Boston Tea Party 2008

Boston Tea Party is one of the largest swing dance events on the East Coast, with 1400 attendees and 500 competitors.  Co-produced by Steve & Rebecca Drzewiczewski and Dan Mez it brings together international teachers and competitors from both the Lindy Hop and West Coast Swing communities under one roof.   It is one of the few events where Westies and Lindy Hoppers dance and compete together; the best example of this is the Invitational Crossover competition.

I arrived Friday evening and settled into my hotel room before meeting up with my Strictly partner, Joanna Lucero, to dance and warm up.  The prelims for all of the Strictly competitions started at 9pm and ran till a bit after 10pm.  Heats were quite large but the energy of the crowd was good and the music was laid back and excellent thanks to Naomi’s DJing.

Following the prelims the main ballroom opened up to general West Coast dancing while the smaller “living room” opened up to the lindy hoppers.  This weekend, as per prior years, had amazing DJed music that kept the floor crowded late.  A number of jams broke out throughout the weekend (check out some footage on Rik’s blog) with some excellent dancers jumping in.

I was up early to volunteer at the entrance to the lindy hop classes, checking wrist bands, which was fine with me since I mostly sat there and sipped at my latte, greeting people as they came in.  The classes, although I didn’t get to partake of the rotation, were varied and packed with students.

Having made finals for the Strictly, Joanna and I met again to prep some material, particularly an aerial/lift I’ve wanted to try for a while.  Unfortunately we couldn’t get it to work but in the process created a whole new step that we did unveil in the finals that night.  The process of collaboration is something I will definitely touch on in further posts.

Competition in the Strictly was incredibly fierce and the crowd was wild for everyone.  It was probably one of the best competitions I have ever entered, the line of us swinging out at the end was amazing and every competitor brought their best to the floor.  Watch last years finals as part of the “Why the competition?” article.

The prelims for the Jack & Jills were in the afternoon and I got to watch many of my friends compete, some for the first time, which was great.  I competed in the prelims for the Adv. Jack & Jill and didn’t really expect to make it to finals, although I did manage somehow.

Saturday night was filled with great dancing after the competitions wrapped up, leaving the energy high and lots of people packed onto the dance floor.  I can’t even stress how wonderful the DJs were at keeping consistently good music playing and me on the floor till 6am when Peter Strom closed out the living room.

Sunday everyone was tired and you could tell during the Jack & Jill finals as the energy had dropped from the fervor of saturday night.  The Novice and Newcomer Jack & Jills had great music and the dancers and the crowd were into it.  Unfortunately, the music for the Adv. Jack & Jill finals didn’t inspire much and the dynamic was lost.  The rotation direction was also changed and some dedicated partners ended up together which worked against the intent of a Jack & Jill.

Most of the lindy hoppers went back to the living room after the finals where there was Westie music being played (even though the Westies were having their Jack & Jill finals then).  So Mike Thibault plugged in and spun the last two hours of DJed dancing for those who wanted to dance.

The award ceremonies closed out the weekend (results here) and I have to always say after this event that Sean Morris and Robert Royston are two of the best MC’s you could get for an event.  With many sad goodbyes to friends who I won’t see possibly till September, it was a wrap and people headed home.

The highlights for the weekend:

  • Amazing DJ’s
  • Invitational Crossover Jack & Jill
  • Open Strictly Lindy Finals
  • Seeing friends I haven’t seen since the fall

The lowpoints:

  • Volunteering during the Invitational Strictly
  • No video recording allowed (people should go the ULHS route or at least offer a digital downloads)
  • Not having enough time with my friends
  • Final divisions were too large (cut it down to 10 couples)

Overall, Boston Tea Party is one of the hottest events on the East Coast and some of the stiffest competition outside of ULHS.  It is on my calendar for next year.

Did you go to Boston Tea Party? What were your thoughts on the event?  Comment.

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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] Carl once again delivers unbelievable content. Boston Tea Party 2008 is a great read and is truly remarkable. Below is a brief overview of what was released: […]

  2. This was our first National event ever! Celia (my wife)and I were skeptical about going for lots of reasons. Mostly it because Celia feared she would be bored with not enough variety of dances (we dance everything), having to watch lots of boring competitions, and thinking that maybe this would a a ‘snob’ event and neither of us would dance alot, except with eachother, and the fact that we were probably the oldest folks there. Well, I am happy to report that both she and I thought love the BTP. The staff was friendly, the workshops were great (we only took two, both with Kyle and Sarah), the dancing was fun, the dj’s were awesome, and we actually enjoyed watching the competition. Basically we danced in every room, but always spent the most time in the ‘crossover room.’ That was our favorite music and we just danced whatever style was called for. It was so great meeting and then dancing with people from all over the world! Although Celia and I we danced lindyhop and wcs most of the time, I did dance a cha cha cha with a young lindyhopper! Of course, with Celia, we danced a quick step, a hustle, a blues, and even an argentine tango! It was a great event and we plan to come back next year. Once again, we LOVED the crossover room!

  3. […] not being allowed: Carl had a good suggestion when he mentioned allowing digital downloads. Honestly though, I don’t […]

  4. I am so jealous. Now with the state of the USD dollar and GB Pound and a sister on the East Coast, it’s time I paid you all a visit next swing time…

  5. I had a blast at BTP as usual. It was so great seeing familiar faces as well as new ones. I’ve noticed that every year more people come from further away, and the dancing in general gets better and better.

    Highlights for me:
    1. Winning the bal strictly with Mickey
    2. Getting 3rd in the lindy strictly with Mickey
    3. I agree with Carl about the awesome lindy strictly finals – amazing dancers and energy
    4. My dancefest with Davis Thurber on Sat night
    5. Hanging out on Fri night with Jason, Marty, and Mikey. And Jack Daniels.

    Lowlights:
    1. Dancing so much that my knee and the rest of me is broken now.
    2. I again agree with Carl – there were so many couples in finals. I wouldn’t mind so much, but I’ve judged comps before and I think it would be so difficult to judge that many couples.
    3. The lindy living room was soooooo crowded. But it wasn’t so bad b/c I would just hang out with people until around 3 am and then start dancing.

    I must also say I loved the DJing. And hats off to Naomi for djing the lindy/bal comps – I thought her choices were great. And she’s never DJd comps before btw.

    So all in all, a fantastic time. Fantastic time, I say!

  6. Thanks for sharing your thoughts everyone. I will particularly highlight that I think everyone who attended BTP danced so much that our bodies are now tired and broken (3 days out still).

  7. Hehe, yep. I still can’t move without groaning :-p

  8. Great post. You included some really nice video too. Of course any video featuring the best of the best like and Jordan and Tatiana is going to be fun to watch.. Really nice synopsis of the event as well.


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