Inspiration Weekend – Class Follow Up

Hey Students from Inspiration Weekend,

Kevin and I had a freaking fantastic time at Inspiration Weekend 2012! Thanks for participating in the workshop and being an awesome group of students. I’ve had a number of people as me about the class material that we weren’t able to get to, so I wanted to follow up with you and direct you to one of the many places you can go for more information. 😀

Whether you’re a beginner or advance dancer, there is a charleston transition for you:

This lesson, part 6 of 6 on the Advanced Charleston Transitions lesson pack, teaches a fast paced and stylish routine that works you through each of the transitions in this pack. Breakdown includes everything you need to know to tie these movements together plus some bonus tips for understanding how to interpret footwork!

For Spinning and Turning:

An in depth explanation of technique and corresponding drills for improving your spinning control and increasing your number of rotations. Footwork, torso torque, arm use and spotting are all addressed.

If you want even more information, here’s another pack you can check out!

A few more blast:

Beginners, here are a set of Intro to Lindy Hop clips that might appeal to you.

Ladies from the Intermediate Track, some of you asked about swivels – check them out here!

If dance clips aren’t your sort of thing, but DVDs are (shameless plug), you’re in luck! Kevin and I have 7 new DVDs coming out in the next two weeks that just so happen to cover some of these topics! More on that to come.

Again, than you to all the students, dancers, and organizers that help support the scene and keep the inspiration flowing!

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

Kevin and I performing before the badminton contest


Photos from the weekend:

Saturday, March 19th

Time Guys Girls
12pm-1:15pm Slow Strut ( VFW ) Girls’ 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 😀

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. 😀 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. 😀 I thought it was a super fun class! Girls, let me know if the stuff works (or not)!!

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.

Followlogie, Part Deux

My flight to Quebec was uneventful, but passing through customs was a different story. The night before I left, I checked the details on a few of the websites and from what I understood, I only needed a copy of my contract and I’d be fine. That wasn’t the case, apparently.

I had the contract, but because it wasn’t on letterhead, it didn’t look official. The custom’s lady didn’t want to let me through and was very annoyed by me. She didn’t know what lindy hop was and couldn’t understand why I was in Quebec; obviously I was trying to take work from Canadians! After some bickering and the declaration of “I don’t think we are going to let you in”, she had to double check with her superior on whether or not I could pass. He, a sweet old man, asked me a few question (which took all of 120 seconds) and then said “Oh, she’s fine. She’s not taking away jobs from Canadians. She is basically giving a seminar. No one else can do what she is being paid to do.” OMG, what a star! That man totally made my day. In my head I was thinking “IN YOUR FACE!!!” to the lady, but said nothing. I gloated to myself once I completely cleared customs.

Fast Forward.

I finally get where I need to go, am picked up, I swing by the house, change, grab some food, and get ready to teach. My first class was a charleston class (see previous entry) and it went super well. I was so pleased with myself. What was most amusing for me was that I was trying to speak in French, but mostly Spanish was coming out, and occasionally German. I’ll be totally honest, I have NO idea how people keep multiple languages separate in their heads; what a skill! (There are photos of the class that look awesome floating around somewhere, and if I find them, I’ll provide a link.)

After class, the dance started and I had some awesome dances. I danced most of the night and was the only instructor from the weekend out on the floor (small victory moment for me!). I was super sweaty and gross by the end, but man, did I have a good time!!!

Saturday was a great day as well. I taught my class on details, did a private, had an awesome lunch, and then Mickey and I walked around the city. It was rather gray outside, but it didn’t stop us from window shopping!  We wandered into the Crock’s Shop, Aldo (which was having a sale), a pastry store (but didn’t get anything), and then a Ren-Fair store. It had clothing from the middle ages, swords, quills, trinkets, fairies, potions, and more. It was quite the experience. We then hustled back to the classes to eat dinner and then prepared to go home.

