“Morning Blues” with Julie Brown, a new “A Word on Swing,” and learning how to do them

This is the final version of a quick project that wasn’t.

I’ve mentioned before, that I got a fancy new camera last Spring; partly to take pictures, and partly to do video projects like “A Word on Swing.” I’ll probably end up doing more vlog/talk show/documentary type stuff, but I have been itching to do something more creative. Learning my way around a DSLR camera has been a bit of a process. Plus the more I learn about what goes into making really good videos with decent production values is pretty intimidating. Rather than let that keep me from doing anything, I just decided to eff’ it, and do something just to do something; hoping it’ll turn out well, but mostly to use it as a learning experience. Read the rest of this entry »

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2012 Blog highlights and the List O’Blogs

Note: This post compliments my previous compilations of dance blogs done in 2009 and 2011.

I know a lot of people who don’t like blogs on principle. I have quite a few friends who don’t like dance blogs in particular. I usually just nod and smile because I don’t need to ask them why. After all, I see most of them on a daily basis. Notice I don’t say “read.” There are a ton of them not counting my non-dancing related reading, and there just isn’t enough time in the day to keep up with them all.

Still, culling this year’s list of active to semi active blogs was a little sad because of the number of blogs that have fallen by the wayside within the last year. However, without doing any statistical comparisons, I think it’s about typical for the average lifespan of any blog, dance related or not.

I think criticisms of blogs are the same reasons why I enjoy them, which is basically that anyone can have one. It’s not hard to garner a following if you blog enough and sound like you know what you’re talking about. I’m a perfect example of that. Who the hell am I? I had a solid year of constant blogging, and despite my severe drop off in productivity here, this site still gets an average of 100 hits a day. My friends like to make fun of me for being well known in a dance for reasons not related to my dancing.

The really funny thing is that what irks people is not the criticism, which is few and far between, but actually what gets praised and passed around. Once you get to a certain level or age, you pretty much know what you like or what you look for in certain things. So it annoys people when the masses get enthralled by a performance or dancer that they think, for a lack of a better term, is bullshit. Read the rest of this entry »

ILHC 2010 Preview

I haven’t had a whole lot of time to write, so I might as well talk about what’s been keeping me busy.

The last few weeks before an event are usually the busiest times for event organizers and now there are just three weeks before this year’s International Lindy Hop Championships.  So instead of nitpicking another dance video, I’ve been spending my spare time trading hundreds of emails doing the bidding of my ILHC overlords: Tena Morales, Nina Gilkenson, and Sylvia Sykes.

My role in this whole thing is to make their dreams come true by acting as middle management.  They tell me what needs to be done, and then I get someone else to take care of it.

For example, this year we’re taking advantage of The Boilermaker Jazz Band playing on Friday night by having them play live music for the Solo Charleston finals.

The Boilermakers last time they were in DC playing for the Big Big Benefit.

Read the rest of this entry »

Weekly Video Highlights: The Eye of the Beholder

It’s been awhile.  It’s not for lack of videos.  In fact I feel a little bad because a lot of good stuff has come out in the past couple of months.  I’ve just been a little busy between my real job work and my pretend job helping with The Big Big Benefit in July and ILHC in August.  In fact, expect an ILHC update this week right here on this very blog.  Really.

I haven’t done a Random Links post in awhile too, but I did want to highlight this post by Madeline of the blog “Behind The Madness.”  I hope to talk about it in depth in a future post, but I just want to say that I agree wholeheartedly.

It reminded me of why I’ve been watching the following two videos over and over since they came out.  They’re honestly the most beautiful examples of Lindy Hop I’ve seen all year.  No gimmicks (unless you count Todd in a fetal position and spotlighted by every light in that theater).  Just great dancing. Read the rest of this entry »

Body Roles: Lindy Hop Gender Statistics Magnified

[Note:  This post was updated since it was first put up earlier today.]

Looking at all the numbers I compiled for my statistical pornography post , I noticed something rather peculiar about the numbers when broken down by gender.

