The first video – The first Lindy Hop video I watched was at a dance event (Swingout Northwest), back before the days of YouTube. It was part of a video presentation, and I forgot which actual clip was first, but it at least included Buck Privates and Hellzapoppin. Back then, I didn’t know very much about dancing, so I was actually confused and uninspired (and that’s one of the reasons I wanted to run the Jazz Dance Film Fest: modern music videos are more likely to present dancing in a context that modern viewers can understand).
The influence of movies and online videos on your Lindy Hop discovery – Back in those days, there was almost always a video presentation at every big dance event. At some point, I got interested enough, so I started collecting videos (DVDs) with both jazz dancing and jazz music. Then I realized I had a lot of jazz music videos with full songs (and rarely any dancing). I also realized that I enjoyed watching the musicians playing, it helped me hear the different instruments, and it had a very different energy from just listening to a CD. I wanted to share that, so I started DJ’ing using music videos (a friend of mine called it “VJ’ing” — Video Jockey-ing), which was pretty successful (although time intensive with setup and teardown, and there’s not enough music videos to do it too often, so I do it about every 6 months these days).
The first video – The GAP commercial! I saw it and I thought it was super energetic and fun.
The first videos – “The first (videos) I saw in my life was Hellzapoppin, but from here, São Paulo, it was the I Charleston São Paulo.
I came to Hellzapoppin because of a historical research related to black American dances and, if you go down that historic timeline, you’ll get to Hellzapoppin, which was a good record. I saw that and thought “Wow! This is so cool!”. To the viewer, it is wonderful and astounding at the same time. You can’t imagine yourself doing those things, with such speed and acumen. I think it is very very technical and exhibitionist. It’s a choreography to draw attention. It is not something that says: “Come along, come and dance with us”. It is more like: “Look at what there is out there, amazing!”. It is much more impressive than welcoming. For the I Charleston São Paulo it was different, it evoked more empathy. I thought: “I wanna dance that thing.”
The first video – Hellzapoppin’, Day At The Races, Groovie Movie. I sat and watched them for hours. It was like a special school. I was utterly inspired!
Sing Yuen Lim
The influence of movies and online videos on your Lindy Hop discovery – When I started in 1988, there were VHS tapes which my friend Ron Leslie had compiled and we watched them over and over again to see what Lindy hop was like in the past. There were also the competition videos from America, but these took a long time to arrive – maybe six months after the competition was over.