Saturday, June 20, 2009

Austin Swing Syndicate 10th Anniversary

Last Thursday was the Austin Swing Syndicate's 10th Anniversary bash. It was a fabulous night of wonderful live music by the Syndicate All-star Band, including such awesome local musicians as Jonathan Doyle, JD Pendley, Ryan Gould, Mark Gonzales, Emily Gimble, Donna Hightower, and Erik Hokkanen. I'm missing a couple names in there, so if you know the piano, cornet and drummer's names, feel free to leave them in the comments. Anyways, the All-star Band was fantastic, playing a lot of mid-tempo, hard-swinging standards that kept the entire floor packed all night long! In particular, I absolutely loved that JD played straight rhythm guitar. Having that hard swinging guitar really brings the band together and makes me need to move.

We also got to hear and see a bit of the history surrounding the Syndicate's creation. Burke McRae and Amanda Matthews, the main founders, were in attendance. Amanda received one of this year's Syndie's, a golden ticket that allows her the privilege of never again having to pay cover or membership dues. Burke received his a few years ago. The other Syndie went to lindy-lifer Colin "Reverend Shadyglenn" Wise. Colin, a lawyer, helped draft the Syndicate's original by-laws and has been dancing, DJing or helping out at the Fed almost every single Thursday for the last 10 years! It was awesome to see them honored. It ended with a huge snowball/jam with all the board members over the years and those that were dancing back in the beginning.

Tony Spielberg took a ton of pictures, and hopefully they'll be online sometime soon. I'll make sure to add a link to them at the end of this post when that happens.

For the occasion, Laura and I put together a couple performances that we put on right after the Birthday Jam. We did our new Lindy Routine and got a few people together do the Tranky Doo. Thanks to Tony for posting those videos on Vimeo.

Here's to another 10 years of Lindy Hop in Austin!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Overwhelming and Amazing: A Review of the Frankie95 Celebration.

Frankie Manning, the single most influential force in Lindy Hop. It's no surprise that about 2000 Lindy Hoppers from around the world converged on New York over Memorial weekend to honor his passing and celebrate his Spirit. The Spirit of Frankie Manning was indeed present as those 2000 dancers pulsed on the enormous dance floor of the Hammerstein Ballroom in the Manhattan Center. Every where you looked dancers smiled and bounced around until they kicked everyone out in the wee hours of the morning. Frankie95 was the largest and most important Lindy Hop event to date.

My absolute favorite aspect of Frankie95 was the Spirit of Frankie. Everyone at the Event was filled with the Spirit of Frankie. Throughout the 5 nights, everyone carried with them a Warmth, a sense of belonging to something greater. It was a fantastic feeling. Even with several noticeable hiccups over the weekend, everyone stayed excited and supportive.

That excitement was fueled in part by the amazing Performances each night, culminating in a Big Show Sunday night. Dancers from all over the world performed Jazz, Tap, Charleston, and Lindy Hop in a Variety of Forms. There were Vintage recreations, new routines inspired the past, and plenty of tributes to the Man, Frankie Manning. In the Sunday show, they recreated Hellzapoppin'! Sadly, that won't be appearing on Youtube. Performers throughout the weekend included: The Harlem Hotshots, The Silver Shadows, The Ninjammerz, and many others. Here's a few of the most notable nightly performances.

A Recreation of The Berry Brothers' Facinating Rhythm by the Killer Dillers:

A Tribute to Frankie Manning by the Silver Shadows:

The use of the spotlight was brilliant!

A Super Fast Routine, Jitters by the Ninjammerz:

The Harlem Hot Shots performed many times, but my favorite was this weird one:

Since this review is starting to get really long I'll only talk about one last thing, the crazy competitions. The two competitions of the weekend were the Hellzapoppin' Lindy Hop contest, and the World's Largest Jack and Jill competition. The Hellzapoppin' contest pitted some of the best dancers in the world against each other in a no holds barred throw down! Ok, it wasn't the craziest thing ever, but it was pretty awesome. Scott recently posted the finals, but here it is again:

If you look closely at the 4th couple, you'll see yours truly dancing with Laura! I still don't know how we made finals, but we did and it was super fun. The World's Largest Jack and Jill had somewhere around 500 dancers enter! In the end it boiled down to just 7 couples. And again, Laura and I somehow made it to the finals, and Laura was even in the top 3! It was judged by Audience applause. Take a look:

That's it for now! Look out for further installments with details on the Comps, Performances and anything else I can think of!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Congrats to Mike and Laura!

The Lindy Project's very own Mike and Laura made it to the finals of one of the biggest lindy hop competitions since the 1940s!

They are the 4th couple.