This weekend at Lindyfest, Kevin and I compete in the Invitational Draw competition, were interviewed by Ryan Swift’s Inside the Dancer’s Studio along side Mikey Pedroza (video coming soon), but he and I also debuted our new routine! Check out the videos below!
Jo and Mikey at 2:54 (3rd place).
Naomi and Remy at 4:35 (first place).
Alice and Jon at 9:40 (2nd place).
Kevin and Laura at 11:02 (4th place)
The Floor Cleaning Routine 😀
Another highlight of the weekend: I was given the opportunity to emcee a competition! I was asked if I could help out as both Peter Strom and Jon Tigert were in the Invitational Swing Dance Battle Finals. I recommended Kevin as he’s done far more emcee work than I (and knew that he’d do a great job); however, it sounded like it was a great opportunity to have more female representation. Eeeep!!!
I was hesitant to accept, but I figured it’d be a great opportunity to try something new AND I had a great team of people that would help prep me.
You can only hear me a little bit – thanks to some very clever editing – but fortunately for me, the contest was about the music, the competitors, and the dance! I’m honored I was given the opportunity and that so many staff members took the time to walk me through the script. Thanks Team!!
The value of participating in this program is not about winning, but about growing, creating, and getting feedback on your dancing. That being said, I did collect scores from the dancers each week and I’m thrilled to announce that Stefan & Elaine are the winners of the January 2018 challenge!! Congratulations you two.
I’m learning a ton about my partnership. It’s awesome to spend time listening to each other’s ideas, trying things out, and trying to mesh. We have pretty different backgrounds, so it’s good to take time to discuss ideas and values. – Elaine
I really enjoyed the follow focus emphasis. This has been a discussion between my partner and myself for a while now and this challenge forced us to focus on the topic in a different way. This challenge helped us understand what it means and feels like to give a follower space and we were able to open up conversation about expectations and how my opinions on the topic are likely to be way different from someone else’s opinions on what follow focus means. – Theresa
When the tempo decrease, everything becomes challenge: connection, space, the emotion. I like the reminder Jo mentioned which help us get the point sooner. – Kai Cheng
I learned that playing with one movement can be a good way to have an efficient practice. It really brought both of our ideas to the table. It made it easier to have a starting point. – Andreanne
First, we were challenged to find ways to dance to a song that neither of us really felt in tune with. Dealing with that is part of the game, so I’m glad we did it. I also think this was the first competition of the series where we tried a little harder to experiment more during our filming. I think we are getting more comfortable messing up in front of a camera, rather than feeling that it is a time NOT to mess up, which is really helpful. – Thomas
I learned more about arms and performance in general. I really feel like I gained more of an understanding of communication with the audience. I will definitely be working on this. – Stefan
The next Online Strictly Challenge will start March 7, 2018 and is intended for Savoy Cup participants. Sign-ups will open on February 26th. Please check out What Cha Know Jo for more details.
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!
This event takes place on Fillmore St., between Geary & Eddy Streets. A three block area area on the Fillmore entertainment corridor is transformed into a classy and hip trip back in time.
An event like no other… Bars, restaurants, dining, drinking, dancing, art, music and more. We encourage you to wear your finest “black” vintage attire of the past ten decades. If you don’t have vintage clothing, then current style is just fine. Pick out your classiest, sexist black outfit.
