Being in Greece

Right now Kevin and I are in the middle of a four week tour across the globe: Seattle, WA; Thessaloniki, Greece; Melbourne, Australia; and Barcelona, Spain. On one hand, I’ll be the first to tell you I know how lucky Kevin and I are to get to travel to all these fabulous places. On the other hand, think about how much time I must spend in the air to get from place to place. Pull out a map quickly and just take a look at the distance……..I’ll wait……..yeah, silly, right? I thought so too, but I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to go to a new country and hang out on the beach!!

Ok, so to the point of this post. I knew when I left Pittsburgh two weekends ago I’d need to pack for winter (Seattle and Melbourne) and summer (Greece and Spain) so I brought some skirts and some rompers and then things to layer under them. So far it’s worked out just fine. That being said, it completely escaped me that I would need sunblock, a hat or bug spray, or anything else beach related. I was in H&M while in Seattle and I remember seeing the wide-brimmed sun hats and I thought to myself “Goodness, how silly! Who on earth would buy such a hat? I mean, really. Look at the weather, it’s all cold and rainy.” So unfortunately, I missed my opportunity to buy a US$10 hat and instead got to buy one here for 20 euros (about U$30). Great. To top it off, sunblock was another 15 euros. *feigned smile

Arrr!! I think people should pay for their stupidity and clearly that is what’s happening here. That being said, my skin is totally work 35 euros. Now, bug spray on the other….well, I decided to skip on that much to my skins’ dismay. The mosquitos come out at dusk and of course, that’s the best time to rehearse; it’s not too hot, not too cold, nice breeze, and the dance floors are available. Hehe, sound like Herrang anyone?

So enough griping; life is freaking amazing here. I’ve been waking up most mornings between 8-8:30 to the sun shimmering on the water. And it’s quiet. Oh, so lovely. I’ll post pictures once I’m not paying for internet by the Mb. Classes have been going well and surprisingly, the music has been outstanding. The DJs on Thursday night played one of the best set lists I’ve heard all year (more on who that was later). Otherwise, this is one of the first place I’ve taught at that is supposed to be a holiday + work that actually feels like a holiday!!

Be fabulous and enjoy your week!!!

xoxo

Jo

Oh, and btw, there have been lots of “It’s all Greek to me” jokes being thrown around. 😀

Swing, Brother Swing 2010

I must applaud Silvia for putting on such a wonderful event this year. Swing, Brother Swing was originally a boogie woogie event, yet billed as a lindy event, and has finally turned the corner and has become a proper lindy event (thank goodness). I’d say the biggest change has come from the clientele; three years ago there were very few, if any, Italian lindy hoppers, and now they number in the low hundreds. The ex-boogie dancers can’t escape their roots, but the new slue of beginning and intermediate dancers are truly lindy hoppers (in the sense they have no other dance background).

Silvia and Bruno are the organizers of Swing, Brother Swing and put countless hours into turning their boogie event into a proper lindy hop extravaganza. This year had a lindy-only line-up of instructors: Steven & Virginie, Dax & Alice, Mike & Nina, Joseph & Trisha, Joel & Valerie, and all the Killer Dillers: Kevin & Jo, Sharon & Juan, and Nathan & Evita. What a great group! From my perspective, it was fantastic to have my entire team there as well as some great friends. One of the highlights of the weekend was on Sunday night after our late dinner. Mike, Nathan, and Kevin had their instruments out and Nathan and Evita sang along (yup, Nathan does both). Sharon kept rhythm with some brushes; Dax and Sarah social danced; Mindaugas, Alice, and I worked on moves; Juan went back and forth between dancing and watching videos; and some Italians watched the spectacle in awe. The group just clicked and we had a blast! Definitely one of the best late nights I’ve had this year.