NA EU AS AUS SA Total
Female 218 295 26 17 8 564
Male 221 295 26 22 10 574
  • NA=North America
  • EU=Europe
  • AS=Asia
  • AUS=Australia/New Zealand
  • SA=South America

Upon first glance, there isn’t much of a surprise in terms of the gender break down.  Lindy Hop is a partner dance after all so there should be parity between the sexes.  But then I remembered that in North America there are a number of follow (female) centric events that only hire female instructors. Three are included in this survey:  Followloogie 2009 in Montreal and Northeast Girl Jam 2010 and The Southern Belle Bash 2010 in the US. If anything, the numbers should be imbalanced in their favor, but they’re not. Read the rest of this entry »

Event Data

This is a simple list of all the events I surveyed to come up with the numbers I used in my statistical pornography post.*

I noticed a couple of interesting things in terms of scheduling.  July is a pretty dead month in terms of big.  There are a few small ones, but Herrang is the 5000 pound gorilla that draws everyone that’s anyone in the community.  Even people who don’t teach there or are too advanced to take classes plan time to be there if only to have the opportunity to hang out.  December is also another slow month until the year end events like Lindy Focus and The Snowball. Read the rest of this entry »

Lindy Hop Instructor Statistical Pornography

So this is the big project I’ve been working on.  I’ll be posting follow up posts with nifty charts and graphs in the following weeks, so sit back and enjoy the geekery.

Introduction

Stalking a lot of people at the same time is hard.  Although stalking for academic purposes can be called research.  Try that one on the judge next time someone files a restraining order on you.  Let me know how it goes.

Not too long ago I was in the mood to make one of those lists of top dancers.  No particular reason.  Just one of those lists I was just curious to see written out in front of me.

What?  Don’t you ever research something just to see the information in front of you?  No?  Well, I do.  Don’t judge.

I jotted down what I could off the top of my head, looked at a relatively short list and thought to myself that this couldn’t be it.  There had to be more people I wasn’t thinking of; probably around Europe, since I don’t feel I’m as familiar with what’s going on over there.  That’s what led me to checking out the Herrang teachers awhile ago since I consider Herrang the center of the European Lindy-verse.

I still wasn’t satisfied after I was done with that, so I decided to check a few more event web sites around Europe to see if I could find any more unfamiliar names.  Along the way I just started recording who was teaching where.  I kept clicking and clicking until I had the instructor line ups for 120 events in front of me. Read the rest of this entry »

Weekly Video Highlights: The Ninjammerz Invade Asia

The Ninjammerz hit up Japan and Korea last month brought lots of new material with them, and were greeted with an equal amount of creativity.

Thanks to these YouTube users for posting these videos

Annie Trudeau & Max Pitruzella

Sarah Breck & Dax Hock

Sarah is the newest addition to the team.  Check out the sick hand and foot sequence at 2:00. Read the rest of this entry »

Frankie95 Highlights and Observations Pt. IV

Part four of my Frankie Manning’s 95th Birthday Festival recap. Again just a few grammatical edits.  You can see a compilation of videos from Saturday here on my site.    This note was originally posted on June 11, 2009.

You would think everything would have gotten easier after we settled into the Hammerstein Ballroom, our home for the last half of the event, but not so much. Read the rest of this entry »

Frankie95 Highlights and Observations Pt. III

Part three of my Frankie Manning’s 95th Birthday Festival recap. In addition to some grammatical edits, I also added a bonus video at the end.   You can see a compilation of videos from the Friday daytime activities and the Friday Night activities here on my site.    This note was originally posted on June 8, 2009.

On Friday we did it all over again because we had to move everything from the Grand Ballroom to the Hammerstein Ballroom downstairs. Unfortunately, that meant that I had to skip out on the memorial service and the dance at Central Park. It was a tough decision especially after David had detailed the line up to me earlier in the week. The speaker and musical guest list was loaded, a testament to Frankie’s influence.

How many memorial services have a warm up band consisting of Count Basie alumni like Benny Powell and Frank Weiss? Major props to Lana Turner for putting that memorial service together along with the funeral just a few weeks previous.

I consider this memorial one of the main pillars of the event. I hope everyone who could was able to attend. For my part, after the near mishaps from the day before, I thought it would be wise for one of us to be on site to trouble shoot problems. Read the rest of this entry »

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