Friday, April 10, 2009

Lindy Hop on Dancing With The Stars... Not.

So did anyone see "Lindy Hop" performed on Dancing with the Stars? Well you can now on the YouTube clips below. But before we get to that, I have some general complaints.

First, DWTS obviously didn't use Lindy Hoppers to choose the music, the look, or the choreography. As a result, to me, this wasn't Lindy Hop. It looked like jitterbug / jive dancing that ballroom dancers do. And that's fine. I wouldn't want to do it... but it's fine. The problem is that by calling it "Lindy Hop", when it's not, distorts people's perception of what Lindy Hop really is. How many times can they say "Lindy Hop is all about kicks and tricks"? And people will be left with this nonsense.

Going hand in hand with the choreography-that-was-not-lindy-hop, was the music. The music wasn't music you would Lindy Hop to. They had a plethora of ridiculous songs ranging from rock n' roll, to rockabilly, to neo-swing. Not a one would you actually Lindy Hop to. Not one song was a swing song or big band song or hot jazz song... or anything that swung at all. How can we expect the dancers to swing? Bleh.

In sum: watch So You Think You Can Dance. They have amazing dancers that are actual up-and-coming dancers that want to do this as their profession. And not only do they have these great dancers that can actually perform the styles of dance presented to them, but they also hire top dancers in the field to create the choreography for them.

So, on to the videos. The last one actually has something interesting in it!

Steve-O and Lacey*

*Lacey was on So You Think You Can Dance.

Melissa and Tony

Shawn and Mark

Ty and Chelsie*

*Chelsie was on So You Think You Can Dance.

Also, wow, whoever choreographed this one actually looked at what Lindy Hop IS and tried to create a routine that incorporates it. We actually saw some swingouts, swivels, and charleston sans pointy toes and upwards bounce... With a real swing / big band song I think this routine might have actually felt right. For me, this was the best attempt. Get it Chelsie.

Julianne and Chuck

David and Kym

The awesome thing about this last video is they actually went out and saw what Lindy Hop is! LindyGroove is one of the, if not the, biggest weekly swing dances in the country. It's in Pasadena, CA every Thursday night. (Side note: the Austin Swing Syndicate hosts perhaps the second biggest weekly swing dance in the country right here in Austin!) Unfortunately, they dubbed over the music that was playing at LindyGroove with some god awful tunes... but at least you can actually see a real swingout!

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