FILLMORE CENTER PLAZA
7pm-7:30pm: Dance Lesson with Hep Jen & Kevin Munroe
7:30pm-8:15pm: live music Rich & the Rhythm Roustabouts
8:15pm: Dance Performance The Hot Bloods & Chicago Steppin’ 8:30pm: Dance Contest Round 1
8:45pm: Dance Performance Double or Nothing & Dj Hep Jen 9pm: Dance Contest Final Round
9:15pm-9:45pm: live music Rich & the Rhythm Roustabouts
9pm: Dj Jumpin Jeff Kroll
10pm-10:45pm: live music Stompy Jones
10:45pm: Burlesque Shows Mynx D’ Meanor & Vienna La Rouge
11pm: Swing Dance Performance Michael & Claire from Motion Explosion & Double or Nothing
11:15pm-12am: live music Stompy Jones
12am: Dj Jumpin Jeff Kroll & Best dressed man/woman contest
12:15am: Burlesque Shows Mynx D’ Meanor & Vienna La Rouge
12:30am-1am: live music Stompy Jones
RASSELAS JAZZ CLUB
9:30pm-12:30am: front room, live music Slim Jenkins
10pm – 1am: back room, live music Robert Stewart Experience
1300 SUPPER CLUB
9pm-12am: live music JP & the Rhythm Chasers
9:45pm-1am: live music South Bay Blues Band
Schedule subject to change!
SWING DANCE CONTEST – 830pm at the Fillmore Center Plaza
All forms of swing dancing are welcome: Lindy Hop, Balboa, Shag, Charleston, etc. Competitors will be judged as a couple. It is not necessary to register in advance, just show up at the beginning of the contest. Competitors will dance in a preliminary round, to 2 DJed songs, of 1-1/2 minutes each. During the preliminary round, judges will tap out competitors. The 3 remaining couples will be in the final round. The final round will be danced to a full song, and the winners will be determined by audience applause.
2 one month passes for Tuesday Night Jump at Verdi Club
2 tickets to Petunia & the Vipers, The B-Stars, West Coast Ramblers Friday Sept. 30th @ Verdi Club, San Francisco
2 tickets to 3rd Annual SF Zombie Prom (The House of Voodoo) @ Verdi Club, San Francisco
1) Watching the Junior Division!! They were amazing. Videos coming soon!!
2) Showcase Division:
I am kicking myself for not seeing this live (I missed it by 25 seconds). This must have been unreal!! Sitting in the kitchen watching this was still an emotional experience, so I can only imagine what it must have been like being in the ballroom during this momentous occasion. While watching the video, I was screaming and hooting and hollering for them!! I actually shed some tears in honor of their awesomeness. Fuck, this totally touches my heart.
SOOOOO many people have talked about doing something like this, yet they actually put it together and threw down! Uh, the blue balls experience of them doing Balboa instead of swinging out left me wanting more. Thank goodness they finally provided the much needed release by teaming up and swinging out!!
Dargoff showing us the importance of good hygiene. And lemme tell ya, sex sells!
Tips & Tops and their newest routine:
Nothing quite like Man-on-Man + hat-on-hat dancing if you ask me! Well done Gentlemen, you were wonderful.
The ending is my favorite part. I LOVE Footloose!
4) Classic Division:
In my eyes, Tommy & Alice won this competition. Their choreography is stunning, easy to understand yet still complex, exceptionally well danced, beautifully performed, and they both make the other person shine. To me, this is one an example of one of the best partnerships out there today. You two are such an inspiration!
This one knocked it out of the park for me! I’m always super impressed with how Peter is able to dance with the ladies of any size and still retain the integrity of his movement. Uh! Check out his kick ups at 0:37, his spin at 1:09, and how they play off each other at 1:25! And Alice is just amazing! Favorite moments by her: swing out variation at 0:22, her swivels forward at 0:57, and her shapes on her Rocks at 1:43!
This cat has been dancing lindy hop for a year and a half (or something close to that). How ridiculous is he?!!! Uh yeah……wow is right!
Isn’t she fabulous?! Sasha Gross was in the Junior’s Program and she killed it!
8) On a personal level:
Getting 2nd place in the fiercest Classic Division I’ve seen in the Lindy Hop world. I was told the difference in score between Kevin & me and Skye & Frida was only one judge which means there was someone who thought that was a first place routine! Looking forward to seeing the score sheets!
Taking 2nd place in the Solo Charleston contest! Normally I try to prepare by creating routinelettes so I have something to fall back on in case I go blank in a contest, but this year I just didn’t have time to get any together. I spent some time working on my lines using the Big Apple choreography, but otherwise, that was just me dancing (*chin up…..very proud of myself). Would love to see the scores on this one as well!
