I needed to put a performance together for when I was in Greece a few weeks ago and I was thinking about doing my old fan dance from Lindy Focus VIII. After some thought, I figured I should push myself to come up with something new, something better. Somehow I decided that a drunken striptease would be the way to go, and who better to help me out than Kevin!
After performing the number in Greece, I figured I was brave enough to perform it at Lindy Focus X. Here is me being as silly as I can be during opening night!
The great thing about “acting drunk” is that it covers up a lot of the flaws in the dancing 😀
I LOVE performing this number. It’s unlike everything else I do and have done. Getting to strip down to my skivvies has always been a dr……..what am I saying?!! It was nerve-wracking as all hell, but it was a blast. I figured of all crowds, this would be one that could appreciate my silly sense of humor. I think what I like most about it is that I get to be incredibly silly! The dancing is by no means spectacular in this, but the “acting” was really fun to do.
Some photos from the show:
Thank you Jesse Keener for taking some awesome shots of me!! xx
Now it’s time to talk Costume!!
The black thing with the fringe on it….I found that at Red Light in Seattle and it fit perfectly. It was just a black shell, so all the accoutrements that you see were added after the fact (huge thanks go out to the sensational Miss Indigo Blue). I played with the idea of having ugly underwear on at the end (so not only do I come home drunk, and slightly useless, but I have Laundry Day undies on ….hahahha), but Kevin vetoed that idea.
The nude slip thingy was also acquired at Red Light. I found some diamond stickers that I put onto the front so there was some sparkle to the costume.
I bought the skirt from Betsey Johnson two years ago and it was worth every penny!!
I borrowed the scarf from my mother.
The gloves came from Amazon and are cheap, satin gloves. I found some fun heart-shaped jewels and glued them on the side of the gloves and added a tassel to the end.
The jacket came from Macy’s this March on super sale. God, I love that coat!
The black hair flower is from H&M and I bought it less than a week ago.
And there you have it! Hope you enjoyed the ridiculousness of it all 😀
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. 😀
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 🙂 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.
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!
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!!
Oh, the things you find online when you are up at odd hours. I fell asleep at 8pm and woke up at 2am. Needless to say I needed something to keep me busy!
I stumbled upon this great shop called New York Design Shop. I just ordered some appliques and trim and once I get the loot, I’ll let you know about the quality. Soooooo….yeah, I now have some super-fun ideas on how I can spiff up some of my boring shirts and add some flashy details to new costumes!
This stuff is stupid-amazing. If you’re looking for a fabulous costume piece, or purely a conversation starter, this is where to go. Here is a sampling of the glorious pieces that caught my eye. If you’re looking for more, click on any of the pictures or the banner above to enter into a magical, costume world.
I figured I should own a pair of character shoes being that I’d like to break into the “real dance world”. I think every female dancer on stage I have seen owns a pair and by golly, I figure I’ll “fake it ’til I make it!” until I do (specifically I mean outside of the lindy world).
Bloch SFX split sole heels
“The Bloch SFX Split Flex enables the dancer to better articulate as it works with the foot to provide a great range of movement and a beautiful, extended line when the dancer is pointing. A versatile character shoe, the SFX Split Flex I suitable for character dance and interdisciplinary demi-character work. Smooth leather upper. T-strap with adjustable buckle and small hidden elastic gore around ankle for a comfortable, personalized fit, allowing movement of the foot. Shorter shank and elastic goring that wraps around the underside of the shoe combine to enhance the dancer’s pointe. External stabilizer reinforces the heel without compromising the flexibility of the shoe enabling the dancer to feel supported and secure. Soft leather lining. Cushioned insole for comfort. Suede forefoot outsole facilitates turning and sliding while providing some grip.”
I’ve had these guys for two months and absolutely love them. They run a tiny bit small, but because the shoes is made of soft leather, they’ll stretch a wee bit to your feet. They are rather plain looking, but if you adorn them with ribbons or any flashy shoe buckle thing, they’ll look stunning. The night I got them I rehearsed in them for an hour and my feet were completely fine (yeah for comfortable shoes!!!). I can still point my toes and control my balance in these no problem. The shoe has a 2 1/2″ heel on them, so they aren’t too tall to start off with if you haven’t worked in heels before. I would absolutely recommend buying these guys if you were on the look out for character-esque shoes.
Final note: I ordered these guys off of Zappo’s and they came the next day. Kinda scary how fast they shipped, but I ordered them at 4pm on a Thursday and they arrived by 10am on Friday. Maybe they ship from PA, but really it’s just that they are THAT good.
We all know by now Cyd Charisse passed away last week. She was an inspiration to many, and to myself. She was only 5’6″, but had legs for days! Here she is in one of my favorite role of hers; Singin’ in the Rain. Who didn’t need a green dress just like this after they saw this?! Read about her life here.