ILHC 2011: Frida & Skye Déjà Vu

I was going to post this on my Facebook page until I just decided that it was long enough to warrant it’s own blog post. I had all these grand plans for a post explaining the hiatus, but working on it is what’s keeping me from posting anything else, so let’s just pretend like I’ve been posting all along.

I already posted this video on my page, but I know what you’re wondering.

When I asked Skye if he was doing anything over ILHC weekend, he said he was hoping to, but didn’t have anything prepared.  This was last Thursday. Classic division was on Friday, which was the same night that Frida was flying in.

It was still touch and go for a bit as it wasn’t completely certain that Frida would make it in time ahead of all the cancellations from the incoming hurricane. As it was, she flew in much later than she was originally scheduled.

They didn’t start completely from scratch. They’ve been grooving on the song for the better part of a year, and cannibalized material they’ve been teaching in classes over the same amount of time.

We’ve been making fun of Skye since because he’s seems to have embraced an approach to choreography that resembles an slacker undergrad the night before finals rather than that of a professional dancer. Although, if you knew him, you’d know he more readily identifies with the former than the latter. You can’t blame Frida for this because her work with the Harlem Hot Shots proves that she has her stuff together. Although that professionalism is probably the reason why they can get away with so little preparation.

Last night at dinner, Andy Reid joked that before the Invitational J&J, it was announced to the competitors that they were not going to be able to draw a person that they have done a choreographed routine with within the last few years. Andy wryly observed that that wouldn’t necessarily disqualify Frida and Skye dancing with each other.

In his defense, Skye told me that he thinks that there is a danger in over preparing a dance to a point where it looks too artificial. However, as far as I know, I don’t think he’s had that kind of first hand experience.

Check out the rest of the Classic Classic division on this site. And if you’re If you’re good, I’ll  more ILHC geekiness soon.


  1. Hannah said,

    August 31, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    I loved seeing them use moves they taught us in classes at Camp Jitterbug in such a lovely dance! I also love these inside insights. Thanks for sharing, sir.

  2. Haggai Nuchi said,

    August 31, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    “Although that professionalism is probably the reason why they can get away with so little preparation.”

    This. To say that they ‘only’ spent a day preparing is to ignore the fact that they spent years getting to where they are now. Maybe they spent just a day preparing that particular sequence of movements, but they’ve been spending countless hours becoming who they are.

  3. Alex Dupler said,

    August 31, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    you know I thought about saying this earlier, but now that you’ve given me another chance…
    I was sort of disappointed by the routine. Even though it was one of my favorite, and the one i’ll probably re-watch the most, It wasn’t what I was hoping for. By that I mean that what I usually hope for in ILHC stuff is new ideas, new routines, new inspiration. So while I love love love skye and frida’s dancing, this routine didn’t capture anything new from them for me. the social demo from leapin’ lindy in berne from earlier in the year,, which uncoincidentally is to the same song did that for me and captured what skye & frida lindy hop means. Especially the killer tango sequence. but this time it just felt like more of the same, a mash up of berne and previous routines.
    I don’t know maybe I’m the only one that feels like this.

    • Jerry said,

      August 31, 2011 at 10:55 pm

      I’m a big proponent of the idea of competitions like ILHC as forums of ideas, but without putting too many words into Skye and Frida’s mouths, I think they would disagree in the sense that all those ideas have to be shiny and new. It’s something we’ve been talking a lot over the past couple of years; the “So You Think You Can Dance”-ification of Lindy Hop. “Look at our Lines!” “Check out the story we’re telling with our choreography!” Although it’s not nearly as bad as it is in West Coast Swing these days, but before it gets there in Lindy Hop, I think Skye & Frida are making a point that partner dancing doesn’t have to be super fancy or complicated to be inspiring or just enjoyable.

  4. Alex Dupler said,

    September 1, 2011 at 3:39 am

    You are probably right, and I think as I go forward I’ll probably change my mind, but I know when i first saw it, I struggled to get excited about it. maybe I just heard the song too many times in herrang (also, the first bit of the routine is pretty similar to the one they taught to one of the comp & show groups).

  5. Tracy said,

    September 1, 2011 at 7:42 am

    I agree with Jerry. What makes Skye and Frida so amazing to me is never the “fanciness” of their moves. It’s the absolute joy they communicate through movement. Frida is an expert at dancing like she’s out of control, but you can’t pull off what she does without massive amounts of control. And Skye not only know how to harness Frida, but he accentuates everything she does by adding his own flair at just the right time. They aren’t trying to wow with trickery, they are expressing the music through movement, and that, to me, is what Lindy Hop is all about. That’s why, 8 years after my first swingout, the routines that still inspire me to this day are theirs. I might not be very excited and involved in Lindy now-a-days, but I always feel “rookie giddyness” when I watch Skye and Frida dance, they just represent everything I love about Lindy Hop.

  6. Cisco said,

    September 2, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    I fully agree with Alex Dupler. I’m a huge fan of Skye and frida (she’s just amazing on that routine), and I especially like the simplicity and the mood of their routine. But this one is a bit disappointing (to me). I think it’s mainly due to the fact they already used this song in Bern, and the video have already been watch a lot. So from the very first notes, there is a kind of “again?” feeling ; it lacks the good surprise of discovering the song with the routine.
    They’re amazing, the song is great, but it miss a bit of surprise to me.

    But them wining the Strictly couldn’t make me happier! It’s cool that you it’s still possible to win just dancing, without any aerials.

  7. September 6, 2011 at 12:12 am

    […] it’s a simple yet very personal yet story. I know I took a shot at dance story telling in the comments section of the last post, but I’m not completely against it. I just don’t like being reminded of it while you’re doing […]

  8. September 16, 2011 at 1:12 am

    […] friend mentioned that she was tired of seeing routines that Skye and Frida slapped together at the last minute … again.  Especially when those routines win.  And thus began a long conversation about our […]

  9. dogpossum said,

    September 18, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    I’m not sure I’d read this routine as evidence of a lack of preparation. These guys are professional dancers, whose ability is far beyond an awful lot of people teaching and competing. They prepare, but in a different way. I like it that the performance doesn’t have an ‘overly scripted’ feel to it; the movements are actually lead and followed. I’m seeing _real_ dancing. Or at least I’m seeing a phenomenally good performance of ‘real dancing’. Either way, that’s what it’s about for me.

  10. Davis said,

    December 7, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    “he’s seems to have embraced an approach to choreography that resembles an slacker undergrad the night before finals rather than that of a professional dancer. Although, if you knew him, you’d know he more readily identifies with the former than the latter.”

    I am confused. Is Skye a self-identified slacker or is he not? Maybe ‘former’ and ‘latter’ should be swapped or ‘Although’ should be replaced with ‘Indeed’.

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