Swinglandia 2010

To be honest, I didn’t think Swinglandia was going to be one of my favorite events of 2010, but it was. Instead of it just being another work weekend, it was a dance and party weekend for me. *smile

My first gig with Kevin was Swinglandia 2007 and it was fun, but rough. Kevin and I had never taught together before meaning we had to plan all 15 hours of classes on top of teaching them and we put together a piece to perform at the cabaret (i.e. long working hours). “Because it was spring” the heat was not on in the rooms, but it was snowing out. At that point in time, I was living in Southern California where it’s typically warm year round and had no need for proper winter clothing. Needless to say, I was fucking freezing almost the entire weekend. To top it off, our room was super janky: the bed was too small for Kev and the “springs” drooped heavily in mine, we had no toilet seat, and someone had ripped the mirror in that bathroom off the wall. Overall the weekend was challenging, but the students were amazing and the energy was outstanding. Now, a few years later, I realize that a camp of that size was perhaps a bit much for me at that time in my career with Kevin.

Swinglandia 2007

In all, Kevin and I had a fun time and we went back the following year. We had a much nicer room and it didn’t snow. Already a step up! Again, the students were great, the food was similar, the music was fine, and the people were fun.

Swinglandia 2008

But this year it was a freaking party! And not to say that it wasn’t a party before, I guess I just wasn’t participating in camp life to the fullest. Highlights of Swinglandia 2010:

1. Dax & Sarah were there. I absolutely adore the two of them and don’t get to see them nearly enough. Getting to pal around with them really made my week. ♥ you two!!

2. The Rhythm Junkies were there!!! Mindaugas, Milda, Vytautas, Dangiras, Tomas, Juste, Marius, Andrius, and Giedrė represented. Not only are they great musicians, but they are awesome dancers as well. How crap, I had such a blast dancing with them! On top of that, their English is outstanding, they have a great sense of humor, and they’re all gorgeous. I think I fall in love with each one of them every time I see them. Girls and guys both! All of them, even the ones that stayed back in Lithuania are absolutely studs! I am secretly (or not so secretly) hoping to marry one of them and work on getting my E.U. citizenship. =)

3. The parties were a blast. Perhaps the biggest difference this year for me was that I partied (what the hell did I do the other years?). I stayed up late, I danced around, I drank, I dressed up, I had a blast! Swinglandia is big on having a theme (similar to Herrang) and this year it was “army”. Oooh ooh, guess who has an aviator outfit? That’s right… me! Here’s a video of an Aviator and someone from Naval Intelligence dancing together:

Yup, that’s Kevin swinging me out in flippers. What a guy!

4. The Jack & Jill. The prelims were ridiculous. We had 60 couples to judge and we started judging at 2am. Let’s just say that was a long night. =) Now the finals….wow….they were awesome to watch:

You’ll have to click on the related videos to see the other 6 videos.

Mindaugas was freaking awesome. He is such an elegant mothertrucker. If you don’t know him, he’s the second leader that comes out. Fuck, check out his swing outs! And Veit freaking killed it!! I was super impressed (he’s the second leader in the second clip of Jack&Jill finals). To top it off, the music was great!!! I want to compete to those songs!!

5. The social dancing rocked. I had such a fun time!! Haha, it felt like I was a camper again and I got to dance for me. I felt like my soul had been fed. I had some great dances with too many people to name, but in particular Dangiras. I don’t think I’ve had that many dances with one person in a row for quite some time. Thank man for putting up with me =)

6. The cabaret! Uncle Aubergine were off the hook! “Дядя Баклажан” [dyadya baklajan] Members include  Jimmy Monahan (George III), “Rhythm Junkies”: Dangis, Tomas and Andrius, and the one and only Fedor Nedotko!

7. New friends. I had such a blast (hahah, are you seeing a trend?) with so many new people. Wow, I dig that side of the world. Thank you to all the people that made Swinglandia happen, the staff, The Rhythm Junkies for holding it down, George III (Jimmy Monahan) for killing it on the clarinet and being one cool cat, Vitalii and Oksana for hosing Kevin and me, and Dax & Sarah for being awesome. xoxoxo

Preparing for ILHC

OMG OMG OMG! There is sooooooooooooo much to do!!!!

Kev and I are trying to finish our Classic Routine and just started on our Showcase Routine. This is super stressful because we need to finish both, and polish them by this weekend, and I don’t know if we can get all the work done that we’d like to have done.

We’ve been doing 2 hours on and 2 hours off at our dance studio. In the 2 hours off, Juan and Sharon are polishing their Classic and finishing their Showcase. OMG, there is so much going on in the house too. So so so…. in our “down time” we are still coming up with ideas so when we have the space, we can actually dance it.

There is not enough time in the day to choreograph 2 routines, watch the Olympics, prepare material for classes, teach group classes, and privates. And spend time with your significant other. Oh my word.

Well, that’s the rant for the day. More after ILHC. I am sure we are going to pull something together.

Cheers.

Camp Hollywood

What an awesome time in LA we had being at Camp Hollywood. The weather was lovely, Hillary (the organizer) took great care of us, and the students were amazing!

We taught some new Flash & Trash, Charleston Challenge, fast lindy, aerials, and Jam Routines and the classes were packed! There were about 150-200 people in our two largest classes (OMG). And everyone was so nice. Not to toot our own horns, but Kev and I were given an impressive amount of positive feedback about our material and our teaching style – it was really nice.

On the competition side of things, Kev and I, along with our buddies Juan and Sharon, cleaned house!

1st place – Advance J&J – Lead – Juan
1st place – Advance J&J – Follow – Sharon
1st place – Showcase – Kevin and Juan
3rd place – Showcase – Kevin and Jo
2nd place – Pro Lindy – Kev and Jo
5th place – Pro Lindy – Juan and Sharon

We had so many trophies that we couldn’t take all of them home, especially with the new excess baggage fees.

And a special shout out to Nick Williams and Laura Keat for their showcase piece. It was lovely, innovative, musical, and well performed!