Great Southwest Lindyfest

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Nate Dogg
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#106 Post by Nate Dogg » Sun Mar 28, 2004 11:01 pm

yedancer wrote:
julius wrote:So grab a newbie and enter a jam. Or challenge some other good dancer with a newbie. Or whatever. Share the joy.
I can't see how embarassing some new person by pulling them into a jam would make them want to come back. Unless by newbie you mean someone who can lindy hop but isn't part of the "in" crowd.
Yeah, it is hard enough getting newbies in the Birthday Jams, let alone a jam circle.

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djstarr
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#107 Post by djstarr » Mon Mar 29, 2004 2:08 am

The first Weds of the month at the Century has been competition night; we've been talking about trying to arrange a pro-am contest; say amateur is defined as someone who has been dancing less than a year.

The contests have been fun, but not enough people go out and do them - I think it's good to try to get new folks involved especially if the venue has a lot of newbies in proportion to the old-timers.

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Platypus
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#108 Post by Platypus » Mon Mar 29, 2004 7:12 am

Leah started an annual "lindybowl," where we had teams of eight competing. The rule was that the teams HAD to have a mix of dancing abilities and that ALL team members must dance in a heat. Part of the scoring was that the dancers were dancing WITH each other and making each other look good. Got our skittish dancers out there, since they weren't performing ALONE. It was a blast and everyone came away feeling GOOD about themselves, even if they lost!

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#109 Post by mousethief » Mon Mar 29, 2004 4:09 pm

gatorgal wrote:
mousethief wrote:Competiton always made me want to be better. It's not about taking something away from the masses; it's about giving them something new & exciting within the same dance they enjoy.
It's not a question of taking something away from the masses, but splitting them up. I've either mentioned this here or other boards about how creating this "competitive" atmosphere at a social dance does nothing but ostracize a lot of people who come out to dance, socialize and have a good time.
Well, we have found all new ways to ostracize and isolate dancers.

We call them Blues rooms.

kalman
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#110 Post by Nate Dogg » Mon Mar 29, 2004 4:19 pm

mousethief wrote:
gatorgal wrote:
mousethief wrote:Competiton always made me want to be better. It's not about taking something away from the masses; it's about giving them something new & exciting within the same dance they enjoy.
It's not a question of taking something away from the masses, but splitting them up. I've either mentioned this here or other boards about how creating this "competitive" atmosphere at a social dance does nothing but ostracize a lot of people who come out to dance, socialize and have a good time.
Well, we have found all new ways to ostracize and isolate dancers.

We usually call the Blues rooms.

kalman
Huh?

Secondary rooms can be a blast if they are done right. As I have written regarding ALX rooms, it is not about ostracizing and isolating. It is about maximizing your space and providing more options.

The participants of most blues rooms I have seen are filled with willing participants, including the ones you have run at ALX. Or since it was ALX, the "even blusier room."

For the most part, I think secondary rooms work best when they have are advertised as being different from the main room. That way, the DJs are not playing from the same sections of their book (i.e, you don't hear the same song 20 minutes apart in two rooms).

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#111 Post by julius » Tue Mar 30, 2004 7:07 am

Remember that competition does not always have to occur as part of a jam. It can be as informal as trying to outdo the couple dancing next to you during the course of a song. Often that is even more fun since you get to dance more than, oh, ten seconds.

I like the concept of lindybowl. I'm gonna have to let that one percolate.

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#112 Post by mousethief » Tue Mar 30, 2004 7:34 am

Well, the next time I DJ a blues room, I'll keep a ticker from tracking the dancers who actually leave to dance in the main room. Most of the time, they stay in the room and don't move a-tall.

Unlike a jam circle or competition, where the whole event is involved.

Mind you, I'm not knocking blues rooms per se, just that you cannot say that competitions & jams are exclusive but that wholly separate rooms are not.

Kalman
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#113 Post by Nate Dogg » Tue Mar 30, 2004 9:42 am

mousethief wrote: Mind you, I'm not knocking blues rooms per se, just that you cannot say that competitions & jams are exclusive but that wholly separate rooms are not.

Kalman
It depends on how you want to use the word "exclusive"

If you use the word "exclusive" to mean that an entity is merely separate or distinct, sure, who would argue with that. They are separate rooms by definition.

If you are implying that blues rooms are "exclusive" with some sort of barrier to entry (i.e. only country club members can play golf on a particular course, only the experienced dancers do competitions, only advanced dancers take advanced workshops, only qualified DJs work Exchanges and competitons, etc...); I have yet to see an alt room that was "exclusive" in that manner. Any dancer who wanted to dance in an alt room could.

Again, assuming you have enough dancers to make it work, I think most people find the alt rooms a value add, not some sort of banishment.

Moreover, I don't think discussing alt rooms as anything to do with the pros and cons of competitive dancing on a social dance floor.

Not that any of this as any relevancy to Lindyfest, the topic of this thread.

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#114 Post by mousethief » Tue Mar 30, 2004 11:08 am

Yeah, well, the discussion is here now.

Walls and doors are barriers. If I want to dance with someone, I should not have to run down a hallway and two flights of stairs to find them. When you have dancers isolated by rooms, they are not the same group of dancers. They're not. You can justify it a million ways and I'm not saying you're wrong for trying. But if you have two classes being taught by two different people in two different styles, it doesn't necessarily matter if you can just walk across the quad to drop in whenever you want.

They are different. They are separate.

