Because there really wasn’t much happening on this blog. Fortunately, the lindy blogging community exploded like a hippo after a trip to a state fair chili cook off. I talked about this extraordinary growth earlier this year on this blog, and it’s been good to see it continue. I mentioned in my first year anniversary post that I started this blog mostly because I wasn’t seeing much in depth conversation about dancing. I like to pretend that my lack of production is reflected in the fact that so many other people are posting interesting stuff.
I wanted to do the same sort of thing for blog posts as I did for the most popular Lindy Hop videos, but I quickly discovered how hard that would be since there is no one place like YouTube where I can reliably check who has had the most hits over the past year. At first I went through my handy dandy Facebook page for this blog and compiled the posts that got the most “likes” and comments. As I went further back, I realized the problem with this approach since I only started FB page in February, so obviously items posted earlier this year got fewer responses. Facebook does provide “Insight” numbers (number of impressions, views, clicks, responses, and virality which sounds slightly obscene) for posts on the page, but they only go back to July 19, 2011. The other problem I noticed is that really popular posts like stuff by Bobby White or Rebecca Brightly were re-posted by other people which would garner responses I wouldn’t necessarily notice, and would subsequently lessen the likelihood of people liking or commenting on my page. I thought about alternate ways to factor this in, but there really isn’t a good way to do it, especially with my short attention span.
Ultimately, I compiled this list based on a combination of the available data, my terrible memory, and arbitrary bias. If you think of a really cool post that isn’t included here, feel free to post it to the comments.
Lindy Blogging MVP’s
Before we get to the bulk of the list I do want to single out the work of three people:
First up is my Jam Cellar compatriot, Bobby White, the man behind the ever interesting Swungover. I find it ironic that I write here just to write while Bobby often takes a more historical tact with his posts including his epic “Savoy Style vs. Hollywood Style: A Fight to the Death (Hopefully?)” post complete with equally epic footnotes. It’s funny to me because I’m the one with the degree in History and he’s the one studying for his MFA in Writing. He’s pretty much blowing everyone away in terms of the number and scope of his posts. If you missed them, then check out his “Happy Birthday Swungover: 2011 Year in Review” I’d also like to thank him not just for his work, but also for the feedback on my blog and the insightful discussions we have about writing in general.
On a related note, Bobby and I are working on a fun project, hopefully coming to fruition early in 2012.
Next is Rebecca Brightly over at Dance World Takeover. I think of her as the blogger that I should probably be more like. Her focus is different in terms of who she is writing for, but she does a great job of responding to people and encouraging conversation. In fact, her most popular post on my FB page is one asking for more input from others “Dancers: You’ve Got Frustrations? I Want to Hear About ‘Em.” I’m way more hands off by necessity, but if I had the time, I would do a better job responding to all the people who comment publicly and message me privately. I’d like to say that I have a lot of stuff going on, but it’s been an eventful year for her and I admire her ability to juggle it all. My main hope is that she blogs about the merits of dating and marrying Filipino men. In the meantime, you can catch up with her blog on her year end post “DWT: Best of 2011”
Lastly, I want to mention the efforts of Mikey Pedroza. In addition to his regular blog, Mikey has started posting vlogs (video blogs.) He says it’s because he doesn’t have the time to write, but judging from the way these things are put together, it’s obvious that he’s putting a lot of work into them. Follow them on his YouTube channel along with other past and current dance videos he likes to post.
And now, the rest of the notable blogs of 2011
Hands down, my favorite post this year:
- “Fear. May I have this dance?” by Peacefull Dawn on Practice Makes Better
Let’s Give ‘em Something to Talk About . . .
These posts triggered a lot of commentary either on their sites or on my FB page. My advice to every would be blogger or just about anyone saying anything online: 1)Make sure you’re saying what you want to say, and 2) remember that once you put it out there, it’ll take on a life of it’s own. There are several billion people out there. The odds of someone disagreeing with or just straight up not liking what you say are pretty good. Get used to it.
- “The Power Of Jazz: DCLX 2011” by Russ Reinberg on theWestlake Records Blog
- “A Difficult Conversation About Sexual Violence in Swing Dance Communities” by Sam Carroll on dogpossum
- “Unintentionally Insensitive Routines” by Reuben Brown on Jive Junction
- “Competition Philosophy…and Camp Jitterbug 2011” by Mary Freitag on Art and Dancing
- “I Went Salsa Dancing?” by Rachel Green on rhythmic rambling
- “Why Women Should Wear Heels” by Sarah Breck on Dax & Sarah
- “Sweat Pants Almost Killed the Lindy Hop” by Dax Hock on Dax & Sarah.
- West Coast Swing competition controversy on Westie Discussion of The Day
You Really Like Me
Posts that people approved of or just clicked on a lot.
- “Lovin’ The Lindy Hop” by Rachel Green on rhythmic rambling
- “Jive Junction Interviews Interesting People: Andy Reid” on Jive Junction
- “Gotta Be Satisfied” by Tonia on ad liminem
- “Lindy Hop Since 1998- A Personal View” by Julius Yang on Jive Junction
- “I’m really bored of seeing the same thing over and over in Lindy Hop routines” on vernacular jazz dance
- “Defining a Dance" by Nick Williams
- “The Importance of Non-Evil” by Mike Legett at Mike The Girl
- “The Art of Learning” at New School Swing
- “The Ninjammerz Show – Rome 201” by Jo Joffberg
- “The emancipatory promise of the habitus: Lindy hop, the body, and social change” by Lisa Wade. This is a full length academic paper that was published in a journal.