Tonight was the big dress-up night, so I got all dolled up in a vintage dress I bought about 10 years ago. Here I am in the dress with Nina. There were some great performances that night and some fun social dancing. For late night, I changed out of my gown and got into some clothes I could dance in. I had some more great dances that night and probably got in bed around 3am.

Sunday was my big day, but I got to sleep in because I didn’t have the first class. Yeah! I started my day teaching a technique class which was packed. I couldn’t believe how many people were there! Lots of great questions were asked and lots of good swivels were done. I had a cute guy named Martin teaching with me (he was my Demo Boy) and he did an awesome job of following me. He could pull in on one, on two and on three every time I asked. Shout out time: He ROCKED! The leads also asked a lot of great questions too. I feel like I got them to think about the options they have, or could have. Any class that gets students thinking about what and why they are doing what they are is a success for me.

The choreography class ended up being a lecture. I walked the students through, step by step, how Kevin and I choreograph, from picking a song, to putting on the final touches of a piece. I thought it was a good class. I haven’t taught it before so I didn’t have a flawless flow, but I still think it went along nicely.

The last class of the day was a class on power moves. I had a bunch of ideas, but only got through 2 of them. The biggest challenge was teaching people to do kick-steps down a line while keeping their rhythm. We added arms on top of that, but mostly it was the legs that proved to be a problem. But everybody looked great in the end. 🙂

That night there was no dance, but there was a dinner for the instructors who stayed around. It was really cool to get to hang out afterward, chat about the weekend, drink a beer, and eat some awesome food. They have a really great thing going in Quebec, and Dominique and Vero did an awesome job getting the weekend together. The students asked great questions and were soaking up the information. Yeah!!!

My flight home took ALL day. I got up around 830am, and didn’t get home until about 8pm that night. That sucks, but that’s what I get for not looking at my ticket more closely.

The exciting thing a bout my flight was that I had a bag-check issue. I almost never check my luggage. I don’t have time for it to get lost or miss a connection, and frankly I just don’t need that much stuff (laundry can be done, after all). Well, the plane from Quebec to Toronto was rather small, and my suitcase wasn’t going to fit in the over head, so I gate checked it, assuming it’d be there at the gate when I arrived. I was wrong. I got off the plane, checked with the stewardess, and she said it’d be there at baggage claim. So I headed towards baggage claim, but for where my connection was going to be. Mistake. My bag went to normal baggage claim, but because I had walked through the special glass doors leading to “American territory”, I couldn’t leave to get my bag. After waiting for my bag at the wrong conveyor belt, and some chatting with the guy at the help desk, he went downstairs to get my luggage. How sweet. Those Canadian – they sure are swell!

All in all, the weekend was awesome on a personal and professional level.

If you have pictures, please link them here, or send them to me. Cheers!!

Followlogie 2008

This was a very special weekend for me, perhaps more than most.

Back at CSC, Dominique and I chatted about her putting on an all-girls weekend in Quebec and wanted to know if I was interested in teaching there. I was stoked to be asked. I also found out that I would be headlining alongside of Nina Gilkenson and Annie Trudeau, both of which are exceptionally talented dancers/teachers.

A little while later I needed to come up with class titles. I am very comfortable teaching solo classes, so I figured a charleston class and jazz movement class would be a piece of cake, but I still needed 3 more ideas. I thought teaching a class on choreography would be cool; I didn’t know whether or not I’d have anything profound to say, but I’d at least share how I go about choreographing. Something that was inspiring me at the time were Power Moves. Mostly I feel like the guys dominate in this field, so I liked the idea of working towards something that girls could do….more of a challenge for me, really. Finally, I needed to do something that would be a partnered class, and what do I know how to teach best at that point (partnered)? Connection!! I figured more technique never hurt anyone.

