All-Balboa Weekend - Open ACBC - Bernard Cavasa & Ann-Helene Cavasa (2011)
Busy, busy, busy, busy, busy. Tomorrow I leave for Philly for fun times at Philly Bal Night and a lesson with Nelle Cherry on Saturday. Tonight, I compete in a Strictly Lindy competition. Woo.
Balboa takes a lot of flak sometimes in the Lindy community, all in good fun of course. But this video’s a prime example of just how cool it can look. The footwork variations get me every time, not to mention the way they play with the music and hit all the breaks. This is what a bal spotlight should look like, and this is the second place performance.
Anyway. Time to get dressed.
All-Balboa Weekend - Classic - Bobby White & Kate Hedin (2007)
Bobby and Kate are in town this weekend for balboa and Lindy hop workshops. I haven’t posted balboa in a little while, so now’s a perfect opportunity to. Being primarily a Lindy hop and Charleston dancer, my experience in Bal is limited but yesterday’s lessons wonderfully expanded by current vocabulary.
What’s very fun about this performance is that while many Lindy hoppers try to embellish their Bal with large moves and flashy variations like in swing outs, Bobby and Kate show how amazing Bal can look with just very subtle movements accompanied by brief but amazing moments of flash where appropriate. The stop at 1:14 is particularly incredible to see as it’s a moment where Bobby and Kate move from small movements to a big and flashy one and then back.
Monochrome Monday - Maharaja (1943) with Hal & Betty Takier
Whoa. I picked up a bunch of new followers over the weekend. Hi everyone new! (And other people not in the tumblr-verse also reading!)
Anyway, here’s a gem I never even heard about before … right now. From a short in 1943 called Maharaja. Let’s ignore the blatant Orientalism at the beginning of the clip and move on to where the dancing starts, shall we?
The clip features some spectacular Bal-Swing and Lindy hop. The YouTube source does say that it’s a balboa video (which, arguably, yes it contains a bit of balboa). But it’s also got the aerials we’ve come to know and love in Lindy hop, plus some wonderful bal-swing movements. I’ve yet to see a really great movie clip of pure bal, but I’m sure I’ll find something if I look hard enough.
1 week to Lindy Focus! Hope everyone else heading there is as excited as I am!
Anything Goes Tuesday - Bobby White & Kate Hedin and Nick Williams & Denise Phelan, London Balboa Festival (2008)
I figured I’d open Tuesday up to pretty much all the swing stylings I could, rather than restrict it to just blues (…also, it was becoming harder to find blues videos, shush). So here’s some more Bobby White, Kate Hedin, Nick Williams, and I believe this is the first time I’m posting a video including Denise Phelan. This is a pretty spectacular teacher’s jam, though I am sad that the video seems to edit out the other teachers’ jamming. Oh well, that footage may be floating around the internet elsewhere. If I find it, I’ll post it.
I’ve been informed lately that Nick Williams is something of a god among Lindy hoppers, even the international pro dancer. If so, where may I set up an altar in worship of him?
Fast Lindy Friday - Nick Williams & Sylvia Sykes, Moscow Christmas Swing Dance Camp (2008)
Two things—1, yes, I missed Tips and Tricks Thursday. Whoops. And 2, this is Balboa, not Lindy!
I post this because I just found out that Nick and Sylvia are coming to NYC in January to teach. Which means, I’m dropping everything and going to them. This particular performance is fun to watch. What I really enjoy about it is how playful Nick gets with the music. Whereas Balboa dancers are often in a state of constant motion, Nick leads several wonderful and brief pauses throughout the song, emphasizing both his control as a lead and his musicality.
Another reason I post this is because the video states it’s -20 degrees C on that particular day. It’s getting to be pretty cold over here too. Though, maybe not to those same absurd temperatures.
Jeremy Otth & Laura Keat vs. Adam Speen & Nelle Cherry, Eastern Balboa Championships (2009)
Taking a quick break from “Bluesday Tuesday” and trying to imagine up a moniker for a balboa-themed day. Anyway, I don’t know if I’ve ever actually watched a real Balboa um … fight scene(?) before. One of my regrets from this year’s Boston Tea Party was not paying more attention to the balboa competitions. Read: I’m bunkering down for all the Lindy Focus competition and having a camera ready.
Ignoring the arguably offensively orientalist intro to this video, here’s a pretty hot video of pretty fine balboa. As I’ve mentioned earlier, Jeremy & Laura spent November teaching in NYC, so as much as I love watching them dance, I spent most of this video paying attention to Adam & Nelle (which is easy to do, given that the cameras seem to focus on them more). What I honestly love is how Adam leads the slow motion moves in the beginning of the dance off, which complement the normally fast Balboa quite nicely. Not to mention, when both couples do those complicate spin-dips around @1:45-@1:50, and the given crowd reaction, my eyes sparkled with joy.
Anyway, expect much more balboa in this blog in the near future.
Rockstar Games (the guys behind Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption) has a new IP on the way soon called L.A. Noire, a new crime thriller that takes place in 1940s Los Angeles. I was scanning through the screenshots for the game and came across this. It looks like there’s a couple dancing “the swing” in the picture (it could be Balboa; it’s California, after all). Here’s hoping that they actually mo-capped real dancers for however many seconds that dancing is in the game for.
Jeremy Otth & Laura Keat Frim Fram Performance (2010)
Many thanks to Will for getting this video up on YouTube. This is one of the best performances I’ve ever seen at Fram. I’ve been taking lessons from Jeremy & Laura this whole month. Sunday is the last workshop I have with them, which is about 3 or 4 hours of Lindy hop goodness. Due to budget constraints (damn you budget constraints!) I haven’t been able to take their Balboa classes as well, but oh well. I’ll get around to that later.
This video is spectacular because of the sheer ease with which Jeremy & Laura switch dance styles. This performance goes through Collegiate Shag, Balboa, Lindy hop, and Charleston, showcasing some of the most spectacular moves and aerials from each. They stated at the beginning that most of their performance was improvisation and socially lead-able. I think the last 30 seconds or so were pre-choreographed though. Either that, or they’re telepathic. I wouldn’t doubt that possibility.
Reblog from @fuckyeahswingdance. I’d argue that both styles are helpful in improving your dancing, depending on what you’re looking for. A good blues lead will benefit greatly in lower-to-the-ground connections, where your center is constantly feeding back and forth between partners. It’s the epitome of anchor-stretch style dancing. Momentum makes blues look spectacular.
Balboa, on the other hand, can improve your dancing for faster music that’s in constant motion. Whereas in blues you’re allowed to remain in place and gyrate for a while, balboa requires constant contact and quick turns and tricks. Nick & Kate’s performance above succeeds precisely because of how consistent their cores are, even as they’re pulling off complex moves.
In the end, if you want to be a better Lindy Hop dancer, it doesn’t hurt to learn either blues or balboa. A smart dancer would probably learn both, though.
Me and a friend of mine like to argue whether Balboa or Blues is more helpful in improving your general dancing - I feel that he’s kind of biased and hasn’t given Balboa a fair shot (whereas I love both, Balboa slightly more perhaps), but I think it also teaches you the importance of good connection and to pay attention to very subtle changes and especially to keep your momentum going as follower - exactly what Kate is doing here :D