Alive and Kicking (2017)
(Genre: Documentary – Runtime: 1 hr. 28 min. – Director/Writer/Producer: Susan Glatzer)
“The Lady was happy with your show”
Directed by Susan Glatzer, Alive and Kicking is a fascinating exploration of the vibrant subculture of the swing dance community.
Tracing the history of the “Lindy Hop” from its formative years in 1920s Harlem, all the way to present day; the film features some of the biggest names in the genre as they express their love for the medium.
At the end of World War II, Swing took a dip in popularity that lasted for decades. It wasn’t until the mid-90s that it resumed its place in popular culture, with films like Swing Kids and Swingers resuscitating interest in jazz-inspired dance. A new generation of ex-punks, Asians, and young people got into the scene in a major way, propelling it to the mainstream.
The film does a masterful job relaying the freedom and magical whimsy that the dancers experience. The general conceit is that the world has become a “spectator sport.” As technology advances, people become more isolated. Swing is the antidote to that. It is social and physical and engaging. Unlike, say, ballroom, the point is to interact and dance with everyone in the room. Swing doesn’t take itself too seriously.
It’s also intimate and sexy. The few minutes the partners spend together are real and immediate. Since the dances are entirely improvised, each one is a singular and unduplicatable encounter.
Alive and Kicking is a joyous celebration of the people and culture of a uniquely American art form. Susan Glatzer examines the hows and the whys of Swing so effectively that by the film’s conclusion…ya just wanna get up and dance.