For years I have avoided ULHS because I am philosophically opposed to it.
My problem stems from when I first heard about ULHS, because the organizer
came to SF to promote it, but only quietly to the best dancers. Fuck that.
There are "rockstar" events and non-rockstar events. In this case I'm
using "rockstar" in the derogatory sense to refer to the "best" dancers
(please note use of quotes) who don't generally dance with other dancers.
Fuck that as well.
I have found that rockstar events are the kind of events where feelings
get hurt, people act exclusionary, and the vibe generally sucks. I see
too many of my friends and fellow dancers get hurt by this that even
the indirect effect is powerful. It's because of this that I
boycotted the last Rhythmic Arts Festival, missing a San Diego Lindy
event for the first time in many, many years. And I was happy I did
So - knowing all this - it's not surprising that when I showed up
at ULHS this year I was continuously bombarded with surprised exclamations
of "What are *you* doing here!?"
It was amusing. But the answer is that my grandfather (up in Alexandria)
had just turned 90, and I wanted to go see him as well as the rest of
my Minnesota family, no to mention buddy Mel who I hadn't seen much in
Much to my surprise, ULHS was actually mostly entertaining. I think it
helped that my expectations were so low - so it didn't really bother
me much that time and time again the dances were interrupted by contests
galore, or that often the music didn't fit my tastes. I didn't really
see that many people effected by the rockstar attitude (though it was
still there), so that helped as well. So it wasn't bad. And I got
to see lots of people I haven't seen in a while. Don't know if I'll
go back or if I'd recommend it to anyone, we'll see.
And, of course, I have almost no photos - but I'll possibly get more later.