Updated: Jun 30
Sometimes a performance comes along and takes the world by storm with everyone raving about it the next day. And sometimes a performance comes along and it's not immediately noticed until a few years down the track as it slowly gathers momentum.
I feel like LaTasha and Felix's performance at the International Lindy Hop Championships is of the latter. They didn't win first prize, yet their dancing is far from forgettable.
This is one of those performances that will be memorable ten years from now. And it's not just because LaTasha is carrying on the legacy of the African-Americans who first created the Lindy Hop on the dance floor. It's because LaTasha has injected the same cultural creativity that first went into Lindy Hop all those many years ago.
Their ability to create a choreography that makes me want to cheer every few bars is phenomenal. They don't look like they're doing anything too complicated, yet they always do exactly what's needed at exactly the right time for maximum effect. That is a sign of true mastery in choreography.
But there's also something different about the way they approach their dancing. LaTasha doesn't just dance the Lindy Hop, she grooves it. She turns even the simple act of stepping into a groove.
Always the subtitle when watching talented Lindy Hoppers is that they could do something else, they could bring in their previous dance training. Before she was a Lindy Hopper LaTasha was a Hip Hop and House dancer. Yet she chooses not to do that in this performance. She shows us what we all know Lindy Hop has always been about - that dancing is accessible to everyone. It doesn't have to have the locks and pops of modern Hip Hop or the flash and trash of So You Think You Can Dance. If we can only step it out, that's enough. But she also gives us something different to ponder - that we're not just dancing, we're grooving. We can take a simple step or a leg flick or a hitch, and connect that single movement to the soul of the music.
As Lindy Hoppers, we tend to think of the dance as a series of moves, Leads like to 'collect moves' and follows like to ask the question, "Did I do that right?" LaTasha reminds us that Lindy Hop isn't about moves, it's about grooves.
Azza is a lifelong swing dancer, the founder of Swingtopia Dance in Perth, Western Australia, and a lover of Bubble Tea.
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The video of LaTasha and Felix's performance can be found on YouTube here: