Weekly Video Review: Crazy Rhythm Challenge 2010

Those crazy French put on the Crazy Rhythm Challenge in Toulouse France  a couple of weekends ago.  Lot’s of good stuff posted by Teedee Hop.    You can find more videos over on their YouTube page here.

Alf & Eli

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Retro Video Review: Hop The Millennium

In a previous post I said that I’d put up a few clips from a tape of Hop the Millennium but then decided that the whole thing was too good and uploaded the whole thing.  The event took place over New Year’s 1999/2000 in Mexico City Ensenada, Mexico of all places.

There’s a lot of dancing goodness featuring the Rhythm Hot Shots which is the team that begat The Harlem Hot Shots.  Southern California represents with a piece by Rusty Frank & Peter Flahiff and another by Peter Loggins & Lisa Ferguson.  Keep an eye out for a pimpin performance by the father and son team of “Moke & Poke” a.k.a. Chazz Young and Frankie Manning.

Original footage courtesy of Andy Reid.

The Rhythm Hot Shots “Three Chefs”

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Jazz Era Voices Goes Live and Needs Your Input

A couple of months ago I posted about Kelly Porter’s oral history archive called Jazz Era Voices, and today I got word via Facebook that it is now live.

As far as the Lindy Hop community is concerned, I think this is one of the most important projects out there  along with The Lindy Hoppers Fund.

Here’s her Facebook note

An Open letter to Dance Community Leaders: help preserve the oral history of our dances.

Greetings Friends, Colleagues and Mentors,

By now some of you may have heard a few bits and pieces about the Voices of the Jazz Era Ballroom Project. Simply put, VJEB is a web-based public oral history initiative devoted to recording and passing on the memory of dance and music in the jazz era through the lives and words of everyday people. Much of what we know about the dances we love has come from performers and celebrities—the “important people”— and yet there is perhaps an even richer story to be told by those who, like my own grandparents and probably many of yours, just went out and danced, listened, lived. This rich social history, the “people’s history,” of dance is sadly slipping away as people with first-hand memories of it grow older and leave us. Certainly nothing could have made that more apparent than the recent passing of Frankie Manning. With that sad event I suddenly realized that if the dances we love survive another 80 or 90 years, we may be the last generation which has the privilege of knowing the people who comprised the first. I have decided to use my background in new media and oral history, along with the considerable support of some amazing scholars helping with my thesis at the University of Washington, to create a new means for us to preserve and share the stories of the jazz era ballroom.

This project supposes something very simple and very big: that a community which spans the globe can come together through the power of technology to preserve the history and stories of its elders. To do that, I need community leaders like you to participate and spread the word about this project. I want you talk, e-mail, blog, tweet, post and write about it to your peers and students wherever you go, because people look up to you. The ask is simple, I want people to talk to their parents, grandparents, neighbors and loved ones who have first-hand memories of dancing and music in the 1920’s-1950’s.

The Voices of the Jazz Era Ballroom website (www.jazzeravoices.org) is a permanent archive where people can upload transcripts, digital video and audio files of interviews as well as images from loved ones who remember the jazz era. The website is also a resource which will walk people through the process of conducting a good interview and uploading content to the standards that will allow the collection to be a durable record for both scholars and the public. Already there are example oral history interviews live on the site which I conducted with my own grandmothers and others close to me, as well as more photos than I ever imagined they had—it was such a joy to listen to these people and sift through their family archives. Norma Miller has thrown her weight behind the project and an interview with her will be up shortly. You can contribute by talking to a relative or friend who remembers music and dance in the jazz era, flipping through their photo albums, making them a priority.

Here is the REALLY IMPORTANT PART: the online archive will open to submissions on March 1st, 2010, and it will close to submissions on July 21st, 2010 . . . that is only about 6 months. Why the short time frame? Because we do not have forever to ask for these stories, and being human we often tend to put things off, not infrequently until it’s too late. I want this project to feel as urgent as it really is. I want us to make a focused effort at the right time to capture this personal history before it disappears from view. So I ask you to go to the website and explore the project.

