The 2011 Swing/Jazz Dance Music Video Contest

Seattle Vintage Jazz Dance is proud to present… the 3rd Annual Swing/Jazz Dance Music Video Contest! The first contest was a resounding success, and the second year was just as amazing! We hope that this year’s contest will be even better!

Have you ever watched one of those old-time soundies and thought that you’d like to be in one yourself? Too shy to dance in front of a live audience but still want to show off your stuff?

You now have a chance to let your imagination go wild and and create what might become the best swing (or jazz) dance music video of 2011! This year’s contest includes permission to use music by Casey MacGill’s Blue 4 Trio, Crytzer’s Blue Rhythm Band, and the Solomon Douglas Swingtet!*

The first place prize is a $700 cash prize and 40 free admission passes to the HepCat Productions weekly swing dance. Second prize is a $150 cash prize.

If you wish to submit an entry to the contest, please read through this web site, especially the FAQ section. The contest deadline is June 02, 2011. You may enter, or participate in, as many videos as you’d like. See contest rules for details.

Entries are to be submitted no later than 11:30PM PDT on Thursday, June 02, 2011.

Please note: you do not have to be from Seattle in order to enter!

FAQs

Contest Details

Music

Also, check out the previous two years’ video contest entries to see all the cool and crazy things that people did!

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. 😀

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:  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.

~

Temple For Performing Arts – Grand Hall

Uh, yeah. GLORRRRRRRRIOUS.

~

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

~

Classes

The upper-level class was impressively good. I wasn’t expecting such a high level. 🙂 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.

~

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.

.

Crazy Rhythm Challenge 2011

Last year I was in France around the end of February and I was incredibly sick. I had just picked up bronchitis and walking pneumonia and I was dying. OMgoodness, it was awful. This year, however, I had the luxury of being alive and had a fabulous time dancing with the French. In case you don’t travel internationally and/or haven’t made your way out to France yet, there are some incredibly great dancers there. It’s impressive. Sharon and I judged the leaders in the J&J that weekend and I think everyone of them were great dancers. There were….26 of them. Rad. Needless to say I had an incredible time social dancing!

Kevin and taught 6 partnered class (2 for each level) and then 2 solo classes. We did leading and following rock steps, triple steps, and weight changes in open position and close position for the beginners. With the intermediates, we did our “Touch Me” class which is a progression of 7 moves. In the top level we showed the difference between walking, triple steps, syncopated rock steps, and bouncing and then built on that by adding in turns. Kevin also taught solo jazz and a hat trick class and I taught solo jazz and a burlesque class. More on that later.

Not that these videos will actually do the event justice, but here are some snippets from the weekend. And a big Thank You to Anne-Helen and Bernard. Thanks for taking such great care of us and congratulations on finishing the studio 20 minutes before the event started! 😀

The winning team routine:

Nicolas Deniau & Mikaela Hellsten winning showcase:

The Charleston final at CRC 2011 with Mikaela Hellsten, Oliv Wan, Fabien Vrillon, Tatiana and Julien Stoehr

Blues Finals with Julien Stoehr, Gigi, and Pauline:

It was audience judged and they couldn’t decide who was the winner so they needed one more song.

Gigi won. Well done missy!

A fun Hat Trick performance by Bernard and Charly, his son.

Another showing of Communication:

I really like performing Communication in that dress. I recently put those tights in my regular rotation and I like them. They aren’t super flashy, but they are subtle and have a little bit of flare.

Something that made performing in that space kinda fun was that the lights were behind us. While performing, I could see the faces in the audience really, really well. However, when I was judging, I could clearly see the outline of the dancers, but not really their facial expressions. If we are invited back to perform next year, I’m hoping to choreograph something that would utilize the lighting better. The smoke machine and lighting set a very magical, almost mystical atmosphere. Love it!

Otherwise, I can’t find the J&J footage or the strictly. Does anyone have that?

Vote for Dax & Sarah

Two of my loveliest, gorgeous, talented friends are currently competing on CBS Live To Dance. Dax Hock and Sarah Breck are doing a fantastic job representing Lindy Hop to the mainstream media and is bring such much needed recognition to a dance form that is under appreciated.

