Sunday, August 22, 2010

Andrew and Karen's ILHC 2010 Showcase

The International Lindy Hop Championships 2010 is not even over and there’s already “best event ever” buzz flying around the blogosphere.
I had an amazing time at it’s first two iterations and was really sad to miss out this year. There’s an undeniable energy in the air when so many talented competitors get together and show off their best stuff.

Patrick and Natasha have graciously shared many of the videos already. As of Sunday afternoon, they’ve posted all of the Classic Lindy routines, all of the showcases, and the Pro Strictly Finals. I love that they post videos during the event, providing us with instant nostalgia.

Robert E. White III, err, I mean Bobby White, mentioned Andrew and Karen’s Surprise Showcase piece as a Saturday late-night update.

It’s based on the “evolution of dance” video that was posted online years ago except with lindy hop (they even wear the same shirt). It references several vintage dance clips, “classic” songs and moves from the revival, and memorable choreography from the past 5 years. I’ll try to provide links to these videos as well. Some of the best digital copies of vintage clips can be found on Daniel Newsome’s website:

There are at least 25 snippets of clips and music. Here’s what I noticed. (please help me figure out the rest in the comments section).

(ok, I don’t currently have the bandwidth to look up all the clips; I’ll update if I get the chance)
  1. “Shorty” George Snowden in After Seben.
  2. (not sure)
  3. Big Apple Routine from Keep Punchin’
  4. Helzapoppin’ If you recognize anything from this collection, this should be the one.
  5. Dean and Jewel in Buck Privates dancing to the Andrews Sisters singing “Bounce Me Brother with a Solid Four”
  6. Groovie Movie (such a hilarious reference)
  7. (not sure)
  8. The Shim Sham Song - Bill Elliot Swing Orchestra
  9. Jitterbug Stroll - Steven Mitchell (Ryan Francois choreography)
  10. Rhythm Hot Shots dancing to Jumpin’ at the Woodside (not sure which clip)
  11. (not sure)
  12. They do a pretzel to Go Daddy O! - Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
  13. Candlestick to Jump, Jive and Wail - Louis Prima
  14. They do Savoy Kicks to Scrub Me Mama with a Boogie Beat. (Not sure if this is from a clip)
  15. The highly influential Minnie’s Moochers choreography to “Love Me or Leave Me” (reprised at Frankie95)
  16. (not sure)
  17. (not sure)
  18. I think this is from another Max and Annie routine, but I don’t remember/can’t find it.
  19. Skye and Frida’s Iconic “Twenty Four Robbers” routine first performed at ULHS 2007 (as far as I know)
  20. Max and Annie’s Lotus with a hat switch from their 1st place ILHC 2008 showcase routine
  21. One2Swing The California Rolls Team Routine from Camp Hollywood 2009
  22. The Silver Shadows’ Frankie Manning Tribute to the song “Shiny Stockings” at Frankie95
  23. (not sure)
  24. (not sure)
  25. Self-reference to the ending to their Lindy Focus 7 (NYE2008) routine to “Bugle Call Rag”
I really enjoyed watching this routine and it was even more fun recognizing most of the references. The beauty of the internet is that we immediately get to watch videos of dancing very soon after they are performed. Andrew and Karen are clearly very aware of the dance world around them; you can see clever nods to other’s routines in their choreography (like Mike and Laura’s Blues Apache number from Lindy Focus reference in their “Everybody Loves My Baby” routine [among several others]).

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Camp Hollywood XIII: Full of Win

(It looks like Andrew beat me to the punch).

I know it’s not Thanksgiving, but I am thankful for a lot of things. Right now, while I’m on deployment, there are two things that I’m thankful for in particular.
  1. Dancers that take clear, HD videos of dance competitions at events all around the world.
  2. High-speed internet access.
This forced hiatus from social dance is only bearable because I have so many beautiful videos to watch. (Plus, I have some time to work on jazz routines).

This past weekend was Camp Hollywood XIII. Now in its 14th year, Camp Hollywood is one of the largest and longest running dance camps in the world. CH is also home to some incredible competitions.
It’s only been a few days since the event, so I expect more videos to pop up (the social dance comps in particular), but here’s what I have found so far.

Beautiful HD videos by PatrickandNatasha. They have videos of several of the Showcase routines, a couple team routines, Balboa Finals and the Pro Lindy finals.

More HD videos by irishbrat4u. Different angles of a couple of the showcases, videos of most of the team routines, and a video of the Underground Finals.

MTJokerProductions has the Underground Finals, half the Pro Lindy Finals (up to Nick & Laura’s second run) and the best version of the 1st place Team Routine.

Pro Lindy Finals

These competitors are pushing the boundaries with clever aerials and innovative combinations. This isn’t so much a social dance competition as it is a raw, high-flying, air step showcase, so pre-planned sequences are the norm. There are so many little things going on, but here are some things I would like to point out:

During the second round of spotlights, Ceth and Tiffany recover beautifully after a slip up by the previous couple. Excellent focus here. They also have this neat snatch variation.

7:05, Kevin dries off the floor with his knees after Shesha rolls off. Well done.

7:27 Marty and Delilah do the very showy, impressive airplane move that they used in their showcase routine (and later reprise the move in the final all skate). That move is a feat of strength and trust. Nice bloomers, BTW.

For their second spotlight, Nick and Laura pull off an awesome sequence of linked together air steps after a couple bars of fancy syncopated footwork. The entire thing is breathtaking.

For their second spotlight, Kevin and Angel do what I’m going to call the “Mancake to Bridge.” The Bridge part is slow and at first looks like he’s about to crush her. I love the other competitors’ reactions, especially Mikey’s and Marty’s.

I really enjoyed watching the reactions of the competitors in the background; there was a lot of interaction. You can tell they were just excited to watch as to compete: jumping up and down with the aerials; and interacting in other ways.

Then, the final all skate. Two words: Legs. Everywhere.

By my count, I think there were at least 19 air steps, sweeps, big kicks or jumps during the last 2 phrases of the all skate. I was hooting and hollering watching this at the beach bar last night.

Two of my favorite showcase routines:

I love this polished routine by Kevin and Jo, especially the staggered Tacky Annie sequence. Jo has mastered flirty, sexy, girly styling and clever footwork; the ladies (and leads) attending Southern Belle Swing Bash are in for a treat. I hear Kevin will be there too.

Finally, now I know what song they’ve been using to intro their instructional videos: “Lookin’ Good but Feelin’ Bad.”

More importantly: Double Cartwheels. (Cue the Double Rainbow song).

Team Division Champions

This is a very well choreographed routine. It has lots of neat elements: circle formations, moving line formations, impressive air steps, and yelling, lots of yelling. Also, I have a big crush on all of the follows on that team. Just sayin’.

Results for all of the competitions are on the Camp Hollywood website.