Tel’s video captures the essence of Swish

Swish is some way away now, but when Tel Jenkin’s posted his video on Facebook last week, all the memories of this wonderful weekender came flooding back.  The video was soon shared all over Facebook and it soon racked up two thousand views.  I know that many people have watched it several times times, but I estimate over one thousand five hundred different people have viewed it – that’s more than twice the number of people who were actually there.

What I love about Tel’s video is how he manages to capture the true essence of Swish in a way that still photos could never do.

What particularly pleased me was to see just how many of the seven hundred plus people he managed to give their little moment in the spotlight.  But it’s more than even that, because what the video shows us is just how many people are having a great time out on the dance floor.

What has been even more pleasing is seeing the comments that people have made on Facebook, thanking Tel for his hard work over the weekend and his hours of skilful editing.  Here’s what Swish organiser Paul Brooks posted on Facebook after his first look at the video:

Oh, my goodness me!!!!  This is incredible

It is indeed incredible how Tel’s video captures the spirit of Swish.  This weekender is advertised as being like no other.  The video proves without a doubt that Swish lives up to its billing.  Here are some more comments posted on Facebook.  One of my favourite comments is by Kirstie who tags her friend Neil with the comment that he made it in to the video.  The thing is that so many others did too.  Take a bow all of you.  You give this video it’s magic.

I pick out 12 special moments

Tel has now posted a much sharper 4K version of the video on the Modern Jive Dancer YouTube channel.  I’ve put a link to the video at the bottom of this article so that you can enjoy it without having to search for it.

Everyone will have their own special memories from Swish and I’m sure the video will bring back many happy memories.  I thought I’d pick out some of my favourite bits as a way of explaining the joy of Swish for those people who weren’t lucky enough to get a ticket.  I also hope that my selection of special moments will also trigger other memories for the people who were part of this wonderful weekend centred around the dance floor.

For some of the moments I’ve captured a screen shot from the video itself.   Some of the photos are a little blurred as they are taken from what are fast moving clips.  Hopefully they still work to give a pictorial reference to my writing.  For all the moments I’ve picked out I’ve added the running time so you can easily find them.

Lionel Richie has us all dancing on the ceiling

What really lifts the video is Tel’s choice of Lionel Richie’s Dancing on the ceiling as the backing track.  This is a fabulous piece of dance music, and it’s fitting that DJ Paul Brooks used it as his first track to launch the dancing on Friday night.  Interestingly this track also seems to have become a real Ceroc favourite over the past year.

I’d long forgotten Dancing on the ceiling, until Swish DJ Tony Riccardi revived it during one of his Thunderball Room Southport slots to literally set the dance floor on fire.  Since then I seem to have been dancing to it more and more.  Rightly so, for it is a cracking piece of dance music and it never fails to create a great vibe out on the dance floor.  The track has some wonderful lyrics that typify the fun everyone was having.

Ooh, it looks like everybody is having a ball.

They certainly are Lionel.  But it’s the intro that really sets the scene for this video, as the sound of people having a great time is faded up over the pulsating instrumentation, and Tel shows Lyndsey Bennet kicking off the fun on stage (I’ll be talking more about this clip later).

1: The Joy of Dancing (1 min 36 secs)

Swish is first and foremost a dance fest.  It’s our shared love of dancing that brought us all together in the first place and Tel’s video captures this time and time again.  When he points his camera, many people are fully absorbed in their dancing, but many share their love of it by smiling and even waving at the camera.  I just love to see how the guy in this picture gives the thumbs up to him.

I love that people do this, and it seems that they all were very relaxed that Tel was pointing the camera at them.  The result is some lovely cameos of people showing just how much they loved the dancing on offer.  He first got his camera out on the Saturday evening in the main hall, and then again for the White Night and Neon Party on the Sunday.  You also see clips of the dancing  in The SILC Room, including the very popular Motown and Soul slot on Sunday afternoon.

