Monday, September 24, 2012

Featured Lindy Hopper - Youngwoo Joh

This week we highlight a musician, DJ, and dancer from Orlando who frequently travels to our scene in Tampa to guest DJ at The Lindy Connection or to just join in the dancing fun.  He also enjoys video games, late night "family dinners" at the Taco Bus after the dance, and long walks on the beach.  (I believe he's single too, ladies.)  

You've probably noticed by now that one of the key similarities between all of the featured Lindy Hoppers is their enthusiastic love of Lindy Hop, and that's something Woo has in spades.  Whether it's selecting just the right jazz tunes to play, or the way he moves on the dance floor, you can tell that the Lindy Hop is in his bones.

1) What types of dancing did you do before Lindy Hop? 

I didn't really do any other type of dancing (if you don't count the bit of hula I did for elementary school in Hawaii), though I did take two dance classes (ballroom and latin/salsa) at UCF before I started Lindy Hop.

2) How and when did you start Lindy Hopping? 

It was actually the UCF dance classes that finally got me motivated to check out the Swing Knights at UCF. This was back around the fall of 2008. However, technically speaking, I wouldn't say that I truly started Lindy Hopping until I went to Lindy Focus VII (2008), due to my fear of swingouts prior to that point. 

3) Have you traveled much for dancing? What is your favorite event you've attended? 

I've traveled a lot, but not as much as I'd like. The farthest I've gone for dancing thus far is Austin, Texas for Lone Star Championships. I'm not very good at playing favorites, though, but the fondest memory I have at the moment is of the latest Lindy 500 in Baltimore. 

4) If you could pick a song that makes you want to just get on the floor and cut-a-rug, what would you pick? 

Like I said, I'm not very good at playing favorites. I do, however, love pointing out songs that I feel are under-appreciated. One such song is Everything is Jumpin' performed by Artie Shaw and his orchestra. I also love songs that have subtle (and not-so-subtle) innuendo.

5) What drives you to keep dancing? 

This is a hard question. I'm not particularly competitive, but I do enjoy participating in competitions. I just enjoy Lindy Hop and finding new and exciting ways to express myself through the dance with and without a partner. 

6) Do you have a favorite dance memory? What is it? 

Again with the favorites! I don't really like this question, because I feel like my dance-related memories keep getting better as time goes on. So, instead, I'll be difficult and recall a memory that has stuck in my head. One time at a Southern Belle Swing Bash (a currently retired event), I ended up getting the bal-- *ahem* courage to ask Sharon Davis to dance. However, I was so concerned with the worry of her not thinking I was a very good dancer that I ended up dancing extremely vanilla. To this day, I use this memory to either scare me out of asking superstars, or to make sure I dance with them like I would anyone else I just met. 

7) What advice would you give to new Lindy Hoppers? 

Realize that you're not the greatest dancer in the world, but don't let that discourage you from continuing to dance. There's always something to work on, but you won't get very far if you don't let yourself enjoy it on your way up. Also, don't be afraid to ask the more experienced dancers to dance! 

8) Please share one video you find inspirational and explain why. 

Remember what I said about favorites? This time I have one! At least for now. Peter Strom and Jo Hoffberg's J&J performance at ILHC 2012 exemplifies some of my favorite things about Lindy Hop. There aren't a lot of flashy steps, but everything they do is deliberate and musical. Also, they adjust their styles to match each other in both synchronized and call-and-response situations.

Great video.  Peter and Jo are two of my favorites and this dance was amazing.

Thanks, Woo.

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