Category Archives: Competition Tips


Kenny – “I’ve watched your guys’ epic showcase and read all the amazing posts about CH this year, but….what in the world is #jolo? Is this CH exclusive jargon? Asking for a friend. 😀”

Jitterbugs Only Live Once was coined a few years back. I struggle to remember who came up with this phrase, but it was probably Nick Peterson or someone close to him. The phrase captures the essence of the Underground Jitterbug Championships which arose from the death of the Jitterbug Contest, a staple of the National Jitterbug Championships (the contest portion of Camp Hollywood).

Here’s what I think #jolo is all about.
– you throw down
– you’re fearless
– failure is an option when you’re dancing beyond your means
– you give everything you have
– you entertain
– you’re not there for the YouTube video, you’re there for the people
– this moment is what it’s all about

My first UJC

When They Change The Competition On You

andy-dwyer-fearsThis past Wednesday I was talking to a dancer who was nervous about competing at an upcoming competition. Understandably so – they changed the strictly competitions relatively recently by combining what were originally two competitions into one.  Unfortunately this sometimes happens when an event can’t fill their competition. Some others just let the divisions run straight to finals. Different events have their approaches.

He was now competing against more experienced dancers, some his teachers. That would make me nervous, too, especially if I hadn’t prepared or, at the very least, taken the time to mentally prepare myself.

As a competitor, you enter certain divisions because A) you want to compete against your peers, B) it’s mandatory (If you’ve won X, you enter Y or westie points system), C) you want a challenge by competing at a higher level, et cetera.  Your reasons are your own. We just discourage cherry picking.

Continue reading

Swing Riot Crossover Battle – Head Space

max-headroomDo you know how many times I screwed up in the Crossover Invitational Battle at Montreal Swing Riot? 4 out of 6 entrances. Count them:

1. Our introduction as the aerial couple. We botch our first aerial, the knicker. We recovered and nailed our Blue Outlaw. We were both angry. Afterward, we discussed it and we think Delilah’s right upper arm may have been at her side blocking my hand from a good hook on her. Regardless, I could have done better. I think it was a low throw also. Continue reading

Aerials – Social Dancing vs Competition Floor

In response to my Airstep Safety Check post, someone on Facebook responded with: “How about….don’t. Before most of you were born, I hauled my 22 yo cutie dance partner off to Boulder Hospital–with a concussion–because some idiot kicked her in the back of the head. Just don’t ….. it is the *height* of inconsideration. Dancers are supposed to be highly considerate of others on the dance floor… no?

Here’s my response with further extrapolation…… Continue reading

Airstep Safety Checks For Competitions

Jacob Spinney writes: “Hey Kenny! As someone who throws air steps in crowded all-skates, I’m wondering if you happen to have a kind of list of safety checks in that environment that you’ve developed over time?”

Lindy Flip at The Broadmoor
Lindy Flip at The Broadmoor

Hey Jacob,

That’s a really great question. I’ve mainly thrown air steps in crowded fields at Camp Hollywood and now Montreal Swing Riot. Just this past weekend, though, I bailed out of an aerial because I realized that I was too close to a soundboard. I mentally checked the proximity and decided to go for it. Then I had doubts since my back was turned to it and it was inanimate. That leads into my safety checks. Continue reading