- “The Mobtown Ballroom Philosophy” and “Why You Stick It To THE MAN by Going to Swing, Soul, & Blues” by Michael Seguin at Mobtown Ballroom. Money quote from the latter post that’s an example of the kind of swagger that you don’t normally find in advertising for swing dances: “This is not because you’re living a fantasy; it’s because you’re actually doing something. That’s what the night life is about: Remembering that you are more than a nerd, or a corporate drone, or a parent, or some schlub that schedules appointments all day. You’re someone who goes to Swing, Soul, & Blues to dance until 5 am. When you head back to work or class on Monday morning, and the next round of tasks begin, you can look the taskmaster in the eye and know with certainty that your weekend was way more interesting than theirs.”
- “Do One Thing Every Day That Scares You” by Jody Melo on The Huffington Post. Not by a dancer, and not necessarily about Lindy Hop, but it’s not often that your venue gets talked about in one of the largest news sites in the world. Suck on that Baltimore.
The Circle of Life
I love it when posts build on each other and create a dialogue.
- “The International Lindy Hop Championships (ILHC) 2011 – Competitions” by Patrick Szmidt at Building the Swing Dance Community
- “ILHC 2011 Results” by Jo Joffberg at Jazz It Up With Jo (Official results and score sheets on ILHC.com)
- “A Classic Conundrum” by Jason Meller at Dancing Past The Godzilla Threshold
- “ILHC 2011 Alternative Judgement” by Gayl at Howard and Gayl's Lindy-Hop Stop
Blogs and websites come and go, come back again, get deleted, and then find life on another site so this is a very small sample of sites that have been active in some way over the past year. I’m probably missing a bunch, so feel free to post more in the comments section. And if you don’t want me to list your site . . . well it’s probably too late, but let me know and I’ll take it off the list.
The Lindy Blogger’s Dozen: Stuff you should be reading, listening to or watching on a regular basis because they post stuff to read, listen to, or watch on a regular basis.
- Bug’s Question of The Day
- Dance World Takeover
- vernacular jazz dance
- DJ Ryan Swift
- It's The Way That You Do It
- Lindy Hop Variations For Followers
- Shuffle Projects
- The Swing Daily
Resources: Videos, competition results, fashion, music and stuff.
- The Lindy Calendar
- Building The Swing Community Videos
- Free Swing Dance Lessons Lesson videos
- Jazzpirations Videos
- Lindy Hop History via The Kansas City Lindy Hop Society
- Lindy Hop Moves Lesson videos
- Lindy Shopper Fashion tips
- Rhythm Results Competition results
- Swingin’ The Blues Music
- Swing Shift Shuffle Vintage curiosities
- Swing DJs Music discussion board
- The Lindy Hop Collection of Swing related links
Venues and Organizations: Lots of places post their class and dance schedules. These places make it more interesting and/or amusing than most.
- Atomic Ballroom
- Castle Dance Project
- Collectively Blue
- Generation Swing
- Girl Jam London
- Jazz Inc.
- Jazz Up Your Life Singapore!
- Mobtown Ballroom
- Mound City Stomp
- New School Swing
- Sweethearts of Rhythm
- Swing Dynamite
- swingdancemontreal (French language)
- The Jam Cellar
- The Swing Sesh!
- Toronto Blues Dance
Dancers that blog: It may not always be about dance, and it may not be posted often, but there’s a lot of good observations and information by these people.
- All The Cats Join In
- Ana*lindy hopping the Ph.D.
- Art and Dancing
- Augie Freeman
- Big ramblings from a little dancer
- Breanna Perry
- Brighter than a Buoy
- Dance with Gina
- Dancing Past the Godzilla Threshhold
- Diary of a Swing Dancing Kitty
- DJ Emily "BabyMama" Smith
- Feets of Jazz
- Howard and Gayl
- Jive Junction
- Jo Hoffberg
- Jon Tigert
- Laura Windley
- LindyGroove Technique Class Notes
- Megan Rose Damon
- Mihai’s Blog
- Mike Legett
- Mikey Pedroza
- Morgan Lee Kestner
- My Jazz Can Beat Up Your Jazz
- My Swing Archives
- News and Views from the Hall LindyJazzMobile
- Nick Williams
- Parrot Cat
- Possessin’ Verve
- Practice Makes Better
- Reflections on Dance
- Reportace's Blog
- Rhythmic Rambling
- Rockin’ in Rhythm
- Ruby’s Life
- Scottie in London
- Sharon Davis
- Spank The Baby
- Steve Hwan's Photography Blog
- Steve Losh
- Straycat's Swing and Blues Emporium
- Swing Fashionista
- The Aural Majority
- The Click Heard Round the World
- The Enthusiastic Life
- The Rantings of a Lindy Hopper
- the swing of things
- V is for Vintage
- Westlake Records Blog
- World of Renaissance
I want to thank everyone who made the online vernacular jazz dance community just a little more interesting this year. Let’s do this again.