Please take a minute to VOTE FOR THEM. There are 3 ways to vote for your favorite acts on Live To Dance:

1) Call  1-855-live-to-5  10 times
2) text the number 5 to 97979 10 times
3) Voting online: go here to the website to become a registered user of cbs.com in order to vote. Do this 25 times!

Voting via toll-free and text message will remain open for 2 hours after the show broadcast in each region. Online voting will remain open until 9:00 am PT/ 12 noon ET each Thursday.

Here’s a snippet from the show before they made it to semi-finals.

Now go vote 45 times! xoxo

Dearest Dax, I hope you back gets better. I know this darn injury has been chasing you for a while. Darling Sarah, keep doing what you’re doing. I wish you both the best of luck. Thank you for representing lindy hop. We all love you. xoxo

UPDATED: Here’s there performance from tonight

ULHS 2010

I didn’t know what to expect since I haven’t been to ULHS since 2007, but I’ll tell you, it’s magical, and then some.

I’ve had a hard time finding video from the weekend for some reason. If you find a better quality video than the one I have up, please let me know and I’ll repost. If you find more video from the weekend that should be up here, please let me know and I’ll throw it up into the mix.

The music was ridiculous all weekend long and the weather was perfect. The food was good, transportation was easy, drinks were cheap, and the company was as fabulous as expected. I missed seeing the members of Hot Club Stomp, but they were off at various gigs (which is the same reason I haven’t been at ULHS for the past few years). Sosh & Lisa, thanks for taking care of me. Andrew, thanks for throwing down with me. Lindsay, thanks for being all-around awesome.

Let me throw out a HUGE congratulations to Juan & Sharon for winning Showcase and Showdown!

Congratulations to Sharon and Kevin for winning the Slow Blues!

Congratulations and thank you from the bottom of my dancing heart to Evita Arce for killin’ it in the Solo Blues competition!

Congratulations to Bobby Bonsey for his Solo Jazz win. That back flip was ridiculous!

Final Battle

Congratulations to Rainer Rhythm for their Team victory!

Click here to check it out. Yeah Seattle!!

ILHC Results 2010

Showcase:
1 – Max Pitruzzella & Annie Trudeau
2 – Davis Thurber & Claudia Joyal-Laplante
3 – Patrick Szmidt & Natasha Ouimet

Classic:
1 – Thomas Blacharz & Alice Mei
2 – Kevin St. Laurent & Jo Hoffberg
3 – Nick Williams & Laura Keat

Champion Strictly
1 – Max Pitruzzella & Annie Trudeau
2 – Nick Williams & Laura Keat
3 – Kevin St. Laurent & Carla Heiney

Invitational Jack & Jill:
1 – Todd Yannacone & Annie Trudeau
2 – Jeremy Otth & Carla Heiney
3 – Skye Humphries & Laura Keat

Solo Charleston:
1 – Kevin St. Laurent
2 – Max Pitruzzella
3 – Bobby Bonsey

Pro-Am:
1 – Oscar Hampton & Annie Trudeau
2 – Alisha Ruiss & Max Pitruzella
3 – Eric Lim & Laura Glaess

Cabaret:
1 – Jerry, the Hip Hop Specialist
2 – Naomi Uyama
3 – Top Drawer

Advanced J&J:
1 – Thomas Blacharz & Mikaela Hellsten
2 – Mike Roberts & Natasha Ouimet
3 – Andreas Olsson & Kate Hedin

All Around Awesome and Has Given something to the scene that will forever change it for the better:

Andrew Thigpen and Karen Turman

Open Strictly Lindy:
1 – Jamie Cameron & Gina Helfrich
2 – Daryl Begin & Jennifer Stout
3 – Anthony Chen & Rachel Green

Strictly Balboa:
1 – Mickey Fortanasce & Kelly Arsenault
2 – Bobby White & Kate Hedin
3 – Todd Yannacone & Mia Goldsmith

Balboa J&J:
1 – Adam Speen & Mia Goldsmith
2 – Bobby White & Heather Ballew
3 – Patrick Szmidt & Nelle Cherry

Open J&J:
1 – Mitchel & Lauren
2 – Elliot Susel & Hanna Sigurdh
3 – Paul Echevarria & Andrea Gordon

Team:
1 – Swinging Airforce
2 – Top Notch
3 – The Woodside Jumpers

If you’d like to see the actual score sheets, please click here! Thanks for taking pictures Patrick & Natasha!

