Saturday, November 13, 2010

CodeBLUE contest music

Last night I went dancing at CodeBLUE, the newest venue addition to the Chicago dance scene. The organizers had invited me and Jenna to judge the low-key strictly lindy contest that evening (they've been running a series of different contests at the dances), and we were happy to oblige. We've got some fairly developed opinions about contests and contest music--not just from a competitors point of view but also in terms of how contests affect an event. We tried our best to keep to our guns: choose music that will make the competitors look good, have somebody to count them in for spotlights, make the whole thing as short & snappy as possible.
Here's a run-down of the music and a play-by-play of the contest:
  1. Look-a-There - Slim Gaillard - The Very Best Of - 2:18 - 180. After clearing a space and telling the competitors how the contest was going to work, we introduced all 8 couples and did a short all-skate warm-up. Then line back up and get ready for a spotlight round.
  2. Moppin' & Boppin' - Fats Waller - 100 Swing & Big Band Classics - 4:27 - 170. The spotlights were a standard jam format, with each competitor getting eight 8-counts. Since there were 8 competitors, that meant the song had to be 4 choruses long to squeeze everyone in. I knew Moppin' & Boppin' was long enough, and had a good energy, but the drum solo introduction slipped my mind. It's ten 8-counts long (ugh!), so we just let it run before the first spotlight. Unfortunately that meant leaving Phil & Jame in the middle of the floor waiting to start--sorry you two!
  3. Lindyhopper's Delight - Chick Webb - Strictly Jive - 2:45 - 195. We did another round of spotlights with this song. I picked this one because it's an old standby--probably all of the competitors have heard it a zillion times before, so they'd be very comfortable with it--but I bet many people in the audience were not very familiar with it.
  4. Forty Days & Forty Nights - The Blue Vipers of Brooklyn - Forty Days & Forty Nights - 2:52 - 215. We had planned to just do a very short all-skate at the end, but on the spur of the moment, we decided to do make it a tap-out. All eight couples started dancing, then we tapped them out one at a time until there were only two couples left. The audience cheered for their favorites between these two, and then we tapped out one of them to leave a winner.
The top three couples were:
  • 3rd - Phil & Jame
  • 2nd - Blake & Kristine
  • 1st - John & Kathryn
Congratulations to all eight couples who competed--you all looked great and pulled out some great dancing.
On the whole I think things went down pretty well, though the whole thing could have been slightly shorter, and there was the one hiccup with the music I picked. Start to finish, I think the contest took about 15 minutes. With a little more forethought/coordination, we might have been able to get it down to 10 or 12 minutes. I'm not sure how we could have made it shorter than that, since I wouldn't have wanted to shorten it to one spotlight a piece, and we didn't really have enough couples to do a prelim round. Hmmm....


  1. I was really happy with the length of the contest actually, and there wasn't too much downtime within it, which was rather lovely. I was surprised with how many folks we had clapping throughout...the first couple of contests didn't quite have that level of audience participation.

    Thanks again for judging and making the song choices! It was way too much fun. :3

  2. I just nabbed that Chick Webb album on emusic. : )

    And ditto to everything Tia said.