|Lindy Hop Battle at Ultimate LH Showdown 2010|
Photo credits : Alexandre Hétu-Rivard
This is a comment I wrote on a Jerry Almonte's blog, but for some reason, it is not appearing on it, so screw internet or/ timing or/ Jerry or/whatever reason, here is my comment on 2 blogs' posts I read lately, the first being Mary Freitag's article on Camp Jitterbug battle format for the couple competition, and the second being Jerry's article on the ways to interact with people during a jazz dance battle, the appropriate/smart ways, and the unappropriate/way to avoid an uncomfortable battle interaction.
- Jerry 07/08/2009 : http://jsalmonte.wordpress.com/2009/08/07/a-different-kind-of-lead-and-follow/
- Mary 01/06/2011 : http://artanddancing.wordpress.com/2011/06/01/competition-philosophy-and-camp-jitterbug/
My comment concerns a specific observation on the way those 2 articles refer to the B-Boys battle formats in contrast to the Swing dancers'.
...it’s the second time in 2 days that I see a comparison with the B-Boys, about the battle format in dance, the first time being Mary Freitag’s post on her blog. The comparison is legitimate. When we think of a dance battle, we usually picture the street dances. We can also think of other one-to-one formats, like in martial arts, capoeira, etc. So I understand the reference.
But, what is starting to making me feel uncomfortable with the comparison is the elements that are used to highlight the difference between US/THEM. In these 2 blogs, Mary and you talk about our scene, and our dance, the LH, and the B-Boys are used as the only external reference to make a distinction with what we don’t want in our scene. What is it that we don’t want ? “Negativity”, “aggressiveness”, that is “uber-something”, “problematic”, that “escalate into something that could get out of hand”. Meaning violence, irrationality, impulsivity, excessiveness….
Well, I understand we don’t want that, but do you really think this description, in return and in contrast, fairly defines the B-Boys scene ? I understand that was not your intention, but this is how your discourses mark the boundary between us and them. And this, I find, not legitimate.
|Bust A Move|
A few weeks ago, I went to a street dance national competition (popping, hip hop, locking, waacking, house, …). All the comps, prelims and finals, were hold in a battle format one-to-one or double-to-double, mixing male and female dancers. One battle, out of I can’t count how many, almost-but-not-likely got into a real fight. Only one ! In all the other battles, you could feel the tension in the air, but only to end with a big hug between the competitors at the end. It’s all an act. The tension is part of the show. And it takes some hell of guts to bring it out there !
I personally think there’s a lot we can get inspired from the street dances scenes. We have become, or have we always been since the revival, very clean and nice. Now, we even have to be pretty and wear high heels to go to a dance.
LH used to be a street dance too. And the rage you can feel in Hellzapoppin, you won’t find it by being nice and clean. I firmly don’t think so. And rage can be positive too. In LH, we transform it into JOY !
Well, I say, I’d rather have some battles in the LH comps’ to push our limits, bring it, and smell the bacon in HAMpton’s dance ! Give me some of that ! mmmmmh.
Photo credits : Li-Hsien Lim
PS : I was in CJ and I understand Mary’s point and her frustration. I was also disappointed of seeing so little of Pontus and Frida and of Brittany and Dargoff etc.. But the battle format is, I believe, not in question, but more the length and the choice of song that was tooooo slow ! It didn’t give back enough to the audience.