Guys and Girls Gone Wild 2011

This was my first all-jazz weekend. Ten Hours of Classes and nothing but jazz. Oh my goodness, it was a freaking FUN weekend. Here was the schedule and some highlights:

Friday, March 18th

What: Dance and Vintage Bathing Suit Badminton Contest
When: 9pm-late
Where: Baltimore Strut

The location of this venue is completely on the wrong side of the tracks, but it’s a cool venue. I believe it’s a modern dance studio when it’s not inundated by whom Michael Seguin dubbed his “Baltimore’s At-Risk Youths”. Buwahahah!

Vintage Bathing Suit Badminton Contest

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Kevin and I performing before the badminton contest

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Photos from the weekend:

Saturday, March 19th

Time Guys Girls
12pm-1:15pm Slow Strut ( VFW ) Girlsโ€™ Choreography( VVA )
1:30pm-2:45pm ** Big Apple part 1, guys and girls together ** ( VVA )
3:00pm-4:15pm Jazz Details ( VVA ) Jazz Details ( VFW )
4:30pm-5:45pm Guys’ Choreography ( VVA ) Blues ( VFW )
9pm-midnight Blue Vipers of Brooklyn and Solo Jazz Dance Contest ( VVA )

I taught Can-Can in my Girls Choreo class and had a blast! Getting all those girls to kick up their legs and “woo” together was one of the highlights of the weekend for me. In Jazz Details, we covered Boogie Forward, Squat Charleston, and one other move. Does anyone remember?

I taught a modified version of my fan dance choreography in the blues class so the girls could learn some moves and we could work on movement. Again, I focused in on the details of committing weight to one foot or the other, using the hips, and looking with intention.

Later that night there was a solo dance contest. I haven’t found video of it just yet, but I’ll share it once it’s up. The finalists danced live to The Blue Vipers of Brooklyn, who were outstanding. There were a few late night parties after the dance, but Kevin and I needed to go home so we could get some sleep. We wanted to be in tip-top shape to abuse the students the following day ๐Ÿ˜€

Sunday, March 20th

Time Guys Girls
12pm-1:15pm Jazz Details ( VFW ) Jazz Details ( VVA )
1:30pm-2:45pm Hat Tricks ( VFW ) Secrets of the Killer Dillers ( VVA )
3:00pm-4:15pm ** Big Apple part 2, guys and girls together ** ( VVA )
4:30pm-5:45pm Secrets of the Killer Dillers ( VVA ) Burlesque ( VFW )
After Afterparty at VVA lounge

Another day of successful classes! I started Sunday off by breaking down the details of the Shim Sham. I completely mismanaged our time and took 1hr 40 to do so. I had such a great time though…..all those little detail. Ladies, you were amazing. ๐Ÿ˜€ I then explained who the Killer Dillers were and then talked about how to compete in Charleston, phrasing music, and gave some quick tips about what to do when you go blank. This class probably would have been more useful to a few people the day before, but c’est la vie.

The Big Apple pt 2 is always a tricky class; the attrition rate is higher than I’d like. I think it’s because it was day 2 of nothing buy jazz, the 2nd half have very little repeating choreo, people max out, and the choreo is a bit fiddly. Hehe (embarrassed), it could have also been that Kev and I had a few flubs in the choreo that we eventually fixed :p But we had a few troopers that made it to the end. Congratulations to you badasses!!

A new favorite of mine was the burlesque class. I had the girls bring heels and we spent time walking. We reviewed what we did in the blues class the day before, but this time wearing heels. We sat, we stood, we took off our jackets, and we walked away. ๐Ÿ˜€ I thought it was a super fun class! Girls, let me know if the stuff works (or not)!!

Follow-Up on Followlogie

Man, I’ve been meaning to post this for quite some time!! Sorry I was so tardy!

Followlogie has a special place in my heart. It was the first weekend I taught solo classes out of the country and was my opportunity to prove to myself that I could teach without Kevin. Nobody has said that I couldn’t, but it was something I had to prove to myself and Dominique gave me that chance. I must have done well since I’ve been invited back 3 times. ๐Ÿ˜€

This year I got to stay with Maryse Lebeau and we had lots of girl time. I got to stay in her daughter’s room and I kinda felt like a little princess. Needless to say I felt very welcomed and very well taken care of. She also made some really great muffins that I basically devoured. Yum yum yum!
I taught my group classes with Mikey Pedroza and Zack Richards. Zack did Spins and Turns with me (pictured) and I spent most of the time trying to make him laugh. Relatively I’d say I was successful. He was super easy to teach with and filled in the gaps where needed. What an awesome leader he was!

It was such a pleasure to teach with Mikey again. I think the last time we taught together was at LotR 2009. It’s been a while. In the classes we did together, I did about 30 minutes of jazz and then did 30 minutes of partner worked. Mikey did a great job listening to me make decisions on the fly and executing them flawlessly.

Can She Do the Can Can?

Here are some photos of my latest creation. I thought it’d be super fun to perform a Can Can while in a French speaking area and with none other than the exuberant Evita Arce. I figured if there would be anyone I could talk into high kicking and wearing ruffles with me, it’d be her!

It took me hours to get this routine together. I didn’t want to use the standard music, but I was running short on time so I figured I’d take the easy road. Then I had to find a good recording of it online. Relatively easy until you realize that you can find almost anything online as long as you can figure out how to search for it! I then scoured youtube for videos of Can Can dancing and needless to say there are more than a few videos to watch. I spent hours weeding through videos and watching good ones and a lot of bad ones to find inspiration and some solid direction. Most of the videos I liked had a large ensemble of girls where as I only had Evita and myself. As you’ll see below, there was plenty to do with just two girls (see video below).

