Camp Jitterbug is THE most important Lindy Hop event in the Western Hemisphere right now. The killer instructor line up; great live and DJ'd music, uber high level contests, and the one of a kind Jump Session Show. I’ve never been actually, but it’s significance is such that it cannot and should not be ignored. This roundup almost a month late, but fortunately a lot of people have been talking it up. It feels like the Lindy Sphere-o-blogs is becoming more and more active. Check out Mary Freitag’s experiences on her blog Art and Dancing, a Canadian perspective on Hamfats.ca, and Mikey Pedroza’s ongoing series of reactions on his blog.
My favorite post, by far, coming out of the event is by Jo Hoffberg writing about her experience of learning and choreographing her tribute to Eleanor Powell. This is what dance blogs should be about.
Finally the ever present Dave The Wave recorded and posted videos of all the prelims and finals for all the contests on his blog Jazzpirations.
Videos from the Jump Session Show are going up as I noted last week. I’ll break out a separate post about those later.
I do want to go back and highlight a couple other videos of the Lindy Hop Couples' Finals.
This one is from YouTube User Takajymi. I really like the camera work on this video because it zooms in on each of the dancers during their spotlights. You also get a nice taste of the warm up song and some clever editing weaves in some post contest pictures of everyone taking their bows. Not being at an event like this, it’s always nice to get to experience as much of it as possible even if it second hand.
Then there’s this HD video from the other side from Littlefeetoffury.
The HD quality of the videos makes a huge difference. I was a little surprised to find out that Pontus Persson and Frida Borg won the contest at first, but these videos clarify a little bit more what the judges saw. The Harlem Hot Shots' other Frida is a ball of energy, but Pontuss outshines everyone on that floor. Combined with their tight execution its pretty obvious why they won.
Check out Pontuss and Frida at the end of both of their shines. At the end of the first one they peck like it's the greatest move in the world, and with so much conviction that they get people in the audience and other competitors to do it with them.
Laura & Nick's trick combos are pretty damn impressive and Laura’s Matrix like freeze during her second shine amazingly makes you forget Brittany & Michael’s showstopping aerial right before. However, the aftermath of that trick also highlights Nick’s weakness: As brilliant a technician as he is, he still lags behind his peers in terms of stage presence. Watch them as they come out of that second shine in the second video and see how Laura oozes attitude as she struts off compared to Nick who is just a blank slate.
That’s just an example. Seems like a little thing, but in a competition where everyone is whipping out insane moves with tight technique, it's the little things that separates 1st from 2nd place.
I guess the other thing to talk about is the use of a lot of pre-choreographed patterns by the top placing couples. I’ve gone on record about my feeling towards the subject , but this contest highlights the advantages. In this line up, Brittany Johnson & Michael Darigol are the obvious dark horses, but they placed 3rd because they came up with some truly original stuff ahead of time. It’s hard to argue with those results.
Although I’m sure you could, which usually triggers a debate on how to do well in competitions. My standard answer is: Just do your best. Every competition is going to be different. Even if it’s the same event, there will be different dancers, different music, different crowds, and different judges all coming from slightly different frames of mind from the last competition they saw. You can’t control most of those things, so just get out there and bust your ass.
The last thing you should do is dress up in matching 80's tennis outfits. I'm looking at you Thigpen. Not so much Turman, because something like that has to come from a sick, mustachioed place.