Flash Mob in Denver

This is by far my favorite Lindy Hop flash mob I’ve seen to date:

Holiday travelers at Denver International Airport (DIA) were surprised with an entertaining treat when a flash mob broke out in Jeppesen Terminal on November 22nd, 2011. Approximately 100 dancers from Community-Minded Dance (cmDance) performed a Lindy Hop to a medley of Swing classics in the airport’s Great Hall in Denver, Colorado.

Coordinated by cmDance
Choreography by Ceth Stifel, Heather Ballew, Joseph DeMers, & Lark Mervine
cmDance creates world-class educational dance and music experiences. The non-profit organization’s programs bring the music and dance of the Americas to Colorado schools and audiences, including Lindy Hop, Argentine Tango, Jazz, and other American Vintage and folkloric dances. For more information, visit www.cmdance.com

Organized by DIA’s Art and Culture Program
Today’s dance performance was presented by the airport’s Art and Culture Program. DIA is home to a world-class collection of public art, funded by the City and County of Denver’s “one percent for art” requirement for public facilities. In addition to its renowned permanent art collection, DIA curates temporary exhibitions, collaborating with museums, cultural institutions and arts organizations to present the highest quality two- and three-dimensional work. For more information on DIA’s public art program and its temporary exhibitions, visit www.flydenver.com/art.

Produced by Rich Clarkson & Associates
RCA is a multi-disciplinary creative agency, based around the core of fine visual storytelling. Beyond our strengths in original photography and video production, our activities range from publishing high quality photographic books to major exhibition design to digital asset managment and project management in the latest rich media applications. For more information, visit www.richclarkson.com

Cleveland’s “Junior Jitterbugs” Win Junior Championships in International Competition

Reposted from NPRs Ideastream.

Last weekend, a group of Cleveland elementary school kids brought home the top prizes in the junior division at the International Lindy Hop Competition held in Washington DC  ideastream’s Mhari Saito reports.

 

 

The Lindy Hop has its roots in the 1930’s when African Americans at iconic Harlem clubs like the Savoy made dance history with their upbeat and acrobatic moves. The Lindy Hop is also a dance students at Denison Elementary in Cleveland’s Brooklyn Centre have been studying at a free afterschool program for the past seven years.

Valerie Salstrom: Five, six, five, six, here we go..

Thanks to a patchwork of grants, Valerie Salstrom of Get Hep Swing helps students like these through the intricate yet loose steps.

Valerie Salstrom: I want to spread the love of this dance form that I love to make sure people can speak that language so it doesn’t die. But I also hope they will develop self-confidence and they’ll learn how to be self-disciplined.

Over the years, Salstrom has taken some students to contests around the country. This year, the kids asked to go again this time to the International Lindy Hop Competition in late August. The project money was gone. So this summer, Salstrom coached the kids for free. They met nearly every day and managed to get everything – from entry fees to gas money – donated. The work paid off.

(CHEERS)
A youtube video shows 13-year-old Hannah Abel and 11-year-old Kevin Tucker dancing the routine that won them the junior championship. Their Cleveland teammates also won, bringing home second and third places.  Many of the kids had never been out of state before. Twelve-year-old Alexandria Gross said the experience was unforgettable.

Alexandria Gross: It was fun because we got to dance with a lot of people that we didn’t know and try new things.

Basking in their victories, the kids get a few weeks off before dance classes start up again.

 

Additional Information

Check out Hannah and Kevin’s winning routine at the International Lindy Hop Competition 2011
Learn more about the Cleveland Junior Jitterbugs.

 

Highlights from ILHC

1) Watching the Junior Division!! They were amazing. Videos coming soon!!

2) Showcase Division:


I am kicking myself for not seeing this live (I missed it by 25 seconds). This must have been unreal!! Sitting in the kitchen watching this was still an emotional experience, so I can only imagine what it must have been like being in the ballroom during this momentous occasion. While watching the video, I was screaming and hooting and hollering for them!! I actually shed some tears in honor of their awesomeness. Fuck, this totally touches my heart.

