The second to last competition, much anticipated and talked about, was the team competition. Four teams competed with members from Canada, France, Sweden, and the U.S. The stage set and the crowd ready, it was a spectacular show.
Let’s begin with the winning routine. 23 Skidoo from Denver, Colorado won with their theatrical routine to one of this years hottest tunes: Lafayette from the Kansas City soundtrack. Although from the video perspective it looks a bit chaotic, on the ground it had a clean and directed feel. The V of swing-outs was a strong opener after the tension building in the line. They had solid formations (which can be seen well from this angle). The spotlight of Dan and Tiffany’s slow motion was very well choreographed and executed, one of the better slow motion enactments I’ve seen. Overall a very well choreographed and executed routine.
Next on my list: the Ninjammerz with Max and Annie, Kevin and Jessica, Dax and Emily and Thomas and Alice. It was a two part routine, the first section to “Happy Go Lucky Local” by the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and the second to “The Last Jump” by Charlie Barnet. The beginning of the tune showcases groove lindy done exceptionally well and I almost prefer it to the second section. To make a slight comment on the song choice, the Silver Shadows used this same song at ALHC last year and it felt a bit cheeky in that some of the movements were parodies of the Silver Shadows routine. That said, the rest of the routine was quite excellently performed although I think less cascade and more ensemble movement would have brought more energy to the routine.
Next up: the Swedish Heroes including Sakarias and Frida, Mattias and Hannah, and Henric and Joanna. It was a routine with its roots firmly set in the authentic tradition of lindy hop and jazz. Although the routine kept the energy high and the feeling old school, with the level of routines they could have used more background work for those not spotlighting. Good points: the freeze in the lifts while Henric heelslides front, both the followers and leaders jazz steps starting at about 1:20 are spectacularly musical, and the ensemble Berry Lock was a great idea although the execution could have used a bit of work.
The last team under review is the Silver Shadows consisting of Skye, Andy, Todd, Peter, Nina, Naomi, Ramona and Frida. The song is “Rhythm Jam” by Gene Krupa. This team, in my opinion, has pushed the envelope of lindy hop and team choreography to a whole new level with their debut routine to “Rock & Rye” to last years stunning work “The Last Jump” and their work at Lindyfest, they have gone beyond the standards of choreography. With this said, I think this routine needed a bit more polish, which it had at ALHC this past weekend. The innovative use of space and spectacular musicality is matched with an almost avant garde choreographic style. The routine is less competitive and more orchestral. If you watch the dancers throughout they perform as band members involved in the orchestration of performance art.