Monday, November 26, 2012

What are your thoughts on Electro Swing?

I have a lot of thoughts bubbling about Electro Swing, but not a lot of time to compile them. So I'll ask you: what do you think of Electro Swing?

Caravan Palace

Soo Chan Lee and Hyun Jung Choi

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A couple of clips from Showdown 2012

Sharon Davis & Juan Ignacio Villafane vs. Lisa Casper & Chance Bushman

Evita Arce, Nathan Bugh and Sharon Davis

Friday, September 21, 2012

Swing That Thing!

I'd forgotten how long I'd been waiting to see this documentary. It captures the Los Angeles swing scene at the height of the resurgence, circa 1999. Yeah, it's a snapshot of a different time.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Monday, July 30, 2012

Camp Hollywood 2012 - at least seven exclamation points!

Camp Hollywood, after 15 years, has surpassed my expectations. Here are some video highlights: The Fly Rights!

The winners of the Golden Budgie! Soo Chan Lee and Hyun Jung Choi

Sharon Davis teaches swivels!

It's Madison Time! Hit it! This featured a more authentic Cleveland Box than the one I learned on Catalina in the 90s, thanks to Joel Plys and Tise Chao. It did not feature the authentic Birdland step. I guess there wasn't enough time to teach it.
Adrienne Weidert and Adam Brozowski melted the ice around my heart!
Hilary Alexander interviewed about Camp Hollywood!

BONUS - This wasn't shot at Camp Hollywood, but I feel that it is certainly in the spirit of the event. Adrienne and Adam dance at the home of legendary dancer Jean Veloz. Thanks to Rusty Frank recording this great moment!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Living It Up

From the classic Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin film Living It Up. Lindy Hop and Comedy have a long history together.

Jumpin' Punkins

Jumpin' Punkins Why I Dance Swinglandia 2012 Cabaret

Monday, April 16, 2012

Snap your fingers off the beat...

Recently found on YouTube!

Snap your Fingers Off the Beat

Hellzapoppin' then and now

Tea for Three

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

LindyGroove Technique Class Overview

Welcome to the Lindy Groove Lindy Technique class blog. I'm your host and tour guide, Neil. It's my job to make sure this class rocks!

The Technique class focuses on teaching Lindy Hop skills to dancers through ideas, discussion, homework and exercises. It is geared to any student who is interested in improving their dance technique, as long as they have an applied understanding of the Lindy Hop. That means that a student must know the Lindy Hop swing-out and other associated moves and especially have spent time on a social dance floor shaking their groove thang.

Concepts that will be discussed in class include: essential leading and following, balance, body awareness, improvisation, style, musicality. Students will also learn Shim Sham. The emphasis in the Technique class is on growing an understanding rather than on learning new moves. If your goal is to learn new moves, keep looking. I'm sure you can find a class that will teach you new moves.

Required items: a notepad, pen/pencil, a will to work, a sense of humor. There is a suggested donation of $5.

To your right you will see What's Buzzin'. That's your handy guide to the various posts on the blog. Notice the high number of dance clips? You might want to check out some of those. From time to time I post homework here. You can use What's Buzzin' to click directly to the latest assignment. Get it? Got it? Good.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Dance Lessons

USS Rock N Roll is one of the strongest Harold teams at iO West. They did me the honor of allowing me to write an article on the lessons I learned in Lindy Hop that I brought back with me into Improvisation.

Dance Lessons
Part 1 It Ain't What You Do...
Part 2 It's the Way That You Do It!

I think that part 2 is up in an unedited form. It was supposed to go up next week, but there you go! So the links in that entry aren't complete. I think it still works.

Take a look and let me know what you think!

Also, I want to teach Adventures in the Groove at LindyGroove with a large class. I want to record and post this class for posterity. Who is interested in helping out?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Monday, February 6, 2012

Shave and a Haircut

Here are some things I recently found on Facebook. Social networking is not entirely evil.

Why I Dance (and why you should too)

Black Coffee, by the Careless Lovers
A cute video directed by Joon Chang, whom I worked with in the 48 hour film festival a few years back.

A Word on Swing: Lindy Hop Bloggers Bobby White and Jerry Almonte bring back some thoughts from Lonestar

The Loose Marbles, with Meschiya Lake: Holy Cats! I'd never heard this woman sing before. I can't believe she can do that without an amp!

Shave and a Haircut: Blues dancer and sfx guru Logan Gloor shot this stop motion of fellow dancer Eric Eltringham. Before this Eric was known as Thor.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Memories of Hal

Hal Takier (also known as Hal Savoy or Hal Chavoor) passed away yesterday. My condolences go out to his family, especially his widow Marge. Together they hosted the biweekly dance at Bobby McGee's in Brea for what must have been decades.

I can easily say that swing dancing in Los Angeles would not have been the same without Hal. Of course the dance at Bobby's was an instant bridge between the turn of the century jitterbugs and the "old timers." Still, I think Hal's contribution to us kids (who have been called by some old timers ourselves) was more than just a place to learn sweet old moves, connect to history or even to find our places in a larger community. For the life of me, I'm having trouble putting it into words.

Let's go back a little bit. I remember the first time I saw Hal dancing. It was the clip from Twice Blessed, with Hal in the striped shirt. That was one of the first clips in my collection, and I still think it looks like nothing else before or since. When I first saw it the notion that the dancers in those old clips could be just a short drive away wasn't thinkable, but the dancing blew my mind nonetheless.

My friends and I eventually found our way to Bobby's. We would go every time without fail. I remember Hal as fairly soft spoken, sitting, smiling and from time to time coming out to impress us with some honest-to-goodness bad-assery. I remember Tip and Holly getting lessons from Hal about his signature move, the merry-go-round. Was that why we kept saying "you're doing it wrong" to each other all the time? If you don't remember they went on to win a ton of titles, and I believe their first awards could easily be attributed to their time with him.

See the striped shirt at 2:02.

I just remembered how all the boys sought out striped shirts, surely because of that clip I mentioned above. For a while that was the look everyone wanted.

How could I have not yet mentioned his dancing? The period when we were dancing at Bobby McGee's was the same period that we were first discovering all those beautiful clips that you can now find effortlessly on YouTube. It was also the time of the style war.

For those of you who weren't there, the style war of the aughts was known as "Savoy vs. Hollywood." It was fought by online warriors who generally knew very little about anything. It could be summed up by saying that some students enjoyed dancing inspired by Frankie Manning and the dancers of Harlem while others were digging the dancing inspired by Dean Collins and his protégés.

Hal Takier's dancing was something else. He was from Southern California, but from what I remember, his dancing predated Dean Collins's influence. He was dancing bal-swing, but at the time we barely had words for it. And anyway, Hal's dancing was Hal's, and it wasn't Savoy or Hollywood, and it was awesome.

My memories are starting to blur at this point. All I have left is to thank Hal for his kindness and his contribution.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The History of Lindy Hop (now satire-free)

Okay, less foolin' this time. Here's a documentary circa 1980s, featuring many of the dancers of (I assume) the New York area of the time. It's definitely Harlem-focused, but Harlem is awesome. So it all works out.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The History of Lindy Hop

Have I posted this before? If not, here it is.

As far as I understand it, this is all factual.