Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown 2012

I spent the last weekend at the Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown (ULHS) & New Orleans Swing Dance Festival. This was both my first time visiting New Orleans as well as my first time at ULHS since the event moved from its original home location in Minneapolis-St. Paul several years ago. I’ll admit that as an annual attendee of the original Lindy Showdow, I held a little healthy skepticism for whether the new event could live up to the original’s standard of excellent competitions, social dancing and Lindy inspiration.

Final verdict: the new Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown has been spectacular! I’ve had a great time dancing with folks from all over the country and world (with Montreal and Canada have been well represented)…and the clincher is the phenomenal live music! I’d heard so many reports about the live jazz scene in New Orleans, and now I understand personally what the hub-bub has been about.

The best welcome to the city had to be on Thursday when I arrived and was walking along the Mississippi riverfront with dance friend, Mia, from Sweden. We were trying to catch the free ferry to view the city, but had missed the last boat. However, as we walked home the sound of a Dixieland jazz band lured us toward a  River Steamboat Queen, the Natchez. Since the actual riverboat tickets were a bit out of budget, we decided to cut a rug and dance on the dock where the boat was moored. After two dances, a man hustled toward us, and we thought he was going to shoo us away for dancing to music that we had not paid for. Instead, to our great surprise, he let us know that the captain was so impressed with the dancing that he invited us to come aboard and dance for free during the two hour ride…which were more than happy to do!

Some video clips from the weekend’s competitions:

Jack and Jill Finals:

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Showdown Elimination Battle (Prelims)

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French Market Social Dancing

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Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown 2012