Lots of links today!
Sooooooooo excited because tomorrow is the first day of workshops for the 2nd Annual Collegiate Lindy Rendezvous! This event was a great success last year, so Gottaswing and the GMU Swing Dance Club are hosting it again right here in D.C. this weekend. World Champions Benjamin Ricard and Yuval Hod are teaching workshops for aerials, lindy technique, and Charleston for Saturday and Sunday, and Roomful of Blues is guest performing for the Saturday evening dance at Glen Echo Park, Maryland. It’s going to be epic.
Here are sneak peeks of how wonderfully talented Ben and Yuval are:
American Lindy Hop Championship 2006 | Song: “Swingin’ the Blues” | Performed by: Benjamin Ricard and Geneviève Kérouac | 1st Place
Ben and Gen make this routine look so effortless! The thing I like about swing is that it can be humorous, quirky, and fun, but it also involves a lot of technique. Some of my favorite moments in this routine are 0:52-0:55, 1:03-1:10, 1:21-1:25, and 2:43-2:47.
I’m sure some of my friends have much more knowledge on Ben’s background, but I know that he has competed and taught all over the world for many years. He also came to teach at GMU in the past, and we got to see him improvise with Michelle Searles a few times. He is now coaching his own team in D.C. (which includes up and coming GMU swing stars, I might add) who will be competing in this year’s International Lindy Hop Championships. I wish them the best of luck!
Swing Dance Party 2009, New York City | Performed by: Yuval Hod and Nathalie Gomes
My friend Ashlee was looking up videos of Yuval Hod the night we came back from Cheaper than the T-Shirt Blues weekend (which was a blast! I’ve got to do another post on that later), and this was the first one she pulled up. I was bobbing my head along to the music thinking “Oh ok, they’ve got really good chemistry.” Then all of a sudden, BAM 0:27-0:31, that aerial! Where did that come from?? Same with 0:57-1:00 and 1:40-1:42. The transitions out of each trick are so smooth, like “Yeah, you just saw that, but it’s no big deal.” At 2:06, you can hear people cheering for this triple flip that Yuval throws Nathalie into, and then she just bounces right out of it like it was a roller coaster ride or something. I already knew Ben was amazing, but this was my first time watching something of Yuval’s. If he could dance like that in 2009, imagine what he would be like today!
The swing club was the first dance organization I found at GMU. I remember I was at an orientation fair with representatives from all of our clubs and organizations. A few friends and I were really excited when we found out there was a swing dance club on campus, and we all signed up right away.
The fabulous Tom from Gottaswing comes to teach beginner and intermediate lessons every week, and we usually social dance afterwards to practice what we learned. Like I said with blues, practices makes perfect, and sometimes it just takes time to get used to a move or trick. I remember when I first learned the whip, I had problems understanding how to lean back and trust the partner in keeping me stable. Then one night, after getting help from President Maryam, it just clicked! We kept practicing over and over again, and I was smiling the rest of the night.
Swing is very special to me because it introduced me to other partner styles of dance, like balboa, salsa, and one of my favorites now, blues. I feel like swing is more structured and technical than blues, which is why I felt more in my element with the latter. Though, each one has its perks, and I wouldn’t give up one for the other. I have yet to visit our Argentine tango and bachata clubs, so I hope to do that before I graduate. So many dances to choose from!