A Word on Swing Episode #3: On The Porch With Nina Gilkenson-The Whole Damn Thing

This is the entire interview with Nina Gilkenson we did last May. I just stitched all four parts together into one video for your non-stop viewing pleasure. Show notes after the jump.

For those of you new to the game, a bit of an introduction. Since starting doing her first swingout at the tender age of 13 in 1998, Nina has become one of the most accomplished women in the Lindy Hop community; from placing and winning in countless Lindy Hop competitions to running the biggest one of them all, the International Lindy Hop Championships. She now calls Baltimore home where she also runs the infamous Mobtown Ballroom.

Last year we sat down for some very honest (and sometimes NSFW) talk about all things Lindy Hop and dance community related.

Below is a little index of major topics with links directly to points in the video where they start.

I’m sorry, I still can’t do anything about that annoying noise in the background, but it does end at 32:43. Also, my co-host, Bobby White, magically appears at 38:23. And the name of that doggy in the window is Jezebelle.

  • Introduction
  • Nina reflects on being in Lindy Hop for half of her life as an instructor, organizer, venue owner, 1:00
  • On starting to teach, 8:50
  • On her vision for ILHC, 12:56
  • On competing, 19:04
  • On developing as a dancer, 23:05
  • More on how ILHC works and its future, 30:56
  • On Mobtown Ballroom and building a community, 33:13
  • On the most important elements of community building, 45:25
  • On social hierarchies in Lindy Hop and being a “q-list celebrity”, 47:52
  • On her three favorite leads to dance with, 56:32
  • On the old timers’ influence on her dancing , 59:31
  • On growing up with Naomi Uyama, 1:02:00
  • On her influence and responsibility to the rest of the Lindy Hop community, 1:05:27
  • Advice to new Lindy Hoppers, 1:16:41
  • Credits, Outtakes, and The Time of Your Life, 1:19:53

For all you old hands, I compiled a playlist of Nina’s greatest hits currently on Youtube to prove that we didn’t just any dancer for this interview

In putting together that list I discovered that the first video uploaded to YouTube with Nina features her dancing with non other than our man Bobby.

And just to pile on, here’s the only known video of me dancing which also happens to be with Nina

Once again, we’d like to thank everyone who made their photos and videos available so you wouldn’t have to look at us talking for an hour and a half especially:


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