Having a blast in the Champion Strictly!! We had to battle our way out of prelims and since Kevin and I haven’t gotten to train the way we’d like (he’s been injured), we decided to fall back on the ol’ personality thing. Thank goodness we had Baltimore’s support!! I don’t remember much about the prelims other than doing swing outs across the entire crowd (crowd pumping anyone?) AND having our seamless room take-over thwarted by the ever-so-gorgeous Pontus and Isa. Luckily we didn’t completely run into them…..our awesomeness was just slowed down.
Fortunately, Kevin and I made it to finals which gave us the opportunity to crowd surf the Baltimore contingency!!!! The second half our our second solo starts with The Move of the Weekend, The Chase, and ended with us hurling ourselves on top of the crowd!!! Glory in it’s finest red & blue outfit if I do say so myself!!
9) MOVE OF THE WEEKEND: The Chase
You know the old adage “pink is the new black”? Well, “the chase is the new swing out” according to this weekend. SERIOUSLY, it was a college kids drinking game dream!! I need to watch through 2 more divisions, but I’m confident in saying that there was at least one chase break in EVERY division. I’m even guilty of it myself. I’ll compile a list of people who are guilty of such things and hopefully someone will put a video together of all the Chases from the weekend. *wink wink, nudge nudge lindy scene
10) Last but not least, just being there was a highlight. Getting to see so many friends, having someone buy me cupcakes (thanks Michelle), having some incredible dances, teaching with two of my favorite people, being asked to work with the future of our Lindy Hop community and having a blast doing so, competing against the best lindy hoppers in the world, being cheered on by the community I love, dancing to extraordinary live music, and seeing the fruits of everyone’s labor were a few of the many reasons this weekend was sensational.
Thank you to Tena, Nina, and Sylvia for running this event AND to all of their staff; without you the event wouldn’t happen. I’d also like to give a shout out to all the competitors that came to compete this weekend; you are helping lindy hop continually grow and your contribution is duly noted. A huge thank you to all of the people that filmed the event and put video online for the world to see! Finally, an enormous thank you to everyone in the audience; thank you for coming to support and cheering for everyone as they put their heart and soul on the floor. Baltimore especially, I love you. xxoo
I felt very unprepared this year for charleston, but I figured I’d try and focus on the music and be as ridiculous as possible. Luckily, my poorly formulated plan worked a treat and I made it to finals. Here are the videos from prelims and finals!
1) Ann Mony
2) Oliv Wan
3) Nalla Kim
4) Nathan Bugh
5) Sharon Davis
6) Soochan Lee
7) Jo Hoffberg
Delilah, thanks for doing the Chase Break with me in the contest. It would have been a shame to not add to the amount of Chasing done at ILHC 2011.
Gaaahhh!! Nathan is soooooooo ridiculously good!!! Check out his first solo at 2:28…….stoooopid good! Nathan, you are a gem. That was one of the most beautiful phrases I’ve seen. You’re genius is undeniable.
Ann Mony’s musicality is so freaking solid. OMG, what a treat it was to watch her and the musicians converse!
First and foremost, congratulations to all the competitors!!!! Well freaking done bringing your A game!!!
Adv Finals All-Skate
I’ll be honest, I didn’t need to make it to finals. When Kevin and I danced in prelims, I felt like we put everything out there on the floor and was pretty happy with how we danced. I was pretty excited to hear we made finals, but I was also a bit nervous because Kevin and I weren’t as prepared as we have been other years. Regardless, we decided if we made it into the final round by being ridiculous, we would keep up the shenanigans!
Kevin had one of the orange fingers under his sweater vest and around 0:58, Kevin yanks up his vest and let’s all of Baltimore see him in his glory. Like the great partner I am (*toot toot goes my horn), I figure the least I can do is continue to dance with the Baltimore Finger! The audience was loving it!! Well, maybe not everyone, but certainly the Baltimore section 😀
I have to say, there was some really great stuff put on the floor that night. Skye & Frida were seamless as usual. I love watching Todd and Naomi dance together; she is such an amazing follow!! And Holy shit – Pontus and Isa’s aerial was ridiculous (2:12)! And the barrel turn into a Frankie done by Juan and Sharon….sick (3:50)! Pat yourselves on the back contestants, because you threw down. UH!!!
