I’m nearly a month late on this, but I wanted to share my thoughts on this clip from the first European Swing Dance Championships:
This was advertised on the ESDC website as a “Strictly Blues” comp and the compere introduces it as a “Strictly Blues Final”, but there’s something not quite right: to my semi-educated eyes, there are 3 couples on that floor dancing Blues and 3 couples dancing ‘slow swing’.
Go to 1:15 and look at who pays attention to that second big beautiful brass gliss. Look who’s listening to that big fat blues pulse in both of the songs. Now look at who came last (Fabien & Lisa and Chris & Annette). Did they give the best performance on the floor? Probably not, but they arguably exhibit far more of the elusive ‘Blues Aesthetic’ than some of the couples who placed higher.
So what’s going on?
Basically it sounds like the competition was advertised to some of the dancers and perhaps some of the judges as a “Slow Strictly” – certainly Jo Hoffberg’s blog post refers to it as such.
What does it matter what a competition is called? It’s important because the result of a high-profile competition says something about a dance. This result doesn’t quite say is “Blues is just slow Lindy and West Coast Swing”, but it doesn’t help the cause of a dance which needs to project a clear unique identity if it is going to continue to grow.