What Isn’t Consent

THIS. This so many times over! 7 Things You Might Think Are Consent That Aren’t is the most important read of your week. Take the time to read it as many of these things often go overlooked.

The concept of affirmative consent dictates that “yes means yes,” and that only an enthusiastic “yes” constitutes sexual consent. But what is not consent? A lot of the things we’ve been taught indicate sexual consent are actually not adequate ways of determining if your partner is into it or not. In order to make sure a sexual encounter is OK with both partners, consent needs to be vocal, enthusiastic, and continuous.

Just teaching people, especially young people, what is and isn’t consent can have a huge impact on their behavior. For example, in a survey published in Violence and Gender, 32 percent of college men said that if “nobody would ever know and there wouldn’t be any consequences,” they would have “intentions to force a woman to sexual intercourse.” (Terrifying, I know.) But fewer — 13.6 percent — said they would have “any intentions to rape a woman.” (Yes, still terrifying.) Just calling it rape deters people from doing it, so the better people can recognize assault, the fewer sexual assaults are likely to occur.

You’re not looking for a “no.” A “maybe” isn’t going to cut it. You’re looking for a resounding “yes.”

Please read the rest of the article on Bustle and start having a conversation with your close friends about what “consent” really sounds like.


Interested in learning more? Here’s a great video that draws a super charming parallel between consent and making someone a cup of tea.


How to Learn Choreo off of Video

Originally posted on Jo & Kevin!

It’s that time of year again, when many of the instructors at Lindy Focus are working on choreography either for an evening performance or the grand New Years Eve show. Since I, too, am working on learning choreography, I figured I’d share my process with you.

Truth be told, I’d much prefer to learn choreography in person, however, most often that is not an option. I’ve had the priveledge of working with other talented, international travelers such as: Nikki and Shesha MarvinMikey PedrozaLaura KeatNick WilliamsSharon DavisAlice MeiThomas Blacharz, and Sarah Breck – to name a few – and more often than not, someone sends a video across the WWW and hopes the person on the receiving end can learn the choreography in full. In my last performance with Alice, I sent her my notes (I will give an example later), a few breakdown videos, and a link to me performing the routine.

Check us out! Alice was a freaking champ at learning all of the details! We probably got 4-5 hours of rehearsal time in together before our performance, but that is rather unusual. Honestly, if you can get a full hour with your partner before performance time, it’s a blessing!

So moving along. The wonderful, marvelous, and effervescent Evita Arce sent me a piece of choreography to learn and it’s a really fun number. The song is New Orleans Bump by Wynton Marsalis and the dancers in the video are trained, New-York-dancers. What this means is that I have my work cut out for me!

To be specific, I have been sent a rehearsal video that is done to music; I didn’t get any prior notes or counts or explanations or anything of the sort. The reason this might be on interest is that I’m going to learn exactly what’s on the video, including any mistakes the dancers made in the video. Since I don’t have confirmation on the movement, I sometimes have to find the common denominator between the dancers when their timing isn’t together. Fun times!

I’m going to give a rundown of my process learning choreography. This isn’t the only way to do it, but it’s how I am best able to learn/visualize the choreo on a number of different levels.

  1. Download the video so I can watch it forwards and backwards. This helps me break down transitions, tricky timing, or something much-too-fancy to see at realtime. I’m on a mac and I prefer using Quicktime over a different player because I can comb through the video second by second. Suuuuuuuuuper important!
  2. Get a hold of the song. Check Spotify, buy it on Itunes, check your personal music library, or get it from the choreographer.
  3. Breakdown the song. I first break it down into eight-counts so I can see how long it is. I go through it again and put in time codes. I go through it one more time and put in musical cues that can help me identify what is where. Here’s a screenshot of what that might look like.