If you have any questions or would like to contribute your time, talents, publicity or other resources to the project please do not hesitate to contact me personally (kelly@jazzeravoices.org, on Facebook or by phone). A few people have expressed a desire to interview in languages other than English for the project: an idea which I love and for which I will need translators and subtitle-ers. If you have any interest in that, or in helping others to do interviews and uploads, I would love your help as well.

With all my heart, I thank you.

Kelly Porter

Weekly Video Highlights: Goodnight Sweetheart Festival 2010

Last week we had videos from Korea, and now we’re across he pond the other way from Hertford, England.  This week’s videos brought to you by the 2010 Goodnight Sweetheart Festival.

I already talked about one performance from that weekend, so I thought I’d highlight a few others from that event.

Shesha Marvin

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Favorite Performances of 2009: Other Dances in the American Vernacular Jazz Dance Tradition

Next to last installment of my favorite videos from this past year.  Check out the other posts for Lindy Hop couple routines, Lindy teams, and social dance clips.

Adam Boehmer at Midwest Lindyfest

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Favorite performances of 2009-Lindy Teams

Continuing on my favorite performances from this year.  Here are my favorite team performances.

The Harlem Hot Shots at the Old Skool Battle

This is part of a whole series of clips posted by YouTube user susannedr.  I have no idea what the context is other than that it seems to be part of some program where they dance against a hip hop crew, but there aren’t any videos of the other team.  Still, these are some inspired performances by the worlds best Lindy Hop team.  This clip in particular combines everything that the new generation of Hot Shots can do individually and as a team.

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The Lindy Loggers

We’re at a pretty quiet time in the Lindy Hop world as there are no major or minor events happening until Lindy Focus and Snowball right after Christmas.  This is probably a good time to get caught up on your online Lindy reading.

The Lindy blogosphere is surprisingly larger than you think.  When I started this post I thought I was just going to describe a handful of sites, but once I was done compiling URL’s I came up with over 50.

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Weekly Video Highlights: 2009 Killer Diller Weekend

Seattle seems to have it going on all year round.  Here are videos from their just completed Killer Diller Weekend featuring Naomi Uyama and Skye Humphries.

Vids courtesy of the omnipotent floridave1.

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ULHS 2009 Round Up

Still no official results posted on the ULHS website, but Breanna Perry was kind enough to post what she could remember in the comments of my previous post.

The Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown Choreography Showcase

Winners:  Groove Juice Special

Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown: A Lindy Hop Battle

Winners: Chance Bushman (New Orleans, LA) and Joanna Lucero (Austin, TX)

Jack n Jill: A Social Dance Contest

First Place: Vincenzo Fesi  (Italy) & Alice Mei (France)

Second Place: Sara Deckard (Denver, CO) & Dax Hock (Everywhere-ish)

Third Place:  Ria DiBiase & Tommy Blacharz Todd Yannacone & Annie Trudeau (correction via Ann Mony)

Solo Jazz

Winner: Ramona Staffeld (New York, NY)

Solo Blues

Winner: Dax Hock

Slow Swing and Blues

First Place: Peter Strom (Minneapolis, MN) and Ramona Staffeld (New York, NY)

Second Place: Todd Yannacone (New Orleans, LA) and Alice Mei (France)

Third Place: Chance Bushman (New Orleans, LA) and Giselle Anguizola (San Diego, CA)

Note: I haven’t heard anything about the Dancers Choice Awards, and the Endurance Contest was cancelled.

A few reactions from the Lindy sphere o’blogs. Read the rest of this entry »

AIR pt 12: The Movement Meets The Music

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.”

While it took some time, the combined effects of Janice Wilson’s Hellzapoppin’ contest at the Harlem Jazz Dance Festival, the Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown, and Mad Dog had a tremendous influence on the scene.

The most obvious was the re-emergence of faster classic swing era and hot jazz music at dance events. People were now encouraged to work on their improvisation skills at faster tempos like they previously did to slower, groovier music.

This led people to mine and more vintage film clips for more ideas to move to this music instead of trying to force hip hop or other modern movements into the music.  Since most of the Lindy Hop clips had already been found, the search expanded into tap and other jazz inspired black dancers of the past from the Nicholas Brothers to Josephine Baker.

Al Minns & Leon James circa 1961

Austin & Alex Dryer Great Southwest Lindyfest March, 2003

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