Tel uses slo-mo to really emphasis the fluency and beauty of the dancing and another favourite moment is the clip of Becki Rendell and her partner (1:15).  Just look how smoothly the guy guides Becki through her turn.

Tel captures the sheer joy of being on the dance floor

2: A chance to improve our dancing (0:31)

The attraction of weekenders like Swish is the opportunity we all get to improve our dancing, and the programme was packed with a whole range of classes.  Tel took his camera around a few of these classes and captured some wonderful moments as people were taught new moves and techniques and even got a chance to try other styles of dancing.

One such class was a Ballroom one run by Karen Toko and her demo Alex Faulkner-Clarke.  In this shot he captures Karen and Alex as they glide across the floor in a Waltz during their demonstration at the end of the lesson.  You can see the people videoing the moves for later reference.

There are also clips of Kieran Moore and Charlie Brownlee teaching SILC.  One of my favourite clips captures Lyndsey Bennet as she turns on the spot supported by her demo Ben Davis (0:30).  It’s a great example of how Tel uses slo-mo to great effect.  I love that he captured many of the teachers on film, after all, they play a major role in what makes weekenders like Swish such an attraction.

A chance to video Karen and Alex’s Waltz routine

3: The Segway looks like fun (0:05)

Of course, one of the appeals of Swish is that you get a chance to do some activities you might not do otherwise.  One of these is to try a Segway personal transport devise.   Terry captured two of my Dance Gang friends gliding along in the large Sports Hall on Saturday, while at the other end of the hall we see clips of a Table Tennis Tournament being held.

One of the sporting highlights was the Team Olympics on Sunday afternoon organised by Potters Entertainments manager Buzby Allen complete with Pith helmet.   Tel captured some of the action in the curling event (2:49)

Hold on tight now

4: Every special moment tells a story (0:06, 0:15 & 2:04)

The fun wasn’t restricted to the dance floors and sports halls.  The Swish Team were joining in the fun on the stage too.  Tel captured (from left to right) Leigh Deller, Lyndsey Bennet, Lou Riccardi, Rhiane Terry and Tony Riccardi having an absolute blast on the stage.  He cut the footage in to three and spliced it in to the video to create three special moments.

Tony Riccardi tells me that there’s a story behind this dance routine:

A couple of years ago, DJ Sheena Assiph had the last set of the weekend and played Darude’s Sandstorm. To which me, Lou, Rhiane and a couple of others started to do The Running Man dance at the back of the room.  It was hilarious and Rhiane also filmed it.

It seems it soon became a Swish anthem and a bit of a Ceroc Weekender tradition.  Here’s Tony again:

Every time that track was played elsewhere, we’d message each other and all do The Running Man dance together.

Last year however Tony missed out as he was DJ-ing in the SILC Room when it got played.  Tony contiues the story:

I was gutted to miss it.  Apparently all the teachers got on stage and partied to it.  So this year I said I would play it, during my own set, so we could get on stage and do The Running Man again.

The Running Man move was included in a Team Cabaret choreographed by Karen Toko for the London Champs back in 2012 which included The Brooks boys and Tony himself.  It seems it was quite a routine as it won the Gold Medal that year.  Darude’s Sandstorm is one hell of a full on track and its not surprising that after 3 minutes 52 seconds of hi-energy dancing Lyndsey collapses to the stage floor.  I’m sure for Tony and his friends, including Lyndsey this will be one of the special moments from the video.

Tony also appears in another fabulous clip on stage (2:39) where he’s doing the T-Bone Shuffle with Becki Rendell.  Tony tells me that this was choreogarphed for a country song of the same name, but on this occasion, it worked just as well for Dario G’s Sunchyme.

More fun with the crew on the stage as they do their Runing Man Dance routine

5: Get ready to dance upside down (2:32)

Using Dancing on the ceiling gave Tel opportunities to do some special effects, and make people seem as if they were doing just that.  What I loved was the way he synchronised this effect with the lyrics.  As he flips the dancers upside down Lionel is singing:

The only thing we want to do tonight, is go ’round and ’round and turn upside down . . .