I like the combination that Kevin and I have during our first round out (3:06) but it would have been so much better to different music. Arrrg. AND I don’t particularly care for the shapes I’m making with my arms. AND….ok, so I could get super nit picky but I’ll save it for another time. However…….hahha, I will say, I’m pretty proud of Kevin and myself for crowd surfing Baltimore at 7:18. And by the way, Baltimore, I love you! Thanks for catching us!!!! Andrew Thigpen, sorry about straddling you while dismounting the crowd (or “you’re welcome” depending on how you feel about the whole thing). Baltimore, you made the weekend for me! xxoo
Oh my goodness, that was such an unbelievable competition! There were 16 competitors last and as I recall, every routine was really well performed and dance. Seriously, everyone brought their A game. Here are my seven favorite performances from last night (plus mine and Kevin’s)!
Regardless of the placement, in my opinion Tommy and Alice won. I think the choreography was a work of art. Their weight changes, rhythms, shapes, partner connection and quality of movement were on pointe and the just killed it. Literally, this is the best piece of choreography I’ve seen all year.
A last minute entry:
As per usual, their quality of movement and brilliant twist on simple movement is what makes these two powerhouses undeniably inspiring. Even though Skye has a moment of confusion at the end, this is still a stunning routine. I’m betting we’ll hear a lot more of this song on the social dance floor this next year!
Here’s Kevin and my latest routine:
If you remember, we performed this at ESDC and I wasn’t able to get the lighter to light. Thank goodness we bought a better lighter and the thing worked a treat! In general, I’d say I’m really happy with this run-through. There are still a few things that I’d like to clean up, but overall, I’m extremely happy with the piece and feel like we nailed it. Woohoo! And I have to give a big shout out to Mindaugas Bikauskas for helping Kevin put out his cigarette.
And to return the favor…
This is Mindaugas & Gierdre first US performance. I am sooooooo proud of them! Ok, now on to the “favor” (I put that in quotes because it’s questionable). Kevin walks out soooooooo confidently and then drops the comb. GAAAAHHHH, I almost died when this happened! Thank god he redeemed himself by still hitting his mark. …..still though.
I’ve seen this routine a few times and it just gets better and better for me
What a lovely couple these two are!
To be honest, with where I am in my dancing, this is not a routine song that I would choose, but if you listen to the lyrics, it’s clear why they chose they song; they are those friends that became lovers! Their movement is crisps and the choreography is beautiful. Uh, these two freaking swing!!
Nathan and Giselle have such an amazing connection and so many innovative ideas. If you haven’t seen them dance together before, youtube them right now, otherwise enjoy their creativity and authenticity.
I love these two!!
The choreography is super playful, Mary is cute as a button, and Andrew is his fabulous self. I love their ideas, shapes, and how they use the floor. Best of all, they dance like them instead of imitating others!! You two are wonderful!!
Congratulations to all the competitors; you were all fabulous!!! Realistically, ALL of the routines were great. PLEASE please please watch them and let the competitors know what you though.
Yes, ESDC happened long enough ago that this might seem like odd timing for this post, but I don’t care. *smile Here are my favorites from Cabaret Division at the European Swing Dance Championships back in June 2011.
Pure, and utter ridiculousness. I so badly want to be in this routine. Oh, the energy!
Seriously, I think I’d be the tallest one in this routine. I don’t think I can say that I’ve ever been the tallest in anything I’ve done before.
The boys doing their Jazz thing:
I think I prefer the three boy version to the duo. Firstly, there are more boys to adore, but mainly I like the balance of the movement and shapes. Uh….all of them are so classy *grin
Kevin doing an awesome job with his hat trick routine: