I would like to preface this list by saying it was not easy. Picking favorites out of the best dancers that made it to ILHC? Some would say impossible! And if I really thought about it some more, I’d probably move them around, so don’t think that I thought Number Six was better than Number Nine. It’s just at the time of this blog post, these are probably the order in which I’d watch them, saving the best for last.
I hope you enjoy these! And if you want, leave your favorite in the comments.
Admit it, nothing is better than watching the Rock Stars go at it with one of best bands in the world. Watch and be amazed!
Team – Lindy Hopper’s Dozen
I probably watched the Lindy Hopper’s Dozen routine from 2012 about thirty times. And this year they were just as clean, just as precise, just as musical and inspiring, if not more so. They were the recipients of the Spirit of Lindy Hop award at ILHC due to their ability to compensate after a teammate was injured at the beginning of their routine. All of these are dancers I respect immensely, more so now than ever. Plus, it’s a killer routine.
Pro-Classic – Juan Villafañe and Sharon Davis
I am hopelessly in love with Sharon Davis’s dancing. Juan and Sharon’s Shufflin’ and Rollin’ choreography rates on my top ten personal favorite routines of all time. I love this one. It’s not as energetic as Shufflin’ and Rollin’ but it has that style and class that they both bring to the dance floor. I got to experience some of their choreography at SOHN and it’s tough and demanding made my respect for their work grow even more. If you have a chance to take a choreography class by Juan and/or Sharon, I highly recommend it.
Pro-Classic – Dax Hock and Sarah Breck
I have to say that after last year’s 2012 performance, I was excited to see Dax and Sarah’s routine. And boy, they did not disappoint. Talking about ILHC to people after the awards, many asked why they didn’t place. I can’t answer that, but I can at least put them on this list. I love their musicality and the opening reminds me of a Fred Astaire/Gene Kelly-esque with a swing vibe. I always love watching this couple dance and can’t wait to see their next performance!
Slow Dance – Peter Strom and Naomi Uyama
Possibly inspired by SOHN’s musicality classes I experienced right after ILHC (and before compiling this list), I just love the musicality of the lead-follow here. Slow dancing, the Lindy Hopper’s version of Blues Dancing I suppose, is becoming more prevalent, with tracks offered in such community staples such as Lindy Focus and Herräng. I’m loving seeing the development and wonder what it means for the future of all the dances. And also, who wouldn’t want to watch more of Peter and Naomi dance?
Pro-Showcase – Skye Humphries and Frida Segerdahl
Now where would this list be without Skye and Frida? I mean, I could literally watch them dance all day. I love saying that Frida is my main inspiration as a follow. Their energy is so great. I personally would have put them as first again, but hey, there’s probably a reason I’m not the judge.
Pro-Showcase – Remy Kouakou Kouame and Jessica Lennartsson
This was my favorite Pro-Showcase. I just love the energy. And then they just throw everything at you. Jump rope, amazing tap, and then socks. Ugh! The crowd loved them! Seriously, if they had let us, I’m sure everyone would’ve just gotten up started jamming. I first learned of Remy and Jessica in Herräng this summer and I cannot get enough!
Juniors – Cyle Dixon and Alexis Davila
Cyle and Alexis placed second, but they were my favorite in this division. (And not just because it felt like Sweden vs. everyone else. Seriously, those Swedes could swing!) These kids have what I like to call the “heart” of swing dancing/Lindy Hop. They have awesome rhythm, they illustrate the music through their choreography, and, most importantly, they’re having a blast. I hear that they were so stoked after ILHC, they’ve already started planning for next year. I have a feeling we’re going to be seeing these kids a lot from now one. I, for one, cannot wait to see them swing out. 😉
Team – The Fly Rights
If you saw this live or over Yehoodie’s stream, you had to expect this performance on this list. First in the Team Competition, these dancers from Orange County killed it! It starts off with this strong beat and amazing rhythm work and just escalates to an amazing climax of the aerial machine. They were last in the team competitions and got a standing ovation from the audience. We all pretty much knew who took the competition this year.
Classic – David Frutos and Kim Clever
One and two were SO. HARD. to decide between. But ultimately, if I had a gun to my head, I would pick this one. First of all, Kim’s swivels are TIGHT! I mean, look at them! (It’s okay, click replay, I’ll wait.) Second of all, besides maybe two or three sections of the performance, this was social dancing at its finest. No fancy footwork, just honest swing dancing that accentuates the music through skill and just being plain awesome. They ended up placing second place and well deserved. I hope to see more of this kind of dancing in competitions.
(Also, apparently David and Kim were Peter Strom’s first swing dance teachers.)