I attended Tea Party over the weekend. I could probably write about a number of topics if I wished to. Things I took away from a private with Davis Thurber. Connection and rhythm ideas from classes with Andy and Nina that I recognized from J&J videos but had never broken down and learned. Impressions from the invitational crossover, in which the world learned that Nina can spin multiple times on one knee(!), and get up flawlessly afterwards.
Or I could expound on my hunt for a term that describes the feeling that comes after a dance where your partner takes all your creativity and energy and kicks it up a notch and sends it right back at you, causing you to step up your game, which makes them step up theirs, causing you to step up yours, and so on an so forth, until 3 minutes later at the end of the dance you are this mix of happy, content, a little exasperated, and thoroughly drained because both of you gave all you had and more. (I never did find a term I liked, but I had several of those sorts of dances over the weekend prompting the hunt as I recovered in the aftermath of each of them).
But what I really want to talk about was finding the Lindy at Tea Party.
Now I don’t know what was wrong Friday night and early Saturday night, but the Lindy at Tea Party was lacking. Maybe it was the lack of a live band. While the djs chose great music, live music just adds an extra something. Maybe it was the space. The social dancing was consigned to a basement room with poor airflow and pillars breaking up the floor. The competitions were held in a large, well lit room, and the audience was held back from the action. Maybe it was the audience. With half the people there being West Coast dancers and either uninvested, uninterested, or outright disdainful of Lindy, the crowd energy wasn’t there. Maybe it was the competitors. Whether they were trying to play it cool and safe to match the West Coast performances, or hurting from the lack of energy, or something else entirely, the strictly comps and even sadly the invitational Lindy looked….well lacking in comparison to what people knew it could be. Maybe it was formatting. The final of the advanced strictly was the only strictly run in jam format and the music was chosen to end with the last couple’s shine. The energy just died when the music shut off. When contrasted to the advanced J&J on Sunday, where the music played on and a wall of dancers came swinging out to end the round in 1 more minute of all out all skate, well people knew on Sunday what went wrong in this particular case.
But despite all the negative you might be reading above, I had a great time at Tea Party because halfway through Saturday night I found what I was looking for. In that darkly lit, poorly ventilated room down below with the pillars, Rigamarole came on and touched off a jam. People circled up and packed shoulder to shoulder, fighting to get closer, to see, to cheer, to rock out; because they cared. The dancers who went in threw down. Some were great, some were bad, some were just goofy, but not a one of them played it safe and the audience loved them for it. The energy sustained itself for 3 songs. And when it was done people went back to dancing but the room had changed. People were happy, and doing a little something more on the floor. And in the hallway outside or along the walls as others rested they talked about the jam. Everyone trying to express what it was that had just happened in their own way, but with one common message coming through loud and clear. That was what they had been waiting for all weekend. Thank goodness it finally had happened.
I couldn’t find a copy of the version of rigamarole that touched off the happy, but here is Crytzer playing a version of it at DCLX last year. Enjoy and I hope to see both him and whoever is reading this at this year’s DCLX about a month from now.