I Charleston Rio – A dream come true

Touristy locations and dance moves? Everything together and mixed up? Those who already watched any video of the I Charleston the World project have seen beautiful scenarios and Lindy hoppers dancing.

In Brazil we could already see touristy points of two cities where the Lindy hop scene is quite busy: São Paulo and Belo Horizonte. But we were still missing a third city where Lindy hop also thrives: Rio de Janeiro, the Wonderful City.

In August, Rio joined the I Charleston map. We talked to Luciana Vasconcellos, Cinthia Addams and Gabriela Novellino, some of the cariocas (people from Rio) ahead of this initiative. Check out the interview below and feel free to be amazed by Rio’s scene.

Shake That Thing: the dance marathon that made the dream come true.

Luciana says that the project’s idea came from an American show. In one of the episodes of Gilmore Girls, they do a Swing Dance marathon.

“I saw that and thought: I want a dance marathon so much. Let’s make that happen!”

The funds collected did not have a destination at first, but then Gabriela suggested that it be used to the I Charleston Rio.

From the organization to the realization of the dance, which came together because of the unity of the community, Lu tells that they could collect enough money to turn into reality a long-time dream of the hopper in Rio de Janeiro.

The energy of the people: the main character of the video

Wake up early right on a holiday and spend the whole day walking from point to point in the city: the mix of persistence, force of will and talented friends.

“The project showed that we have a strong community, a fun scene and beautiful landscapes”

People were so excited that they posted pictures on every day of filming.

The records in video done by Renato Lopes and Mari Turco, hopper for two years, specialized in audiovisual and friends of the people from Rio de Janeiro. The organizers say that nobody in the community had experience with Lindy hop videos and that leaving the filming to the dancers from São Paulo was fundamental:

“It made things easier because we are very close; so there was an exchange. we could offer suggestions and they as well. It was a wonderful partnership.”


With so many places in Rio de Janeiro, we could have filmed in other locations, but the time to move there would mess up the team’s schedule.

The organizers thank the participation of the hoppers, tell about the importance of the video to the local scene and how they expect that it be seen abroad.

Rio de Janeiro keeps being beautiful

The selection of the location was done with the goal of showing multiple faces of the city. But the team faced many bureaucratic obstacles to film in more touristy places like the Corcovado, where Christ the Redeemer is, and the Botanical Gardens – where they ended up not filming. On the other hand, the weather was wonderful and the clear sky reflected the dancers’ mood.

In the video below they explain about the criteria to select the location and how the weekend atmosphere worked for the success of the recordings.

Choreographies, improvistaion and surprises

The participation of hoppers from  Rio de Janeiro was total: only those who were not around when they recorded did not appear in the video. The team bent over backwards to make room for everybody in as many scenes as possible.

In the locations of easier access, they could include the participation of all of those interested, but on more restrict touristy locations, like the Corcovado and the Morro da Conceição, they had to “select” a few dancers for the recordings. The hoppers received guidelines on what moves and choreography to perform in each location and those who felt more comfortable executing them could participate.

Choreographed moves were not the rule for the I Charleston the Worlds, but the people from Rio decided to create some routines for important moments in the song. Besides that, many scenes were improvised.

They had some unforeseen, and why not wonderful, events that made the process much more fun, like the scene with the pigeons, the plant-man and the roller skater.

The relation with the camera was timid at the beginning. To dance and look at the camera was not natural for some hoppers. But the mood among the participants was so light that they soon started to interact with the equipment.

The trio reveals some surprises about these processes.

The choice of the song

The chosen song was “I Believe in Music” by Meschiya Lake. The hopper tell that getting the singer’s permit was no problem, because she is very close to the Lindy hop scene and knows personally one of the dancers in Rio de Janeiro. But the choice of the song itself was really cumbersome. Cinthia and Gabs did a pre-selection and came up with three finalist songs. Then they went with a democratic process, where they opened it to the hoppers from Rio to vote for which song they liked best.

They explain better about the challenges and thee criteria to select a song for such an important project.

References and other videos from I Charleston the World

Both for the choice of the song, or better, to not use another song that had already been used on another I Charleston video, and to study references, the team watched many other videos available on YouTube.

They tell how the research within the project was and what other references they used.

The coolest moment: Who Knows!

A scene done by a “two meter tall” physics teacher, a super funny student and another supper expressive student. It is hard to pinpoint what was the most fun moment in the recordings.

No more mystery, ladies and gentlemen, I Charleston Rio!!!

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