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. ๐Ÿ˜€

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:ย  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.

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Temple For Performing Arts – Grand Hall

Uh, yeah. GLORRRRRRRRIOUS.

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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

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Classes

The upper-level class was impressively good. I wasn’t expecting such a high level. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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.

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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.

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Hair Tutorial – Day 28

It’s the last day for hair tutorial month and I’ve learned so much. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep myself from being so dull with my hair (even though I think hiding under a beret is nice….and a basic ponytail is rather can be rather pretty)!

A few things I’ve learned about hair tutorials:

1) They don’t look very difficult to film. Perhaps I should do one?!
2) People have some UGLY backdrops!
3) There is lots of talky-talky and some of us just want an expedited version. Sigh….just like in dance classes….there are the talkers and there are the make-the-students-dance-ers.
4) People can make funny faces while using hairspray. This makes me slightly insecure about what silly facial expressions I must have that I don’t know about and that my friends are too kind to tell me about. ๐Ÿ™‚
5) The definition of long, medium, and short hair is very flexible. Apparently, what I consider medium length hair is what some people consider to be short.
6) I’ll never have hair the right length. It’s either too short or too long for everything! Hahha, perhaps you feel the same way.
7) I keep finding bobby pins in the oddest places!

Alright. Time for our last video. This kinda (eeek….sorta *squint) relates to fashion in the lindy hop scene. We wear bows in our hair, but what if we were to make our hair into a bow!!! I know you’ve always been wondering how to do this, so here’s the tutorial for you!!

In case you don’t have that much hair, fret not, here’s a video with “little hair”. OMGoodness, the Japanese are so cute!!

Here’s two more for good measures. This chick has shorter hair (as opposed to “little hair”) and can still make this happen. No excuses! Fast forward to 3:50 start ๐Ÿ™‚

Different technique. I’ll probably use the second one (starts at 4:10) on my hair.

Ladies, I want to see some Gaga Bows at the next few events. I’ll be Stateside in starting tomorrow and will see some of you at Heartland Swing Festival, then at Southwest Lindyfest, and then at Guys & Girls Gone Wild!! I want to see something from this past month at one of those three events. Come show me so we can take pictures together….it’d be very Japanese for us to do that. Peace-su!!

Oh yeah, and if you don’t know about those events, scroll to the top of the page, click on my calendar, scroll down to the appropriate month, and click on the links! Cheers!!

It’s be a Febru-hairy of a month!!!!