Monday, July 11, 2011

All in one report, tangent, and speculation!

Greetings Tucsonans and guests,

Yes, I have been bad about posting. Shame on me!

First thing is first.

SwingDependance 2011 Report

I believe the only other Tucsonan up at this PHX event besides Howard and I, was Dean. Woot for Dean! Tucson totally missed out on this great event put on by Karen Vizzard and Dabney Hopkins and it was just a short drive away. The weekend was packed with dancing every night and there were two tracks of classes on both Saturday and Sunday. Oh, let's not forget the massage therapist giving away free 15 minute massages and $25 hour massages at the event. Yup, I ended up buying an hour.

Did I mention the dancing? Oh, and meeting cool new people? Yeah, I was in heaven. Augie Freemen, the head instructor/judge for the weekend, made my night on Friday. Great guy to dance with and to top it off he has a super chill attitude. I also have to acknowledge the awesomeness that the Las Vegas people brought. Thank you Barkley, Brandy, and Nick!

This weekend was also the premiere and birth of the Rhythm Junkiez, our new PHX/Tucson mish mash dance team. We have Karen and Dabs, Jonathan and Rachel, Howard and myself. We are super excited to be working with such great dancers. All of them are very inspiring! We performed our version of the Tranky Doo, which I thought should be called the Drunky Doo in reference to our Captain Morgan pose at the end. It was not the most clean performance, but I am not complaining as that we had very little time to put it together before the event. :)

I have to point out a coincidental phenomenon about our performance. The following weekend as I was perusing YouTube for other event videos of lindy hop, I noticed an onslaught of Tranky Doo performances at other events! All with different twists of course, which I personally liked seeing because I feel as a performer we are paying homage to the tradition but keeping it, well, vernacular. To me, that seems like the ultimate flattery- honoring the roots of the art, yet not blatantly copying. Performance art should not be confined to cloning. Cloning seems like it is borders on mockery and dangers on being insulting(though that is not always the case).  Originality and personal nuance, circumstance, venue ambiance, these are all aspects  that make great performance art. Discounting the performers personality is like baking a cake and leaving out the sugar. Is it a cake? Sure, it just isn't as sweet though. This is also a prevalent issue in all mediums of other performance art, such as the classical music world. That is actually one of my most severe critiques of modern classical music training (something I went through personally).

Anyways, there has been a decent amount of discussions/blog posts about how to tip your hat to historical performance with out being offensive. Here is an excellent article dealing with the issues of appropriations, and of coure, race issues.

Naughty finger bliss
Ah, I have strayed from my original point about the "phenomenon", which I call as such because I am pretty sure none of the communities had any idea what the others were planning, hence the coincidence. Do we, as lindy hoppers, feel an intangible and innate trend? Or was it just mere coincidence? Hah, maybe it is just that the LINDY FORCE is with us! Kind of like when you are at a dance and everybody is having a great time and the energy is thick in the room and everybody is pulsing to the music? That is the LINDY FORCE(or LINDY CHI!). Yes, I found it necessary to capitalize that. Hah. Just food for thought.

Anyway, this article is becoming much longer than I intended.

And on back to SwingDependance 2011...I recommend attending the event next year if Dabs and Karen put it on again.

Swing out and prosper!


P.S. Here is the 920 Special with a motley trio of fine dancers doing their mash up of the tranky doo! I love it.

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