This month I’m joined by Nalla Kim - Nalla has traveled the world as a dancer, instructor, and competitor, and is a mainstay in the booming swing dance scene of Seoul, South Korea. He runs the swing teams Sweet Heart & Lindy Blossom and brings international instructors and musicians to the thousands of Lindy Hoppers in Seoul though events like Authentic Jazz Weekend, Lindy Blossom Weekend and SEOUL Lindyfest. Nalla made his first appearance at ILHC in 2011 with team Sweet Heart and now he's become one of the regular ILHC judges. He's known around the world for his enthusiasm and passion for Lindy Hop.
Nalla sat down with me at ILHC 2016 to share how he discovered Lindy Hop, describe the incredible Seoul dance scene, and educate me on some of the history of Lindy Hop in South Korea.
We also discussed his early dance inspirations and his difficulties moving past copying other dancers to develop his own style, his wife Jessica’s professional yodeling, the cultural differences between dancers of South Korea and the United States, and how the global scene may improve discourse when it comes to sensitive or controversial topics.
Nalla asked that I remind listeners that English is not his first language, which I am, of course, happy to do.
This month, I am joined by my long-time friend, Mike Thibault. Mike is a driving force in the swing dance scene of Rochester, NY, where he is a founding member of the teaching group Groove Juice Swing and helps organize events like Stompology & Slow Dance Soirée. Mike has been running Swing Out New Hampshire since 2014, and is also a sought-after DJ, serving as Head DJ for Frankie 100 and spinning at events such as ILHC, Lindy Focus, and numerous lindy exchanges.
We sat down after Stompology 2016 to reminisce about our time as students at Rochester Institute of Technology, where we discovered swing music and learned dance steps from VHS copies of Swing Kids. Mike clarifies my memories of our early dance adventures, offers some advice for new DJs, and talks about how his passion for history has led him to collaborate with Andrew Nemr and the Tap Legacy Foundation on an archive of American vernacular jazz dance.
We also discuss taking over Swing Out New Hampshire, what is required to foster a welcoming swing dance community, his joy in hosting late night after-parties at the mythical Lindy Compound, and realizing that his contributions to the Lindy Hop community, and not his day job, are his true life’s work.
This month, I am joined by DJ, Lindy Focus co-organizer, and Rhythm Serenaders bandleader, Michael Gamble. Michael has been swing dancing for more than 15 years and in that time his projects have become some of the most esteemed in the swing dance community.
Michael has been head DJ for Beantown, Lindy Focus and the European Swing Dance Championships, and a featured DJ at Herrang Dance Camp, ILHC, and the Lone Star Championships, among others. His band, the Rhythm Serenaders, has performed at events including DCLX, Lindy on the Rocks, and the Nevermore Jazz Ball, and have just announced their first album, which comes out later this summer. Lindy Focus has become one of the largest and most popular swing dance events in the country, drawing more than one thousand attendees each year to his hometown of Asheville, North Carolina.
We sat down at LindyFest 2016 to talk about how his start in the world of electronic music, a bachelor’s degree in music and a father in the music industry all shaped his direction as a performer of authentic swing dance and music. We dive deep into what it takes to run one of the nation's premiere swing events, how DJs carry the responsibility for furthering jazz literacy in an era focused on live music, and the the challenges of transcribing a classic swing song.