Ramona Staffeld & Todd Yannacone's 1st Place Pro Classic performance at The International Lindy Hop Championships was the most shared video off of the Wandering & Pondering FB page. It also happens to be one of my favorites of this year. Not long after that, Ramona contacted me to continue with her series here on this blog, but rather than go back, I convinced her to write about her most recent performance. She enthusiastically agreed, but I failed at life by losing track of the post she sent to me. I remembered it while prepping this year's round up and rather than blathering on about it myself, I present to you Ramona Staffeld in her own words.
I haven’t had a whole lot of time to write, so I might as well talk about what’s been keeping me busy. The last few weeks before an event are usually the busiest times for event organizers and now there are just three weeks before this year’s International Lindy Hop Championships. So instead of nitpicking another dance video, I’ve been spending my spare time trading hundreds of emails doing the bidding of my ILHC overlords: Tena Morales, Nina Gilkenson, and Sylvia Sykes.
I met with ILHC co-director Tena Morales a couple of weeks ago who was in town too nail down some details for this rapidly approaching event. Just being in the hotel with the rest of the DC based ILHC staff was enough to get me psyched for August. I visited the hotel for the first time a couple of months ago and this place is so nice that I had to call Tena to make sure I was in the right place. This place is swanky. From the artsy clock in the foyer to the pimp board room where we met. Honestly, it almost feels a little too nice for a Lindy Hop event, but never let it be said that we don’t at least try to class up the proceedings.
I had a conversation with my friend Ann earlier this year where we discussed what our greatest moments in our lives were up until that point. She then told me that she expected Frankie95 to be one of those moments. She brought this up since I was one of the people working on the event. No pressure at all. It was during this conversation that we realized that “greatest” doesn’t necessarily have to have a positive conotation. Hitler had the greatest impact on the course of the 20th century, but I’m pretty sure we’re not going to build him a monument anytime soon.
Check out the right side towards the end during the all skate as two of my new favorite Southern California dancers, Kim Clever and David Frutos whip out 10 consecutive kips, sort of referencing one of my all time favorite moments from the year before where Nina Gilkenson and Mikey Pedroza brought the house down with 10 swingouts in a row.
Technically from 2008, but right before the New Year. This performance was so awesome that they got asked to do it all over the place in 2009. Brilliantly funny, combined with great dancing. I like this clip especially because of the reactions of the judges especially Nina Gilkenson and Juan Villafane reflecting everyone’s complete surprise and delight in seeing this the first time. Click here to get a better view of their facial expressions from a performance from Lindyfest in Houston.
Last night Ellenore Scott & Ryan Di Lello performed a Lindy Hop piece choreographed by Carla Heiney on So You Think you Can Dance. The dancers did a great job with the performance given the tight time constraints, but any woman that can teach me how to dance should have no problem with much more gifted performers.
I remember the years taking lessons from Carla while she was still studying biology at the U of Maryland. When she told me about her dream of becoming a full time dancer I thought to myself “A full time Lindy Hopper? Really?” I was worried about her earning a living, never mind any kind of notoriety.
Two years ago, I compiled a list of my favorite routines from The American Lindy Hop Championships in response to an open request by that event’s promoter. As I was making the list, I discovered that I found it harder and harder to come up with stand out moments as time went on. It wasn’t because the dancing was bad—in fact it was much better technically as years pass—but very little stood out creatively in the way Minnies’ Moochers, Jenn Salvadori & Justin Zillman, or Mad Dog did during their times.