This is how I want my dancing to be.
Found and promptly stolen from dogpossum. Thank you!
Now, anyone who knows me knows I hate dirty hippies. But this is pretty frickin’ rad and super inspiring.
Lindy hop needs more inspirational and share-able videos like this one, who’s on it?
Heroes can be lots of things. Sometimes they are close to you, sometimes you never meet them, and sometimes you can’t meet them because they exist in your mind. To me, Skye Humphries is all of the above at the same time.
My first swing dance teacher mentioned this crazy guy in DC who was doing amazing things in Lindy Hop. His name was Skye Humphries. This was the first time I had heard his name, not knowing that it would essentially change the course of my entire life. So being a dedicated student (or maybe an aspiring internet stalker) I typed his name into the YouTube search box. This was 2007 and I saw this:
I remember watching this clip for hours on repeat, trying to figure out exactly what was so mesmerizing about it. This started my two year YouTube binge. I couldn’t go out social dancing because I was still in high school, so instead, whenever I had free time I’d prowl YouTube for more videos. For two years my life was YouTube.
He makes the simplest movements look incredible. He is not hiding behind flash and trash. The level of perfection that must be reached in order to make a rock step look as inspiring as an aerial is mind blowing. But everyone already knows that Skye is an incredible dancer.
What really inspired me about Skye, is that he’s not embarrassed to be himself. Ever.
And that’s something that will always stay with me for as long as I’m alive.
I had some more thoughts to add to True Improvement post.
1) Andrew had an awesome post in which he talks about how he improves by dedicating practice time.
I think its important to set up your priorities. If your priority is to just have the most fun ever when you are dancing, then having fun should be what you focus on the most when you dance! If you feel that the most fulfilling way for you to exist is to constantly improve your dancing, then read on…
2) Daniel sent me this awesome video, which is just perfect:
I think when we say that practice makes perfect, it’s not entirely true. It’s practicing the right way. Knowing what you are not so good at, sucking it up, and honestly working on it. My first teacher used to say that it’s like eating your vegetables. IT SUCKS, I know. For me, that is focusing on one of the multitude of things I am not so good at and working on it anytime I’m dancing (class, practice, social dance) for however long (usually months) until it slowly creeps into my muscle memory.
I have this dichotomy that exists in my brain between wanting to have fun, just forgetting about everything, and enjoying dancing and while also wanting, SO desperately, to fix all those different parts of my dancing which are honestly terrible. Obviously there are times where I abandon my practice mindset for a few songs. But I know those few songs, or moments, I’m not actually improving my dancing at all. I’m just having fun. That’s cool too!
It’s important, at least for me it is, not to trick yourself into thinking that when you’re not thinking about your dancing critically (when you’re just having fun) that you are improving. You might be improving at having fun, but you won’t have any quantifiable improvement in your dancing. For me, the times when I feel like I’m improving the most is when it is the hardest for me focus on the thing I am working on. On that note…
3) A thought from Daniel and Dax Hock, who mentioned this in a conversation I was eavesdropping on, was that the closer we actually get to that threshold of progress the more discomfort we feel. And when we can stand that discomfort for just a moment longer is when we break that threshold and truly improve and progress.
Just something to think about.
From “Gold Diggers of 1933”, with vocals by Joan Blondell and Etta Moten, dance number directed by Busby Berkeley.
What a great, great song! Busby Berkeley is always associated with fantasy dance numbers that are huge and luxurious and beautiful so it is incredible how real and potent this clip really is. Also, incredible for how true this is today. It blew me away when I saw this movie.
Just a drop of randomness. 😀
A while back I wrote about how I view musicality. While watching the following video from Lone Star Championships it reminded me of that post, so I’m expanding on an idea briefly discussed in that post.
I have, for a little bit now, admired Nathan Bugh. But only from a very far distance. When I was at Lindy Focus I had a glorious opportunity to take classes from him (and Evita Arce, of course) and, even more gloriously, watch him furiously at work on the dance floor. That is when I fully apprehended how wonderful he is.
He is one of the very few leads that creates something with his partner instead of just using her to do cool moves or tricks. When he dances he constantly gives the follow an opportunity to shine completely on her own. Then he augments her spotlight by elaborating on whatever she just did. He is constantly paying attention to her.
Just to give you an idea of what I’m talking about:
Watch at 1:27 how he clearly gives Sharon Davis her own time to play with the music, then takes whatever she did and elaborates on it or changes it to fit the riff he is dancing to.
Another thing which blew me away, is how musical all this is. The call an response session fits so naturally within that phrase of the song, and ends naturally just as the phrase changes and the horn starts. Also if you closely watch Nathan’s movement it also changes as the feel of the melody changes throughout the song. He starts out with very smooth moves with almost no pulse and hanging back on the beat then, when the music changes at 0:48, he dives in to a swing out and makes his pulse more visible, his movements more energetic, and more on top of the beat. When the music changes back to those long, dragging horns at 0:58, he changes his movements yet again to match.