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 πŸ˜€

Bark, Meow

Buwahahah, this is pretty amusing. In no way does this relate to lindy hop, but mark my words, I am going to reference this in class at some point. Be ready Lindy World!

How cute!

Heartland Swing Festival 2011

I’ll be honest, I never thought I’d end up in Des Moines, IA (pronounced duh-Moyne), but this past weekend I got to visit a new state. As per usual, I didn’t see much of the city, but I did have a great time at the event. Here’s the run down.

Housing

We stayed at the Renaissance Hotel and had a pimp room. Not only did we have our own bed (yes, that is something to brag about) but we each had our own bathrooms!! That has never happened before. I’m guessing it was because we were at the very back corner of the hotel with the stunning view of two parking lots. πŸ˜€

The hotel restaurant and bar were also pretty good. In the mornings, Kev and I went down for breakfast and grabbed food from the buffet. Yeah for fresh fruit!! I only ate dinner at the restaurant one night but mmmm-mmmm it was really, really good. On Sunday night, a bunch of us got together and grabbed drinks at the bar before saying goodbye and again, they had some nice drinks.

Bonus: the hotel was a 5 minute drive away from the dance.

Double bonus: one of the classrooms was on the second floor of the hotel so Kev and I got to roll up to our room and hang out during lunch. Again, that was another first for us.

Noteworthy:Β  Fastest elevator I’ve ever been in. Hahha, I clearly just got back from Europe where the elevators are small and slow. The Renaissance also had a free airport shuttle. I’m pretty sure Michael was pretty pleased come 7am on Monday morning. :p

Fellow Instructors

We kicked it with Peter & Naomi and Tiff & Kenny this past weekend. I’m starting to see Peter and Naomi more regularly and I have to say, it’s really nice to see familiar faces while on the road. It’s like I get to see my friends at work!! Ah, the small luxuries in life.

Other fab people who were there teaching: Jon Tigert and Mandy Spencer (2010 CJC Champion), Mikey Brafford and Eve Johnson, Jenna Stworzyjanek, Oscar Hampton, Dee Daniels-Locke, and Kenna Sarge & Voice of Culture.

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Temple For Performing Arts – Grand Hall

Uh, yeah. GLORRRRRRRRIOUS.

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Performance

Kenna Sarge & Voice of Culture (Minneapolis, MN) performance on Friday night blew me out of the water. It was incredible. Their drumming and dancing was super hot and their rhythms were incredible. I hope someone posts a video of it!!

I’d also like to note that Kevin and I didn’t perform this weekend. It’s a rare occasion that we don’t perform and I will admit, I enjoyed getting to watch performances all weekend long. That being said, I’m a little sad I didn’t get to perform because I enjoy it so much, but the kids in class got to see me do my thing just a little bit during demos. *smile

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Classes

The upper-level class was impressively good. I wasn’t expecting such a high level. πŸ™‚ Kevin and I got to talk about the difference between rock steps and syncopated rock steps, walking and triple stepping, and bouncing & pulsing. Even more impressive was the fact that people stayed in class even though we had African Drumming going on in the room next door. That was above and beyond the noisiest class I’ve ever been in. Hahah, and I have to apologize, again, to the class for my tourette-like outburst in class. I did think it was funny though.

In our 2-part aerial class, wee covered the Fundamentals of Basing and Flying, a Flying Baby Doll, and finally The Cupcake. We wanted to teach the cupcake unless we had a few students who already learned it. We did have a couple in there that already knew how to do it, so we gave them specific pointer while everyone else learned the pieces. We also showed drags at the end of the flying baby doll and the cupcake, but didn’t have time to go over them. Here’s a rundown on how to do drags/lunges.

For the ladies who asked me a number of questions about turns, here are some more tutorials on the details of turning. The guys worked on spinning on one foot and more info about that can be found here.

A little secret for you: I LOVE teaching in the US. Why? Because people speak American (yes, I said it!) and, more importantly, they know the same cultural references that I do!! I’m hilarious (if I do say so myself) in class, but often times only a few pop-culture junkies fully understand me when I’m abroad. Iowa, thank you for understanding my humor and laughing WITH me. I really, really appreciated it.

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Staff

A big THANK YOU to all the DJs, Bands, and volunteers. Without you guys, an event just wouldn’t run!! Thank you for grabbing us hot chocolate, chai lattes, lunch and bottles of wine. Ooh, and thank you for the rides!

Contest Results

Any Swing Goes – Christian Frommelt & Jenny Shirar
Same Gender – Anthony Chen & Jeremy Russell Nelson Fischer
Team – Swing Dings
Vintage Jazz – Morgan Kestner
Jack & Jill – Anthony Chen & Cassie Stoa
Slow Lindy – Anthony Chen & Chelsea Dvorchak
And congratulations to Rae Mullica for winning Miss Heartland Vintage Pin-up Contest!! To see all the contestants, click here to be redirected to facebook.

Video coming soon!!!

A Flickr photostream from the event!

Photos on Facebook from the event.

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Leaping Lindy 2011

I’m so grateful that it was warmer this year at Leaping Lindy than it was last year! I was able to run around in dresses and tights without issue. πŸ˜€

Here’s the scoop. I left LAX on Thursday, arrived in Zurich on Friday, met up with Skye and Kevin at the airport and trained out to Bern. The Hotel National was 3 minutes walk from the station and was just as cozy as I remember it. This year Kev and I stayed on the second floor and had a darling little room with a great big window. The sunlight that poured into our room was really lovely to have in the mornings. Yes, there were curtains, and yes, they were drawn, but they were rather thin. Ah…the point I was originally heading towards; even with a direct flight from LAX -ZUR, I spend a total of 21 hours in transit. My goodness is right!

Highlights of the weekend:

– Getting to see Kev after such a long break. It was great to get to reconnect with him after not seeing him for a month. We gabbed like girls! It was awesome.
– Goodie bags waiting for us on our bed. There were these cute little madeleine that were in the shape of bears!
– Classes were walking distance from the hotel.
– The evening dances were held at the Casino which had a stunning ballroom and a sparkly chandelier.
– The amazing staff – thanks for helping with the sound system, transportation, and all the other small details that make an event run so beautifully.
– Being able to sleep through dinner and not have it be an issue.
– Gordon Webster on Saturday night! Man, he and his band were jammin’. I had such a great time just listening! Naomi Uyama also sang with them and she was lovely, as always.
– Social dancing on Sunday. I was finally tired enough that I wasn’t anticipating and just let myself be moved. Every dance I had was outstanding. Skye, Peter, and Kevin: thanks for leading my ass around in that teeny tiny space and for keeping me safe from getting stepped on.
– Naomi djing from her iphone on Sunday night. The music was awesome solely because of her. Thank Naomi!!
– Peter Lerch for letting Kevin and I crash at his house on Monday night and getting us to the train Tuesday morning.

VIDEOS FROM THE WEEKEND:

There are other angles of these performances, but I really enjoyed watching the dances from this angle because I rarely see them from here.

What we taught:

Tricks & Lifts: climbing exercise. flying baby doll.

Turning: turn drills and moves that used the technique.

Advance Basics: leading and following rock steps, weight changes, pauses, and triple steps. We did this in open position and touched on it in closed position and built on the yo-yo.

Touch Me: a 7 part variation/technique class. The moves built on one another and progressively got more complex. Each variation were similar enough to the last that the leaders had to have a clear idea what they were going to lead and the follows had to wait until the very end of the move for all the information. In other words, we used moves that looked the same at the beginning so that the follow couldn’t recognize the move because all of them were so similar.

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!!!