Performing in Greece


This was a ton of fun for me to do. It’s been 5 weeks since I’ve performed a jazz routine, and before that, man, I couldn’t tell you when the last time was I performed jazz.


Really, and truly, the last time we are performing “Communication.” We wanted to have a new routine by this date, but Kevin’s been injured the last 8 weeks and haven’t been able to train, so unfortunately, we didn’t have anything else together. That being said, it sounded like the Greeks were super happy to get to see it live. Thank you guys, SO much, for being so enthusiastic about the routine!


The floor was a little…iffy in some place. πŸ˜€


Even though Kev missed some of the elbow catches in the beginning, he nails them at the end! Love when he catches the hat on his face and puts one arm/finger in the air telling the crowd that he nailed it!


Two couple version of Sharon’s awesome routine πŸ˜€ I’m going to do a post dedicated just to this routine shortly.

Hope you enjoyed the show!!

CSI 2011 – Friday Performances

It was opening night and all the teachers had a little sum’im-sum’im to throw down. Heheh, we might have done the Friday and Saturday show differently had Sharon’s luggage arrived sooner. Regardless, it was a great show! Juan & Sharon opened the Friday night show with Ballin’ the Jack, which looked amazing! Unfortunately, I can’t find video from it. Anyone have it?

Bear Mash Blues

That floor was SO slippery in those shoes, my goodness! Otherwise…..booty!

Hat Trick Tranky Doo

I think this might be the first time Kevin performed this without his buddy Tops. Good on ‘im!

Black Swan

Isn’t she gorgeous! I talked Alice into doing some ridiculous makeup and I’m so pleased she followed through with it (picture on FB). Not that you can really see it here, but still, it’s there. And Tommy!! Omg, he played his part perfectly!
I think Alice went about this routine perfectly. She was inspired by a costume, bought it, found a song, and choreographed something brilliant to it. Her points are gorgeous and lace-removal is stunning.

Stud Muffins!

Brittany and Dargoff being amazing. I love their movement and am totally inspired by it. Again, congratulations to both of you; you were fantastic all weekend. xoxo

Later that night we had the student cabaret. I think I have a performance idea for all the girl instructors for next year. πŸ˜€

CABARET NIGHT


Dance performance to popular K-Pop songs by “Orange Chocolate” during Cabaret night, Camp Swing It (CSI) 2011 / Korean Lindy Hop Championships (KLHC)

Eeek, I can’t find the second cabaret number. I guess it’s not up yet OR it is and I just can’t read Korean. πŸ˜€


Korean traditional fan dance performed by Crystal Lee, at Cabaret night of Camp Swing It (CSI) 2011.

Here are some of my favorite pictures I’ve found on the web from the weekend:

Thanks for having us Korea!!! xoxo

CSI 2011 – Saturday Performances

What an amazing show this turned out to be! Even though this was thrown together, it couldn’t have worked out any better. The best part: the audience.

You might not know this, but those fans are significantly heavier than they look and Shaz makes them look effortless. I’ve seen this number a few times and it just gets better and better. Not only does she worked the crowd, but she did a great job of keeping her straps from falling off!


How amazing was that?! It was even better live, if you can believe it. I love Alice’s knee socks, I love the swing outs, I love the rhythms and syncopation, I love their dynamic together, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching the audience watch this dance.


I’ll be honest, I didn’t want to perform after seeing Tommy & Alice do their thing; how could we top that? As Kevin and I stood in our “ready position”, I could feel the energy of the crowd. When the music began, the audience got louder, and every time I swished my skirt, the audience cheered! This has made the list of Favorite Performance Moments for myself, and it was all because of the crowd. I’ve danced the routine better before, but the roar of the crowd was sensational!


Nailed it!


G-dang it! They are bloody fantastic. I find their movement to be super-inspiring and their shapes and lines make me want to wiggle (that’s a good thing)! Well done you two; you totally earned your stripes! It was a pleasure to perform along along side of you.


Sharon choreographed this piece for Rock That Swing (which I’m dying to see but hasn’t been posted yet) and I think it’s a fab little piece. We all were super-sucking in rehearsal, but managed to pull it together for the show. Yeah us!!

Lindy Hop in Genova, Italy

This event was a tribute to how amazing Silvia Palazzolo truly is. The Friday a week before the event was to start, the Sheraton Hotel reneged on their contract and yet Silvia was still able to pull strings to make her event happen. Amazing!