    So what are we looking at?
    I have my downloaded Quicktime video (upper left), I’m playing the song off of Spotify (lower left), and I’m writing my choreo down in Evernote (righthand side).
  4. Now here comes the (potentially) difficult part: breaking down the movement 8-count by 8-count. What is helpful for me to know is what foot my weight is on (if you’ve taken classes from me you know how important this is), what my arms are doing, and what count something happens on. I don’t need all of that information on every 8ct, but I need at least one of those three things.
  5. After I annotate a few phrases, I’ll go back through the video and do the choreography with my body. I go through the sections slowly. First I need to know where my body is going, and then I need to learn to string it together with the movement on either side of it.
  6. Once I have a decent idea of where my body is going, I then put the video on and try to dance that section with the music at full tempo.
  7. Next, I break down a few more phrases, dance it, and put it to music. It doesn’t need to be perfect, but something that looks similar to the video :D
  8. Once I make it to the end of the choreography, I then try to run the routine while watching the video. I’m not worried if it’s a disaster. Again, I just want to be able to get through it.
  9. DAY TWO: Yup, this takes me more than one day if I’m really going to perform it. I put the video on and try dancing it again. This shows me what solidified and what didn’t.
  10. Go back to the sections that I can’t remember or suck at. I go through them slowly to build the muscle memory I am lacking. When I do this, I take my time.
  11. Once I can do it all the way through (again, it doesn’t need to be perfect), I turn off the video and do it just to music. When I find the next set of glitches I work through those (I’m always surprised how many visual cues I’m taking). This is helpful in order to attach the movement to the music. Again, I rework the sections I can’t remember or suck at.
  12. Almost there! Now I need to try it facing the other way! What?? Yes-sir-ree! I have found I can learn choreography faster when I keep myself positioned in one direction in a room. I know at certain points in the music I should be facing a certain direction. If you can get through your piece of choreo while doing the routine facing a different direction, you should be fiiiiiiine.
  13. Last step!! Dancing it in costume!! Perhaps that seems silly, but it makes a HUGE different. Every – do you hear me? – everyprofessional knows they should run their routines in the costume before taking the stage. If you learn the routine in flats but have to perform in heels, you’ll probably be surprised with where you balance is. If you’ve been practicing in one skirt but performing in another, you might not know how slippery the material is (that’s terrifying while doing aerials). That fun thing you’re planning on wearing in your hair? Yeah, that might get knocked off, stab you in the eye, or stab your partner in the eye. The thing is, you’ll never know unless you’ve had at least one run. So do it. Full costume. Underwear and hair pieces. Do it.

So there you have it!  What do you think? Ridiculous? Amazing? Unnecessary? Fun?



  • Send the song along with the videos (yes, plural)
  • Make a video with you performing the piece full out to music (don’t mark it, do it)
  • If you’re feeling extra generous, do it again but facing away from the camera so someone doesn’t have to transpose
  • Make a video with you walking through the movement with counts. Remember to say things like “the weight is on the right”, “left arm on 7″, “move downstage starting count 5″, etc.
  • I’ve you’ve broken down the song, send that as well
Is this overkill? Yeah, maybe, but it’s almost everything someone would need in order to learn somebody else’s choreography. I don’t often have the time to put this much together when I’ve sent videos in the past, but I’m also working with other professionals and can get by with less information. That being said, if I had more videos from the back (or even side view), it would help me out :D


Here is a short list of routines where I’ve had to do this:

Everybody’s Trucking – Choreographed by Sharon Davis
Evenin‘ – choreographed by Nathan Bugh
Blues – Choreographed by Sarah Breck
Shake that Thing – Choreographed by Hot Club Stomp
Honolulu – Originally performed by Eleanor Powell


‎”It turns out that the process of working toward a goal, participating in a valued and challenging activity, is as important to well-being as its attainment.” – Sonja Lyubomirsky

Frank Jameso

I cried, this is soooo funny!

“This guy has worked his way around more college campuses than chlamydia.”
“I’m so Renaissance that I am wearing tights and a cod piece!”

I want to make a list like this about my accomplishments!! Hmmm…I wonder if I can do this with video or only pictures. I’ll come up with something.

What makes you a Renaissance Man?

How Long Has it Been? Pt. 2

So how long had it been? I took those pictures on Superbowl Sunday and it had been 4 weeks and 1 day since I washed it last. Yup, you read that right, just a little over a month!

“So Jo. Why would you share something like this with us?” you might be asking.

Two reasons. The first, because I read an article on Beauty Brains called Can you train your hair to be less oily? and secondly, because enough people have asked me about my hair that I feel like I should come clean about my secret. 🙂

So here is the story behind it.

