Sunday, October 15, 2017

Report on Lindy Hop Event - 2017 Singapore Lindy Revolution

(Negative energy alert: if you want to read about something about dancing is fun, don't continue to read. Part of what I wrote here will probably not making someone happy.)

I could finally take 2 days of leave to go to Singapore, for the reasons of experiencing a Lindy Hop dance event, as well as meeting a list of people that I have not seen for a while. I was struggling whether I should go or not for a while. Adding the flight, the event with evening dance only, lodging, and other living expenses, I expected I would use ~5000 HKD (~ 620 USD) for the 4-day trip. With the two reasons above, I decided to go.

I only got a pass for only evening dances but not the workshops because: 1) the workshops cost extra, 2) the workshops focus more on solo dancing, which is the area that I do not have strong interest in (I may write about why I like the partner part of the lindy more than the solo part of the lindy later), and 3) I would like to leave more time to meet with the people that I have not seen for a while.

On Friday night, I could catch up a one-hour solo class before the evening dance. After doing it, my view of a solo dancing class was still the same:

"why should I follow this routine?"
"I will probably forget the routine after going home, making what I learned in this hour useless"
"I do lindy hop because there is something unique about this partner dancing. If I do solo, what not just learn other line dances instead? After all, all those other solo dances are more popular in HK."

So, I longed for more on the social dance part. After being in several lindy hop events in the US, I have an item checklist in my mind that I would try to accomplish:

1) Dance with people that I do not know, and try not to dance with people that I know.
2) Dance with at least one instructor.
3) If not too expensive, try the competition that was once called the "Jack and Jill" competition (competition with unknown partner, reasons that the lindy community would like to change the name of the competition can be found in this link). Someone probably knows that I am not interested in "Strictly" competition (competition with known partner) at all.

For Item 1), it was the easiest thing to do. Dancers came from places like Malaysia, Thailand, China, S Korea, and several others. The evening dances were well done. A band from Stockholm, Sweden was invited to play for all three nights. Barring from that music was repeated each night in different order, I think the band gave excellent music for people to dance with (I bet finding several bands overseas would be cost-prohibitive for me, so I would be generous on the issue of having the same band for 3 nights). The MC, Sinclair Ang from the local, was excellent! He even sang with the band for a few songs! With respect to the abilities of the follows, most of them are pretty good. The proportion was to a point that I was wondering whether there were any beginner-level people participating this event. There were still a couple of dancers that I found them to be beginners, but there were also a couple of dancers that I enjoyed the dance very much, and I thought their levels were beyond my reach (hey, didn't I write about this feeling before?).

Stockholm Swing All Star -- Excellent
For Item 2), it was a bit more difficult. There was not formally a queue to dance with the instructor, but it seemed to me that the instructors spent half of the time dancing with other instructors, and other time with more advanced dancers. Perhaps it was just an illusion when I was under some dance blues that weekend, and I probably should think that dancing with an instructor is a honored opportunity. In the end, I got a chance to dance with Caleb from New York during the weekend, and that was it. He actually came to Hong Kong for the social dance the week before, before going to Singapore, so I vaguely remembered his face. Thanks to the organizer, each instructor got to teach a group of us on a dance sequence on Friday night as a fun group competition. My group was with Alice Mei, a famous instructor from France. It was great to see the event organizer makes the event friendly.

For Item 3), I was often battling in my mind whether I should even do any competitions. I am not a dancer from the cream of the top, and I should not just compete for the others to tease at. However, the competition format that was called "Jack and Jill", and is now called in various ways such as "Luck of the Draw", "Mix and Match", etc., is fun. The dancers are judged by dancing with 3 different and random partners for the heat round. Years ago in swing classes, I was often encouraged to take part in competition. When I felt that my lindy hop improved in the last few years, I thought I should try participating novice competition, for fun for the most part and much less for the hope to win.

After participating the competition, however, I was concerned whether my own scene can support dancers that are not as advanced. It seemed to me that after the competition, these more advanced dancers stayed away from me.

Then, my thought went downward spiral: it seems to me that the more advanced dancers seemed to form their own circles, and danced with only these people. I thought about whether the more advanced dancers in my own scene can really support the newcomers.

With such negative but not fully substantiated thoughts, I was mentally burned out on the first night, as well as the subsequent nights, with respect to dancing. On Saturday morning, I really hoped that meeting old friends could balance out the negative feelings.

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