Video Dance Highs of 2012

This is the big list. You’ve already seen highlights in music, blogs, and news. I broke off a separate post for two over achievers last week, and I’ll do two more for my personal favorites before the holidays end. I tried to cull this list down to a reasonable level. It’s still almost 100 videos, but I decided that that would be a shame to cut it down any more since there was a lot of good stuff this year. It’s already hard to choose highlights from the 64 routines, 63 separate couple spotlights, and five jam style contests at this year’s International Lindy Hop Championships, and I already mentioned how I favorited about 1000 Lindy Hop related videos on YouTube this year alone. Not making matters easier is how Facebook and YouTube both conspired to make the way I organized last year’s highlights impossible this time around.

This post is a combination of popular videos on YouTube, videos that generated a lot of chatter or “likes” on Facebook, or some other performances I enjoyed and thought were overlooked. As much as I’d like to say something about all of them, there is a lot of them. Besides, I think most of them can speak for themselves.

Couple performance

ILHC 2012 – Showcase – Thomas Blacharz & Annie Trudeau

This is what I’m talking about in terms of quality and variety in choreographed performances this year. Annie and Tommy had a great performance, but also important to note that Annie is undefeated in the entire existence of the ILHC Showcase division, and she’s done it with two separate partners. That’s pretty impressive especially considering how different this routine was compared to her previous efforts with Max. That’s a good example of how two dancers can combine to create something they can’t replicate with other people as you can see the different things Max is doing with separate partners. I also thought Heechang Jang & Taeyeon Kim were super fun in a crazy way. Then there’s Brittany & Dargoff’s routine. I’m usually ambivalent about “skit” performances because they’re usually too broad, but they make this one work.

I’m also going to spotlight the ILHC Juniors because that was a genuinely fun division over all.


Swing Crash Festival 2012 instructors

The Swing Crash jam is a lot of fun with casual solo and partnered stuff by some of the best dancers that Europe has to offer. The other videos are by the usual suspects except for Egor Rudometkin and Larisa Vivas Kurbatova. It’s a simple lesson demo, but it caught my eye, maybe because of its simplicity and how repeated swingouts sooth my soul.

Competition Jams

Montreal Swing Riot 2012 – Jack and Jill Finals

I decided not to go the obvious path of picking something from the big competitions although the music and the dancing were damn hot at ILHC and ULHS. I especially like the way ULHS has their prelims to the Showdown final in a public space with live bands. I really liked the vibe coming from the 2012Montreal Swing Riot Jack and Jill Finals with the fun casual pace set by Gordon Webster matched by the dancers.

Team performance

ILHC 2012 – Team – Cement Mix-A-Lot

If you had told me that any one of half the teams at ILHC came in first, I would not have blinked. Teams were tight this year all around the world and all ages; from the young guns from the Midwest to southern California to the multiple generations of the Hot Shots running with Jo & Kevin in Greece.  The Hoppers’ Dance Studio performance at Harlem 2012 is a standout because they chose to perform to a slower song without resorting to the tired trope of changing gears midway, but they still maintain energy throughout. That didn’t stop Spain, Korea, and Australia from bringing the heat. Back at ILHC, I loved the way Seattle played with rhythm and Albuquerque played with mood. Montreal rocked it at ULHS to live music while the instructors at the Rock That Swing Festival just rocked it. The great thing about team performances is the way that they can bring together a lot of people. The 920 Special and Wednesday Night Hop had a great exchange when the former invited the latter to have a friendly inter-venue team battle in the spring.

Solo Dance

The Snowball 2011 – Performances – Two Cousins

Remy Kouakou Kouame and Ryan Francois kicked off this year’s solo dance highlights by reprising their Two Cousins performance with a twist. The Jazz Roots Dance Festival demo is a nice contrast to the stupidly hot contests at ILHC and ULHS. There were also some clever performances involving props in Southern California and Norway. Old School Harlem Hot Shot Daniel Heedman kills it every time, but this list is gets major representation from the ladies on both sides of the Atlantic, especially Sara Deckard who nails her performance at another Paris event.

Blues/Slow Dance

Lone Star Championships 2012 – Strictly Blues Finals

I did an interview with Julie Brown and Shawn Hershey (not online yet) where I worked out that I’m a bigger fan of slow dancing than I am of blues dancing. It looks like much of the audience of Wandering & Pondering agrees with that sentiment. There will be no apologies made for that here in this space. That being said, I’m a big admirer of Julie and Shawn’s dancing. Then there’s Evita Arce who exists on a plane unto herself that only gets amplified when Jeramie Anderson is in the house with her. The Lone Star Championships final was a great combination of great dancing to hot live music.


RTSF 2012 Instructors Jam

 In another yet to be posted episode of A Word on Swing, I discussed balboa with Bobby White and I mentioned some of the reasons why it doesn’t hold my attention as much. That’s probably why I find the Red Square concept so compelling. The instructors at Rock That Swing Festival had a lot of fun with it and it got reprised at the Munich Balboa and Shag Weekend. Then there is Kelly & Mickey who are two of the more entertaining dancers of any genre. Fast, slow or even metal, they got it. If they gave out MVP awards in Balboa, my vote would go to them every time.


Part 7 of 13: “Dueling Pianists” – (Nathan & Dorry)

Finally, we see some great examples of Lindy Hoppers showing off their other talents. In order to top last year’s performance, I hear that Nathan and Dorry are going to reprise the piano playing but with Nathan also tapping while Dorry simultaneously removing his liver through an orifice to be determined at random the night of the performance.

Stay tuned for the thrilling conclusion of the 2012 Lindy Hop round up.


  1. December 18, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    My favorite video of the year is not here… Todd and Ramon’s Pro Classic from ILHC. What gives, Jerry?

    • Jerry said,

      December 18, 2012 at 2:58 pm

      Check back here in about 12 hours.

  2. Alain Wong said,

    December 18, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Thanks Jerry for highlighting Montreal Swing Riot. It was our first edition this year, and we’re proud of what we were able to accomplish in terms of setting the tone and vibe, and also showcasing Montreal Lindy Hoppers 🙂

  3. December 19, 2012 at 7:48 am

    […] video off of the Wandering & Pondering FB page. It also happens to be one of my favorites of this year. Not long after that, Ramona contacted me to continue with her series here on this blog, but rather […]

  4. December 20, 2012 at 2:54 am

    […] this year that I had to spread them out over several posts, (music, news, blogs, video notes, videos, videos and one more) but this last one is reserved my personal favorites and some random […]

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