Every year, the US Open Swing Championship is held in Burbank, CA at the end of November, over Thanksgiving weekend. Thousands of west coast swing dancers from around the world converge in southern California to watch and compete in various events. The best of the best, the champions, are all competing for money and prestige and the opportunity to call themselves the best of the best in swing dancing.
They are the few of the thousands who make a living competing in dancing, and the rest of the folks who show up at the event are competing for fun and enjoying dancing as much as possible. There is social dancing every day and between events, and even if you are not in one of the ballrooms at any given moment, there is a channel on the hotel television that is airing the events in the ballroom live. All of this has to be captured carefully on film by expert videographers and cameras with the best motion control systems available. The speed, fluidity, and grace with which these dancers move requires that whoever is attempting to capture it on film use the best possible technology available, and a motion control system is an absolute requirement to make sure that the action is captured smoothly.
Beyond simply using the best motion control system available and the best camera one can find, the videographer then sends the live feed to the hotel’s network, so that the events can be aired on live television in the hotel rooms. People can watch live in the ballroom or in their rooms if they prefer, but there is really no substitute for the energy in the room. Being present for the excitement of both the audience and the competitors is an irreplaceable feeling and every swing dancer should try to attend this event once in their life to enjoy what it feels like to be in the presence of the greatest in the world.
Being the best at something means you have the beat the best, and every year, the champions are back it trying to outdo one another with their partners. Over the years some of the best couples have switched partners, stirring up what amounts to celebrity gossip in the dance field, but for the past couple of years all has been relatively quiet on that front. This year everyone is competing with their regular partners, though who knows what might happen in the future. It is a very competitive field and there are only so many people at the top of it from which to choose a partner.
Dancing is not one of those events that most people think of when they think of something that requires precision and control, and in many ways, west coast swing is more free than that. To capture it well on film though, precision and control are absolute requirements in the camera being used and preferably an experienced camera man. Spectators watch these films over and over, as do competitors, and it is important they be of good quality.