AIR pt. 14: The Plot Twist

This is part of a paper I wrote entitled “Artistry In Rhythm: Dialogue Through Dance in the Lindy Hop community.”  Previous and future posts can be found by searching my blog for the category “Artistry In Rhythm”

Two years ago, I compiled a list of my favorite routines from The American Lindy Hop Championships in response to an open request by that event’s promoter. As I was making the list, I discovered that I found it harder and harder to come up with stand out moments as time went on.  It wasn’t because the dancing was bad—in fact it was much better technically as years pass—but very little stood out creatively in the way Minnies’ Moochers, Jenn Salvadori & Justin Zillman, or Mad Dog did during their times.

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Random Links & Videos: History Lesson Edition

Four weeks after ULHS and still no word on official results.  Even ALHC put up their results a week after it ended.

I still have unofficial results in my “ULHS 2009 Round Up” post, and at least lots of people are talking about ULHS online. I also just added another blog to that post from another attendee.  <Me>

Just in case ALHC was feeling neglected, someone who attended that event finally posted a review to prove that someone went.  The omnipresent and always opinionated Allen Hall chimes in with the latest installment of his  <News and Views> Read the rest of this entry »

ALHC Results & Other Contest Notes

Many people will be suprised to discover that The American Lindy Hop Championships took place last weekend.  In case the suspense was killing you, results are online.
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ULHS 2009: More Impressions From Not That Much Closer

Just a few more thoughts on the ULHS footage that’s currently online. Read the rest of this entry »

AIR pt. 9: NADC Fallout

This is part of a paper I wrote entitled “Artistry In Rhythm: Dialogue Through Dance in the Lindy Hop community.”  Previous and future posts can be found by searching my blog for the category “Artistry In Rhythm”

I’d also like to thank Paul Roth for his help this week in getting up the ALHC clip below.

2001 was a pivotal year.  Sensing the various trends I have outlined, many instructors and dancers were beginning to make serious efforts to actively influence the overall dance style of the community.

Ryan Francois and Jenny Thomas returned to active teaching after their long hiatus from the community for their run on the Broadway musical “Swing!”  In the aftermath of the 1999 WLHC debate Ryan talked of forming a “united front” to address the issues that came up in that original debate[1].  Nothing formal ever happened after that, but he was clearly dismayed at the state of dancing when he returned in 2001 and was not shy about making his thoughts known.[2]

He and Jenny along with Steven Mitchell and Swedish dance teachers such as Kenneth and Helena Norbelie, actively began re-emphasizing Charleston movements and faster dancing.

Southern California dancers such as Peter Loggins, Jenn Salvadori, Justin Zillman, Rueben Brown, and their supporters made more pointed and sometimes antagonistic arguments about what was and was not Lindy Hop through their posts in various online discussions.

On the dance floor, in late 2001, Skye Humphreys & Ramona Staffeld performed a routine to Glen Miller’s “Jeep Jockey Jump” at that year’s ALHC in an early attempt to dispel their growing reputations as slow groove dancers.

Even though they brought the crowd to its feet with the weekend’s most energetic Lindy Hop routine, their impact was probably mitigated by the fact that they were disqualified on a time technicality. The routine was short by a few seconds of the minimum time required.  The song was long enough, but the actual routine was not since it started a few seconds in to the song.[3] Despite that, they did inspire a number of dancers to begin re-examining their approach to the dance.

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AIR pt. 8: Competition Concerns

I see a lot of people checking the blog in the wake of ILHC this past weekend.  I’m still in the process of recovering myself, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to post the next part of  my already completed paper entitled “Artistry In Rhythm: Dialogue Through Dance in the Lindy Hop community.”   I think it’s very apropos since it digs into the state of Lindy competitions earlier this decade.  Previous and future posts can be found by searching my blog for the category “Artistry In Rhythm” ILHC coverage will continue later this week.

“[I]t is obvious that artists reflect their times and backgrounds and their art works are oftentimes more eloquent than any politician’s speech or sociological study.”[1] Marco Pignataro

Also at the ALHC 2000, Ben Furnas and Lucy Dunne performed one of the competition’s most infamous routines where they lampooned the general state of competitions in both the Lindy Hop and West Coast Swing worlds.

They start out by dancing to Eva Cassidy’s version of “Wade In The Water,” which by 2000 was already hopelessly overplayed in both dance communities.  They move with dead pan expressions on their faces as they exaggeratedly accentuate the numerous musical breaks that make the song so popular.  Before long, they stop the music with one of the more cliché competition tropes: the abrupt costume change from flashy to more flashy.  Clad in sparkly sequined clothes and a change in facial expressions, the song shifts to “Play That Funky Music, White Boy” before their performance is interrupted by a disembodied voice admonishing them for their insufficient “Lindy Content.”  They cheerfully ignore it and continue their skewering of the WCS competition style until the voice stops them again, this time threatening them with disqualification.  Feigning concern, they break into a Lindy Hop routine to “Mildred, Why Don’t You Behave” by the Bill Elliot Swing Orchestra, and proceed to go through all the Lindy Hop competition clichés complete with endless spins, swivels all around, and a generous helping of rock steps.

Although they got a huge reaction from the crowd, future competitors missed the joke.  As it turned out, the routine was as much a parody as it was a harbinger of things to come.

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