Monthly Archives: August 2011

ILHC from the Outside.

Confession: I didn’t get my ticket to ILHC, and ended up hunkering down with my wife and the kitties while everyone else basked in the dance awesomeness. But like many other dancers, I’ve been soaking in videos, and decompressing with friends about the event. I want to give a shout out to Max Desens who made the finals of the open Jack and Jill. A year and a half ago, the boy couldn’t even do a swing out, and now he’s turned into a rockstar. His work ethic around dancing has been amazing, and its been a joy and a privilege to teach him.

Watching competition videos, a few have stood out to me. It seems like Max and Annie are owning the showcase division, and everyone else is fighting for second. Their use of storytelling was interesting, and reminded me a lot of Ben and Jen’s winning routine at ALHC in 2006. I think that Ben got it from working with Natalie and Yuval. The real curiosity to me is how far the dancers will take it, and at what point does “the show” overshadow the showcasing of phenomenal dancing? Continue reading



Filed under community, lindy hop

Social to Dancing.

The very term “Social Dancing” implies two very different types of activities coming together, socializing and dancing. I often find it hard to do both at the same time. I can talk to a partner, but then I can barely dance with her. Or I can dance, but its hard to talk when your partner is whipping through a swingout. There’s also the option to sit a dance out to have a more involved conversation, but that can be a challenge, too, if you’re trying to talk over the music. In the past few weeks, I’ve had two experiences at the opposite end of a spectrum that have gotten me thinking more about the nature of social dancing. Continue reading


Filed under community, Technique, Theory

Song Exchange – August Edition

A warm ‘Hello’ from Rehoboth Beach, DE where Susanne and I have spent the week on vacation. This post is part of what was formerly the “Songs of the Month Club,” but we decided to mix it up. Frankly, I was tired of sharing all my carefully collected gems without hearing back from you all about your discoveries! So I’m hoping that everyone who reads and enjoys this series will share at least one of their favorite dance tunes from the past month to help me build my collection as well! Let me know what you’re listening to!

Onto the music, this was a bit of an odd month. I DJ-ed for a couple of July 4th patriotic themed dances, and went hunting for vintage WWII themed songs. We also hosted our annual Luau Dance in Annapolis, and I found some Hawaiian swing for the occasion.

Patriotic Tunes:

  • “Thanks  Mr. Roosevelt” – Harry Leader & His Band. A peppy little vintage sounding tune that clocks in just over 205 BPM, but feels very laid back and approachable. I am particularly fond of the vocals which are backed by some great piano work. Sid Pimm is listed as the pianist for the band, and I may try to track down some more of his work.
  • “Yankee Doodle” – Jack Teagarden. The vocals are just passing, but the band is swinging hard with some really tight ensemble work from both the trumpet and the reed sections.
  • “You’re a Grand Old Flag” – Barrel Fingers Barry. Barrelhouse piano styling. It has a little more square, ragtime/early jazz feeling to it. If you need some patriotic music for dancing, it can fit the bill nicely, but otherwise I’d let this one sit for better options. Continue reading


Filed under Big Band, Blues, C-Jam, Dixieland, Jazz, Music, Pop