SOOOOO many people have talked about doing something like this, yet they actually put it together and threw down! Uh, the blue balls experience of them doing Balboa instead of swinging out left me wanting more. Thank goodness they finally provided the much needed release by teaming up and swinging out!!

3) Cabaret:

Dargoff showing us the importance of good hygiene. And lemme tell ya, sex sells!

Tips & Tops and their newest routine:

Nothing quite like Man-on-Man + hat-on-hat dancing if you ask me! Well done Gentlemen, you were wonderful.

Everyone!

The ending is my favorite part. I LOVE Footloose!

4) Classic Division:

In my eyes, Tommy & Alice won this competition. Their choreography is stunning, easy to understand yet still complex, exceptionally well danced, beautifully performed, and they both make the other person shine. To me, this is one an example of one of the best partnerships out there today. You two are such an inspiration!

For more on the Classic Division, click here!

5) Nathan Bugh in the Solo Charleston spotlights. Genius I tell ya!!!

6) Champion J&J:

This one knocked it out of the park for me! I’m always super impressed with how Peter is able to dance with the ladies of any size and still retain the integrity of his movement. Uh! Check out his kick ups at 0:37, his spin at 1:09, and how they play off each other at 1:25! And Alice is just amazing! Favorite moments by her: swing out variation at 0:22, her swivels forward at 0:57, and her shapes on her Rocks at 1:43!

Otherwise, the dance between Andy Reid and Mia Goldsmith just flowed. It was magical. Honestly, I couldn’t remember anything they did after the dance was over other than being swept away by how well they connected to each other and the song. Oh yeah, and the dance with Todd and Frida was ok (I’m being sarcastic)…….it was fabulously hilarious!!!

7) Pro-Am

This cat has been dancing lindy hop for a year and a half (or something close to that). How ridiculous is he?!!! Uh yeah……wow is right!

Isn’t she fabulous?! Sasha Gross was in the Junior’s Program and she killed it!

8) On a personal level:

Getting 2nd place in the fiercest Classic Division I’ve seen in the Lindy Hop world. I was told the difference in score between Kevin & me and Skye & Frida was only one judge which means there was someone who thought that was a first place routine! Looking forward to seeing the score sheets!

Taking 2nd place in the Solo Charleston contest! Normally I try to prepare by creating routinelettes so I have something to fall back on in case I go blank in a contest, but this year I just didn’t have time to get any together. I spent some time working on my lines using the Big Apple choreography, but otherwise, that was just me dancing (*chin up…..very proud of myself). Would love to see the scores on this one as well!

Having a blast in the Champion Strictly!! We had to battle our way out of prelims and since Kevin and I haven’t gotten to train the way we’d like (he’s been injured), we decided to fall back on the ol’ personality thing. Thank goodness we had Baltimore’s support!! I don’t remember much about the prelims other than doing swing outs across the entire crowd (crowd pumping anyone?) AND having our seamless room take-over thwarted by the ever-so-gorgeous Pontus and Isa. Luckily we didn’t completely run into them…..our awesomeness was just slowed down.

Fortunately, Kevin and I made it to finals which gave us the opportunity to crowd surf the Baltimore contingency!!!! The second half our our second solo starts with The Move of the Weekend, The Chase, and ended with us hurling ourselves on top of the crowd!!! Glory in it’s finest red & blue outfit if I do say so myself!!

