I had SUCH a great time at ILHC this year because I was so freaking busy doing like I do: two Pro/Ams, Slow Division with Mikey Pedroza, Showcase with Kevin St. Laurent, and commentary on Swing Nation’s live streaming of the Invitational Strictly.
First things first: The Pro/Am! Tim worked his balls off to get this choreography together with me. I’m so proud of him and how well he did on Game Day!
Felipe and I worked on this choreography while at Herrang this year. He dedicated so many hours to this choreography and it shows. Yeah yeah!!
And did I mention he is Brazilian 😀
What can I say other than dancing with Mikey is a blast. Just look at how silly we are together!
A quick review of how EPIC 2013 was for me. In chronological order, I present to you:
1. Attending my first Viennese Ball at the Philharmonic in Vienna, Austria.
I wore a vintage 1930s gown, my Remix shoes, and a feather fascinator from Etsy. What a gorgeous facility! Kevin and I waltzed a few times and stayed awake until the wee hours of the morning. De.lightful!!
2. The best birthday party EVER!!
The theme: Thrift Store. Instead of getting presents, I asked everyone to bring $29, come down to the thrift store with me and the gang, and buy clothes for someone else. After that, it was fashion show time. And beer. 😀
3. My younger brother got married
4. Dancing on the Great Wall of China
5. Outrageously good time at The Mooche in Cork, Ireland. Thanks Daragh!!
Kevin and I stayed in a fabulous B&B, ate a proper “British Breakfast”, hung out with some fabulous misfits, taught some super fun classes, and hung out with One Horse Pony – some fabulous local musicians.
Rising Star – The Rising Star is a Champion that has been around from ten to twenty years. It strives to make its place in the Swing Dance Heavens through its ongoing participation within the Milky Way of Competition.
Couples – Couples stands out with special brilliance among other swing partnerships.
10. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – samba, Copacabana, Ipanema, and amazing people
11. Dancing my ass off at Lindy Shock in Budapest, Hungary.
Countless nights I was up until 5am dancing. Mostly I’d go home because I had work in the morning and my feet were on fire. Some of my most memorable dances from the weekend were with Dax Hock. Thanks man!
12. Performing the Jungle Book number with my new team at Lindy Focus: ‘Monkey’ Mikey, ‘Lioness’ Gaby, and ‘White Tiger’ Kevin.
Evita Arce is one of those women that you can never forget. She is charming, bubbly, sunshine, and a connector. She is a choreographer, a dancer, a creator, and an inspirational figure. This year for Lindy Focus, she invited me to perform along with her and Elyse Sparkes. This was the most challenging number I performed in 2012.
I had my eye on that dress for quite sometime, so when Evita said we were rocking the turtleneck dress, I was all over it!
I didn’t hit the number, but it doesn’t matter – I had such an amazing time being on stage with those lovely ladies! I am really looking forward to doing this number again somewhere so I can dance my roll the way I know I can. Regardless of that, it was an honor and pleasure to dance along side of these lovely ladies.
Gaaaaah, I love this routine. It’s beautiful, simple, and classy. Mikey, thank you for choreographing something so lovely. Laura, it was a pleasure performing along side of you. SF Girl Jam organizers, thank you for creating an event where two gals can dance with their gams out!!
I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am for Disco on Friday!! Of all of the themes Herrang has had over the years, this is by far and large the one that I feel I can most contribute. Fortunately enough, Kevin and I are teaching guy and gal line dance routines the Thursday evening classes, Kevin is DJing on Friday, and we are performing on Friday night around 11:45pm upstairs at the Folkethus.
Here are some photos that hopefully will be as inspiring to you as they are to me!
The 10th anniversary staging of the world famous Avalon Ball kicks off this coming Saturday May 12 at 6 pm! Hundreds of your Art Deco and dancing friends have already made arrangements to be there on this auspicious night—don’t miss out!
There’s still time to purchase your advance admission to the most exciting, romantic event of the year and be there when we celebrate a decade of vintage magic at the completely restored—and simply spectacular—Art Deco Casino Ballroom. With a 10,000-square-foot dance floor (yes, you read that right!) surrounded by romantic ocean views, there is plenty of room to foxtrot, swing and tango the night away to the authentic big band music of Dean Mora & the Avalon Ball Dance Band.
Special Anniversary Extras!
No-host “Speakeasy” at the Avalon Grille following the Ball
Here are my personal highlights from Lindy Focus X (and yes, I know these are suuuuuuuuuuper late):
9) The people!!!
First I need to thank the volunteer staff for being so incredibly awesome. They did a fantastic job making sure that everything was running in the background so that everyone could have a great time. THANK YOU to the cooks, transportation liaison, coordinator, music and sound technicians, hotel staff for making sure we had water, the DJs, photographers, videographers, the lighting coordinators, and everyone else who helped out Michael and Jaya in the background.
Secondly, I want to thank all of the people that attended, especially the students. You and your and enthusiasm are what make doing my job such a treat. You guys made the event as fierce as it was. I get to do what I do because of you and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
8) The Nutcrackers.
7) Andrew Thigpen as the MC.
6) Nina Gilkenson impersonating Andrew Thigpen:
5) The Balitquerque party.
The Baltimore and Albequerque scene teamed up some time ago and have been throwing legendary parties at various dance events. At the end of these various events, Dorry (one of the head honchos in Baltimore) would rave about the party and ask us why Kevin and I weren’t there. Unfortunately, we never got an invitation. This happened at two events. No bueno (*shakes head). So this year, Dorry made an extra effort to make sure we felt included.
Kevin and I received our invitations during our Swing Out Intensive.
Andrew Munoz dressed up in his tux and cordially informed us that we were invited to (*use your best British accent here) “enjoy an evening of tomfoolery” and that we should swing by room 166 around 7 o’clock. How delightful!
Here are some pictures that barely do the night justice.
This video is too dark to see the madness, but it’s a good start 😀
4) Winning the Invitational Jack & Jill with Todd Yannacone. That competition was really hard to judge so I’m very surprised that we took 1st. I am positive the scores are all over the board, so I have to give a shout out to the Relative Placement system! 😀
3) Nath Bugh and Dorry Segev Dueling Piano number from the show on New Years Eve. The video speaks for itself.
2) Performing five new numbers this year, most of which I learned in the two weeks prior to the event.
The most challenging act I did was my solo jazz piece called My Discarded Men. I probably spent around 35 hours putting this routine together and trying to teach myself how to make the particular shapes I did. It wasn’t perfect, but I am really proud of myself.
1) All of the ridiculously awesome social dances I had on the last night!! Ok, so I was a little buzzed off of all the champagne I had, but man, my following was pretty freaking awesome (*toot toot). I had a number of really-freaking good dances that night, but in particular, I felt that I really connected with Todd and Mikey. Not only that, but Jonathan Stout and His Campus Five were playing. Gaaaaaaaaaah, the music was soooooooooooo freaking gooooood!!!
Last weekend Kevin and I were in Seoul, South Korea and had one of those weekends that I’ll never forget. As per usual we were treated exceptionally well, over fed, translated, inspired, and supplied with Soju. What put this weekend on the top of my list were the performances. I was on a “performance high” during the weekend, and now having watched the videos, I’m getting to relive it.
The teachers performed both Friday and Saturday night. Due to the large number of choreography competition on Saturday, the teachers felt it was best to show their lindy hop numbers on Friday and cabaret numbers on Saturday.
HAhahha!! Did you make it to the end and see BB bounce around while cheering?! Perhaps that is my favorite part!
So why was this performance so special? The audience! Good heavens, when Kevin and I were introduced, it sounded like the crowd went bananas. It was …… touching, and surprising, and heartwarming. Even now, trying to put words to the swells of happiness that rushed over me….. nothing I can write will do it justice. It was ineffable. (Regardless, I will continue. *smile) As we hit our “ready position”, I couldn’t see anything because of the spotlights.
As I looked into the blinding darkness, the crowd continued to cheer. It was an awesome experience not being able to see anything, but hear everything. After hushing them so we could start, Kevin and I danced, and we danced well. As we finished the routine, the crowd erupted again! Gaaaah!!! THIS is what a performer lives for – the roar of the crowd, the cheers, the applause, the noise, and the joy of doing what you love! If I hadn’t felt like I had “made it” before, the experience of performing for the crowd at CSI 2012 put me over the moon.
I watched the video of the performance and it doesn’t do it justice. The crowd was so much more than what was captured on film. Even though we were performing in an enormous space, the audience still managed to fill the room with their energy and appreciation. I am not sure if the other performers felt the same way I did, but I certainly hope so. So CSI 2012…..thank you for being apart of a performance I will always remember.
GAAAAHHHH!!!! I’m thrilled! Alice worked her booty off to learn this routine and I think she was freaking amazing! We. Were. Fabulous.
Originally, Alice started learning this routine off of the video of me performing this solo at Lindy Focus. I then sent her a video breakdown of the first half of the routine, and then again with more detail a week before the event. I don’t know how much time she was able to put in to learning it prior to seeing me – I know it was fewer hours than I put into it originally – but when we first checked in with each other, she solidly had the outline of the routine. We rehearsed for 3 hours on Thursday at a dance studio, an hour on Friday to check the floor, and on Saturday we got an additional hour to rehearse with mirrors. Holy cow, our lines were really together!! I was thrilled.
Costuming: Alice had gone shopping on Thursday and bought a LBD for the performance. On Friday, I went to the same shop and bought the same dress. Not only that, but Alice had black gloves on her, and as fate would have it, Maeva had a matching pair on her. Luckily I remember to bring garters, stocking, and fascinators for us (this might seem like a given, however, I somehow managed to forget a quarter of the things I should have brought with me). Goodness! Everything fell into place…more than I could have hoped for.
Back to the performance. As I described above, the crowd was marvelous. While performing, I rarely hear the crowd because I am so focused on the music, so I didn’t hear them until the end; however, as I watched the video, I was delighted with how the crowd “oooh-ed” and “aaaah-ed”. Oh Korea, how I love thee.