`

Favorite Moments at ILHC 2010

If you didn’t make it to ILHC 2010, I am very sorry, because it was one of the greatest competition weekends I feel the scene has had in a few years. Not everyone was able to make it this year – Frida, Zacke, Sharon Davis, Juan, Dax, and Sarah to name a few – but there was still an amazing showing of people. There were so many inspiring moments that I’d have a hard time thinking that anyone could walk away without the feeling of “WOW.”

People brought their A-Game and that’s all there is too it. In many ways, I didn’t feel like the placement matter….everybody rocked.

Here are some favorite moments:

Solo Charleston Contest

My dance partner kicked ass and won! Not only that, but he had someone do a front flip over his head, and he still won. That’s gotta say something!

Invitational Jack and Jill Lindy – Todd Yannacone & Annie Trudeau

There are many reasons to include this – like the fact they won – but the reason I do is because of what Todd said before he went out. During Skye’s and Laura’s dance, Skye brought Laura and himself over to the Baltimore Section of the floor. Todd smiled and said that was a cheap shot. Then, when it was Todd’s turn, he not only took the SAME “cheap shot”, but then blew that shot out of the water! He went to the Baltimore corner, showed Annie off to the judges, then to the far corner, and then ran by all the the instructors sitting on stage. Hahaha….very, very amusing.

Invitational Jack and Jill Lindy – Stefan Durham & Jo Hoffberg

The dances I have with Stefan are like none other. He is super creative and I dig his lines. Fun Fact: he drew me in the J&J at ILHC in 2008 as well!

ILHC 2010 – Showcase – Max Pitruzzella & Annie Trudeau

There are sooooooo many things that can be said about this gorgeous routine. The energy, their creativity, their musicality, their aerials, their….. everything. Congratulations to both Max & Annie on their win.

ILHC 2010 – Showcase – Andrew Thigpen & Karen Turman

They killed it!!!!!!!!! Andrew and Karen ARE the spirit of Lindy Hop, according to me. They bring so much energy, heart, and love to the dance, it’s inspiring. I am so honored to have made it into Lindy Hop History this way. For me, this dance will be one to stand the test of time. If only two clips of lindy hop were to survive an apocalypse, I hope it’d be Hellzapoppin’ and this one.

ILHC 2010 – Classic Lindy – Thomas Blacharz & Alice Mei

After they came off the floor, I told them I thought they were the couple to beat. What an amazing job they did!!! The choreography is musical and intricate, they performance is stunning, and frankly, the just danced the shit out of that routine!

ILHC 2010 – Classic Lindy – Kevin St. Laurent & Jo Hoffberg

I am adding myself to the list because I am super proud of what Kevin and I did. This is our first Classic piece and the reviews we’ve been given were pretty spectacular. What was most noteworthy to me about this performance was that I felt like we had SO MUCH TIME while performing. Normally I have to think about the choreography and focus on the details while performing, but here, I had time to look at the audience, the judges, and Kevin. I just felt like…..it was effortless. That was a first for me. 🙂

ILHC 2010 – Pro Champions Strictly Lindy – Finals

I thought this was a great showing for the pros AND it was a return to the old school. Kevin & Carla reunited to kick some ass (they took 3rd), Skye and Naomi danced together, and Todd and I competed (we were partners many years ago). It was an old school battle.

And Finally, the Yes Dance!

Yeah, this isn’t the one that was done, but I can’t find a link to it. If you find it, please let me know!!!

ILHC 2010 – Charleston and Classic

ILHC 2010 – Charleston Solo – Finals – Spotlights

ILHC 2010 – Charleston Solo – Finals – All Skate

COMPETITION RESULTS

1. Kevin St. Laurent
2. Max Pitruzzella
2. Bobby Bonsey

CLASSIC DIVISION

Tommy Blacharz & Alice Mei

Mikey Pedroza and Nikki Marvin

Mike Roberts and Laura Glaess

Kevin St. Laurent & Jo Hoffberg

Oskar Markusson & Mikaela Hellsten

Nick Williams & Laura Keat

Joshua Welter & Mélanie Huot-Lavoie

RESULTS FROM CLASSIC:

1. Thomas Blacharz & Alice Mei
2. Kevin St. Laurent & Jo Hoffberg
3. Nick Williams & Laura Keat