I used to compete at dance competitions a lot. Initially, my primary competition outlet were at west coast swing conventions. Their competitions were most accessible to me for a few factors:
-I could compete in a level-appropriate Jack & Jill whether it was a regular Jack & Jill, Pro/Am, Mixed Ages, etc
-Strictly comps, where you pick your partner, didn’t feel so focused about the perfect partnership dynamic as lindy hop competitions feel. I met one woman at event, found we danced well, asked her to compete at the next comp we’d be at and she said “yes.” I feel a greater pressure to win or place well with lindy hop. One of these reasons is because lindy hop competitions doesn’t have many level divisions, have great pools of prelim dancers and then typically narrows straight to finals featuring 5-8 couples.
-They were fun even when you didn’t know what you were getting into!
That leads me to my Slow Whip experience in Texas. Back in 2006 or 2007, I was at America’s Classic and saw the Slow Whip competition in their brochure. On a whim, I asked Samantha Buckwalter (seen below in the video) to compete with me. All I remember is that she agreed, our mutual goal was not to place last, and that Slow Whip featured slow and fast movement. Good enough, right?
What I didn’t know until later was that we were being judged by Slow Whip’s old-timers. Gah! And we were being spotlighted two couples at a time. Say what? And we’d be dancing to live music. Woohoo!
For not knowing what I got myself into, I had a lot of fun. Dancing west coast swing (excuse me, slow whip) to live music was an undeniable treat. Best of all… we didn’t place last, just second to last.