Follow-Up on Followlogie

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.

Can-Can with Evita:

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!

Here are some more photos from the evening:

Dancing with Nina and the gals:

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!!

Favorite posts from AoM

Here are some favorite posts from The Art of Manliness.

How to apologize like a man – when to and not to apologize

How To End a Relationship Like a Man

Stop Hanging Out With Women and Start Dating Them – interesting

A Treatise on the Mustache – there has been a recent uprising in “stache” lately in the lindy community, so here is some history.

How to give and take criticism like a man

The Brad Pitt Rule – very amusing

Asking a Woman’s Father For Her Hand In Marriage

The Case for Marriage – I found this interested because I have not been a proponent of marriage

7 Lessons in Manliness From the Greatest Generation – awesome!

Cowboys Recipes That’ll Put Hair on Your Chest – Sonofabitch Stew sounds hearty!

And last, but not least: 7 Basic Knots Every Man Should Know

Embarrassing Moment

Tonight my family and I went out to one of the all-time great sushi restaurants called Umi Sake House in Belltown and we embarrassed ourselves.

We were seated immediately and within 3 minutes of being there, we had our hot tea and our miso soup. The service was incredible. We ordered Yuki Kage (sake), Legends of the Roll (OMG, amazing – sweet and crunchy), Thunderball, Tarantula Extreme (which had jalapeño peppers and spicy mayonnaise), and a plate of sashimi. About 5 minutes after we ordered the three rolls came out. Not five minutes later did Lawrence, our server, come to deliver the plate of sashimi and all but 4 pieces of the three rolls were left standing. We had destroyed them. After Lawrence said that we had dominated the sushi, I told him that I was embarrassed by how quickly we all ate.

About 10 minutes later he came back to check on us and luckily we still had some sashimi left. I told him “I am sure you are going to talk to your co-workers about how this family came in and within five minutes of getting 3 plates of food, all of it was gone! But….try not to make it sound like it was, ok?” He laughed and confirmed that he was indeed going to tell his co-workers.

To top off being such piggies, we ordered dessert. Not one, but two. We had a mochi taster (4 different kinds of mochi – they are the size of a silver dollar) and deep fried ice cream. However, this time, we managed not to throw the food down our throats and we savored the flavors. We ate slowly. We ate delicately. We enjoyed the moment. It was very satisfying.

How embarrassing. I bet that guy had never had a table eat so quickly. If tables turned around like that, there’d never be a wait at dinner time.

Italy – Day 2

Relatively, this has been the most relaxing 2 days I have had in weeks.

It was a long day getting to Genova, but relatively easy (this is Wednesday). The Hamburg Airport was easy to get to and easy to get through, but Charles de Gaule was quite the opposite. Kev and I landed at the D gate and then had to go to the G gate. We were planning on walking to that gate, but it wasn’t even on the airport map (click on link above)! We ended up taking the bus to the G gate, which was also in Terminal 2, but once we got there, we decided that it should have been labeled Terminal 3 because it was so far away!

There was a Paul (a bakery chain in France) there that I wanted to buy either a sandwich or a goodie from, but decided that getting through security, again, was more important. My experience in Europe at airport security is one I would describe as a crap-shoot; sometimes I don’t have to take anything out of my baggage but have to remove my coat, and other places I have to take my computer, liquids, coats, shoes, and anything that jingles out and/or off. My experience at the G gate was of the latter. Even after taking everything out, one of the security persons went through my bag and took out a lip gloss, my hand sanitizer, and my deodorant. Since when did deodorant make the list?! The security woman then proceeded to put these articles in a plastic bag and then sent me on my way. What was the point of putting these articles in another plastic bag? Hmm…..

For the next hour Kev played video games at the Play Station hub. I flipped through some fashion magazines before I gave up (I was bored) and then went to poke at Kev. Then the weirdest thing happened. Our gate was finally posted so we headed through some serious-looking double doors, and then it was only Kev and me walking down a super long hallway. Alone. It was so weird. I felt like we had broken through a “Safe Area” and were making a break for it. Bizarre! And then, all of a sudden we were in another wing, where there were 6 new gates. Where were these guys hiding? I totally should have taken a video of the experience, but I couldn’t stop experiencing the moment….so I didn’t get my camera out. Between the colored windows and us being the only two people in the vicinity, it was a surreal experience.

