WCS Futureshock

Tatiana Mollman and Jordan Frisbee unveiled their new routine at the USA Grand Nationals over Memorial Day weekend, and now their performance from the Liberty Swing Dance Championships a few weeks ago has been circulating the webs.  I swear, given their popularity, I think they could build a whole dance event just around that and make a killing.  It would be like Lebron’s “Decision” except with more integrity.

Interestingly enough, when I saw this the first time, I thought there was something odd, which I could only put my finger on when I saw it again.

This is a good piece except for the parts where they’re swing dancing.

Seriously, every time they do a whip or a pass by, even a triple step, it takes me out of it.   They set up with this edgy mood with  angry movements. . .  and then they’re swing dancing. . . then they’re not and it’s cool again . . . and then . . .

It makes me wonder what they could choreograph without being confined by the requirements of a swing competition.

I heard Sylvia Sykes once describe the original purpose between “Classic” and “Showcase” divisions when they were first created for West Coast Swing events.  Lifts and aerials are the obvious difference that everyone knows, but Classic is supposed to be “the very best social dance you can imagine yourself having” and Showcase is reserved for performance art, which is why a lower percentage of WCS is required for those routines.

Over time, the dynamic in the WCS community has made the Classic division “The Show” at all of their events.  Showcase is just the place where other dancers get a shot a snagging a “champion” title when Benji Schwimmer isn’t around.

Even without aerials, theoretically Jordan & Tatiana’s routine should be in the Showcase division.  Given that they placed 2nd at Liberty Swing, it’s possible that some of the judges may have been thinking the same thing.  Although if you can dig up video of Torri Smith & Brennar Gorree’s performance, you’d see how tough a decision that was.

Still, you gotta wonder if that 2nd place might be a message.  Then again, a few years ago they tried penalizing all couples for using non blues based music.  It knocked Tatiana & Jordan out of first place at the US Open that year.  They came back to win the next year with the exact same routine.  I guess we know who won that argument.

Jordan & Tatiana linked to a streaming video of the entire Liberty Swing Classic & Pro Classic divisions on their Facebook page.  From an outsider’s perspective like mine, even though they came in 2nd, it seems like they’re operating in their own world right now compared to what everyone else is doing.

They’ve won everything at least 10 times now.  It’ll be interesting to see if 2nd place makes them adjust, or if they just don’t care.  They’re by far the most popular WCS couple right now and probably for years to come, so it won’t affect how much they get hired.  They can pretty much write their own checks at this point.  The only question left is how far they want to run with that.

How would that affect the rest of the WCS community?  Will people follow suit, or will they give up even trying because Tatiana & Jordan are too hard to catch or even emulate?


  1. Kenny said,

    July 15, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Were you referencing their “How To Save A Life” routine? While that is around the same time the US Open added someone to judge swing content, J&T did have a serious fault occur on a large trick.

    • Jerry said,

      July 15, 2010 at 12:10 pm

      Was it really that serious? I remember watching those two videos side by side after they performed it the second time. I did notice the fault but it looked pretty minor. At least not serious enough to warrant getting dropped to third place. Maybe that’s just me.

      I linked both routines along with the discussion at the time on usenet in my 2009 US Open review.

  2. Kenny said,

    July 15, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    I thought it was more pronounced watching from the DVD contrasted with youtube. Anyway, thanks for posting this. I’ve been waiting for their next routine to arrive.

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