Camp Swing It 2012 – looking into the lights

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.

Friday Line Up:

Juan & Sharon, Tommy & Alice, Kevin & Jo, William & Maeva, and the Fantastic Four (that’s not really the name, but I don’t have a better one. Suggestions?)

Friday Night

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.

Saturday Night Line Up:

Tap, Jo & Alice, Three Boys, Sharon, and the Ninjammerz.

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.

So there you have it. Enjoy!!

920 Open House – Performances

Throughout February and March, Kevin and I created two separate routines for students at Wednesday Night Hop and the 920 Special. The goal of the classes was to perform the routine at 920’s annual Open House, battle for Lindy Hop World Domination, to the cheers and adoration of hundreds of friends, family, visitors, and to inspire our dancing community. For most of the students, this was there first-ever performance. Not only that, but many of them have been dancing less than three years!!

What a fabulous job everyone did on Thursday night! To all the students: Thank you for hanging in there. Thank you for believing in yourself and sticking with you. Thank you for rehearsing and coming prepared. Thank you for your dedication, kind words, for serving as an inspiration to Kevin and me, and for adding to the lindy hop legacy.

Performances (in order of appearance)

The Careless Lindy Hoppers

The song is Viper Mad, by Rhythm Junkies, an amazing jazz band from Seattle!
http://thecarelesslovers.com/

Kevin & Jo

920 Vipers

Can you believe that these performers are ALL STUDENTS! About half of them have been Lindy Hopping for less than one year, and for most of them this is their FIRST-EVER PERFORMANCE!

The song is Viper Mad, by Rhythm Junkies, an amazing jazz band from Lithuania! http://ohsoswing.com/studio-by-the-rhythm-junkies

Teachers

Instructors and staff at The 9:20 Special perform a routine choreographed by Stefan Durham and Bethany Powell!

The song is “Swing is the Thing” by The Mills Brothers.

 

 

 

920 Special – See you in February!!

SAN FRANCISCO!!! Woooooo!!! Yup, that’s right! Kevin and I are coming back to San Francisco to teach at the 9:20 Special again and we’re freaking thrilled!!

In case you want to brush up on the material we taught back in September, here’s a friendly reminder!

So what’s next?

Review the material. Come to class. Tell your friends that you’re going to have a great time and that they’d be missing out if they didn’t join you. Aaaaaaand then dai-ance!!!

See you there 😀

Snowball vs Lindy Focus

For many, there were two place to be this new years. If you were in Europe, there was a large chance you were going to attend The Snowball in Sweden or if you were stateside, you were most likely going to head to Lindy Focus in North Carolina. Some quick stats:

 

The illustrious and hilarious Andrew Thigpen served as the MC at Lindy Focus and thought it would be a marvelous idea to send some lindy love from the USA to Sweden. On Tuesday the 27th, he went to the dollar store and bought markers and construction paper so that people could make holiday cards for  particular individuals at Snowball, or for the camp in general. On Wednesday, he overnighted the messages to Sweden and on Thursday they arrived. In response to that, Snowball made this video (below) for the crowd at Lindy Focus.

Not to be out done, Andrew stirred up the Friday night crowd and sent even more holiday cheer to Sweden. What a guy!!

All I can say is: Lindy Focus – Party Time!!!!!!

Hat Trick Shim Sham at Lindy Focus X

Unfortunately, I was in rehearsal during this amazing feat of Hat Tricking, but it was sooooooooo freaking awesome I had to post it. About a year ago, Tips and Tops had a dream were planning on performing the Hat Trick Shim Sham while at Lindy Focus this year, but when they realized that all their buddies were there, they knew it was time to take the performance to the next level. Here the eight of them are in all their hat tricking glory!!


From left to right the performers: Tin Tin, Taps, Tips, Toodles, Tops, Toes, Targoff, and Tubs.

How awesome was that?!!! This tip-top team tricked their way into the hearts of many this past weekend. What I enjoyed most about this performance was seeing the individuality of each performer and how well they all worked together. On top of that, I really liked how the choreography was modified to best use the number of performers. Neato Gang!!

In case you want to learn how to hat trick shim sham, you are in luck!! Here are the first two (of twelve) videos to get you started:

Word on the street is if you want to be initiated into the group and get your own terrific nickname, you need to learn the routine and perform it at an event (make sure to have video to prove it). I can’t confirm this, but that’s what a little birdy told me!!

Lindy Focus X: Busty Bullet and her Drunken Act of Seduction

I needed to put a performance together for when I was in Greece a few weeks ago and I was thinking about doing my old fan dance from Lindy Focus VIII. After some thought, I figured I should push myself to come up with something new, something better. Somehow I decided that a drunken striptease would be the way to go, and who better to help me out than Kevin!

After performing the number in Greece, I figured I was brave enough to perform it at Lindy Focus X. Here is me being as silly as I can be during opening night!

The great thing about “acting drunk” is that it covers up a lot of the flaws in the dancing 😀

I LOVE performing this number. It’s unlike everything else I do and have done. Getting to strip down to my skivvies has always been a dr……..what am I saying?!! It was nerve-wracking as all hell, but it was a blast. I figured of all crowds, this would be one that could appreciate my silly sense of humor. I think what I like most about it is that I get to be incredibly silly! The dancing is by no means spectacular in this, but the “acting” was really fun to do.

Some photos from the show:

Thank you Jesse Keener for taking some awesome shots of me!! xx

Now it’s time to talk Costume!!

  • The black thing with the fringe on it….I found that at Red Light in Seattle and it fit perfectly. It was just a black shell, so all the accoutrements that you see were added after the fact (huge thanks go out to the sensational Miss Indigo Blue). I played with the idea of having ugly underwear on at the end (so not only do I come home drunk, and slightly useless, but I have Laundry Day undies on ….hahahha), but Kevin vetoed that idea.
  • The nude slip thingy was also acquired at Red Light. I found some diamond stickers that I put onto the front so there was some sparkle to the costume.
  • I bought the skirt from Betsey Johnson two years ago and it was worth every penny!!
  • I borrowed the scarf from my mother.
  • The gloves came from Amazon and are cheap, satin gloves. I found some fun heart-shaped jewels and glued them on the side of the gloves and added a tassel to the end.
  • The jacket came from Macy’s this March on super sale. God, I love that coat!
  • The black hair flower is from H&M and I bought it less than a week ago.

And there you have it! Hope you enjoyed the ridiculousness of it all 😀

Waltz Week in Vienna

If I wasn’t already booked February 6-11, 2012 you better believe I would be at Waltz Week!

Waltz Week in Vienna” is a phenomenal social dance & workshop experience! We begin with six days of traditional Viennese and America waltz mixed with a wonderful variety of social ballroom and dance technique classes. We add to this equation dance party exchanges with other local dance schools, an historic walking city tour, opportunities for mixers & minglers, and a host of other fun social events with a great group of people….

To cap it off, we culminate the week with an elegant grand ball at the beautiful Hofburg Imperial Palace — a crown jewel in the edifices of Vienna where waltz balls have been a celebrated tradition since the days of Mozart and Strauss! And if that’s not enough to satisfy your thirst for elegance, grandeur, and a chance to be part of history, you’ll have the opportunity to attend three other such grand balls during the week!