Duncan G M Stuart

Analysis of Spotlight entrances – ILHC Champions Strictly Final 2010

I’m entering a few divisions at the London Jitterbug Championships in May, and one of the things I really need to work on is getting on and getting off in a Ninja fashion.

To that end I’ve been watching some big international competition clips trying to work out what’s what. In this post, I analyse the spotlight entrances of the Champions Strictly Final at ILHC in 2010:

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Jabberwocky Recited

UPDATE: Jabberwocky in German

UPDATE: My own recital – a bit panto

Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll is one of my favourite poems. Widely regarded as the greatest nonsense poem ever written, it has stuck in my head from an early age and I love reciting and performing it.

Slithy Toves and Borogoves - Illustration by John Tenniel for Lewis Carroll's 'Jabberwocky'

Slithy Toves and Borogoves – Illustration by John Tenniel for Lewis Carroll

This evening I’ve found a number of great recitals of the poem on YouTube. First up is voice de jour Benedict Cumberbatch: Read the rest of this entry »

Lessons learned from Lindy Shock

I’ve got back from the excellent Lindy Shock swing dance camp in Budapest on Wednesday, feeling exhausted but with some serious new dance technology under my belt.

Ali and Katja at Lindy Shock 2011 by Eric Esquivel

Ali and Katja at Lindy Shock 2011 by Eric Esquivel on Flickr


On the flight back I reflected on how my experience was affected both by how I prepared and how I approached things while I was there. I’ve learned a lot from previous camps – primarily that sleeping and eating are purely functional activities designed to maximise dancing fun – but still made some basic errors.

Here’s what I learned: Read the rest of this entry »

Formative Tunes

This post is all about songs and bands which other people have introduced me to which have deeply affected me and shaped my musical taste (my Heart Songs if you will). I’m exceptionally grateful for all the people who have shared music which makes my life better.

Detail from album cover: Oh, InvertedWorld, by The Shins

Note: If you’re not on the list, it doesn’t mean I don’t love you and the music you shared with me xxx. All of these songs are specifically by bands I’d never really heard before (with the exception of Dylan) and are now an intrinsic part of my life.

In chronological order with Spotify links in Red: Read the rest of this entry »

4 reasons why Imperial College Swing Dance will be good for London

Something exciting happened today: Imperial College Swing Dance was announced, bringing the grand total of student swing dance societies to two (alongside the LSE Swing Dance Society).

Classes start on the 14th of October, and there’s a free gig with the Imperial College Swing Band on the 6th to kick everything off. Both are open to students and non-students alike.

The Imperial College Swing Dance Logo

Why am I excited? I think this will be great for London for a number of reasons: Read the rest of this entry »

Vintage at the South Bank – a guide for Lindyhoppers

This weekend Wayne Hemmingway’s Vintage festival comes to the South Bank Centre as part of the 60 year anniversary celebrations for the Festival of Britain. It’s a celebration of all things vintage from the 1940’s through to the 1980s and although it had its teething troubles, it did get some positive feedback from vintage lovers (a good roundup of reviews can be found on the Tissue Clouds blog).

My assessment is that there are potential good times to be had here for Vintage-loving dancers as long as you set your expectations correctly: as with any vintage event there will be a mixture of hardcore Vintage lifestylers and vintage tourists, for whom the mere sight of a cravat is an exciting novelty. There will be dancers there, but don’t expect to be able to dominate the dancefloor.

Tickets are £60 , but Time Out are selling tickets at £19 – not sure exactly for which days…

So what does it hold in store for Lindyhoppers and which day should you go on?
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For one week only: free analyst/developer in London


After following up a couple of possibilities I’ve decided to go and work with New Bamboo for the week to see what value I can add as a Business Analyst. I’m looking forward to working in a very fast-paced agile environment – somewhat different to the projects I’ve been on recently and I’ll report back what I’ve learned.

It’s been extremely interesting talking to the guys at GoSquaredWikiJob and Pusher and getting an insight into what their priorities are and how they work.

Original post:

Calling all London-based Charities, Green or Social enterprises, Web agencies and Ruby-on-Rails development houses, I have a question for you:

If you had access to skilled analyst for a whole week and it cost you nothing, how would you use them?

I’m leaving my current Consultancy job and have taken some time off before starting my new position. In the first week of August (1st-5th) I’m looking to have some new experiences with an interesting organisation and I’m very much open to suggestions.

So what can I offer?

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Swimmin’ in the rain

On Sunday morning I went swimming in Tooting Bec Lido for the first time. I possibly didn’t see it at it’s best -the rain ranged between drizzle and torrential – but it’s still a beautiful pool with its colourful changing booths. It’s also massive: the biggest open air pool in the UK.

Tooting Bec Lido by Vapour Trail on Flickr

Let's just say it wasn't quite this sunny... (Tooting Bec Lido by Vapour Trail on Flickr)

Swimming in the rain is one of those little unimportant but enriching experiences: there’s something special about comfortably swimming through the droplets. The water was a tolerable 17 degrees – slightly colder than the Serpentine Lido on a sunny day a couple of weeks ago, but vastly warmer than the mixed pond at Hampstead Heath on a baking day in April (slightly magical, teeth-chatteringly cold).

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Artisan food producers

Artisan Chocolate Bars

Photo by salimfadhley on Flickr

I’m commuting to Reading a couple of days a week at the moment and today on my way back, while searching for some sort of cake to satisfy my sweet tooth, I dipped into Tutti Frutti at the station and emerged with a cone of incredible Raspberry sorbet, absolutely rammed with real fruit.

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ESDC ‘Blues’ Comp

I’m nearly a month late on this, but I wanted to share my thoughts on this clip from the first European Swing Dance Championships:

This was advertised on the ESDC website as a “Strictly Blues” comp and the compere introduces it as a “Strictly Blues Final”, but there’s something not quite right: to my semi-educated eyes, there are 3 couples on that floor dancing Blues and 3 couples dancing ‘slow swing’.

Go to 1:15 and look at who pays attention to that second big beautiful brass gliss. Look who’s listening to that big fat blues pulse in both of the songs. Now look at who came last (Fabien & Lisa and Chris & Annette). Did they give the best performance on the floor? Probably not, but they arguably exhibit far more of the elusive ‘Blues Aesthetic’ than some of the couples who placed higher.

So what’s going on?

Basically it sounds like the competition was advertised to some of the dancers and perhaps some of the judges as a “Slow Strictly” – certainly Jo Hoffberg’s blog post refers to it as such.

What does it matter what a competition is called? It’s important because the result of a high-profile competition says something about a dance. This result doesn’t quite say is “Blues is just slow Lindy and West Coast Swing”, but it doesn’t help the cause of a dance which needs to project a clear unique identity if it is going to continue to grow.