Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Breadth of Our Dance - Tri-Swing Tournament

I'll just leave this right here.  Be sure to watch the whole thing.

I'm interested to know what you think.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Jack & Jill Disconnection?! - Lindy Focus X

So I don't know a whole lot about this video (maybe someone can enlighten me on their names, they look very familiar.)  Here's a clip of a Jack and Jill battle from Lindy Focus X.  

There's a lot about this video that I like - their enjoyment of the dance, the creative use of movement and musicality, the playful nature of their connection, even the noticeable concentration and obvious consideration of movements while on the spot is interesting.  This doesn't appear to be the most spontaneous of dances.  Some dances just look like they flow out while this seems to be carefully considered, even at full speed.

Please don't read this as a judgement for or against.  It's just something I noticed and can identify with.  When it comes down to it whether a dance is better if it's more emotive and subconscious or intentional and rational is a completely subjective point, and, now that I'm rambling, not the main reason I posted this (though you're welcome to discuss your feelings on that topic as well.)

Mostly I wanted to point out what happens at 1:18 in the video.  He lets go and about two beats pass before he seems to commit to his choice and then he begins clapping his knee.  She follow this and each consecutive movement.  The enjoyment is palpable.

Letting go like this, especially in a competition, is a considerable risk.  As a lead you disconnect completely and trust the follow to commit fully with only visual suggestion - but the potential for something amazing to happen also increases. 

This brings a smile to my face and I thought maybe you guys would enjoy this as a suggestion of ways to open up our dancing.  This post follows well from the last post showing an Alphabetical list of Jazz Movements because without those kinds of movements something like this isn't nearly as possible.  Let's brush up.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Jazz Steps, Alphebetically

I know that a number of you have enjoyed working on your solo Jazz steps lately - especially with the growing popularity of the Tranky Doo locally.

So here's a quick post featuring a video I found on yehoodi.com showing a demo of a whole lot of Jazz steps in alphabetical order.  Feel free to use this in your practicing.

Do you know of any Jazz steps they forgot?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Maximiliano Prado and Agustina Zero

Thanks to Wandering and Pondering via Julie McNett, here's a quick post with an awesome video featuring Argentinean Lindy Hop instructors Maximiliano Prado and Agustina Zero throwing it down.

Beyond the solid dancing and cute setup of the video what I love most is the laundry list of traditional Lindy Hop steps sprinkled throughout the film.  Can you do all of these?

Here's an idea - let's get together and go through this video and see if we can perform each of their movements.  When we get to one that we can't (or needs work) we practice that step until we get it down and then move on to the next part of the video.  This might (and probably will) take weeks to get through initially, and then years to perfect, but it's a start.

Or here's another idea - a series of lessons based on all of the most fundamental and historically authentic moves.  It would serve the same purpose of increasing all of our abilities while focusing us on the same page.

This is probably overly simplistic, so let's get a conversation started.  Is this a good idea?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Swing Music for Dancers - Turntable

Based on a suggestion from Don Kruse* via Les J Wardell* I've stumbled into a magical new land called Turntable where DJ's and DJ wannabes (like me) can take turns spinning their tunes into the vast unknown called the interwebs.

What's especially interesting to me, and the topic of this blog, is a room called Swing Music for Dancers.  I've spent a bit of time already sharing some of my tunes, seeing what others think, and discovering some great stuff to add to my collection.

The site isn't just for DJ's, though.  Anyone can enter a room to just listen to the tunes and vote on whether a specific song is "lame" or "awesome", which updates the meter and can add points to the current DJ or, if the meter drops too much, cancel the current song and pass the baton to the next DJ.   

By and large (what a funny expression), the general consensus in the room is for music that's good for dancing.  I've been privy to conversations with experienced DJ's and newer users discussing why or why not certain songs are up or down-voted.  The drop of the ax is not contingent on the quality or popularity of a song, but on if people find it to be dance-able.  

Does the song move you?  Does it swing?  Does the rhythm get into your soul and make you want to move your feet?  Does the song feel like Lindy Hop, Charleston, Balboa?

Give it a try or just open the page, join the audience, and let it play in the background at work.  I've found it to be a great place to discover new (to me) songs and have informed conversations with other lovers of Swing Music for Dancers.