I Charleston L.A – Many voices

“Make videos of you doing Charleston in front of famous places around the world … and share!!!”

Such a simple phrase, but already moved so many people around the world.

That is the call-out from “I Charleston the World”, a project that encourage Lindy Hoppers to show their cities’ touristic destinations in a very special way: making videos of the dancers in front of museums, parks, buildings, plazas, and any other landmark that deserve to be shown to the world.

The project’s map already contains dozens of videos and includes the five continents.

This simple idea may generate movements that go beyond showing cities’ touristic spots. The process of developing, producing and making the videos move the local communities in a unique manner.

Rusty Frank is a tap dancer, lindy hopper, teacher and choreographer and lives in Los Angeles, United States.

”People who might not otherwise see Lindy Hop come across it on the internet, and then the community can use it as a tool to come together.  It unites us.”

As soon as she learned about the project, she was super excited to make I Charleston LA. For that, she created a group on Facebook and a page on her website to organize the production of the video.

“I was overwhelmed by the concept of putting it together. A friend of mine did a non-swing dancing event, and he organized it through Facebook. Once I realized I could organize it through social media, everything else fell into place.”

The video was posted in July 2013 and has a very interesting characteristic: in addition to the videos created by Rusty and her team — people she met inside the Lindy Hop community — the final product encompasses videos created and sent by her students in different parts of the city. In total there were 60 locations! There are people on the beach, people hula-hooping, people in the woods, and even carrying babies.

“I made a list of 60 places to capture, and then set up dates to get the group scenes, and asked people to go out with their cameras/phones and get the rest of the places.”

To those who needed an incentive, Rusty created a simple routine and posted it on YouTube. So people just had to learn the steps and replicate them in the videos.

 

 

“I loved the concept of it from the get go because it includes local dancers of all levels, from beginners to advanced. This was a great opportunity to have my students involved in something that they could have a wonderful time doing and then be really proud of it.”

“I Charleston LA is one of the favorite things I have ever done. It gives me such joy to watch it and see all the happy faces of dancers of all levels.”

Among the happy faces, in addition to Rusty’s and loads of local Los Angeles swing dancers, we can see legend Jean Veloz, and instructors Chester Whitmore, Erin & Tami Stevens, Stephen Sayer, Chanzie Roetigg, Chris & Beth Grover, Jeremy Otth, Laura Keat, Minn Vo, Morgan Day, Tise Chao, and Hilary Alexander.

 

Colaboração/revisão: Sarah Quines

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