Tuesday Travel Day

Note: sarcasm ahead.

Just so you all know, being a lindy hopper is super glamorous and is the easiest job in the world ever!

We travel the world, play dress up, listen to great music, hang out with our friends, and get to give back to the community. We rub elbows with the other micro-celebrities, exchange hot new video clips from the 1930s, and spend time being fabulous. Oh the glamour!

On the other hand, we spend a lot of our life in or on our way to airports, or flying from city to city (or doing any version of transportation to get the job done), live out of a suitcase, dance to the same music that we’ve been listening to for years (darn you Barbara Morrison & Diana Krall and your music that is soooooo often played!), and have a limited sense of personal privacy.

Ok, sarcasm and reality aside, I LOVE being a lindy hop instructor and wouldn’t trade my job for another. I am exceptionally grateful that my teenage hobby has provided me with a living and that there are so many lindy hop scenes around the world that are thriving. In all honestly, I have a great life and I know it. That being said, it’s nice to gripe every now and again, so here’s a little glimpse into what it means to being an international lindy hop instructor:

My travel schedule in May/June:

Tuesday, May 24 – Pittsburgh to Seattle (Camp Jitterbug)
Tuesday, May 31 – Seattle – Frankfurt – Thessoloniki (Swing n’ Swim)
Tuesday, June 7 – Thessoloniki – Rome – Kuala Lumpur – Melbourne (Melbourne Swing Festival)
Monday, June 13 – Melbourne, Kuala Lumpur – Rome – Barcelona (ESDC)
Tuesday, June 21 – Barcelona – JFK – Pittsburgh (Home)

Glamorous right?! Not really.

Fun? Yes.

Exhausting? Absolutely.

So that was the overview of my month. Let’s take a quick look at one of my biggest travel days in 2011, shall we?

TUESDAY
4:45 wake up
5:10 leave apartment in Thessoloniki, Greece
5:30 arrive at airport
6:55 flight to Rome, Italy
– 2 hour flight, 1 hour time change –
7:55 arrive in Rome
– 6 hour layover –
13:50 flight to Kuala Lumpur
– 12 hours later –

WEDNESDAY
8:30 arrive in Kuala Lumpur
– 4 hour layover –
flight to Melbourne, Australia
22:05 arrive in Melbourne
+ 1.5 hours through Customs and to get bags
+ 45 minute drive to host’s house

Just another travel day!

 

Camp Jitterbug 2011 Contest Results

The results are in and videos are up!! Congratulations to all the competitors!

Solo Charleston


Winner: Joanna Lucero

Jack & Jill

1) Davis Thurber and Kelly Arsenault
2) Andrew Hsi and Maéva Truntzer
3) Juan Villafañe and Gabby Cook

Strictly Lindy

This year, the Strictly was done in a new format. Two couples at a time were given one chorus to battle for their life and then the 5 judges decided who lived, and who died (sounds very Roman the way I’m explaining it). After the four rounds of battle, the four remaining couples jammed.

Battle:

Jam:

1) William Mauvais & Maéva Truntzer
2) Juan Villafañe & Sharon Davis
3) Nick Williams & Jo Hoffberg

 

Travel Days

What an impressive set of Travel Days I have had in the last two and a half weeks!

Here’s the run down on what it takes to be me (*tooting my horn):

May 17, Monday: 9:25am flight from Berlin to JFK. Arrive into Pittsburgh at 6:30pm.
Finally coming home from Europe! Can’t freaking wait! I’m basically coming home so I can rehearse for Camp Jitterbug and do some laundry.

May 20, Thursday: 7:00pm flight from Pittsburgh to Minneapolis. Arrive into Seattle at 11:30pm.
The idea was that I’d have time to spend with my family. Instead, I run errands for the next few days all over town.

May 24, Monday: 2:30pm flight to Orange County. Arrive 5:30pm.
Man, I love direct flights! They rarely seem to happen. It’s also fun to run into people I know, like Ben Morris. I want to rehearse with The Atomic Cherry Bombs before our performance on Friday night. Nikki was kind enough to let me work with the girls for about 2.5 hrs. We do a full dress rehearsal. I try to scare and motivate the girls 😀

May 25, Tuesday: 12:00pm flight to Seattle. Arrive 2:45pm.
Direct flights are fabulous! I rehearsed again before I left for Seattle. I continue to run errands until the day of the show.

May 28, Friday: JUMP SESSION SHOW 7:30pm
ROCKED IT. I was so very, very pleased with my ladies and myself. Sharon’s Bell Boy Routine went well and so did Stratosphere.

June 1, Tuesday: 5:00pm flight to Los Angeles. 10:30pm flight to Sydney, Australia.

