I can hardly believe this happened, but this weekend Yehoodi had the honor of partnering with the awesome folks at the International Lindy Hop Championships to bring to several thousand viewers around the world a live video stream of a world-class swing competition. It was an exhausting, crazy experience for those of us in Washington DC, the result of literally months of planning and preparations.
From the numbers of people who tuned in this weekend and the feedback we've received online, we think we can conclude that this experiment was an unqualified success. We had anywhere from 175 to 350 viewers watching the live stream at all times — perhaps many more since we know that there were dozens of viewing parties happening in houses and dances all over. Our dedicated page was hit over 17,000 times over the course of the weekend!
Beyond the statistics, we think we created a unique live interactive experience that has never happened before in the lindy hop world. Consider this:
- Expert commentary on the dancing was provided by swing legends like Steven Mitchell, Kevin St Laurent, and Tena Morales herself.
- The live chatroom was filled with people from around the world hanging out, chatting, and giving their own running commentary on the dancing on the screen. This included swing pros like Max Pitruzella, Marty Klempner and Carol Fraser.
- At least 10 viewing parties occurred in places like Chicago, Vienna, San Francisco, and Barcelona.
- Cat in Liverpool created a cool drinking game to go along with the competitions that was played online by hundreds of people in the chatroom.
- Parents got to see their children perform on an international stage from their homes.
- Local scenes got to cheer on their friends in real time.
- People who have never seen lindy hop before in their lives were watching along in the live stream.
So yeah, that happened. The live stream and commentary was so popular that people online and in person have been asking us to repost the videos to the web, which we will try and do as soon as possible.
Of course none of this would have happened without a lot of help. The following individuals helped make this broadcast possible:
- First and foremost, the amazing Tena Morales for having the vision of a live stream from the competitions and inviting us to make that vision a reality, and her co-conspirators Nina Gilkenson and Sylvia Sykes.
- Our awesome sponsors of the broadcast Jitterbugs Swingapore, Santa Swing and the American Social Dance Association.
- All our expert commentators : Alex Dryer, Nicole "Mouth" Frydman, Jo Hoffberg, Steven Mitchell,Tena Morales, Kevin St Laurent, Michael Seguin, Laura "Lindy Shopper" Windley.
- The tireless videographer Patrick Szmidt who let us use his video feed to broadcast all of the dance footage that you saw. Check out his work at PatrickandNatasha.com.
- All the volunteers at ILHC who put up with all of our crazy requests, particular Todd Nichols our assistant.
And thanks to all of you who tuned in at all hours, were patient with us during the technical difficulties, and told your friends about the live stream. We would love to know your thoughts, impressions, technical issues, and suggestions for what might be improved if we ever do something crazy like this again. Feel free to share those thoughts in this thread, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment in the Facebook event.
Finally, if you thought watching ILHC online was amazing, that is just 10% of the awesomeness you will experience by seeing it in person. There is so much we were not able to bring to your screens — from the many live bands performing for the social dances, to the top-notch classes, the "LED" talks, to the soul dance party that closes out the weekend. We encourage you to plan on coming to DC from August 22-25, 2013 for the sixth annual International Lindy Hop Championships.
Here's some of the awesome dancing that we got to witness and broadcast from this weekend!