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News and Views, final '10/'11 #15
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Allen Hall
MN Prince of Snark Darkness


Joined: 26 May 2004
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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2011 11:15 pm    Post subject: News and Views, final '10/'11 #15 Share topic on FB Add User to Ignore List Reply with quote

News and Views from the Hall LindyJazzMobile
The Final ‘10/’11 Installment # 15

DANCE, DRIVE, REPEAT

Table of Contents:

1. Lindy Hopping from Dayton to Lake Sylvia (Louisville, Chicago, Madison, Minneapolis)
2. Thoughts.
3. Sept. ’10 –May ’11 Summary
4. News and Views ‘10/’11 Requiem
5. Zero Coming Attractions

LINDY HOPPING FROM DAYTON OH TO LAKE SYLVIA MN.

Louisville

1. J. C. Porter’s Good Time Emporium.
We had the distinct pleasure of attending the regular Thursday night swing dance at “J.C. Porter’s Good Time Emporium.” This is a too-dark dance venue, but, in all other regards, a great good-time venue. The floor is huge by ordinary emporium standards, and, as always, the floor surface was in top dance condition. A modest crowd attended including 11 pairs learning the swing-out. The general experience level of Louisville Lindy Hoppers is advanced over that we experienced last year. Music is provided by Ron Wallace, a DJ who has been providing music for swing dances of several flavors since 1992. Ron is, by experience and ability, a dandy and unapologetic Bop dancer, but he is unique in that he struggles to learn what other swing dancers enjoy. He is retired disabled Army combat soldier, which gives him the time to do this, but, additionally, he assumes the responsibility to view videos of Lindy Hop contests in order to identify those recordings characteristic of the current popular music in Lindy Hop. He then selects those recordings which have, to his experienced swing dance DJ ear, musical energy and insistent rhythm. This results in dance music which both propels me out of my chair, and deters me from going home when I have run out of dance-gas. Further, his range of tempos lay nicely on the Lindy Hop sweet spot, e.g.,last night, he refused a request to play a recording at 220 bpm because he knows his crowd, and know that 220 would clear the floor, except, of course, for the guy who requested it.

2. The Derby Town Swing Camp
Then it was on to the reported first-ever Louisville weekend Lindy teaching event, “Derby Town Swing Camp”, a workshop, competition and social dance weekend. Three pairs of instructor taught, this faculty led by Nick Williams and Carla Heiney. When I asked how they could get two of the very best in the world, the DTSC chairman told me “We pestered them until they agreed to come.” Nick and Carla were both gracious to do much more than the obligatory minimal social dancing at the Friday and Saturday night dances, and not just with advanced dancers. Wouldn’t that be nice if that happen with all Lindy Hop instructors? Indeed, they are the on-site ambassadors for the dance, and if dancing with top dancers doesn’t ignite a fire in beginner and intermediate LHers, I don’t know what the hell will.

The floor was imported from Washington DC, 4 by 4 foot hardwood topped floating plywood panels, which incidentally did not creep across the underlying carpet. The surface was about as good as they come. The sound system of 4 speakers was crisp and penetrating. Music was provided by a number of local and invited DJs, and I was pleased with their selections and tempos. After listening to the first three recordings at the Friday night dance, I approached the DJ and asked, “Are you a musician.” He said “Yes”, to which I replied,
“It figures, I can often tell.” For me the give-away is that musicians often play recordings which are BOTH good to dance to, and are also interesting quality music by quality musicians, and which are seldom, if ever, heard at DJed Lindy Hop dances. Not to cast aspersions at non-musician DJs, but they seem to trust their ears less often when it comes to music new-to-LH-dances.
The Louisville dancers were friendly and gracious to Rudy and I. We attended both evening dances. Two levels of Jack & Jill contests were held on Saturday night and both were expedited in order to get us all back to social dancing.

P.S. The Louisville Lindy tribe has announced that they are going to hold the second Derby City Dance Camp in 2012—Hurrah! The dates should lay somewhere on the route of the homeward bound LindyJazzMobile.

Chicago

Monday night at “The Fizz Bar & Restaurant”. The upstairs dance hall has been a Chicago LH venue staple for 10+ years, $7, full bar, tight on-street parking. The floor is old narrow board hardwood which has been LHed through the shellac to bare wood—YES!-- DJed music, that I have always enjoyed. Big turnout of a mix of LHers with a general high level of dancer experience (at a regular weekly LH venue) close to that found in the original “Memories” in L.A., and, believe me, that’s sayin’ something.

Madison

Dancing at “The Brink” in downtown 9-11:30 Wednesday, no cover. DJed music. About 20 dancers most well experienced LHers. The floor is about a good as it gets and the dance floor has been expanded 2x since we were here last year about this same time, Good dances and a fun time. Wednesday has been the LH night in Madison for many years, at least 3 years at The Brink.

Minneapolis

We will be at the May 19th Late Night Swing where our Lindy homies may wish to open their arms to welcome us home with gushing displays of the adulation we so richly deserve. But, absent that, we would be equally happy with, “Damn! you two back already?”

Lake Sylvia

Whew! Home at long last.

THOUGHTS (a few)

I have been wondering if scientific studies would improve social Lindy Hop participation by counting the dance pairs on the floor while varying the following characteristics:
1. lighting: A study to determine what level of lumens in a dance venue most satisfies, ranging from pitch darkness to full sunlight at noon on June 15th under a cloudless sky.
2. Tempo: A study to determine which dance music tempo most satisfies in a ranging from, 60 bpm to 350 bpm.
3. Type of Music Recording: A study to determine if more pairs come to the dance floor to dance to instrumental recordings or vocal recordings (both played at the same tempo).
4. Sound loudness: A study to determine which level of decibels of music most satisfies Lindy Hop dancers at a range of loudness from barely audible to painful.
5. Date of Music Recording: A study to determine which date or dates of recording most satisfies Lindy Hoppers at a range of recording dates from 1917 to 2011.

SEPT ’10 – MAY ’11 SUMMARY

We were gone from Lake Sylvia 246 days. We danced on 103 days, or one dance every 2.4 days, or, put another way, we danced on 42% of the days we were out on the LindyJazzMobile trail. I’ll have to check on this, but it seems to me that our % days dancing is up from last year. I would count up all the towns and cities and venues we danced in, and all the bands we danced to, but I ain’t gonna do it cuz it’s too hard to dig it out of my heavily scribbled-up calendar. Sufficed to say, it was a big bunch of them.
We left in fair dance condition, and returned a bit worse from both terpsichorean overuse, plus age-associated fair wear and tear.

ZERO COMING ATTRACTIONS

Well, that’s not to say that there will not be any attractions ever, or none in an impromptu “News and Views” e-mailing coming out this summer. It’s just that I don’t know of any, and none are planned. However, who knows what zany and quirky thoughts and writings lurk in the mind of a Lindy dancer?
But, for now, Adieu! until this fall when we, once again, fire up the LindyJazzMobile. That’s to say, if the contraption will start.

Allen Hall, Lindy Hopper
May 19, 2011, back in Minnesota, and Zounds! not a single snow-drift in sight.
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