9) MOVE OF THE WEEKEND: The Chase

You know the old adage “pink is the new black”? Well, “the chase is the new swing out” according to this weekend. SERIOUSLY, it was a college kids drinking game dream!! I need to watch through 2 more divisions, but I’m confident in saying that there was at least one chase break in EVERY division. I’m even guilty of it myself. I’ll compile a list of people who are guilty of such things and hopefully someone will put a video together of all the Chases from the weekend. *wink wink, nudge nudge lindy scene

10) Last but not least, just being there was a highlight. Getting to see so many friends, having someone buy me cupcakes (thanks Michelle), having some incredible dances, teaching with two of my favorite people, being asked to work with the future of our Lindy Hop community and having a blast doing so, competing against the best lindy hoppers in the world, being cheered on by the community I love, dancing to extraordinary live music, and seeing the fruits of everyone’s labor were a few of the many reasons this weekend was sensational.

Thank you to Tena, Nina, and Sylvia for running this event AND to all of their staff; without you the event wouldn’t happen. I’d also like to give a shout out to all the competitors that came to compete this weekend; you are helping lindy hop continually grow and your contribution is duly noted. A huge thank you to all of the people that filmed the event and put video online for the world to see! Finally, an enormous thank you to everyone in the audience; thank you for coming to support and cheering for everyone as they put their heart and soul on the floor. Baltimore especially, I love you. xxoo

ILHC 2011 Results

Pro-Am
1. Jamin Jackson & Annie Trudeau
2. Emilie Lesage and Davis Thurber
3. Mallory Briggs and Davis Thurber

Juniors
1. Kevin Tucker and Hannah Abel
2. Anjelo Bowen-Pomales and Alexis Davita
3. Cyle Dixon and Alexis Cuevas

Open Jack & Jill
1. Gustav Jakobeson and Calico Goodrich
2. David Lee and Hyun Jung Choi
3. Augie Freeman and Mimi Terris

Advance Jack & Jill
1. Jonathan Tigert and Marie Ndiaye (Sweden)
2. Mindaugas Bikauskas (LIT) and Gabby Cook (USA)
3. Kieran Yee (AUS) and Noni Clarke (AUS)

Balboa Jack & Jill
1. Adam Speen (USA) and Natasha Devyatkina(FRA)
2. Patrick Szmidt (CAN) and Moe Sakan (ENG)
3. Davis Lee and Kelly Aresnault (USA)

ALL-Star Lindy Hop Jack & Jill
1. Nicolas Deniau (FRA) and Natasha Ouimet (CAN)
2  Nalla Kim (KOR) and Teni Lopez-Cardenas (USA)
3. Andreas Olsson (SWE) and Heather Ballew (USA)

Strictly Balboa
1. Adam Speen (USA) and Nelle Cherry
2. Zack Richards (CAN) and Maryse Lebeau (CAN)
3. Andrea Olsson (SWE) and Teni Lopez-Cardenas (USA)

Strictly Lindy Open
1. John Helveston and Annabel Truesdell
2. Johan Kolberg and Eleonor Kolberg (SWE)
3. Augie Freeman (USA) and Alice Pye (USA)

Advance Strictly Lindy
1. Alaine Wong (CAN) and Lunou Aamson-Poirot (CAN)
2. Jonathan Tigert (USA) and Heather Ballew (USA)
3. Andreas Olsson (SWE) and Marie Ndiaye(SWE)

Cabaret
1. The Crazyers (FRA)
2. Tips & Tops (USA)
3. Sharon Davis

Solo Charleston
1. Olivier Chort
2. Jo Hoffberg
3. Sharon Davis

Lindy Hop Classic
1. Skye Humphries and Frida Segerdahl (SWE)
2. Kevin St Laurent and Jo Hoffberg (USA)
3. Thomas Blacharz and Alice Mei (FRA)

Showcase
1. MaxPitruzzella and Annie Trudeau (CAN)
2. Patrick Szmidt and Natasha Ouimet (CAN)
3. Dan Newsom and Gabby Cook (USA)

Champions Strictly Lindy
1. Skye Humphries and FridaSegerdahl (SWE)
2. Max Pitruzzella and Annie Trudeau (CAN)
3. Pontus Persson and Isabella Gregorio (SWE)