So the teaching line-up was solid, and so were the DJs. Silvia brought in Swingin’ Swannee (from Berlin) and Mindaugas (from Lithuania) to DJ when we didn’t have live music. They played some great stuff….stuff I think most of the Italian scene hadn’t heard before. To top that off, we had The Nine Pennies and The Nine Pennies Big Band, with whom the Killer Dillers performed live. They’ve come a long way since Kevin and I first danced to them in 2008. Roberto, the director and composer for the NPBB, did an outstanding job of writing out 9 songs for the show we did on Saturday. Given, he’d written out the score for The Big Apple the year prior, but still….that’s a ton of work!

So here’s the run down of the show. On Saturday, each Killer Diller taught 2 classes, did a double rehearsal, and put on a live 30 minute show to the Nine Pennies Big Band. For us as performers, this was a huge opportunity. This was our first show to a live band in Italy! EEEEKKK!

Some challenges that made the show all the more exciting:
1) We all live in various places and subsequently have very different travel schedules
2) Because of that, our rehearsal time as a group of 6 is extremely limited (6 hours total this weekend. Last group rehearsal was in December for Lindy Focus)
3) To top it off, we have to do choreo via video (eek….what if we weren’t perfect on video? What if we weren’t specific enough? etc.)
4) We were not able to get the music before the show, so we had to assume what we’d be performing to was going to be similar to our recordings
5) When we did our run throughs with the band, not all the members were there, so we weren’t quite sure what the final sound would be like
6) Due to an Icelandic volcano erupting, I couldn’t get back home and get our costumes together. Evita and Nathan had to scramble around NY and find something suitable. Needless to say, they found better costumes that I originally did.
7) During a live show, anything can happen: the band might play at a different tempo than in rehearsal, the solos sound different, costume pieces don’t do what they’re supposed to, lighting might be in the wrong spot, etc.

Knowing that, here’s the show:

Killer Diller Show at Swing Brother Swing, Bologna Italy, May 2010 from Killer Dillers

Yeah yeah yeah!!!

In regards to the rest of the weekend, the food was great, the company was fantastic, the rooms were nice, we had water, the sounds systems worked, the students were great and our translators were awesome. As an organizer, Silvia and Bruno took great care of us, threw a great event, and were all around awesome. Oh yeah, and the Showcase and Team competition were tons of fun! This year we saw significantly more lindy hop!!

xoxo

Lone Star 2010

It sounds like Lone Star Championships was the place to be this past weekend. I’ve been checking out videos on youtube and I have to say, I think I missed out! If I hadn’t been working, I would have been there. Buggar!!! Ok, next year, I am there. This is me saying that once I know the dates for Lone Star 2011, I am blocking out those dates!

So here are some videos that caught my eye:

You have to wait for the “Super” song starting at 2:17. The amount of humping, shaking and hair swirling is fantastic. And to top it off, Naomi has to break it up at the end. Incredible!

Speaking of Naomi, she is just awesome in this! And Todd….holy crap!! So here’s the thing: If you’re an advance-intermediate dancer, you should be able to lead everything he did: swing outs, tuck turns, circles, jig walks, and kick ups, hell….even I can. But what he’s doing is so much more than just those moves. It’s the quality of his movement, the musicality, the simplicity, and the beauty of his dirty style. Now that, my friends, is some fine self-expression!

How cool is this that two partners drew themselves in the J&J (and so early in their partnership)! Sarah is an up & comer in the International Lindy scene and she’s fierce. Just check her out in the second song. Sarah kills it!! Fierce. Can’t wait to see what the girl brings next.

Here’s my girl Evita and the honorary Killer Diller, Michael. I first saw this number at ILHC 2009 and I shed a tear. It’s a gorgeous number and the two of them dance it so beautifully. I guess I shouldn’t expect anything less from two professional dancers from New York. 😉

And for the last video of this post:

Juan freaking KILLS it in the semi-finals. Tons of people are going to watch the finals, but I think it’d be such a shame to miss this. Movement, musicality, and a muscle shirt…..a-Mazing!