Jazz Dance Film Fest – Reenacting a classic

2013’s edition of Jazz Dance Film Fest had the participation of twelve videos of many different styles. The big winner featured three Balboa dancers.

Jennifer Lee, one of the winners, first met Balboa seven years ago and fell in love with it. Because of that, she started watching old movies, something she did not do very often. She says that the inspiration for the winning video came from the energy and the playful wit of old footage.

“I wanted a plot that was compelling. I wanted good dancing. I wanted to show off Balboa specifically because I love that dance. I wanted something that a non swing dancer could enjoy watching and maybe even inspire them to dance”.

Jennifer explains the storyline of the routine: “Two suitors are after a lady: a barman wearing a tuxedo and a serviceman in a khaki suit. Unfortunately, the lady is in trouble because she likes both of them equally! Who will she choose?”

Does this story sound familiar to you? In 1944, Jean Veloz featured in a video dancing with Don Gallagher and Lenny Smith. The original ‘One Girl and Two Boys’ was the inspiration for Jennifer to create her story, this time around with a different dance style.

Jennifer picked Mint Julep Jazz Band for the soundtrack, because she likes the band a lot and wanted to advertise it. She was also the one selecting the rest of the dancers by taking into consideration their dance skills. Regarding Blake Croxdale, the dancer who played the barman, Jennifer commented: “Blake also has a great sense of humor, so I thought he would be a nice addition to the video.”

At the end of the original video, in 1944, Jean takes distance from both guys with whom she was dancing and leaves the issue unresolved. But Jennifer’s ending is a little bit different, and she used a special help: her sister suggested that the two dancer guys ended up romantically together.

“The Jazz Dance Film Fest is of supreme importance. I was so honored to be a part of the festival. It is how we can get more people interested in this dance that we love. I think all of the videos have so much love poured into them by the producers”.  

Jennifer was surprised and thankful at the same time for getting first place. She was not as much interested in winning as she was in showing something she could be proud of. The anxiety was high during the event where the videos were screened: “What if nobody had fun or liked it?” But the audience’s reaction put her heart at ease: “The first time I heard the crowd burst into laughter I knew that it had been worth it.”

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