Guest Post: The Evolution of “The Evolution of Lindy Hop” Pt. 2

More goodness from Karen Turman.  Thanks to Andrew Thigpen for correcting the title of the last post.  Bastard.  Read the rest of this series by clicking here.

Once all of us in Minnesota started really getting into Lindy Hop in 1999, Mike would mail-order videos of Camp Hollywood 1998, Can’t Top the Lindy Hop, Buck Privates, Groovie Movie and Hellzapoppin’ and we would all go over to his and Amy’s apartment (nicknamed the “Swing Pad”) and watch footage until our faces were numb.   The “Can’t Top” video had a special significance for me—it was the first time any of us had seen Frankie Manning, Steven Mitchell, Ryan Francois, Sylvia Sykes, Sing Lim, and Ron from London.

And my favorite part was and always will be the Rhythm Hot Shots performing “Jumping at the Woodside”—Finally seeing the routine in its entirety with all of the Hotshots was so inspirational.  That routine still looks good by today’s standards.  We chose to reference the California routine in this routine because it is part of every lindy hopper’s arsenal of routines choreographed by Frankie, right along with the shim sham.

Mike also ordered ALHC 1998 footage, and we would wear down the tape watching Erik Robson and Sylvia Skylar’s “Washerwoman” routine.  At that point, we were all becoming aware of the “Hollywood vs Savoy” issue and it was really cool to see such a prime example of it.  They were just so smooth and fast, yet effortless.

Of course, Hellzapoppin was incredible, and I still can’t get over it even today.  I remember watching it in Montpellier, France that year with some French lindy hoppers and during Frankie’s solo when Ann Johnson kicks him and he goes flying, a French guy turned to me in broken English and said “HA!  It’s a kick in the MULE!”  A little lost in translation, but he got the point.  Andrew and I talked about doing the Al Minn’s solo for our quote, since the only aerial we could do at that point was the pancake, but Andrew insisted that we had to do Frankie.  I’m glad we did.  We worked with Nick Williams, Max and Annie, and Kim and Dave to get the Frankie and the snatch down for this.

Buck Privates was a big deal for us follows back in the day—Jewel McGowan’s swivels were just so sexy.   Mike and Amy did a great break down of this clip back in their Hollywood style phase.

This part was probably the most challenging for Andrew and me—it was just so hard to get anywhere close to Dean and Jewel’s swingouts and posturing.  Bobby White and Kate Hedin really helped us with this clip, and I’d like to give a special shout out to Stephen Jean for coaching me on the swivels 🙂

And Groovie Movie was such a riot—I never could get the adorable Jean Veloz’s patented head nod back in the day, but I had many awkward swingouts trying.

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