Liza May

HST 2016 Update #8 - The Scary Strictlys


And just like that, a whole TWO WEEKS since Halloween SwingThing!

Two boring, uneventful weeks in which absolutely nothing happened.

I want to tell you about the "Scary Strictlys" at Halloween SwingThing.

Because -- the AMAZINGNESS of creativity, the hours of work to cut soundtracks, choreograph, design costumes, memorize, practice, and NAIL these complex routines. It simply boggles the mind. Just a few weeks before the Open! These people are not human.


Chris and Victoria

"A Tutorial on How To Create A Basic US Open Routine"

I'm sure you've seen this by now ... if not, you are in for a TREAT.

Stunning satire. The West Coast Swing community has arrived - we has Irony! We now have Hallowed Traditions ... and we now have Millennials to make fun of them!

Not only are these jokes witty, but the soundtrack is so well done, the lip syncing and choreography so perfectly executed, that I didn't at first realize this is a voice over. I thought they were mic'd!

My Highlights:

On finding a partner: "You hope you find someone who isn't taken but that's not really a requirement"

"Emotional Hand-Grab at The Audience"

(This brought the house down, causing waves of Emotional Hand-Grabs for the rest of the weekend. The Emotional Hand Grab became an instant overnight iconic gesture. Expect to see them forever after.)

"No one remembers the middle of a routine"

"Side-by-side dancing that will probably be the most memorable part of your routine"

"If you are a follower as a girl, you need to make sure her costume is unnecessarily risque because, you know. Feminism"

(The audience's faces! Priceless. Eyes wide open, mouths wide open, total disbelief followed by total screaming chaos. Victoria Henk you are brilliant!)

Vicoria: "But what if no one likes it?"

Christopher: "We're not doing this for points or money. We're doing it because our soul calls (blah blah blah) magic (blah blah) meaningful (blah blah)"

Notice the song they chose - "Fever!" An iconic US Open routine song for an iconic US Open routine - one partner of which happened to be in the ballroom watching.

And that "JT roll" done to perfection except for one minor change: Chris BOUNCING Victoria down the floor like a haddock.

And the ending! All that emoting and kissing! And Chris' twisted face!

Jordan: "Couples are already watching this thinking 'Shoot! We didn't do the reach for the audience!' "


Rome and Nicole

"Rug Rats"

Rome in a diaper with an oversized baby-bottle and a huge pacifier around his neck ... that weirdly squeaky Rug Rats weird soundtrack ... random hip hopping, twerking, spilling sticky apple juice all over the dance floor ... Nicole running through the audience ... toddler spats and makeups ... this was probably the most un-weird I've ever seen Rug Rats, and way funnier than the movie.


Ben and Sarah

"Trump and Hillary"

Ben cut together an AMAZING soundtrack including Tom Hanks doing Chris Wallace (moderator for the second debate,) AOL's dialup modem with "You've Got Mail."

Ben in a HIDEOUS orange wig. "You look like a tangerine had sex with a broom"

And Sarah!

Sarah's Hillary was the dorkiest, fakest, most un-feminine woman, in the all-time ugliest pant-suit ever created, with this huge fake public smile and phony politician's wave.

I've seen Sarah be so so funny over the years. But this was hands down the funniest ever - she's made to do this impression. If Hillary ever danced west coast swing this is EXACTLY how she would move. Waddling, split-weight, forever waving to her admirers with that free arm.

Dancing to a parody of "Beat It" ("Delete It" by Brian Watson) - with Trump's voice cutting in, "WRONG!" "WRONG!" throughout. Ben laughing so hard he couldn't hold it together, just doubled over laughing and laughing, while Sarah fake-smiled even wider and laughed even louder. And a hysterical parody of "Love Yourself" ("Trump Yourself" by comedy troupe Late Night Gimp Fight.)-

"Obama don't like you and he likes everyone."

Trump grabs the mic "America I know you enjoyed that first routine, Chris and Victoria, Partner-Stealers. Nothing original in their routine. All the polls right now are taken by people who didn't get in here until after they danced show that I'm winning and if I DON'T win tomorrow, there will be riots. And if I DO win tomorrow I want you to know it was all me. Not her. I get all the prize money."



Demetre and Carla

"Harry Potter"

House lights turned down and a crowd of dancers holding tiny lights above their heads stream silently onto the floor, spinning and whirling round in the dark like fireflies or fairies, so that all you can see is a swarm of tiny sparkling lights fluttering thru a night sky.


Then out comes Chantal, en pointe, as a shimmering quivering Whomping Willow tree...


But Oh No! It's Harry Potter and Ron Weasley in the Flying Ford! Hip-hopping right down the floor and, like in "Chamber of Secrets," crashing into the beautiful Whomping Willow! Boom - they're all on the floor in a heap.

