Oh, the Lindy Hoppery: Vernacular Jazz Dance
April 15, 2021 12:57 AM   Subscribe

Best known of late by its TikTok remix -- upon further examination, research and algorithms lead to 2015 Jazz Roots - the Teachers Battle outro -- and thence to Vernacular Jazz Dance. Which was a wonder: who knew the span of the art form's complexity or the amount of scholarship devoted to its technique? Or that it has become so international a phenomenom? Not me.

From earlier on, there is the Jazz Roots Festival 2012 Blues final

See also

Jazz Roots 2017 with Ksenia Parkhatskaya and Danill Nikulin

Jazz Roots 2017 - Battle part 1 and Jazz Roots Festival 2017 - Battle part 2

From the last days of the old world, Jazz Roots Festival 2019 - The Great Show

Swing dancing has become an internationally appreciated and practiced artform, popular all over the all over the world and remixed and remixed and remixed so many ways to so many musics -- and I come to see that Swing Remix is an artform in itself -- something to be both celebrated and contested.

And through near drowning in the flood of devoted YouTube clips, I come to find that Jazz Roots itself is definitely a thing as in jazz dance company. Well, after all, it is an artform that is thriving and growing.

By the evidence thus collected, I for one am impressed. To see physical activity performed at so high a level with such art, mastery, elegance and grace fills one with awe. Ksenia Parkhatskaya and Fatima Teffahi are now and always will be names known to me. Oh, the Lindy Hoppery! There is no bottom to this rabbit hole. And I for one am delighted.
posted by y2karl (16 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

OMG...Ksenia Parkhatskaya
posted by quazichimp at 2:16 AM on April 15, 2021 [1 favorite]

Ksenia appears to be made of rubber.

My scene's only running the solo jazz stuff (outdoors, on grass) at the moment, which is better than nothing, but I really miss partner dancing as well.
posted by pw201 at 2:38 AM on April 15, 2021 [1 favorite]

This is complex.
This is beautiful dancing, so much skill and amazing energy.
But.... generally the Lindy Hop community refrain from sharing this clip. Four years ago, the community was rocked by revelations of sexual assults by several professional male dance teachers, including one who appears in this clip and has subsequently been excluded from the community.
Hence there are some edited versions of the clip, like this one.
posted by Dr Ew at 3:16 AM on April 15, 2021 [5 favorites]

Jazz and Jazz Dance 1943
posted by y2karl at 4:08 AM on April 15, 2021

Ksenia Parkhatskaya -- Honeysuckle Rose

There is a song that runs like a river through these videos.
posted by y2karl at 4:44 AM on April 15, 2021

A couple things of note about the Jazz Roots clip:

1) it features at least one well-known abuser who has been roundly booted from the US lindy/jazz dance community
2) Ksenia performed in what can only be described as blackface/brownface a few years ago
3) it goes viral periodically and it feels like this has to be brought up every time so people have context
posted by BungaDunga at 6:09 AM on April 15, 2021 [3 favorites]

On a brighter note, here's the Nicolas Brothers' sequence from Stormy Weather colorized with AI.
posted by BungaDunga at 6:14 AM on April 15, 2021 [1 favorite]

2) I thought she'd apologised, though?

The whole "hair in braids" kerfuffle which heads up the Yehoodi article looks like a purity spiral after people had already taken against her because she'd screwed up before, especially as the Senegalese people she was with encouraged it and she'd reportedly checked they were OK with it (possibly a lesson learned from the blackface incident). It is an interesting bunfight between Senegalese people saying "go for it", Americans saying "that's appropriation", non-American dancers saying "not everyone's American, you know" and Americans saying "but it's our dance, you should learn about the history". None of it particularly discourages me from watching the odd Ksenia video.
posted by pw201 at 8:41 AM on April 15, 2021 [1 favorite]

Here's Sigourney Weaver using the Lindy Hop to shake off an unwanted male co-star in the late lamented Call My Agent. (FB video)
posted by signal at 9:06 AM on April 15, 2021

It is an interesting bunfight...

Did I see what you did there?

As for

...between Senegalese people saying "go for it", Americans saying "that's appropriation", non-American dancers saying "not everyone's American, you know" and Americans saying "but it's our dance, you should learn about the history".

One thing I came away with is how steeped these dancers are in the history of African American dance. None of them particularly seem to have just fallen off the postcolonial turnip truck. And their personal origin stories reflect what it can mean to be a European today or indeed as a citizen of the world with the latter being something to which we all should humbly aspire.
posted by y2karl at 10:30 AM on April 15, 2021

Back to the source, Whitey's Lindy Hoppers from Hellzapoppin
posted by gteffertz at 1:21 PM on April 15, 2021

Previously and previouslier...
posted by y2karl at 1:56 PM on April 15, 2021

Coming to this a bit late! For face-melting, make-you-shout-with-joy lindy-hop content by folks who are deeply invested in respecting the black history of the dance, as well as making dance spaces inclusive, accessible, and safe, here are some of my favorites, backed by some of the most amazing live jazz musicians in the world:

LaTasha Barnes at Lindy Focus: the one, the only. Deep play.
The Swung Furies at Lindy Focus
Remy and Skye at Midwest Lindy Fest
posted by rrrrrrrrrt at 12:52 PM on April 20, 2021 [1 favorite]

posted by y2karl at 3:02 PM on April 27, 2021

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