. . . and so, it seems that from time to time in the video, that’s exactly what everybody did, and it just adds to the excitement of Tel’s wonderful portral of time spent on the dance floor.

Now we really are dancing on the ceiling

6: Clap your hands now (3:40)

Tel captured a wonderful moment in the SILC Chill-out room with a group of people doing a line dance.  I think that Tim Sant-Turner may have been teaching the latest Nu-Line dance.  In amongst all the joy you hear the sound of the people clapping perfectly in time with the music.

He explained to me how he perfectly synchronised the video clip to the clapping in the actual track.  You can see him using another technique to emphasis the clapping earlier in his video.  Go to 2 mins 39 secs where Tony Riccardi and Becki Rendell are doing the T-Bone Shuffle on stage.  You see see them both clapping.  Those claps are actually sound effects, which Tel layered on to the sound track, adding to the joy of Tony and Becki’s dancing.

More fun as Tim Sant-Turner teaches the 2019 Nu-Line Dance

7:  Now wave at the camera (3:32)

I mentioned in Moment No 1 how people were very happy to smile and wave at the camera.  Tel splices examples of people waving at his camera all the way through the video, and it makes you realise that it’s the people, who we meet and dance with, who make events like Swish the wonderful occasions they are.

Ceroc is a social dance.  We pride ourselves that we have a rule that we should never refuse a dance, and that the ladies can ask the men.  It makes for a great social occasion, and my own memories of Swish are littered with memories of the people I got to chat and dance with.  It was a time to make new friends and seeing all the smiling faces is another reminder of just how friendly this wonderful dance scene is.

During his filming in The Motown & Soul session, Tel captured this wonderful moment where a couple broke off from their dancing to wave at the camera.  It’s one of my favourite moments from the video.

Here is another (2:59).  I have no idea who the lady is, and I hope I don’t embarrass her by featuring her role in the video.  As she walks past, she turns to face the camera and smile.  By slowing down the action Tel creates a wonderful cameo that brings out a smile in me every time I watch it.  Smiling is infectious and we love being around smiley people.  So thank you to this lady and everyone who smiled at the camera

I just loved the way people waved and smiled at the camera

8:  The Dancing Machine does the Nu-Line Dance (2:08)

I love people with passion, and I like to think that we all have something we are passionate about.  This wonderful dance scene only works because people have a passion for dancing, and we are lucky to have them at all levels.  Whether they are the Taxi Dancers who help out the Beginner’s as they set off on their dance journeys, or the people like the Brooks Boys and Karen who work tirelessly to make events like Swish a great success – we appreciate them all.

I recently came across someone who appears to have as much passion and energy as myself for this wonderful dance scene – Chris Quinn, AKA The Dancing Machine.  Like myself Chris loves writing about this wonderful dance scene and uses his Dancing Machine Facebook Page as a mini blog.  I asked Chris what led Tel to capture him on the stage.

I was there to learn and develop the fun in the latest Ceroc National Nu-Line Dance to Country girl (Shake it for me).  I’ve loved joining in with these line dances ever since the Fireball line dance was choregraphed, and I’ve added my own style to the routines.

It seems that Chris’ enthusiasm for these line dances has caught the attention of the Ceroc teachers and DJs.  Here’s Chris again:

I’m often asked to go on stage and demo the line dances, and to encourage the dancers on the floor to have as much fun as I have with them.

The video shows lots of examples of these line dancers – they really are part of the weekender experience.  I’m afraid I struggle with them, but it’s great to know that there are people like Chris who are there to remind us just how much fun they are, and hopefully motivate us all to join in and enjoy the buzz of dancing with a whole bunch of likeminded people.

Chris demo’s this years Nu Line Dance on the stage

9: Shh.  It’s the Silent Disco (1:42)

As you are watching all the action on the dance floor, Lionel’s vocal is suddenly interrupted by the scratching sound of a vinyl record on the turntable.  This is such a clever way of introducing the Silent Disco.  This is where the music comes through your own individual headphones, so that anyone coming in to the room would see a whole bunch of people dancing to apparently no music!