Invitational J&J
1. Todd Yannacone (USA) and FridaSegerdahl (SWE)
2. Andy Reid and Mia Goldsmith (USA)
3. Kevin St. Laurent (USA) and Mikaela (SWE)

Team
1. Swingin’ Airforce (CAN)
2. Swing Connection (CAN)
3. NInjammerz (CAN)

ILHC 2011 – Classic Division

Oh my goodness, that was such an unbelievable competition! There were 16 competitors last and as I recall, every routine was really well performed and dance. Seriously, everyone brought their A game. Here are my seven favorite performances from last night (plus mine and Kevin’s)!

Regardless of the placement, in my opinion Tommy and Alice won. I think the choreography was a work of art. Their weight changes, rhythms, shapes, partner connection and quality of movement were on pointe and the just killed it. Literally, this is the best piece of choreography I’ve seen all year.

A last minute entry:

As per usual, their quality of movement and brilliant twist on simple movement is what makes these two powerhouses undeniably inspiring. Even though Skye has a moment of confusion at the end, this is still a stunning routine. I’m betting we’ll hear a lot more of this song on the social dance floor this next year!

Here’s Kevin and my latest routine:

If you remember, we performed this at ESDC and I wasn’t able to get the lighter to light. Thank goodness we bought a better lighter and the thing worked a treat! In general, I’d say I’m really happy with this run-through. There are still a few things that I’d like to clean up, but overall, I’m extremely happy with the piece and feel like we nailed it. Woohoo! And I have to give a big shout out to Mindaugas Bikauskas for helping Kevin put out his cigarette.

And to return the favor…

This is Mindaugas & Gierdre first US performance. I am sooooooo proud of them! Ok, now on to the “favor” (I put that in quotes because it’s questionable). Kevin walks out soooooooo confidently and then drops the comb. GAAAAHHHH, I almost died when this happened! Thank god he redeemed himself by still hitting his mark. …..still though.

I’ve seen this routine a few times and it just gets better and better for me

What a lovely couple these two are!

To be honest, with where I am in my dancing, this is not a routine song that I would choose, but if you listen to the lyrics, it’s clear why they chose they song; they are those friends that became lovers! Their movement is crisps and the choreography is beautiful. Uh, these two freaking swing!!

Nathan and Giselle have such an amazing connection and so many innovative ideas. If you haven’t seen them dance together before, youtube them right now, otherwise enjoy their creativity and authenticity.

I love these two!!

The choreography is super playful, Mary is cute as a button, and Andrew is his fabulous self. I love their ideas, shapes, and how they use the floor. Best of all, they dance like them instead of imitating others!! You two are wonderful!!

Congratulations to all the competitors; you were all fabulous!!! Realistically, ALL of the routines were great. PLEASE please please watch them and let the competitors know what you though.

I Charleston – Berlin

The videography work and the direction of this video is awesome!

Musik: Good Night Circus : http://www.myspace.com/goodnightcircus

My favorite part is when people are dancing on the cement blocks (1:54) and with the guards (2:10). Gaah, I want video doing that!

The question is, when are the Ninjammerz coming to your city?

ESDC 2011 – Cabaret

Yes, ESDC happened long enough ago that this might seem like odd timing for this post, but I don’t care. *smile Here are my favorites from Cabaret Division at the European Swing Dance Championships back in June 2011.

Pure, and utter ridiculousness. I so badly want to be in this routine. Oh, the energy!

Seriously, I think I’d be the tallest one in this routine. I don’t think I can say that I’ve ever been the tallest in anything I’ve done before.

The boys doing their Jazz thing:

I think I prefer the three boy version to the duo. Firstly, there are more boys to adore, but mainly I like the balance of the movement and shapes. Uh….all of them are so classy *grin

Kevin doing an awesome job with his hat trick routine:

Dax & Sarah being fabulous as always:


Dang it, they’re snazzy!

What were your favorites?