Great dancing follows - a terrific, snappy, funny, funky hip-hoppy-swinging Harry Potter routine.


Kyle and Tara

"Zoolander: Mugatu and Blue Steel"

I laughed until my stomach hurt.

Tara's FACES! And her quirky movements! She is funny.

Another superbly done voice over. This year, either by funny coincidence or by collaboration, was the year of voice-over routines. Hope they do it again next year - maybe it will become an HST tradition! - because what fun to see pop culture redone "WCS-style;" more room for comedy and we get a chance to see the many other talents these creative people have.

But the amazing precision of their lip syncing and movements. Even subtlest of movements. So impressive, and so hilarious. This is slapstick comedy as finely honed as the best skits of Charlie Chaplin, Lucy, Laurel and Hardy, or Buster Keaton.


Their "Break-Dance Fighting" omg

Funniest of all - "Relax Don't Do It" - Tara executing drops and leans SO RELAXED she's drooping, dripping from his arms. What made this so terrific was not just the clever idea, but the dancing, the GORGEOUS dancing. Kyle's footwork - doesn't get any better. And Tara! Those floppy lifeless drops done by a lesser dancer might easily have looked like a mess. Tara's "bad dancing" was beautiful. Watching these guys, knowing how impossible it is to do well what they did - that's what made this so impressive and SO funny. Already re-watched this video 700 times since Halloween SwingThing.


Benji and Melissa

"At Least We Stole The Show"

House lights down, Benji pulls a giant screen onto floor.

It's a movie!

A serious, gritty, black-and-white, Cinéma Vérité documentary, telling the true story, the real behind-the-scenes emotional trauma, of what it's like to face the End of a Reign as World Champions.

World Champions ... of the Scary Strictly.

The terrible psychological burden of being World Champion of the Scary Strictly. The stark loneliness of the life, of being at the top. This was an art-house docudrama as pretentious, melodramatic, and self-absorbed as it gets, complete with mumbling testimonials from Jordan (caption 'Jordan Frisbee, Ballroom Dancer,') "Genius. Revolutionary. They re-wrote the rules for the game." and Tatiana (caption 'Tatiana Mollmann, Hotel Staff') "Benji and Ma-LEEES-ssa. They made History."


Melissa who can't let go of being a cat (Benji: "It's just weird.") A Diva Cat, in cat ears. Talking to herself in the mirror in a squeaky, lispy, meeowy cat voice. A neurotic, overemotional, head-case of a cat who we watch spiral downward; drinking, popping pills, smoking (each puff followed by choking spitting because she's a CAT,) clawing up windows, pouncing on curtains, springing out from behind couches, hopping across the screen, shopping for cat items at the mall, pawing at lamps ...


We read, "Fade To Black," and in her squeaky cat voice, "But at least we stole the show" ...

The lights come up as we hear Royston's iconic voice bringing Jordan and Tatiana onto the US Open floor - but this time he's announcing Benji and Melissa.

What follows is a STUNNING parody reenactment of Jordan and Tatiana's final routine. Brilliant impression in which they nail every smallest detail of Jordan and Tatiana's movements, as well as their emotions, facial expressions, their moves -- this was an exaggerated caricature so accurate it was more JT than JT themselves.


Ryan and Kara

"Disco Zombies"

Hustle! Walking-Dead style! Complete with Argentine Tango leg-flick kicks to the groin.

To "I Will Survive," "Staying Alive," and "Thriller." Ryan has a heart-attack and Kara's version of CPR is to smack him hard across the face. Several times.

So funny! Such fabulous dancing!


Samir and Jenna

"Top Gun"

Complete with military outfits, dancing to "Great Balls of Fire" at 175 beats per minute! No, not East Coast, but West Coast! Pretty impressive!


Ben and Cameo


This gigantic green thing was so totally lovable and adorable - I think he was supposed to be an enormous Extra Terrestrial Alien, but I swear he was just the cutest sweetest thing. The song was "All By Myself" -  I found myself feeling so sorry for that poor gigantic fuzzy green thing, he needed a big hug.

But then! In walks Hotness! To Katy Perry's "E.T."

And they dance together and find true love!

On "Take me, t-t-t-take me" very funny, very clumsy, kissing and "hugging."

Ending with the Beastie Boys' "Intergalactic" with hip hop and Balboa.

This was just adorable. And hilarious.

Jordan: "Alien head moves are very difficult. Also: Audience YOU CAN'T CLAP ON THE DOWN BEAT!"


Still more to tell about SwingThing! SO many funny moments at this event, the whole weekend was absolutely jam packed with fun.


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