June 3, Thursday: 6:30am arrival into Sydney. 9:15am flight to Perth. Arrive at 11:25am.
It’s glorious in Perth at the moment. Oh how I’ve missed the sun shining. I have class to teach from 8-10pm that night.

And there you have it. A rather crazy 2 weeks, wouldn’t you say?

What have I gleaned from my last two weeks?

  • It’s important to get your frequent flyer miles.
  • With those miles you don’t have to worry as much about over-weight luggage.
  • It’s important to pack layers.
  • Just because it’s “Spring” on the calendar doesn’t mean Mother Nature is going to play along.
  • Having gloves on you is never a bad thing.
  • “Days Off” are really just days to do all the chores I wasn’t able to do previously (translations: not really days off)
  • I must remember to schedule “Lazy Days” where I am just sitting around doing nothing. My scheduled “Days Off” aren’t working out the way I had hoped.
  • If you’re planning on performing something with a group of people, it’s worth the money, time, and effort for YOU to travel and go see them. It would have been a terrible idea to have not seen the Cherry Bombs before the show.
  • Never underestimate the power of a cupcake, especially when your best friend brings you one “just because.”
  • It’s important to run things full out. This means costume and body movement. Doing that the hour before the show does not mean you are well prepared. Remember, your building muscle memory when you’re rehearsing, so make it count AND you’d want to know if your who-ha was going to be showing before you got on stage.
  • (Ladies) Every performer should own false eyelashes and glue, bobby pins that match their hair color, hand mirror and fabulously bright lipstick.
  • Be gracious and understanding. It goes a long way.
  • Keep pushing. You’ll get to rest eventually.
  • Claire Pedroza might be a Vintage Hair Genius. She did my hair for CJ and it was in great shape until I left for Oz. Tons of compliments. She rocks.
  • Empty flights are a godsend.
  • Getting to sleep horizontally is awesome.
  • Too many bobby pins set off security alarms.
  • Nick Williams travels more than I do.

And there you have it! Two more things I think it’s important for you to know: how to pack for 10 Days in a Carry-On and What Happens to you crap after you’ve left if on a plane. Great reads, so check them out 😀

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Camp Jitterbug 2010 Competitions

What an outstanding set of competitions this year!!! Holy cow.
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Jack & Jill Finals


Winners:
1st: Mikey Pedroza (OC) & Laura Glaess (Austin, TX)
2nd: Eric Bertrand (Montreal, CAN) & Stacia Martin (Minneapolis, MN)
3rd: Andrew Hsi (OC) & Mary Freitag (OC)
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Lindy Couple Finals


Winners:
1st place: Pontus Persson & Frida B.
2nd place: Nick Williams & Laura Keat
3rd place: Michael Darigol & Brittany Johnson

I had such a great time watching this competition! Every couple out there danced their ass off and the crowd freaking loved it! Fuck…..that was lindy hop.
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Charleston Finals


Winner: Jessica Lennartsson (Sweden)
~

Cherry Bombs

Dear ladies,

You did a wonderful job at rehearsal tonight. Thank you so much for taking the time and putting in the effort to learn Honolulu. And Nikki, thank you so-very-much for learning this routine via video (that was poorly recorded off of my mac), emailing back and forth with me, and doing all the additional work on the side. You did an outstanding job with all my emails and video clips, and you’ve done an outstanding job with the girls. Thank you for working so diligently to turn my “hawaiian dream” into a reality. I hope you are proud of your girls and what you’ve accomplished.

Girls, I am so excited for you! Regardless if this is your first performance or your 100th, performing in the Benaroya Hall is an incredible opportunity, one that you’ll always remember. Be proud of yourself!

View Photos

Click on a photo below to enlarge.

Benaroya Hall

S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium

Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall

Here is the song we are using: Honolulu routine Camp Jitterbug Cut Please download this and LISTEN TO THE BEGINNING over and over again. It might be hard to count, but it’s easy to hear (once you know what to look for).

Here is a reminder of what you’re doing:

Good luck girls!!

xo

Jo

LAST NOTES:

