The Infamous Chase

My gregarious friend Mikey Pedroza was the only one, I know of, who took up the challenge of creating a recap of the ever-so-popular Chase done at ILHC this past year. Enjoy Mikey in all his vivacious glory as well as his video of the now-infamous Chase.

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 – Solo Charleston

I felt very unprepared this year for charleston, but I figured I’d try and focus on the music and be as ridiculous as possible. Luckily, my poorly formulated plan worked a treat and I made it to finals. Here are the videos from prelims and finals!

Heat 1, Song 1 Heat 1, Song 2 Heat 2, Song 1 Heat 2, Song 2

Competitors:

1) Ann Mony
2) Oliv Wan
3) Nalla Kim
4) Nathan Bugh
5) Sharon Davis
6) Soochan Lee
7) Jo Hoffberg

Warm up:

Delilah, thanks for doing the Chase Break with me in the contest. It would have been a shame to not add to the amount of Chasing done at ILHC 2011.

Finals:

Gaaahhh!! Nathan is soooooooo ridiculously good!!! Check out his first solo at 2:28…….stoooopid good! Nathan, you are a gem. That was one of the most beautiful phrases I’ve seen. You’re genius is undeniable.
Ann Mony’s musicality is so freaking solid. OMG, what a treat it was to watch her and the musicians converse!

So, what do you think?!!

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.