The problem with going to dance festivals, choreographing and learning routines, and organising birthday parties is that while it’s all very fun exciting, you don’t really have time to do anything else.
So I’ve decided to add some new moves to my repertoire from YouTube, and in doing so was trying to figure out how best to watch a move enough to try and imitate it. Thinking that a lot of animated gifs exist, I went in search of a site that would allow me to convert some videos. http://imgflip.com was one of the first hits, and seems to do the job perfectly. And so begins the cool move project.
From http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puexHLZ8KQg Michael and Frida
Yes, yes and yes. Also I would absolutely love to go to Stompology.
Well there are now a couple of videos of me dancing around and about so I thought I’d post them up here.
I’m the one in the aviator sunglasses, blue shirt and waistcoat. I start about 1:30 in to the right.
I’m the guy dancing. Pretty obviously. I excuse my poor dancing on being a bit nervous in front of the crowd. Having an attractive follow helped though.
A few days ago I found Nathan Bugh’s website that has a few very informative articles on swing dancing. I struggle to find the beat and figure out what’s happening in the music quite a bit, so I was particularly interested in the piece about beat perception entitled Where’s the Beat?
At the end he recommends watching bands to see if you can discern what instrument is playing each part of the music. Today I was fortunate enough to find out that Jerry Almonte of Wandering and Pondering has a Youtube playlist of bands playing at Lindy Focus. Great to listen to and certainly a fantastic source for doing a bit of active listening.
In Lindy Hop, showcases are choreographed routines and are usually a great place for dancers to play around with the music and really explore micro-musicality. The following video is one of my favourites. The dancing is super gentle and smooth, and the relationship between Jeff and Liz is absolutely beautiful to watch. Watching them makes me smile so much every time. And the ending is pretty special too.
This weekend I traveled up to London to do a blues dancing workshop called “Blues in a Day”. This was the second blues class I’ve had, and covered some of the same basic rhythms, as well as expanding it and showing how some of the jazz steps can be used in blues. First we covered walking the blues, which is down into the ground and pushing up. A key point of this was to drive momentum from the torso rather than the legs. Which I always try and remember but can’t seem to quite turn from theory into practice!
The blues “basic” (which isn’t really a basic but is an established pattern) is the push and collect. This starts with the weight on one leg, and then push up and across onto the other leg, and collect the first leg next to the second. This is done with a little pulsing bounce so that it’s push bounce collect. Or dah-dahdee-dah.
We also covered a couple of moves which was a triple step with the last step being a cross, so right left right finishing with both partners facing the lead’s left. And either finishing by collecting and going into the basic, or repeating and going into a dip.
The final sessions were focused on the call and response and improvisational aspects. These were more of a just make it up as you go along style, so not much really to say about this.
I found it very interesting to note that there’s a lot of lindy and jazz moves that can be used in blues. However the teachers did note that there shouldn’t be many spins, as the follower should be controlling her own pace a lot more rather than being pushed around. Something that I pretty much immediately forgot when social dancing after the class.
Edit: An example of the push and collect is in the following video.
Jerry Almonte from Wandering and Pondering posted this video on his Facebook page (Both blog and fb page I highly recommend subscribing to btw). The dancing in this video makes me smile both from the quality of the dancers and the simplicity of it. It’s also good to see teachers dancing to some slower tempo music.
Last weekend (August 23rd-26th) the International Lindy Hop Championships (ILHC) were held in Washington DC. As far as I know this is the biggest and most highly regarded Lindy Hop competition in the world. As such, the standard of dancing is always really impressive, and luckily enough the standard of recording those dances is also high.
The highlight for me is always the Jack and Jill competition, where dancers are randomly paired up. This is pure social dancing at it’s best. This year the winners were two of my favourite Herräng dance teachers too (Peter Strom and Jo Hoffburg), so I was extra happy. Below is the video of their dance. Enjoy!
While looking for videos for a post about my favourite live band, I found a group called the Smoking Time Jazz Club and instantly fell in love. They’re a New Orleans Trad Jazz and Blues band, and seem to have a few fantastic jazz and lindy dancers surrounding them at all times. I love the video below, both for the music and the fantastic musicality that the dancers have.