– Make a check list of what costume pieces you need. LITERALLY write down the costume pieces you need and check them off after you put them in a bag. Do the same for each routine you have.
– Double check that you have all the pieces. Don’t forget your shoes, stockings, bows, hair pieces, and appropriate underwear (super important).
– Space backstage will most likely be small and hard to come by. Bring a brightly colored bag or something to keep your belongings in. Get into the habit of putting your things back into your bag in between numbers so you don’t lose your stuff.
– Black anything (i.e. bras, underwear, tights, bags, etc.) will disappear into the abyss of backstage. Just an FYI.
– Bring a hand mirror. You don’t want to fight for mirror space any more than necessary.
– Eat before you get there. Have a snack bar on you as well. Don’t forget water or a water bottle.
– Set your hair the night before or the morning of.
– Have your base makeup on.
– Ask yourself “What else do I need so I can be self-sufficient? What else do I need to be awesome?” and then figure out the answer. 😀
– Remember, you’re part of a group and you need to do you part. Be watchful of your partners and remember to smile.
– When you’re performing, don’t fuck up. Haha, in spite of my warning, just keep dancing regardless of what happens. No one will know you missed something unless your face tells the audience otherwise. Smile and be confident in your movement!
– Listen to the music if you get lost. You can find your spot again….don’t give up!
– Don’t worry if you have a crappy run-through right before the performance. If you hit it perfectly before the show, you’ve probably already used up your good one. Save your best for last.
– Remember to have fun while you’re performing The audience wants you to succeed and they want to cheer for you. Everyone is there to support you. Enjoy your moment on stage and don’t stress too much.

And a final shout out again to Nikki. None of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for you. Thank you for putting so much time in effort into getting this done. xoxo

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Camp Jitterbug 2010

Camp Jitterbug Flyer

Doesn’t Sharon look amazing?! I am so thrilled that The Killer Diller’s very own Sharon Davis on this year’s Camp Jitterbug flyer and on the website header: www.campjitterbug.com

The photo on the flyer was taken during her tribute act to Josephine Baker in last year’s Jump Session show. Josephine, being one of her all-time greatest inspirations, has inspired numerous costumes that take up a great amount of space in Sharon’s luggage.

Josephine Baker Banana Skirt Josephine Baker

The 2010 Camp Jitterbug details are:

Camp Jitterbug & the Jump Session Show 2010

Memorial Day weekend

May 28-31st 2010

Seattle, USA

And this year the Jump Session show will feature all six Killer Dillers! Myself and Kevin, Juan Villafane & Sharon Davis, and Evita Arce & Nathan Bugh will all be attending Camp Jitterbug, performing in the Jump Session Show, competing, and teaching some classes! Without a doubt, Camp Jitterbug is one of the greatest events of the year. Don’t miss out!

Here is the trailer from last year’s Jump Session show. If this doesn’t make you want to be there, I don’t know what would:

Camp Jitterbug 2009

What an AWESOME time I had this year!!!! But what a surprise, since I have a great time every year I’ve gone.

Something that was different for me this year than previous years was that I wasn’t a main instructor, meaning I had very few responsibilities. I can’t begin to tell you how awesome that is!! It was great to be apart of the CJ team, but it was a real treat to get to feel like a camper as well. Moving along……Kevin and I taught two classes: “The Follow Goes Round and Round” (we got to do a bunch of technique in the class, and I did the entire class wearing a corset) and an aerial class where we taught the backpack and the crunch toss. The students in the aerial class were some of the best we’ve worked with. What great enthusiasm they had and how well they all went over. 😀

I must note that the facilities were ridiculously gorgeous. The Century Ballroom is even nicer than I remember it to be; I presume there have been renovations. Kevin and I decided we must own that building (what a surprise…we do that everywhere we go) and picked out where our bedrooms would be and where dance classes would take place. Amazing!!! We’d also take Privya (or whatever the name is) and that entire building. Man, that was a sweet place as well.

Ok, so here is some background which will help piece the rest of this weekend together. The intermingled part of the Killer Dillers (Kevin & Sharon, Juan & me) stayed at my parents place which was totally pimped out. My parents (horn tooting-time) pimped us out royally. We had a car and a Vespa to drive, each couple had their own bedroom, the shower is WAY nicer than the one we have at Hoodstock, there was food in the refrigerator, my mum cooked and my dad made me and Sharon Manhattans. They fucking rock, there is just no two-ways about it. Some other highlights: we ate at Umi Sake House, we had Mighty-O donuts, Juan and Sharon made it to the Charleston Finals and took 3rd in the Lindy Hop competition, and Kevin and I took first in the lindy hop competition.

Here’s the video of the Lindy Competition:

The highlight of the weekend was the surprise Single Ladies performance by Bethany Powell, Stacia Martin, Karen Turman. I saw them rehearsing in the bathroom before they went out and it was honestly a bit too much for me to handle….they were far too fierce for the space they were in….thank god they performed on a large floor!! Here’s there performance. Watch and think amazed thoughts:

Yeah. Seriously. Wow!

Ooooh, and I almost forgot, the Jump Session Show!! I threw canes to Nathan for his Fascinating Rhythm routine with Kevin and Juan (and unfortunately threw some wild one’s…..cringe), dressed up like a hick for Andrew and Karen’s Howdown routine, and performed “Puttin’ on the Ritz” with Sharon.

All in all, I had an awesome freaking weekend. I saw my parents and caught up with my West Coast friends, had some brilliant social dances, ate good food, performed in a great show, and won the lindy hop couples contest. Sweet.