Rennes, France - Thomas Blacharz & Alice Mei (2010)
So update from the last post. I made finals at the Yehoodi Strictly Lindy! Hell. Yes. Dan Repsch and Jenny Sowden went on to win, and a big congratulations to a well deserved effort on their part. Also, I was able to dance with the magnificent Nelle Cherry in Philly this weekend and took a few hours of balboa lessons with her and a small, intimate class of varying levels, which really opened up my eyes about the possibilities in the dance.
Anyway. Here’s another video from the Rennes, France event (which I still don’t know what it was). Thomas & Alice are probably my favorite couple in swing, for their creativity and playfulness in swing as well as the complete understanding of technique that they’re able to explain in their lessons. This particular piece shows a lot of wonderful playfulness with a slower-tempo song. I’ve found that I tend to gravitate toward the slower side of Lindy because of how much more leeway you generally have for playing with the music, though the sign of a good dancer is being able to exploit those playful spaces in fast music as well.
Currently considering doing a top 5 favorite leads list as per swingitout’s list for followers. Could make for a good series of posts.
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.
9:20 Special Open House - Michael Terkowski, Manu Smith, & Nathan Diaz (2007)
Here’s a neat jazz performance with three wonderful dancers. As I think I’ve stated previously, I’ve started a new job so longer and more frequent updates may be trailing off for a little. But enjoy the awesome nonetheless :D
Rennes, France - Nick Williams & Carla Heiney (2010)
I have no context and absolutely no idea what event this was held at, but there’s a bunch of videos that I may start posting from here.
As a lead, Nick Williams is the dancer I look to for much of my technical inspiration, especially since he’s so clean and clear with his movement. This performance could’ve been a choreographed routine—everything is so practiced and precise that people might not be able to tell it’s improvised.
One of the things that makes this dance so dynamic is how well they dance ahead of and behind the beat, and how they switch it up. Nick can delay swinging out til the very last fraction of a second, or toss in variations that play with syncopated rhythms. Carla, meanwhile, is incredibly responsive and playful in the space she has to work with. Plus, the variations she’ll throw in are absolutely stunning—follows, check out her switches from @0:24-@0;26 because holy crap.
Beantown Camp - Michael Jagger & Evita Arce (2010)
Mmm. Been meaning to post this one up. If the song sounds familiar, it’s a different version of the song that Kevin & Jo used for their spectacular ILHC routine.
Mike & Evita put a tremendous amount of energy in their routines. What I love most about this performance is how seamlessly they transition between partnered and solo movement. It’s an excellent lesson in the fundamentals of this dance, especially for leads—you should be able to move your own body as well as you can move your partner’s.
Several couples transition to solo movement with a bit of added flair, deliberately trying to call attention to one or the other for a phrase or two. Here, there’s very few moments where your attention is drawn specifically to either dancer as both Mike and Evita are in constant motion. Even if one is spotlighting for a phrase, the other is doing something that can keep your attention as well.
Lindy Showdown - Quarterfinals - Soochan Lee & Hyun Jong Choi vs. Andrew Thigpen & Delilah Williams (2011)
I would like to take this opportunity to respond to certain happenings in the Lindy blogging and commenting world.
Anyway. Hey guys, here’s a fun video from Lindy Showdown. My outdoors, quarterfinals videos came in at a much better quality than my indoors, finals videos did, so I’ll just be posting those instead.
Soochan & Hyun Jong are spectacular to watch, one of the couples that can make this dance look absolutely effortless. Going up against Andrew & Delilah, there’s a lot of contrast in technique and style, though both have a wonderful sense of comedic timing in the power moves they pull out.
From what I saw at Lindy Showdown, battles can go down in many different ways. Sometimes the competitors try to pull moves they know their opponents can’t match, or other times they’ll try to match their opponent’s move and do it better. It happens several times in this battle, turning it into a wonderful one-up kind of show. At 2:10-2:15 especially, Andrew & Delilah pull off a move that Soochan & Hyun Jong did in a previous battle, though it doesn’t go nearly as well as they probably hoped it would. There’s as much collaboration in this as there is competition as both couples feed off each other’s energy, then power through their swing-outs at the end.
Camp Jitterbug - Lindy Hop Couples Final (2010)
I really love jams. A lot of great partnerships in this one. Juan & Sharon are throwing all their energy in, Nick & Laura pretty much throw down a master class on how to do aerials, Andrew & Karen are goofing off, etc. etc.
I think I’m going to take up swingitout’s 30 Day Lindy Hop Challenge beginning next week, if only to piss off the non-Tumblr people that happen to occasionally scan my blog with scorn. And also to connect with the rest of you.
Oh yeah, it’s Follow Friday. I haven’t done this … ever:
God you guys have long Tumblr handles.
Lindy Showdown - Final Battle - William & Maeva vs. Chance & Giselle
This video is better quality than the one I took, though I wish it were at a different angle. Droid’s HD camera is no match for low-light settings.
There’s so much in this competition video to talk about. Chance & Giselle were the lowest seed from the double elimination battles earlier in the day, so to get up to this point, they had to dance against the other finalists until reaching this point. I’m not sure what that tournament format is called—king of the hill? Anyway.