It is not banishment because that is something forced upon you. Dancers remove themselves from the main event to hang in blues rooms. They choose this for themselves, which is why the rooms even exist. Unfortunatly, it also means that they pull from the main room, leaving it with less energy. Please note that "less" does not mean "none," it means "less."

So it seems that the counter-arguments for competitions and jams have been I don't like 'em or They bore me, which does not answer the fundamental question of whether or not they are good for the scene. I cannot imagine Frankie Manning saying that competition is bad for swing dancers and that we should all divide ourselves in factions and dance in small rooms. Frankie would tell us to get off our collective asses and do some swingouts.

'Nuff said.

Kalman
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#115 Post by Swifty » Mon Apr 26, 2004 10:54 am

Not to insult anyone that DJ'd at SWLF, but I was curious as to what songs were played (if anyone remembers) during the competitions following this post on Yehoodi:
I competed at Lindyfest for the ALHC regionals and the competition music, save one maybe two songs, was rather poor. Sylvia Sykes actually told one of my friends (who was also competing) "Don't worry we take song selection in to account when judging." I also remember hearing Steven Mitchell getting pissed about the songs for the competetion. Anyways, I'm not trying to dis the music of that one little competition. I remember the last ALHC I was at (2002) and the DJ chosen music was horrible. So many people got shafted because the songs just weren't good for dancing. Some i even liked, but wouldn't really like dancing to.

So back to my question, what makes a good competition song? DJ's who've Dj'd competitions, what do you think about when picking songs for competitions? Have you ever gotten ripped for playing something at a competition? what was going through your head when you played it?

I'm not trying to hassle DJ's or anything, I've recently become one. I just want to know what people think, and get other's thinking about this.
Looking at the DJ list on page 1 of this thread, I'm suprised by this comment.

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#116 Post by mousethief » Mon Apr 26, 2004 11:10 am

I think the DJ got a bad rap for that one. It may have been their first competition and they were working within the guidelines ALHC had provided.

Plus, the dancers there were all over the map - from classic to Hollywood to WCS - so they had a hard, hard time. I posted on the Yehoodi thread - I'm hoping the author comes over here to elaborate.

Still, it's worth discussing if they don't mind. I think anything we can do to better understand how various events are won or lost is good for everyone.

Kalman
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#117 Post by Nate Dogg » Mon Apr 26, 2004 11:26 am

Yeah, it just showed how hard and different competition DJing is.

I heard comments that weekend, from both people who complain about everything and from people who are much more reserved in their feedback. I felt bad for the people involved (competitors, the DJs). Being that the DJ(s) in question are not mudslingers, I would hate to see too much discussion about the event. The people in question are aware of what happened.

Instead, I feel inspired to talk about something more positive. I was talking to a few national DJs at an event a few weeks back and they were talking about the need for some DJ workshops on the art and skill of competition DJing, since it is something that a lot of us don't get a chance to work on that much. I imagine one of them will chime in at some point, since they are on the list.

Personally, I don't feel qualified to DJ competitions. Locally, we have very few. If we do have one, Matt Jones does the music, since he is regarded as the most experienced competition DJ in Austin. It is hard to ease rookies in. Perhaps, next time one comes up, I need to see if Matt wants to mentor some of us.

A Competition DJing thread might be a good idea, if one does not already exist (Yakov, expert on past threads, does one exist?).

Nathan

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#118 Post by mousethief » Mon Apr 26, 2004 11:38 am

http://www.swingdjs.com/phpbb2/viewtopi ... ompetition

Not to get too far away from the subject, but we're looking at doing another round table in Dallas soon but we might want to bring back the event-based discussions. I got my start DJing from the round tables that Manu and Bill used to do a few years back.

I'm putting together an April/May 2005 competiton for Dallas - sort of a strict comp weekend, no classes so as not to interfere with GSWLF. I just wanted to make sure we had a killer, independent comp in TX. It is definitely my intent to keep the music lively and familiar, with 30 second sound files of the possible songs available in the competition(s) before registration begins. I want a level playing field.

Kalman
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#119 Post by Platypus » Mon Apr 26, 2004 2:01 pm

That last competition thread started when I bugged Greg, Matt, and others for input on how to choose songs for regional ALHC competitions. There aren't any written instructions yet (geek that I am, I asked), with leeway given to the regional judges and DJs.

For the last two ALHC regionals in Houston, including at GSWLF, I put together a set of songs that I tried to make similar in sound, size of the band, length of intro, era, and popularity of song. I was asked to keep it classic. I burned 7 or 8 CDs, BPMs ranging from 150-300, just in case I was asked to throw on something different at the last minute (which DID happen). I tried to have sets of at least 10 songs that were within 5 or so beats for each range of BPMs that the original set of judges asked for. And I kept a computer file since I wasn't about to erase something that took THAT much time to create.

Given the time lapse, I might not be able to fully recreate the songs I chose, but I know I included Basie, Ellington, Andy Kirk, Erskine Hawkins, JImmie Lunceford, Artie Shaw, and the like.

I think it would be helpful to have a thread to request more information, maybe more specific playlists from competitions that had music that was lauded.
Last edited by Platypus on Mon Apr 26, 2004 5:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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#120 Post by KevinSchaper » Mon Apr 26, 2004 2:56 pm

I heard one competitor whining about his song, and I thought he oughta blame himself for not having the range to work with it rather than blaming the song (and dj by extension)..

I think they should make everyone dance to the same song, and it should be off of Steven Mitchell's CD, and it should be his Jitterbug Stroll song.

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