Along with the dancing at Governors Island this weekend, I also got some more fun dancing in at the monthly "Swing n Salsa" dance at Club 412 on Saturday. It was quite the affair, with one of my favorite bands the George Gee Orchestra performing in the lindy hop room, along with a live salsa band in the latin room. Not only that, but we also had several swing dignitaries in the house, including Dawn Hampton, Judy Pritchett, Chazz Young and Chester Whitmore!
The highlight of the dance for me was the "Strictly Lindy" competition, that I entered with the lovely and fleet-footed Nina G. It was a fairly casual and friendly competition, organized by my friend Heather Flock, with several other friends among the "competition" including Elaine Silver and AJ Converse, Michael Lenneville and Emily Schelstrate, and Camille Hutt and Frank Nestor. Still, it was a bit stressful going through the prelims and the final heat.
The video above is from the finals, with Chester Whitmore MCing and organizing the band. Dancing to a live band is completely different than dancing to canned music, particularly in a competition. You can't anticipate specific breaks or changes in the music, you just have to respond spontaneously to what is happening at the moment in the song. Plus you have to be attentive to the phrasing of the song, since each couple had to dance first to 16 eight-counts of music, and the eight eight-counts of music, i.e. a phrase and a half-phrase. Finally, we all jammed together during the "all skate."
Nina and I didn't win, but I think we danced respectably. In retrospect, I wish we had a bit more flash and dynamism in our dancing. We aren't a regular teaching, competing or romantic couple like several of the other competitors, so we were at somewhat of a disadvantage. But I'm happy with how we danced, and thought it was a fun and instructive experience.
Congrats to Heather on organizing such a cool competition. Hopefully the first of many more comps in New York!