Tena Morales said,

      June 23, 2010 at 1:00 am

      Hi DVS,
      Really glad you are excited about ILHC. Me too! Nice job of explaining Jerry! It really is a matter of economics. Right now, everyone must share the expense of the event across everyone attending, otherwise we would never make it. If we offered a spectators pass, how many dancers do you think would buy the pass and dance anyway? There is no way to effectively police that situation. I love Lindy Hoppers with all my heart, it is why I do what I do. But I also know Lindy Hoppers and they will try to get away with anything they can! =) I do understand though as we have a lot of people who are in college or just starting out and money is tight.

      As we grow and gain more competitors(that purchase weekend passes) and more general attendees, we will be able to offer spectator passes. We just aren’t there right now. We would probably need about 1500+ attendees to make that happen. But it is my ardent goal that we will one day.

      Tena Morales

  3. Jerry said,

    June 22, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    The simple fact is that once everyone is inside of the ballroom, the non dancers are in the event just like the dancers are and they’re enjoying everything that the dancers can enjoy as well. The people who dance just take up more space in between the competitions.

    One day when the event is big enough to be in the Verizon Center we will designate certain sections to be spectators only and pay several dozen security guards to check everyone’s passes going in and out of that area.

    Right now, we just don’t have that kind of capacity even if we could offer spectator passes.

    An evening pass at ILHC (last year Saturday night only was $75) gets you into the ballroom for up to 9 hours where you will listen to a live band plus the DJ’s we can hire, and watch the best dancers in the world in a couple hours of performances and non stop social dance for your entertainment .

    Compare the following:
    General admission to a dance performance at Dance Place this weekend which will last about an hour and a half=$22
    Spend the night watching 3 movies at Gallery Place at $10 each=a little over $30 without buying any popcorn.
    An evening pass into the Ohio Star Ball, one of the premiere ballroom comps in the country. That’s 4.5 hours of competitions with no social dancing and no live music=$60.
    Attend a show of Sophisticated Ladies at the Lincoln theater on U st., which is 2 hours including a 15 minute intermission=$69

    What’s a fair price for a non-dancer who is still taking up space in a ballroom with a finite capacity? Even if that person just sits there, they are still taking up a chair that would probably be more useful to someone who just came off the floor dancing to “Jumpin at the Woodside.”

    Should the people at the door know the difference between a non dancer and someone like Rev. Arnold? What about someone who just finished a beginner series but is too intimidated to dance? What if they’re a blues dancer or a west coast swing dancer that don’t do Lindy Hop? Let’s say you show up to the event, but for whatever reason don’t do any dancing and just hang out. Does that qualify you for a lower rate?

    Put it another way: What if I show up to a nightclub in DC? Will they let me in at a cheaper price if I tell them I don’t drink and don’t dance or even like to any of the music they play? If I show up to a ballet at the Kennedy Center do I get a discount if I turn my chair around, ignore the dancing and just listen to the music?

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