The official class titles and material:

1.20’s Charleston – a routine to ” Putting on the Ritz” by the Pasadena Roof Orchestra. This was a very girly routine that I picture the girls wearing top hats, tux jackets, and something gold underneath. Oh, and let’s not forget the legs!! This was choreographed as a leggy routine!
2. Focus on the Details – this was a jazz class where I taught [what I consider] “proper” jazz technique and some variations. We covered boogie forwards, suzie q’s, and shorty george. We focused on arm positioning, knees, direction of the feet, and heels.
3.  “Things I wish I knew 5 years ago” – partner technique class. There were soooooo many ideas that I had, but in the end I decided to go with bring the girl in on count 1 vs. 2 vs. 3. There were soooo many students in the class that it was a little difficult to teach, but the students were such troopers about the size and the chaos of learning… was great. The leads had to work on how to change their body in order to delay the lead, and I asked the follows to keep their swivel going instead of dropping it on 1 or 2 (what I mean is that follows will often swivel on count 1 and then walk in on count 2). Finally, I told the follows that I wanted them to swivel under their bodies instead of letting their feet get out in front of them.
4. Choreography 101 – picking a song, mapping it out so you know how many 8 counts, where the phrases are, musical instruments playing, time codes, etc. Some key points: don’t start on the first music beat, I prefer shorter songs than longer songs, learn to edit music, if you have aerials, figure out how long they take and what kind of entrance you need and choreograph around it. We unfortunately didn’t get to the dancing, so it was more lecture….but people held in there.
5. Power Moves – we did brushes that looked like corkscrews, but they had African-inspired arms. We also worked on turning and kicking down a line and adding in some fierce arms. This was my smallest class.

So now to back it up a bit. A week before I left for Quebec I was down in Argentina testing out my charleston material and I found out the routine took at least 2 hours to teach. Not only that, but in that 2 hours I didn’t even finish the routine. The attention to detail that I wanted the students to pay attention to was a bit higher than I normally require, but for me, the greatness of the routine is in the details. The day before I left for Quebec (which was about 15 hours after I got home) I finally accepted that I wasn’t going to be able to teach the whole routine. Perhaps someday though!

Before leaving Argentina I had a tiny moment of panic. “OMG, what if I don’t have any material?” I thought to myself. Well, I already had class titles and I knew what I was going to do for them, so that was me being silly. “OMG, what if I draw a blank and have nothing to teach?” I furthered. The truth is that I would have to make something up on the spot, and over the years I have being proficient at “pulling things out of my ass” (pardon the phrase) and would just deal with it. “GAAAAAHHH, what if they don’t think I am funny?” I questioned. Well, I have had a record of going to foreign countries and having all my jokes bomb (ehhem….Ukraine), but Quebec wasn’t that far away from the States and many of the students were sure to speak English….and I knew some French which due to that lack of my ability to conjugate and some caveman like phrases I was bound to get a laugh or two. “EEEK, what if I taught things that everyone already knew?” See freak-out number 2.  So all of the things that freaked me out I actually had under control. Thank god!!

So after my little brain-fart, I realized how freaking cool it was to be invited to do something like this. There really have only been a hand-full of ladies that have been invited to teach at an all-girls weekend, and I was going to secure my name on that list. Whoopie!! I am very honored that I was invited to teach, especially the part of getting to headline next to Nina and Annie. OMG, how freaking cool!!!

By the end of the weekend I was very proud of myself. Not only had I taught all of my classes, but I felt like I rocked them. I had a blast teaching in my pseudo-French and was stoked that so many people came to my class. I don’t know if anyone really knew who I was before I showed up, but they do now. But more to the point, I did it. I did this on my own. This is an accomplishment that I can give solely to myself. I have had help preparing for this moment for the last 2 years or so, but I had the opportunity to step up to the plate and prove that I am a great teacher on my own, and I did it. Toot Toot!!! Pat on the back!! I am so proud of myself!!!

Moving along.

To be continued….

Inspiration Weekend

I can’t quite tell if Inspiration Weekend was a great weekend due to personal reasons, or because it was a great weekend, so I shall attribute it to both.

On a personal note, seeing Crystal, Nikki & Shesha (and their new baby), Mikey, and Claire was truly satisfying. As much as I felt like I never quite fit in during my time in Orange County, I managed to make some incredibly wonderful friends which made OC feel as much like home as the Bay Area and Seattle (see HOME blog).

