And so it ends. Read the rest of Karen's video clip trip down memory lane here.
We had already set the choreography by Winter 2009, anticipating that we’d probably need to add a moment or two from that year before performing it at ILHC 2009. We chose to put a reference to the Silver Shadows’ Tribute to Frankie Manning from Frankie95. This was the highlight of the entire festival for me, such a beautiful gift to honor Frankie’s memory. It also served as a modern day reference to Frankie Manning and what he did for the dance community. We knew we already had two Silver Shadows references for the ending, but we really didn’t think we could live with ourselves if we left this one out, so we just tacked it onto the beginning of that sequence.
Sadly, Andrew broke his foot a month before ILHC 2009, so we decided to put this whole project on the back burner for ILHC 2010. We knew we would need to perform at the right place and time and for the right people for it to go over well—and ILHC 2010 was going to be the best event for that. So we chose to work on our Barbershop routine in the meantime. This past spring (2010), we dusted off the evolution routine and got back to work. We wanted to make sure the choreography was current so we sat and debated about what moments in 2009-2010 should be added. We’d already decided on the Frankie95 reference, so we thought about ILHC 2009 and what moments really stuck out to us. The dancing was all around amazing, yet the two moments that came to my mind first were Skye and Frida vs Max and Annie: the Swingout battle in the Champions Strictly, and Skye and Frida’s fantastic Classic routine.
But we’d already referenced both of these couples so we kept thinking. Then we remembered Ben and Sheri and One2swing/ the California Rolls. They rocked the team division with two entertaining and well executed choreographies. Their “All the Cats Join In-Traffic Jam” was better than watching the actual cartoon (which I love) and I couldn’t believe they had the guts to do yet another “Love me or Leave me” Nina Simone routine, but they killed it. The piano part exploded our brains and we decided that it would be fun to give Ben and Sheri a shout out for all of the creativity and innovation they have contributed to team routines. They’re super cheesy—but they own it and that’s what I love about them. :-)
For the final ending, we decided to give ourselves a break and finally insert some of our own choreography. That ding ending is from our Hoedown, which is also the beginning of our Barbershop routine. I don’t want anyone to read into that as anything more than that we had to put an ending on there, and I guess it could represent our own journey through the dance. For me, this choreography was a lot about my own personal history since age 19 when I first started swing dancing. I’m so touched that other people have found meaning in it as well. We just meant for it to be an entertaining tribute that summed up our perspective of the dance and where it has been, focusing on innovation and creativity. I’m bummed we had to leave out so many amazing moments and contributors to the dance, but we had to stop it somewhere. Thanks for reading through my extensive thoughts about creating this piece, I apologize for it being a bit long, but hey, so was the routine. :-)
Thank you Karen for sharing your story with us.