During the summer of 2006, I dyed my hair a reddish-brown and every time I washed it, I literally saw my money going down the drain. I decided that if I didn’t wash my hair, I wouldn’t lose my color (brilliant, right?). So I stopped washing it. On top of it not only being a hot summer, I was taking dance classes, meaning I was sweating more than the average bum. Needless to say I was a greasy mess, but I put up with it so I could save my hair color. After slowly pushing the time in between washes, I am now able to go a month without washing my hair.

I know that sounds gross, but here’s the thing. My hair looks less greasy than yours does after 4 days. I don’t mean that to come off as being mean, it’s just that you can’t tell that it had been a month when you look at me. Bonus: my hair is softer than it’s ever been.Un-bonus: that’s actually a problem (what girl complains about that?) when it comes to styling my hair. I don’t typically use product, so I rely on my natural pomade to keep my coiffure up and my victory rolls tight.

So yeah, you can “train” your hair to be less greasy. I did and you can too. Think about it.

Tips if you want them:

  • It takes time to train your hair. If you normally wash your hair every 3 days, push it to 4. Then push it to 5. Then push it to 6. Then push it to 7. Keep pushing!
    Accept the fact that your hair will be greasy. But hey, guess what? It’s just hair. You can still function as a member of society if you haven’t washed your hair.
    Figure out how to wear your hair so it’s less gnarly. Start wearing it up. Find a big headband. Use a scarf. Get inventive.
    Remember, people aren’t really looking at you that closely. You might have some shine, but people won’t think less of you as a person, and if they do, clip ’em! Don’t worry about them, focus on the goal.
    It takes a while, but hang in there, it gets better.


How Long Has It Been?

Some of you know, and now the rest of you will. I don’t wash my hair often. Just for shit’s and giggles, here are some pictures of me taken today (Superbowl Sunday).


from the right close-left

Question & Answer time!! How long has it been since I washed my hair? How long does it look like it’s been since I’ve washed my hair? When your hair looks like this, how many days has it been for you?

Chime in. I’ll post the answer in a few days.

Dressing Up

Why you should dress up every day
Photo Credits: 1, 2, 3, 4

A few weeks ago at Lindy on the Rocks a fellow dancer made me think about the things we wear every day and why we wear them. So I was asked “why are YOU so dressed up?” and felt two things: a little embarrassed that it was pointed out and freaking proud as hell that I stepped up my game enough that someone noticed! I have not been known in the lindy scene for how I dressed, but after meeting a lady by the name of Sharon Davis, I finally was motivated to pick up my game. One can only spend so much time in the company of someone who dresses really well before you notice how unstylish you yourself are. 😀 And for the record, wearing something cute should never feel like a “strange” thing to do!

The long of the short of it, that comment got me thinking about dressing up and what that means. I like dressing up, but I don’t like the time it takes me. But just like anything, the more often you do it, the easier it gets. 🙂 Q: And really, why should “dressing up” be reserved for special occasions only? How about just because you’re done with work, or because it’s Tuesday, or because you needed something to wear with a fab pair of shoes? Ooh, or how about because you spend your life in sweaty rehearsal clothes and you’re over it! 😀

I was immediately inspired to create this list. More and more I am starting to believe in “dressing up” regularly (for no occasion at all) and I think you should too!

So why dress up? Here are 25 good reasons.

* Because life’s too short.

* Because we’re only young once. You’re more lovely than you know & have a rockin’ body and one day you’ll look back at yourself and wish you had! Don’t miss your chance!

* Fashion is a way to express yourself. What does your gear say about you? That you were rehearsing? That you’re into vintage?

* You might run into a totally hottie. You don’t want to look like a scrub, do you?

* Other people notice that you’ve got your “game clothes” on. Maybe they dig what you’re doing, maybe they don’t, but your effort is recognized.

* You might end up on a website (Swingfashionista anyone?)

* You deserve to look good!

* Perfect practice makes perfect, so if you want to look good, you have to practice putting outfits together until it’s a piece of cake. No need to throw the towel in.

* Gorgeous clothes and unique accessories are an awesome conversation starter.

* Saturday nights at a dance event aren’t the only time to celebrate.