But on to the weekend. I taught with Thomas Blacharz (Montpellier, France) and it was awesome as always.  Tommy and I go back to 2005; he invited me out to teach with him in Grenoble, France back before I was known internationally, so that among many reasons, he has a special place in my heart. I was thrilled when Shesha asked me to teach at IW, and even more so when he wanted to bring Tommy over. In life, as in the dance world, what goes around, comes around, and it was nice to get the chance to return the favor to Tommy for bringing me out.
Over the years, not only has Tommy’s English improved, but so has his abilities to explain what he was doing with his body visually and internally. He had recently finished a tour of Korea and Japan and had spent the month thinking and explaining the details of his technique, and his theories rocked my world. (NOTE: Currently my focus in my personal dancing is technique. I feel like I danced for such a long time not truly know what I was doing with my body, why I was doing it, or how to get better, and with the “formal” introduction (haha, or recognition/awareness/whatever ) of technique from Kevin, I finally saw myself change as a lindy hopper (Dax also played a roll in that). I went from being a dancer to a follow (or that was the goal….it’s still a work in progress if you ask me). I wish 5 years ago I had learned, or even heard, the stuff I am teaching now. Summary: technique makes all the difference. If you can’t get to the next level, focus on your technique!
The classes Tommy and I taught were very interesting to me as an instructor and as a follow. Now, a month later, looking back on the classes we taught, I might have taught some of them differently, but the content would have been the same. Tommy was really inspired by rhythms and stretch, and by the end of the weekend I was as well.
All of the classes we taught I enjoyed for different reasons. Our first class we knocked out of the park, if I do say so myself (toot toot). We did a fast dancing class and taught the beginning lindy section to the Ninjammerz Routine and people were loving it. Not everyone stayed for the whole class, but it was still packed by the end. I don’t recall anyone truly getting it, but the heart and spirit of each student were shinning bright. They did an awesome job. Our beginning classes were great; I think by giving the students technique from the beginning was a tad overwhelming, but oh-so-very necessary. By the end of our class, they were asking really great question about technique and leading and follow. The only unfortunate thing about that is that even with the answers we could give them, they weren’t really going to make that much sense until they had more actual time on the dance floor. (Starting to stand up on my chair) But that didn’t matter to them, (arm in the air) they were thirsty for the knowledge of lead and follow technique (now waving and shaking)!!! God the beginners were awesome (getting down from the chair now).

For the Inspiration Class, Tommy and I taught the Slip Slop Shim Sham. We didn’t get through the whole thing, but the class did an awesome job sliding around the floor. I think we got Shesha in trouble with the owner of the place because we used baby powder and should not have. Sorry Shesha!! But the class was awesome; seeing that many students sliding around on the floor was quite the sight.
And last, but not least, Tommy taught a class on rhythm (and I just say Tommy because they were all his ideas) and it was on of the highlights of teaching that weekend. We started with something that looked like a tap exercise: walks, hops, jumps, triples, four-ples (quadruples….you had to be there), and quintuplets. After having the class learn to move throughout five different rhythms, they had to the lead and follow them. Near the end of the class, Tommy whipped out 8 cards number 1-8 and then used his shoes to represent the beats in between beat, and then he had to lead me through the beats he set up. Haha, honestly it was a little stressful because I didn’t know if I was going to get them, but when I remembered that he had to lead me through them, I let it go and just followed what I was told to do. It was truly a show of how amazing Tommy is as a leader and his use of rhythm.

Not only did I have the privilege of teaching with Tommy, but I also got to teach two classes with Mikey Pedroza. For his Inspiration Class, he used a clip of Gene Kelly to show his movement, body control, and grace. To the song “September in the Rain”, Mikey choreographed a really lovely pieces that was rather romantic. We also taught a beginners class and helped them with their body movement and swingout.

The night dances were a blast. The music was awesome, the floor was slick, but not too slick, and there was plenty of water. The contest were fun to watch and difficult to judge. One in particular was the 30 second showcase because almost every couple had music troubles. The volume on the music needed to be all the way up for the start of the music, and instead it faded in, and most people missed their start. Once we (the judges) finally caught on to what was happening, we had a few of the couples go again.

