Monday, July 30, 2012

Most Played Lindy Hop Video

I happened to wander over to Wandering and Pondering's blog today and noticed a little post about the most played Lindy Hop videos on Youtube.

Interestingly enough, this is the most played Lindy Hop video to come out in 2012, so far.

So I've decided to candidly list all of my thoughts in order as I watched:

  • Oh, man.  Here we go.  Another modern song with "swing dancing" in it.  Great.
  • I remember this song.  Do they play this at the Grotto sometimes?
  • The color pallet is really kind of nice... I like the way these shots look.
  • The dancing seems pretty good, but it's off time from the song. Nice work, Director.
  • But wait... I recognize those dancers.  These are actually known Lindy Hoppers... cool.
  • And several different couples, and they're actually DANCING.  Nice.
  • Well, it's not my favorite song, but this video could be much worse.
  • I really like the scenery... the mood of these clips... 
  • Dancing at night... out in public... during the day, whenever, wherever.  I can dig this.
  • Yeah.  I really like the positive vibe.  
  • Why the hell are we not dancing out in public more?

And that's where I ended up. So let me ask you, why the hell are we not just dancing out in public more? What's wrong with us? Is this something we just grow out of?  

It seems to me that we all go through that phase.  We decide to try going out dancing one night, and before too long we're hooked and going dancing all the time, as often as we can.  After a few months we get over the initial difficulty hump and think we're the best dancers in the world.  Then follows the Lindybomb ALL The Things mentality, and we all make fools of ourselves dancing horribly in public and probably in videos that show up on facebook, all the while having a blast thinking we look soooo awesome.

We soon grow out of this phase and realize that no, we just look silly, and we stop just dancing when the time feels right.  So the pendulum swings the other way and we avoid it at all costs.

But, like most things in life, isn't there a balance?  Isn't the best time to dance in public after we've reached a point where we actually are better dancers, and when the mood is right?  When there happens to be music, or an outdoors event, or just a group of friends hanging out at the park with a boombox and we feel it?  When we think to ourselves that this song would be fun to dance to, and then we "act like adults" and hold ourselves back instead, but there's no reason not to dance. Aren't those the right times?

So let's dress up a little, stand out, look nice, have some fun, and make people stop and look.  Maybe it's time again.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Beantown Camp Strictly Finals

Look who's standing in the back left!

Feel free to skip past the first 2 minutes of all-skate at the beginning.  It's just a warm up and not very interesting.

After that comes the individual couples.  The first thing I noticed is, wow, these aren't all flawless rock-stars.  The next thing I notice is the variety of styles.  This is all Lindy Hop, but clearly these people come from different scenes, use different kinds of connections in the same movements, and are influenced by different instructors and professional dancers.

Can you see the differences?  Which couples do you prefer?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Beantown Bounce - Bobby & Kate

Thanks again to my friend Heather Warner-Dubin for another great video suggestion.  She recently had the time of her life at Beantown Camp and has been posting a ton of videos from the event.

This video features Bobby and Kate, who somehow just keep getting better.  Since Lindy Hop is the focus for this blog I don't usually post Balboa videos, but Balboa is another love of mine and with so many Lindy Hoppers also dabbling in Balboa I thought it was appropriate.  (Hmm, how many more times can I fit Balboa into a sentence?)

Is it odd that I find this performance refined, smooth, mature, and also cute at the same time?  Maybe the cute comes from the blending of their personalities - Kate's calm, confident demeanor crossed with Bobby's excited grin and wide eyes.

I highly recommend taking a class with them if you get a chance.  They're both very intelligent and clear instructors with a deep understanding of their profession.  I also recommend reading Bobby's blog, Swungover.  He's a wonderful writer who regularly presents very interesting insights about swing dancing and life in general.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Refined Yet Raw - Dax Hock & Sarah Breck

Thanks to Caitlin Greene for posting this on her facebook last week.  This is a performance from the ever talented and interesting Dax (sans mustache) and Sarah.

So let's just get to the point with this performance.  There is something happening here that is significantly different than what we're used to seeing in performance Lindy Hop.  On Caitlin's page I posted that this video, to me, seems completely refined and yet very raw.  Their steps, technique, coordination is really solid and still there's this almost animistic and aggressive quality I can't recall ever seeing in their dancing before.

The song starts out cool and calm enough.  "I like pie, I like cake..." They work in some typically (for them) solid jazz movements and coordinated partner stuff.  And then the song keeps building, and building.  Maybe they are feeding off the energy of the audience, or maybe there's a fire in their feet and something in their eyes that tells me they're really selling this.  He begins to swing out with more force, still coordinated yet a bit less carefully, and her hair ends up in her face.

Maybe they just really like pie and cake and everything she "bakes," or maybe this is a moment of inspiration.  Either way, I like the energy of this.