So I found videos that inspired me, cut them up into bite size pieces, learned the movement, and then went to work on my own choreography. I mapped out the song, noted where the signature chorus’ were, and then decided where I wanted some of the flashy stuff to go. All I had to do next was fill in the dancing in betweent he flash moments and I was good to go.

Oh yeah, but wait, I needed costuming for this routine. A Can Can Routine doesn’t look right in jeans and a t-shirt; only skirts with ruffle will do. I went down to the local thrift store and bought 2 wedding skirt for cheap, sent them to my costume maker (thanks Mom!!) along with video, color scheme, and ideas, and then crossed my fingers there’d be enough time to get everything done. Thank goodness I was smart enough to work on costumes first before the choreography!!

Back to the dancing! So costumes were in the works, the song was mapped out, and I still had to choreograph. I hacked out some choreo in a few hours time and then tried it in a long skirt (see pictures below). That completely changed the game. Even rehearsing in pants doesn’t give you the feel or timing for the movement you’ll actually be using. I practiced the choreo a few times and then filmed it. I needed to send Evita something so she could learn the choreo. Thank goodness I still had 3 days before the event! Yup, that’s right. Idea – 4 weeks in the making. Costumes – 2 weeks in making. Choreography – 3 days in the making.

So what does this all really mean? Evita is utterly amazing! I sent her a video on Monday, changed some of the choreography on Tuesday, she worked on it Wednesday, found material to make the head pieces out of on Thursday and we met up on Friday. Ridiculous!! We would have met up earlier but my Thursday flight to Quebec was canceled due to weather. Eesh!

Saturday afternoon I got to teach part of the choreography to the students. I think they had fun running around with me ๐Ÿ™‚ It was a very energetic class and it was fabulous to get to see the choreography performed by a bevy of ladies. I wish I had a troupe to do a can-can number with!!! That night was the performance. Nina, bless her heart, made our head pieces for us while Evita and I blocked our number a few times on the fabulous stage. Seriously, I’ve never performed on a more amazing stage than this one. The photos are gorgeous, but I don’t really think they do the place justice. Uh, and the energy in there!!! Oh, it was truly a spectacular experience.

Can-Can with Evita:

After performing that, the stress level went way down. I missed a small piece of my own choreo, but Evita was a champ about it and kept on kicking! We then needed to get ready for Nina’s number so Evita completely changed her clothes and I just took off my skirt. Classy broad!

Here are some more photos from the evening:

Dancing with Nina and the gals:

It was a great night I must say. Hahah, after the show was done, so was I. Most of the performers grabbed a drink at the bar and headed up to the balcony to catch up and see how each other were doing. From a professional and personal stand point, the night was a smash for me! I had such a good time and I really, really needed a night just like that. It’s funny how little moments can revitalize you and remind you about how fortunate you are. That night was one of those nights.

~

And the story continues!!

Oh, how fun are late nights!! I made it a priority to try and have “cultural experiences” when I travel and apparently, this is supposed to be THE place to get bagels. Here’s how it all went down. Alain Wong took Mikey Pedroza and I to get wood-oven bagels after the show on Saturday night. We go into the tiny store and there is a guy making the dough, another guy loading the doughy spheres onto a wooden plank and sliding them into the fire, and another guy behind the counter. Since it was our first time there, the man behind the counter gave each Mikey and I a free bagel. We bought some creme cheese and scarfed them down. I needed a napkin so I went back to the counter to find one. I asked if there were napkins, got laughed at, remembered they are called “serviettes” outside of the States, and corrected myself. The cashier asked where I was from and what was I doing here. I told him I was from America and was here to dance.
C: “What kind of dance?”
Jo: “Lindy hop.”
C: “What’s that?”
Jo: “Lemme show you! Hey Mikey, come ‘ere!”
Somewhere during this dialogue, Alain gets out his phone and records this:

Yup, we got half a dozen bagels for free because of that amazing showing! Hahha, and even though we were stuffed, Mikey and I still met up with a bunch of our friends and had poutine at some place that was mega packed at 1am. Double cultural experience!!

Can-Can Class

Hey Ladies!

Hike up your skirts and let’s see those high kicks! The Can Can is a high-energy and physically demanding music hall dance, traditionally performed by a chorus line of female dancers who wear costumes with long skirts, petticoats, and black stockings. The main features of the dance are the lifting up and manipulation of the skirts, with high kicking and suggestive, provocative body movements. For more history about the dance, go here!

If you are planning on attending this class, please bring a skirt or a dress you can easily lift up with you (hahah, and bring appropriate underwear too!). Preferably you’ll want a long, full circle skirt, but a short circle skirt will do. If you don’t own any skirts, now is a great time to buy one OR you can borrow a t-shirt from your largest guy friend and wear that! Even if you don’t have a skirt, dress, or big t-shirt to lift up, you can still come and learn the most important thing: how to Can Can!

If you’re interested in buying a skirt, you can get one at Rivers Edge Dancewear. If you want to sew your own and are looking for a pattern, check this out! If you want some cute ruffle dance pants, check out this Square Dancing site!

Here’s a video to give you a preview of the vintage:

Uploaded by ladystockingtops on December 15, 2006

This French CanCan comes from a compilation film of Music Hall acts made in the UK in 1943. It has never been sold on DVD or VHS as far as I know and has only been shown on TV once in the last 20 years.

….and the modern:

Uploaded by ladystockingtops on April 21, 2006

This was a one off show in ( I think ) about 1981 but I can’t be certain. The Moulin Rouge shut for a night so the show could come to London

….and a Hollywood style one

Get ready!!!