* Because that fabulous party dress in your closet cost too much to only be worn once. Check out this blog about cost per wear. Quick synopsis: expensive jeans worn 3x a week for a year are a better deal than a $25 dress on worn once.

* It’s fun!!!

* Even if you live in a place like Pittsburgh and you live in a sketchy neighborhood to boot (cough, cough), cities don’t become stylish without someone taking the first step. Someone had to start wearing clothes from the 80’s again to make the chic!

* Dressing up helps you make fashion mistakes and get past them. Perhaps others can learn from your mistake. From me to you: check to see if your underwear stays in place by moving around a bunch. You’d hate to find out they gave you a massive wedgie at the US Open.

* It can build your confidence. Dressing unconventionally forces you to develop the self-assurance necessary to stand out from everyone else.

* Fashion is art. Don’t believe me? Check out this dress.

* If you’ve got it (vintage style, confidence, killer legs), flaunt it.

* If/when you have a 8-5 corporate job, you probably won’t have the freedom to wear whatever. If you’re not required to be in uniform, get crazy with it!

* Awesome clothes aren’t reserved for the rich and famous. That’s why there are knock-off and affordable stores!

* According to the Mayans the world will end on 12/21/2012 – that’s only 3 years and 102 days from now! Y2K was quite the let down, surely this will be too, but why not be on the safe side? Spend the next 3 years looking good!!

* Carrie Bradshaw and Derrick Zoolander would not approve of your cheap jeans and UGG boots. You can do better than that. And deep down, you know I’m right.

* Doing your hair (ponytails and basic braids don’t count) can give you a pass on the rest of your look.

* Nothing beats self confidence. When you look good, you feel good. It’s hard to feel crappy when you look at yourself and you LOVE what you see.

* It’s fun to have people ask you where you where you got your stuff.

* You want to. That’s the only reason that matters.

Hotels in Stockholm

It’s 6:30 in the morning and I have spent the last couple of hours trying to find housing for 2 people in downtown Stockholm. I found a place to stay, but I wasted soooooooo much time doing so! Here is what I wish I knew a few hours ago about finding a hotel room super last minute in Stockholm.

First, what issues are you solving for?

> be realistic about your price point – what are you willing to spend and what is that number in US Dollars, Euros, and Swedish Kronor
> what general area would you like to stay in? To figure this out, look at a map of the city and find a district that you’d like to be in to help narrow your search
> is it close to public transportation? What line are you on? In general, it’s good to have a basic understanding of the public transit in a foreign country…..unless you’re in America (sans New York) then look at the freeway system…
> how long will it take me to get to T-Centralen to catch the train to the Arlanda Airport?
> will there be internet?

Figure out what matters to you the most and put them in order.

Let’s go back just a bit so you have a better idea of where I am coming from. After I dicked around for about 3 hours, I finally figured that I was willing paying around U$130, give or take U$30. I then typed “Stockholm hotels” into google (uh!!! Why didn’t I do this hours before????? Why (groaning)??) and saw that I had more options than I really wanted. From there, I located the tube stops, crossed referenced these with a map of subway system and realized that some of the hotels I had originally planned to stay at were no where near a tube stop. Cross them off the list.

I picked a bunch of hotels that were located near a tube stop and then slowly went through the process of entering in the dates of my stay, number of rooms, and number of people. Lots of places were booked solid, a number were enormously out of my price range, and a few hit the mark. In general I was rather impressed with The Scandic Hotels. There were multiple locations and most were rather affordable – I am talking between 750-990 SEK a night for two people! Sweet.

Other places that I thought about staying:

Anno 1647 – Mariagränd 3, SE-116 46 Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden
Story Hotel – a very artsy-looking place that stole my heart, was about 2000 sek, but a tiny bit too far from the Arlanda Express (in comparison to the hotel I ended up booking)
Nordic Sea Hotel – holy shit this place is cool! And it has an Absolut Ice Bar in the hotel (visited that last year….it’s really cold in there 😀 )
Nordic Lights Hotel – same kinda thing as above. Right by the Arlanda Express. Freakin’ cool.

So that’s why I know. After hours of pointless work, that I clearly could have done in 20 minutes, I learned that I am not very efficient at 6am but I can relish the thought that I just learned something that will surely help me in the future.