What my girlfriend and I realized about this battle was that while both couples are dancing Lindy hop, but it looks so different between the two. William & Maeva have a practiced, very clean, and very upright style fusing elements of Lindy and boogie woogie together, and Chance & Giselle instead imbue a more raw and naturalistic style akin that leans toward a grittier aesthetic. Both couples’ repertoires are wonderfully equipped with show-offy moves perfect for battle-style competitions—note all the acrobatic tricks William & Maeva pull off, compared to Chance & Giselle’s attitude-heavy variations on several moves.
Hometown heroes Chance & Giselle went on to win this competition, and deservedly so.
Ugh. I hate having to describe dancing like that. How do other bloggers do that post after post after post? What the hell. This is Tumblr. Here it is in fewer words: HOLY SHIT AWESOME DANCING.
Lindy Showdown - Semi-Finals - William & Maeva vs. Juan & Sharon
Here we go! I’m back from New Orleans and had a spectacular time. So much inspiration, so many great dances, so many new friends.
Earlier on Saturday, this was the match that a lot of us were looking for: last year’s Lindy Showdown champs vs. the new blood from France. Of course, this was only the semi-final, double elimination tournament where seeding was determined for the final later that night. It is a complicated system that still confuses me, but it works.
Anyway. Being able to watch William & Maeva vs. Juan & Sharon was a dream come true, especially since both couples have big repertoires of power moves tailored specifically for garnering audience reactions. William & Maeva still have a lot of boogie woogie in their Lindy and it definitely shows. But with their surging popularity in the current Lindy scene as well as a few other boogie woogie transplants from France, it looks like that style may begin influencing a little bit of our modern dance scene.
Both couples put on exceptional performances in this battle. If you look at Sharon’s shoes closely, you’ll notice duct tape on one—in a previous battle, she had ripped her shoe apart from dancing so hard. William & Maeva won this battle, leading to the final showdown as them vs. Chance & Giselle. That’ll be posted later, when YouTube decides it likes loading videos.
Lindy Showdown 2011, William Mauvais & Maeva Truntzer (left) vs. Juan Villafane (bottom) and Sharon Davis (top)
(via Bobby Bonsey)
Lindy Showdown 2011 champions, Chance Bushman & Giselle Anguizola
(via Bobby Bonsey)
So I wasn’t able to update from ULHS as hoped, but as my videos upload, enjoy this picture from Bobby Bonsey, Lindy photographer extraordinaire.
Midwest Lindy Fest - Jack & Jill - Skye Humphries & Naomi Uyama (2011)
This video should be posting as I’m en route to New Orleans for ULHS. Also, it’s my birthday! Can’t pass up the opportunity to give myself a present and play a Skye video. He’s dancing with the wonderful Naomi Uyama here, and the two work very well together. Both used to be DC-based dancers in the Silver Shadows, so it’s almost impossible to imagine that they wouldn’t be able to anticipate each other’s styles and play around accordingly.
Naomi often is a very understated follow. While many others certainly have very flashy styles, Naomi instead emphasizes a pure follow style—one that can follow accordingly with essentially anything that is led. Of course, when she goes into performances with partners like Todd Yannacone or Peter Strom, she can turn on that lightning and match their larger-than-life styles as well.
Happy birthday to me. Hope to update from ULHS. Watch this tumblr in case it happens.
ULHS - Showdown Quarter Finals - The Decavita Sisters vs. Juan & Sharon
Guess where I’ll be tomorrow? New Orleans, for the Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown. I won’t be competing this time around but rather finding every awesome follow I can find and dancing with them at least twice. Anyone in tumblr land going to be there too?
Anyway, about this video. I’ve probably talked ad nauseum about Juan and Sharon by now (because I love them), but Emilie and Rebecca Decavita are two dancers I hadn’t known much about until recently. In this battle format competition, the two of them have the attitude and the skill required to go head-to-head with Juan and Sharon. They pull off their aerials seemingly effortlessly and naturally, and it looks just as amazing as what you’d get with a more traditional male base and female flyer (take THAT gender roles in Lindy hop!)
I’ll try to update a little bit from the Showdown, maybe posting first hand videos or pictures.
((Side note: Dear Rabbits and Toasters people: if you’re reading this, I can’t get in contact with you. Your e-mail is down or something. E-mail me back?))
Max & Annie, being awesome.
(by Andrew Fritz)
Provence Swing Festival - Solo Jazz - Sharon Davis (2010)
My girlfriend, in an effort to prove that Tabby the Cat could be done effectively at a Charleston speed and was not just restricted to blues, had me search through YouTube for videos of Sharon Davis dancing as she has perfected it. So, we came across this wonderful solo jazz performance from last year’s Provence Swing Festival.
A 5-minute solo jazz routine is a long, long routine. It’s amazing to see how deep Sharon’s repertoire is, especially as nearly every move she pulls off in this dance is unique (by way of variations, of course). By the end of the 5 minutes, we wanted 5 more so we scoured the tubes for more solo Sharon and Juan & Sharon performances. The Tabby the Cat move is one of the first ones she pulls off, at 0:07-0:08.
Now to find a manly way to pull that off.