Now to a personal favorite, performances! All the teachers performed in a group number or doing solo numbers. I unfortunately missed Stefan & Bethany and Mike & Casey’s performance (so if you have it, please send me a link), but from what I heard from some of the students, it rocked. Tommy and I performed a piece that he and Alice had choreographed, Dax & Alice made a guest appearance and performed their ILHC Classic Routine, Max and Annie did their winning ILHC Showcase piece, and the Ninjammerz performed.

Shout out time:

* Shesha did an awesome job as a host for the weekend. We stayed in a great hotel not too far away from the event, had a BEVY of people who were ready to give the instructors rides to and from their hotel.  We were also well fed and watered. Shesha had stocked a bunch of waters for us at our hotel and snack bars and chocolates so that we never went hungry – so thoughtful. He also took us all out to eat at an awesome Thai restaurant and had some awesome fucking food. (On a personal note, he and Nikki took very good care of me after the weekend was over. Yeah for friends).
* Nick Williams did an awesome job of skipping me like a rock against the floor. That man is strong, so watch out!

* The line-up of instructors was just as the weekend promised: Inspiring.
* Max and Annie were there, and they dance with more of themselves than any other couple I know. During their performance, Annie knocked Max over with one of their signature moves, and without missing a beat Max popped up off the floor and continued through the choreo as if nothing had happened. It was awesome because I’ve never seen that happen before, and even though it came to a surprise to both of the them, the continued to dance as if nothing out of the ordinary happened. True professional; true performers.
* Mike and Casey were darling as always even though they are a relatively new partnership, they are a classic couple for me. I think they balance each other very nicely and both bring a wide variety of information to the classroom and dance floor. They incredibly knowledgeable about the history of the dance, and Casey has the cutest little hands that are so expressive when she dances!!
* Mikey Pedroza is my supero hero.
* Stefan and Bethany have some of the best movement I’ve ever seen. They have been favorites of mine for quite some time and bring something to the floor that no other couple can. For me they are kind of an underground couple; they don’t have a website, but they do have a following and the people in the know, KNOW (shaking my head YES). I picture that when people write books about the Lindy Hop revival of year 2000 (and beyond!) that S&B with be dancers that are often referenced, but there is limited media of them. I picture them being super respect among the respected. Oh yeah, and their body control and choreography genius make me go “Wooohooooo!”

So the long of the short of it is that as an Instructor I was inspired; as a follow I was inspired; as a performer I was inspired; and as a dancer I was inspired. Shesha delivered exactly as he promised and I had an awesome time.

Next set of Local Classes – August

Hey you guy,

My next set of local classes will be in August, and to keep things consistent, they will still be on Tuesday nights. If you want more info, check it out here.

See you guys then!!!

Oh yes, and don’t forget there is going to be a great workshop August 8-10 in Pittsburgh. Classes taught: solo movement, lindy hop, charleston, tricks, and aerials. Beginners welcome; advance dancers, be prepared! If you consider yourself a (budding) lindy hopper, then you better be there. Bells optional. More info coming soon!

Burlesque in Boston – Sunday

It was soooooooooo difficult to wake up this morning. Last night we all got caught watching America’s Best Dance Crew which is a dance show on MTV that showcases hip hop crews. We couldn’t escape from it even though it promised only a total of 8 minutes of dancing in a 30 minute show; the dancing was just soooooooooo good.

Anyways, the long of the short of it is that we went to bed really, really late last night so waking up this morning sucked! Shaz and I bailed on the 10 am class and decided to go for the 11:30am Chair Dancing class. We stumbled out of bed, strolled by Whole Foods and got to class about half-hour late. However, we hadn’t missed chair dancing, we missed the workout exercise beforehand. I wished I had been there on time because I am feeling like I desperately need to work out.

