Weekend Video Review: The Harlem Hot Shots Go Old School

Sometimes falling behind pays off.  My next video update was going to be videos from this year’s Swing/Jazz Dancing Music-Video Contest sponsored by the Seattle Vintage Jazz Dance Society.  Fortunately, new blogger, Jazzpirations is on the case.  This is the same contest that produced the moving “Why I Dance” video I posted previously and also the Clayzapoppin video that’s been making the rounds on people’s Facebook walls.  Check out the rest of those innovative videos on Jazzpirations.

This frees me up to talk about the Harlem Hot Shots’ huge week.  Last weekend they performed in the show “The Last Bounce” which is supposed to be the last show featuring the Stockholm based dance company Bounce.  As you’ll see from the video, it was a huge arena sized show in front of thousands of people.  According to the website they did five shows in front of a total of 54,000 people!

The reason the Hot Shots were part of it is probably because one of the founding members of Bounce  is David Dalmo who was also a member of the Rhythm Hot Shots, the predecessor to the Harlem Hot Shots.

Old school Lindy Hoppers used to refer to David as the Lindy equivalent to Jesus back in the day.  He’s a multi-time Swedish Lindy Hop Champion and one of the first World Lindy Hop Champions.  Although he went on to bigger things with Bounce, you can still find him teaching at Herrang Dance Camp most summers.

Then on April 29th, the Hot Shots went head to head with hip hop crew, Streets ‘R’ Us at an event called the Oldschool Battle 2010 Round #2.  This is a follow up to a similar event that was held last year.  I posted one of the videos from that in my 2009 review.

The concept is pretty straight forward.  Lindy Hop vs. Hip Hop.  Winner takes all.

I’m only posting highlights here.  There are over 20 videos from this event at http://www.youtube.com/user/susannedr.  Also, if you can. Check out these great pictures on Facebook.

So who won?  See the last video. Read the rest of this entry »

Flashback with Ramona Staffeld: Dancing with Frankie

This is the second installment of a special feature that I’m doing with Ramona Staffeld. We’re looking at some very old school clips of her past performances and getting her reactions.   The first one was from the 1998 American Lindy Hop Championships.  This one is Ramona dancing with Frankie Manning at Midsummer’s Night Swing at Lincoln Center.  Everything after the video below is written by her with a few hopefully helpful edits from me.   Enjoy!

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Frankie95 Review: The Warm-Up

I am in the process of re-posting a series of notes I originally put up on Facebook recapping my involvement with Frankie Manning’s 95th Birthday Festival. I wasn’t planning posting the following note, but as I was preparing this series, I noticed that there’s some interesting background bits that I thought may be useful to know to give what comes later a little more context. This was originally posted on March 30, 2009 entitled:

An Unofficial and Very Vague Frankie 95 Update

A few people have questions about what’s happening with Frankie’s 95th Birthday Festival. To be honest, there aren’t that many answers. Or at least few that I can give publicly.

It’s become cliché to call this the biggest Lindy Hop event “eva,” but it’s very apropos. It’s a big, huge beast with a lot of moving parts dependent on other parts, some of which are not in place yet.

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Weekend Video Update

What do you call a one man flash mob?  Canadian.

Relax.  It’s the weekend.

Bonus:  Check out this sweet routine from an event called Shuffle The House from a few weeks ago in, I think, Switzerland.

Bonus 2:  A nice two woman Charleston routine from Portugal by Diana Rocha and Abeth Farag.  According to an earlier version of this routine, it was partially choreographed by Nina Gilkenson.

Frankie95 Lost Prequel: Into the Maelstrom

I’m going to be re-posting my lengthy re-cap of Frankie95 over the next few weeks. I originally posted it on Facebook as a series of Notes, so there’s a chance you’ve already read it. If not, or if you just want to relive the pain and glory, you’ll get your chance soon.

