SXSW Film Review: Alive and Kicking

Swing dancing is back (again) in this charming doc

You know there’s been another resurgence, to put it mildly, in swing dancing, right? You know that the Lindy Hop – and all the regional and stylistic variations that manner of social hoofing generated – lives on, in spectacular kinesis all over the globe?

If you didn’t know that, Susan Glatzer's directorial debut will fill you in on the thriving scene. Like, we daresay, gangbusters.

Get a load of Alive and Kicking and you’ll be schooled in the whys and wherefores, the history and the hullaballoo, of what kind of glorious frenzy started in the Roaring Twenties, flourished during WWII, and - until the dance’s resurgence(s) - bit the dust when Johnny came marching home again.

You’ll be schooled, but you’ll also be 1) vastly entertained, and 2) impressed by the way this documentary focuses on several current stars of the swing circuit and features inspirational bits on the style’s originators – some of whom are still, indeed, alive and kicking – and provides both a sweet gloss of the subject and a few deeper explorations of the diverse people involved.

[Note: As one of those stars is native Austinite Evita Arce, you can imagine how pleasing this is to the hometown crowd.]

The music, the interviews, the interleavening of stock footage, the way the various modern narratives and backgrounding histories are fitted together: All of this works toward a successful expression of what means a thing because it does have that swing. Read the project’s press releases and you’ll see that Glatzer’s previous experience is pretty substantial, but exclusively in the role of “film executive;” and you’ll be damned if you know what that means, precisely, but that, if all such executives could create a movie as engaging and informative as this one, then they need to get the hell out from behind a desk and get into some hands-on production, because wowza.

Alive and Kicking

Documentary Feature Competition, World Premiere
Monday, March 14, 4:45pm, Rollins Theatre
Wednesday, March 16, 3:15pm, Stateside

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

Sound on Sound Review: Car Seat Headrest
Sound on Sound Review: Car Seat Headrest
Slacker Pavement hooks meet James Murphy’s drollness

Doug Freeman, Nov. 6, 2016

ACL Review: Anderson Paak
ACL Review: Anderson Paak
Hip-hop/R&B fusionist takes an ATX victory lap

Alejandra Ramirez, Oct. 9, 2016

More by Wayne Alan Brenner
"Lee Albert Hill: Signs" at CAMIBAart
This solo exhibition asks, What happens when shapes run away to join the circuits?

July 3, 2020

Motorblade Postering Returns, With a New Owner
Motorblade Postering Returns, With a New Owner
Austin's premier postering service is no longer on the Fritz and is ready to roll & rock with Ricardo

July 3, 2020


SXSW 2016, SXSW Film 2016, Alive and Kicking

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle