Update on ILHC 2010 #2 (4:10 a.m. Saturday night)
** It’s official–I think ILHC has cemented itself as the new National Lindy Hop competition. After tonight’s Champions Strictly, the general quality of all competitors in all the strictlies and Jack and Jills, and the presence of the Jonathan Stout Orchestra, the overall event is just so damn good. With double the crowd as previous years, I also think they are going to quickly grow even bigger in the years ahead. They are already planning on adding more levels of competition, since all the competitions were stuffed.
(Last night I mentioned the Classic was the big one this year. That was a mistake. It was on average; ten(ish?) showcases and 16 cabarets tonight.)
The crowd was crazed, the dancers delivered, and the good vibe I mentioned in last night’s note has somehow grown over the day.
** The setting was perfect, therefore, for Andrew and Karen’s Surprise Showcase piece, an homage to all the dancing of the past that inspired the Lindy. It was called “The Evolution of Lindy Hop.” Basically, they recreated choice snippets from Lindy Hop inspirations, Beginning with Shorty Snowden and going to the mid 2000s. If you saw all the clips of the original swing era and the worthwhile clips of the last twenty years, you’d probably recognize almost all of the moments. It broke my heart that so many people seemed to miss some of the classic clips, but there you go.
The performance got a standing ovation all around, and felt like it was an ovation for all the Lindy Hop that inspired us throughout the years. It was a great moment and a great start to the night.
Here it is:
There was also Max and Annie’s new showcase routine, which involves both huge and well-controlled airsteps. (They seem to have reached new levels of aerial control. It was pretty tight.)
**So, when I write my name on internet forms, I tend to always use Robert E White III, since it is the name my frequent flyer miles know, for instance. Well, occasionally I accidentally do this on Lindy Hop entry forms, the result being that in the 17 competitions I’m in, I keep having to hear my named called out “Robert E White III” instead of “Bobby White.” So, just so you know, it was an accident. (I think the MCs enjoy it. Mixes it up.) Though I have thought of creating an altar-ego persona that does Charleston Competitions under the name Roberto D’Bianco.
**I would hate to judge all of the contests I’ve seen at ILHC so far, but the Champions Strictly will be intersteing results. Not that I think results matter so much in this contest. For instance, out of the seven different couples, we saw almost seven different takes on what dancing in a high level contest means. There was social dancing, unplanned and unchoreographed. There were couples who looked like they had almost all of it choreographed, minus adding a few swing-outs to fix the blues phrases. We saw jams that were half dance/half choreographed. We saw balls-to-the-wall aerials/tricks jams, we saw jams that wowed the crowd with simple movements. It was, like, a display case of the ways a great competitor can approach a jam final.
** If for some reason you wanted to see 30 of the top Lindy Hoppers in the country get half naked and pretend they’re gay, the Cabaret is for you. (I could understand how it might not be for you.) It also included a small dog.
The last act of the Cabaret, it was a recreation of the cult You Tube video known as the “Yes” dance.
Alex Dryer, for my part, did a far better job of doing the “Yes” announcer than the actual “Yes” announcer. I’ve always enjoyed his dry sense of humor, now I’m glad a room full of four hundred people can, too.