We learned how to move the chair in various ways, how to walk around it, and how to stand and sit on it. I’d say it was a well-rounded class. Yet it came to my attention that I was out of shape, as in my muscles aren’t as strong as I remember them to be. I miss ballet because I was in much better shape then. My quads and core need work. Sigh.

So then we headed over to Pasty Making and Tassel-twirling. Shaz and I both made some great pastries. Mine are a bit more Vegas than old-school glamor, but I am still rather pleased, and Sharon’s are black with a white lace trim (proper and pretty). Making pasties is easier than I thought and it seems like your imagination and areola size set your limits. Shaz and I are stoked about going to a craft store and getting supplies to make our own pasties. But watch out for the glue; even now as I write this I still have glue stuck on my hands from working with the materials.

Otherwise the day was filled with some jazz dancing (very, very elementary) and learning about how to care for a snake and how to dance with one. The instructor seemed rather nervous, but she spoke clearly and was very informative.

When the day ended we walked back home and enjoyed the sunshine and the pretty houses along Magazine Street. Currently I am getting ready for a nap, some eating in a few hours, and then at some point I’ll need to get ready for tonight’s show. Cat and I have texted today and I am hoping to set up dinner with her tonight.  We’ll see how that goes.

 Things I learned today:

  • in a non-dancer crowd I am a great dancer
  • people come in all different shapes and sizes
  • arts and crafts time is still a lot of fun
  • I need to learn to tassel twirl
  • putting on events aren’t as easy as they look
  • advertising does WONDERS for any event
  • I live a great and easy life

Burlesque in Boston

This weekend Sharon and I are at the Great Boston Burlesque Exposition and we are having a blast!

We just finished our first day of classes and we are very pleased with ourselves. We woke up this morning and walked down to Whole Foods and got ourselves breakfast and then finished walking another 15 minutes to the event. We started our day off with stage fighting where we learned to fall, slap, pull hair, and punch each other. It felt like it was a little early in the morning for combat, but we ended up having a blast smacking each other around. Next we went to the hoola hooping class and had the best time; we are totally inspired and are dying to get home and buy some tubing and start hooping!!! And finally, we took a belly dancing class and spent an hour and a half wriggling and writhing around the room.

After finishing classes we checked out the convention and looked at vintage costumes, jewelry and clothing. We saw some amazing vintage outfits and the feathers and pasties were extraordinary. So inspiring. Then we headed home. The walk was lovely; even though it was windy (and icy wind at that), it was still sunny and warm. Shaz and I admired the colorful houses on the way home and imagined how much window treatments cost.

When we got home, Davis and Juan had just returned from Davis’ family goodbye party and had brought home food! Shaz and I were famished; we dug right in. And then, to make things even better, the cake came out. It was so good that I later described it as making me a better person. Yes – it was that good!

Juan, Shaz, Davis and I did some dancing and listen to music until we had to get ready tonight. Shaz and I were heading back to to Hilton for the main event so we needed to get all dolled up. I must say, we looked rather fabulous, especially in comparison to the boys who were in work out clothes.

The show was great tonight (much better than last night) and we saw some spectacular stuff. The most amusing act was one by a woman dressed up as a Hershey’s Kiss and she WORKED IT! It was one of the funniest/amusing things I have ever seen. There was a troupe of three that danced to the Transvestite Transylvania and it was some of the best dancing and performing of the evening. There were also two of the most elegant costumes I’ve ever seen tonight; both were made of sumptuous-looking silks, had lovely swarovski crystals, and were glamorous beyond words.

During the show we were sitting next to an amusing couple that we ended up chatting to for about an hour after the show. Cat and Jeremiah McCarthy were lovely, funny, passionate, and tons of fun. Shaz ended up chatting with Jeremiah while Cat and I gossiped about life. We live very different lives yet we connected on a very human level. I think we might have dinner with Cat tomorrow night…we’ll see if that pans out. I must say, I love that there are open, interesting people that go to burlesque events and are willing to chat with two dolls like Shaz and myself. What great conversations we had; I was sad to leave.

Off to bed so we can wake up early and do it all again tomorrow.