ILHC 2011: The Secret of The Plot

I have a soft spot for Naomi. Peter is ok. But one of the things that I’ve always appreciated about Naomi is the sense of class she brings to her dancing. It’s a big reason why I’ve come to believe that Lindy Hop can be used to legitimately express a much wider array of emotions than what most people typically associate with it (Raw, Bad ass, silliness, etc.)  Her Frenesi routine is still one of my favorites.

I like this recent ILHC performance because 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 it-if that makes sense.

Part of this particular story is that it’s been over a decade in the making. A lot has changed over the years. Some of which I miss and some not so much. While I generally like the musical direction of our scene, I do wish that not all of the Groove era stuff was tossed away. There’s some quality stuff there, especially from the album where they get this version of “I Could Write a Book.” which is still one of my favorite cd’s from the that time. There’s also a great version of “I Can’t Give you Anything But Love” on it.

It was interesting to hear Naomi describe the way she tried to choreograph this piece now that she’s singing as much as she dances professionally. Sarah Vaughn is a tough act to follow vocally, and Naomi has a respect awe for the way Vaughn can perform Cirque du Soleil-like acrobatics with her voice. But I like how she and Peter translated it into this pleasant duet piece.

The Groove Era gets a bad rap for a lot of poor dancing, which was in abundance back then, but there were still some gems. I feel like this performance is an homage to some of those ideas like this one that Peter did with Janice Wilson about 10 years ago.

The other part of the story is how long some people in this scene have known each other. You just never know how things will turn out.


  1. Alex Dupler said,

    September 6, 2011 at 5:14 am

    ILHC 2011 the secret of the plot: we all love lindy hop a lot.
    clever, probably not, but i liked it. anyway, I knew you’d love this routine. Seeing how some of the movements in the routine draw on such great history is really cool, and I think it adds something for me.
    I wasn’t going to post any sort of defense of my comment on the last post, because I try to arguing on the internet these days, but reading this post made me think about why I was really impressed by this routine, and disappointed by skye and frida’s, even though I thought the quality of their dancing was by far the best.
    I want to try to make a distinction between a routine that “tells a story”, and a routine that tries to say something. I think that routines that try to tell stories are pretty self explanatory and there are lots of good examples (as a Seattlite, I’ll use Rainer Rhythm’s routine from this year as an example
    However, routines that try to make a statement are something else. Something like Mad Dog, or Dargoff and Brittany from ILHC 2001 does that for me. No story, just a bunch of people getting together and saying this is what lindy hop means to mean. Not the only statement you can make, but a common one no doubt. These are often my favorite routines, and I think yours as well Jerry. To me, these are the routines that transcend the quality, or originality of the dancing. The statement can be as simple as Rock Steps are cool (or swingouts, or neo-swing, or the mess-around), or complex, like here are 40 of the things that inspire me the most in lindy hop. Generally in these routines, I find out that the performers had some genuine connection with the idea behind the routine, whatever it may be. not just a collection of cool moves, or their current class repertoire to a favorite song (though i suppose that could be a meaningful connection as well).
    So I guess what I’m trying to say is that lately, when I see Skye and Frida’s choreographed routines I think to myself “Man, I wish I had technique like that”, and when I see them social dance I also think “Man, I wish I could improvise like that”. But I less often think to myself that I wish I could create something that innovative with their vocabulary, that I wish I could come up with non-social ideas like them. Other routines do that for me, (and the one above).
    On the other hand, there is the distinct possibility that they are just so good that the subtlety and brilliance of this routine as disctinct from last year, or berne is lost on me. That doesn’t strike me as good choreography though.

  2. Jerry said,

    September 6, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    I don’t know dude. I think you might have too many expectations from Skye & Frida. I like reading into performances as much as the next guy, but what they’re doing is really the Occam’s Razor of dancing. Just enjoy the ride.

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