I going to start off with a Note that I never got around to posting. Some of it will seem familiar since I appropriated parts for one of my notes I did post. Originally written about a crazy day I had on April 20, 2009. At the time it was pretty exciting, but Frankie’s passing right before I posted it put things into perspective. Nonetheless, here it is a year later.

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A New Day for a New Theme, New Videos, and a New Social Media Account

Just needed a change in scenery as you can tell.  Besides the light background is less conspicuous when viewing from work.  Not that I would ever do such a thing.

Also for your Sunday viewing pleasure, a beautiful and inspirational video created by a dancer from Seattle named Cheryl Crow which I found through the magic of Facebook.  She created this for the 2010 Swing/Jazz Dancing Video Contest.  Watch it and share with others.

And because sometimes you can’t let the Man keep you down, I got an account on Dailymotion.com.  I probably won’t post there very often, unless its stuff like this that won’t go down the YouTubes properly.

Weekly Video Highlights: SEAjam 2010

I realize I’m a bit behind on these things, but I’ve been busy and there’s a lot of Lindy Awesome out there. This week’s videos come all the way from Singapore at SEAJam 2010 run by Sing Lim.  Sing Lim is a dancer that I think more people need to know about.  Ask people like Nina and Naomi and they’ll go on and on about her. In my opinion, she ranks up there with modern Lindy Hop legends like Steven Mitchell, Sylvia Sykes, and Ryan Francois. In fact here’s a video of her performing with Ryan in 1993.

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Creativity & Competitions

While I was away at DCLX, I got some interesting and well thought out comments in last week’s post, “Your Bio Sucks.” I’m way too busy this week to respond, but then I remembered that I’ve already addressed some of the issues brought up there in a series of posts a year and a half ago in a thread on Yehoodi entitled “How To Get Professional.” That thread turned towards the role of competitions in our community, and I eventually belted out one particular reply which is relevant to the current discussion.  I am re-posting it below.

That Yehoodi thread went on forever, so if you don’t have time to read the whole thing, I’d like to point out Lucy Dunne’s brilliant post on fostering creativity in competitive situations.  You may remember me mentioning Lucy a few times, most notably in her and Ben Furnas’s send up of compeitions at the 2000 ALHC.

I do realize that this only partially addresses some of the issues in the comments, but I’m hoping the other project that I’m working on will address the others in a rather interesting way very soon.  Until then, read on.

It s a damn shame that most of the Yehoodi archives got toasted because there was an amazing discussion after NADC 2002 (North Atlantic Dance Championships), and leading up to the first Harlem Jazz Dance Festival where Janice Wilson laid out the vision of her event and challenged the community to think about and discuss what everyone valued. It introduced the word vernacular into the modern Lindy Hop community’s vocabulary, and was remarkable because it was the last time many of the top tier dancers of the time participated in an online discussion en masse.

Lots of people took different things out of that thread, but this is what I learned:  There’s a difference between doing a “swing out” and swinging out. Everyone here can do the former. (I would hope)  Nina Gilkenson and Mikey Pedroza showed us an example of the latter at this year s Camp Hollywood/National Jitterbug Championships starting at 3:58 on this clip.

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DCLX 2010 Awesome Juice. Get Some on You.

The thing I love about DCLX (DC Lindy Exchange) is that it’s the kind of event that attracts dancers that appreciate quality live music.  So much so that musicians that leave it all on the stage get treated like rock gods.

Writing about live music is very hard thing because in the end you have hear it to feel it.  I can talk about the Boilermakers burning up their version of “Avalon” or Jonathan Stout & His Campus Five featuring Hilary Alexander (say that three times real fast) cranking the crowd up to a near riot with “Dark Eyes” or the Blue Vipers of Brooklyn breaking everyone’s heart with “Bringing it on Home to Me,” but that’s why events like DCLX exist; to give people a way to connect to something that they can’t otherwise experience.

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DCLX 2010 Review

DCLX 2010 was AWE-SOME! Read the rest of this entry »

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