We got to Italy without any problems and Silvia was waiting for us when we arrived. We puttered around the parking lot for a bit until we figured out how to exit, and then headed home, where Silvia had turned the heat on high for me. She remembered that I was rather cold last time I was here, so she turned her downstairs into the tropics. Oooh, it was (and is) so warm down here!! We dropped our stuff off and then headed to dinner.

We went to one of the places we went last year, and the three of us were the only people in the restaurant. However, within 5 minutes 12 more people arrived for dinner. Good timing on our behalf. After ordering food, Bruno, Silvia’s husband, arrived and we had a pesto feast! Kev and I shared gnocchi and a flat pasta cover in homemade pesto! OMG, delicious!!!! After we polished off our enormous plates, then plates of carpaccio with hunks of parmesan. Again, delightful! The boys shared their meat with us ladies. 😀 Then, as if we had space, we had dessert. Kev had ice cream with chocolate sauce and I had a caramel pudding.

We rolled home a bit later and Kev and I settled in for the night. I riffled through the movie selection upstairs and found some goodies to watch. After Kev jerry-rigged a DVD watching-station by putting his laptop on a box, on the bed, we finally got down to watching The Contract which had Morgan Freeman and John Cusack. It was rather predictable and not terribly complex, but still a fun movie to veg out to.

This morning I woke up at about 1am and Kev got up around 2pm and then had an outstanding lunch with Silvia and Bruno upstairs. I was planning on eating something light because I was still rather full from the night before, but the spread was too good to pass up. There was hand made olive-bread (my favorite) and foccacia something-or-rather bread, pasta, salad, carpaccio with parmesan, and Italian coffee. OMG, what a little piggy I felt like! The food was great, but the fact that Silvia bought all the fixings earlier and and then made us lunch was the best part about it. Silvia took amazing care of us last May when we were here, and has already out-done herself. What a wonderful hos she is!

After lunch we sauntered back downstairs into the heat and continued to veg out. Kev watched Dan in Real Life (an excellent movie, btw) while I updated my calendar, wrote some emails, and then went online shopping at www.modcloth.com. As per usual I didn’t buy anything, but I got to look around and tempt myself with fun looking boots and dresses.

Silvia came down right as I was showing Kev some of the clothes I was pretending to buy myself and she recognized the designers. Not only that, but she had a bunch of the clothing. What were the chances that an Italian woman would have some obscure American designer? I followed Silvia upstairs to her room and then saw her closet. It really can only be described as a bedroom for her clothing. The ceilings are at least 10 ft high, and there is an island in the middle of the room. I have seen closets like this in magazines, but never in person. Wow. So we looked through some of her clothing and I found 18 dresses to try one. The two of us brought them downstairs and I proceeded to try all of them on. About half hour later, Kev told me which one’s he like best, and now I think I am going to borrow them for this weekend. Along this clothing journey, Kev and I figured out what colors work with my skin tone, and which ones don’t, what skirt lengths are good, and what necklines work for me. I have to say, that was pretty fun for me; having Kev give me feedback was kinda like having a girlfriend there, yet could still tell me in the most platonic way that one dress was sexier than another. Nice.

About half hour after the fashion show, Silvia came back from work and took us out to dinner. We went to a restaurant which she regularly frequents and had the place to ourselves. I wanted soup and they had one with muscles, so I ordered that, and a plate of grilled vegetables. Kev and Silvia got handmade pizza, and Bruno and his buddies got pasta and lobster. My soup was actually muscles with broth and my plate of veggies was the size of my torso. I thought I was ordering small, but boy was I wrong. There was sooooooo much food at the table, but the boys were able to finish all their food. Bruno and his buddies had a plate of cheese after dinner, then coffees, and then Grappa. What Italian men!

Since getting home an hour ago, Kev and I have been listening to some of his new music and I’ve been writing on my computer. Bed is calling my name, but I need to make sure I set myself an alarm for tomorrow before I succumb to the bed-siren’s call. I have a dentist appointment tomorrow!!!!

Oh yeah, and it snowed tonight.