I think you get a choice of three tracks to listen to, so bizarrely people are actually dancing to different tracks which makes for some comedy moments.   When Tel took this clip most of the people were listening to Hey Baby (I wanna know if you’ll be my girl) by DJ Otzi, with its sing-along chorus of Hey, Hey Baby – Ooh Aah.  Everybody it seems is tuned to this party anthem and is singing along, but listen carefully and you’ll hear a lady retort, ‘I haven’t got that song’, suggesting she’s tuned to one of the other channels.

It seems that the Silent Disco was a great success, and I was so pleased that he so cleverly included it.  After the chorus is completed, and another scratch of the record, Tel is back in the main room for a show of great dancing.  See if you can spot Potters Entertainment Manager Buzby Allen dancing with Karen Toko.  Just look for his yellow glasses at 2:02!  A little later at 2:34 there is some deft Double Trouble action going on.

Sing-a-long now – Hey, Hey Baby, ooh aah.

10: What happened next? (1:21)

As I’ve been writing his article, I’ve dipped in to the video many times and it’s amazing how each time I spot something new.  There is after all so much going off.  On one viewing my attention was drawn to this lovely team image of Tony Riccardi, the Brooks Brothers and Ceroc crew member Simona Tatarova.  Something then happens, and I couldn’t help thinking about the quiz show Question of Sport when they used to have a segment called What happened next?

So, what does happen next?  Suddenly someone launches themselves in to the air behind the boys and Tatarova.  Tel captures this in slow motion and it’s another magical moment from the video.  Paul Brooks tells me that the guy launching himself in to the air is Swish team member and DJ Steve Byde.   I suspect he saw Tel pointing the camera at the group and decided he would photo-bomb the occasion.  It’s another special moment and Steve has his moment in the spotlight.

Did anyone have an idea what was about to happen?

11: The fun of White and Neon Night (4:12 – 4:30)

One of the great traditions of Swish is the Sunday White Night Party.  The video shows lots of people dancing in white throughout the video.  At 4:12 you get a great view of DJ Brett Stewart, complete with white T shirt, dancing away as he plays the tracks for the first part of the night.

People were also encouraged to wear something neon.  I loved these neon glasses in the picture below.  Something so simple yet so effective and so Swish.  So guys where do I buy some.

The White Night theme is quite a simple one, and one everybody could join in on, the video picks up this mass of white particularly in the speeded-up section of the video.  The dancing concludes with more hand waving and another action shot of DJ Brett Stewart, and it’s left to Lyndsey Bennett, to bring the dancing part of the video to an end.

This is one of my favourite clips from Sunday’s White Night Party

12: Tributes and thanks (4:32)

Brooks brothers, Paul and Glen, knew that they were making a surprise appearance in the Sunday night theatre show Around the world in 80 minutes, and they asked Tel if he would video it.  He duly set up his video camera and captured their barnstorming performances as Egyptians and serving wenches at a German Beer Festival. (3:50)

Tel kept his camera running and subsequently captured the scene where compere Sion Hathway, of the Potters Theatre Company, handed over to Buzby Allen.  What followed is a wonderful tribute to the two brothers as Buzby declares:

Do you not think that these two are spectacular?

The audience enthusiastically shows its appreciation.  As the applause dies down, Paul Brooks thanks Buzby for his own part in what has been a quite outstanding weekend.  It is a wonderful moment as Buzby takes a well-earned bow.  There is one other person, who while not on stage, deserved an equal heart-warming applause and that was Karen Toko.  Take a bow Karen, the boys couldn’t have done it without you.

Compere Sion Hathway hands over to the boys at the end of the show on Sunday night

So who is Tel Jenkins?

Sadly there are no pictures of Tel at Swish, as he was always behind the camera, but here’s his Facebook featured image.  I’ve always thought that this picture makes him look a little like a cheeky version of Van Gogh, though I think he used thinner paint brushes.  A great music lover, The flying fish is a reference to one of his favourite ’90s albums.

