Two weeks ago, Denver was host to one of Colorado’s biggest swing events of the year, Lindy on the Rocks. This weekend-long event combines world-class instruction, live music, competitions and lots of social dancing.
The Boulder Swing Dance community was out in force at this year’s Lindy on the Rocks, with staff and students alike flocking to downtown Denver to learn, dance and compete. In fact, Boulder dancers placed in a number of the weekend’s competitions, including the amateur roulette, open roulette, amateur strictly and Hellzapoppin’ strictly.
For those new to swing, a few definitions may be in order. Here is a quick breakdown of the types of competition you may see at a swing dance event:
A roulette or Luck of the Draw mimics the experience of social dancing. Leads and follows are matched with each other randomly and then dance with a few different partners to songs of varying tempos. As it requires neither a partner nor advance preparation, the roulette is many dancers’ first experience with competing.
This type of competition was previously known as Jack and Jill, but in the last year, several major events decided to move away from the name due to its connection with traditional gender roles. Many other events followed suit. While there is no universally agreed-upon replacement name, roulette and Luck of the Draw are two of the most popular versions.
A showcase is a choreographed routine by a pair or a group of dancers. These choreographed dances can include lifts, drops and aerials, unlike the classic, which involves floor-only moves. Some showcases are pro-am, featuring one professional dancer and one amateur.
In a strictly competition, dancers enter and compete as a lead-follow team. As the music isn’t announced ahead of time, pairs don’t usually create choreography, but they can prepare combos or air steps to show off in the final round. A Hellzapoppin’ strictly is a no-rules, all-moves-allowed competition that mimics the informal dance throwdowns of the early days of Lindy hop.
Finally, an open competition is open to all, professionals and amateurs alike; an amateur competition is for newer dancers, or those who haven’t previously placed at national-level competitions.
With that in mind, let’s check out the competition results and videos:
In the amateur roulette, Boulder Swing dancers Sarah Siertle, Kiffer Dengler, Farooq Khan, and Skye Festog all made finals, with Skye and her partner Alex Nguyen coming in first.
Boulder swing instructor Anthony Carusiello and his partner Matty Miller placed first, and Ellie Blair and Steven Plummer came in second.
In the amateur strictly, Farooq Khan, Kayli Westergard and Cole Bloom all made the finals, with Farooq and Laura Murray coming in second and Kayli and Cole placing third.
In the Hellzapoppin’ competition, Heather Ballew, Ellie Blair, Anthony Carusiello, Skye Festog, and Freeman Bacon all made finals, with Skye and Freeman taking first place.
Congratulations to them! And an extra congratulations to the organizers, who orchestrated the event for so many to enjoy. Hope to see you at LOTR 2018!