Tel started dancing at Ceroc Heaven venues in Nottingham, which is where we formed our friendship.  Several years ago he started photographing the dancers at Ceroc Heaven freestyles including the iconoic Kelham Hall one near Newark.  Over the proceeding years he worked on his technique and developed a style that showed the fun people were having on the dance floor.

As Tel devolped his style, more and more of these Nottingham based dancers started to use his pictures for their Facebook profile picture.  It wasn’t long before he then started videoing the dancing, and again he slowly learnt the craft of editing the individual clips in to videos like the one he produced for Swish.

The cheeky chappy behind the camera lens

Tel joins me on the road

It wasn’t long until I asked Tel if he would join me on some of my travels to add colour to my reviews.  It is on these travels that he has done some of his best work.  We have now started a YouTube channel (see link below) where you can view all Terry’s dance videos.   Tel, like myself, loves dancing and we are both happy to provide reviews, photos and videos at no cost, as our way of putting something back in to this wonderful dance community.

My thanks go to Paul Brooks who gave permission for Tel to take photos and video clips at Swish, and everyone who waved and smiled at the camera – you are the real stars of this video.

I think he has done justice to what is described as a Weekender like no other, and on his behalf can I thank everyone who put comments on Facebook to show their appreciation of his photo album and video.  So without further ado here is Tel’s Swish video.

I am sure that it offers a wonderful souvenir for the people who were lucky enough to have tickets.  But it also tells the story of just how much fun people of all ages can have on the Ceroc dance floor.

Please show your friends just what fun you have.  Hopefully it will encourage many more people to join us, and when they are struggling in the beginners lessons, let’s hope it gives them the motivation to perservere and eventually make the leap to freestyles and weekenders.  They would be very welcome.

13: One last special moment from Tel (3:05)

While talking with Tel about the making of the video, he mentioned a few of his own favourite parts.  He picked out the way DJ Kieran Moore looks up and waves at the camera during his Motown and Soul set and then gives the thumbs up (3:21), but his favourite piece is when he was filming a couple dance during Kieran’s set in The SILC Room.  Here’s my take on this special moment.

The lady and her partner are fabulous dancers, and I watched as they won one of the titles at last year’s Ceroc London Champs.  In the sequence that Tel captured, her partner gives her time to play with the music.  She takes the opportunity and is soon completely lost in her dancing.  Then suddenly, she looks at the camera with a wry smile.

We talk a lot about connection in partner dancing.  Here is a perfect example of the connection between two people.

But connection is more than the physical hold.  It is also about a more personal connection that is represented by eye contact, smiles and yes, the occasional flirty glance.  As I look back through this video, I see people constantly making a connection with the camera.  It’s the same connection we make with each other when we are enjoying dancing together.  It’s often quite innocent, and in the context of a wonderful dance more than acceptable.

The lady’s fleeting glance at the camera is without doubt a wonderful moment and worthy of being the final memory of what was a quite memorable weekender.  As the memory of Swish 2019 fades, I hope that this video will keep those special moments alive until many of you get the chance to do it all again in 2020.

How many sleeps until we get to do it all over again?

So are you in there Paul?

Yep, I’m in there.  It helps when you know the camera man.  You can see me as I chat with some ladies at the beginning of the video (0:14).  I spent a lot of time over the weekend chatting with people about their Swish experience and used the material I gathered for my article 20 Things we love about Swish (see link below).

I also make an appearance while dancing with the afore mentioned Lou Riccardi (2:09).  As Tel points the camera at myself and Lou, I point back wide mouthed with excitement.  I’m filled with the same joy as so many of the other people, who feature in this wonderful video.

Other Swish related links

20 Things we love about Swish 2019

View Tel Jenkins full Swish Photo Album

Modern Jive Dancer Links

Modern Jive Dancer YouTube Channel

Modern Jive Dancer Facebook Page

My Top Ten Tracks 2017-18 This list includes Dancing on the ceiling