Some more of the details: The Sheraton Hotel in Genova should have been the perfect for this event. Everyone would fly into Genova, cross the street to get to the hotel, stay in the gorgeous rooms (they were really, really nice), and then wander downstairs to take class and go to the dances at night. What made it not ideal was that the Sheraton didn’t have a dance floor, so Silvia bought one. The Sheraton also didn’t have a proper sound system, so Silvia got one lined up. Now, I know what you’re say, “That’s an organizer’s job; they need to make sure there is a dance floor, sound system, transportation, a place to stay, rah rah rah.” Silvia accounted for that, like a great organizer should, but what makes Silvia one of the great organizers is that a week before the event, almost everything she had planned fell apart.

I have no idea how she did it, but she was able to pull some strings and got 4 couples (Juan & Sharon, Nathan & Evita, Kevin & myself, and Mindaugas & Gierdre) a new place to teach classes and found a new night venue on 4 days notice. That’s freaking impressive!! Unfortunately, I don’t know how many of the students who attended knew that this happened, so I am assuming parts of the event just seemed poorly run when actually, it incredibly well run.

Long of the short of it, classes went really well, the students were great, the facilities were wonderful, the dances were fun, The Killer Diller performances went well, and the hotel rooms were lovely.

PUTTING ON THE SHOW

Putting on a show to a live band is fun and slightly stressful. We’ve worked with Roberto, the leader of the Nine Pennies Big Band, before and he’s an absolute pleasure. He’s put together some beautiful arrangements for us and his band has gotten stronger and tighter over the past 3 years.

That being said, regardless of what band you’re working with, you’re adding another layer of uncertainty. For example, our rehearsal time with the band ran later than expected and people were stressing about that (I was one of them). Even though I dig the version we performed to, it’s inevitably different than the one we as a group have been rehearsing to (more of something to take note of…no judgment, just another layer to account for). There are “sound” issue to have to deal with – the sound guy, the sound system, the microphones, etc – and that’s something else that needs to be addressed. Finally, something every performer deals with (unless at the same venue every night), is the floor. Slippery or sticky? Is there anything sticking out that we can trip on? Where’s the lighting set on the floor? Where will the audience be on the floor? And so on…

Regardless of the challenges, having the band is awesome. The most important thing the band does for us is pump out sound and energy that is energizing to both performers and audience members. The music was spot on for us, the tempos were great, the sound was full, and the energy was up. The Nine Pennies Big Band nailed it and I think (*toot toot) so did the Killer Dillers!

Here’s Our Set List:

1. LIVE MUSIC (2:35) Serenade to a Savage – Kevin, Jo, Juan, Sharon, Nathan & Evita
2. LIVE MUSIC Band Segway (with a singer 3 choruses)
3. LIVE MUSIC (2:45) Lucky Numbers – Nathan & Evita
4. RECORDED or LIVE MUSIC (3:22) I ain’t Gonna Give Nobody None of my Jellyroll – Juan and Sharon
5. LIVE MUSIC (4:15) Taking a Chance on Love – Nathan, Evita and Juan
6. RECORDED MUSIC (2:30) Communication – Kevin and Jo
7. RECORDED MUSIC (2:41) Shimmy Like my Sister Kate – Bellboy Routine – Sharon, Jo & Evita
8. LIVE MUSIC (4:20) Living in a Great Big Way into Fascinating Rhythm – Kevin
9. LIVE MUSIC (2:43) Eight, Nine, Ten – Nathan & Kevin – dueling ukes

Here are some photos taken at the night dances: Enjoy!!!

To see some of my (crappy cell phone) pictures from the weekend, click here!

Again, Silvia, you are wonderful, marvelous, amazing, and inspiring. Thank you for hanging in there and pushing to make sure the event went off and for making our jobs as easy as they were. XOXOX

Rocktoberfest 2010

GAHH! What an awesome weekend. I might even go as far as saying it was better than last year. I unfortunately didn’t throw hot chocolate on a student this year (that was a complete disaster/accident), but I think I scarred some of them for life. πŸ˜€

The motto from the weekend: Don’t Dance like a Jackass, Just Act Like a Jackass.

You’re welcome.

Movie we referenced while teaching: Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Blades of Glory, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Wedding Crashers, Spaceballs.

To all the students: Thanks for hanging in there and only being slightly offended. Great job with all the technique we showed you…keep working on your leading and following!

To the organizers: Thank you for letting Kevin and me talk some major jive and for having us forever-change-the-lives of your students and for taking us to some amazing restaurants (Knead, Haiku Sushi, North Star Cafe, Jenni’s Ice Cream).

To the Johns: Thanks for the wristband and the music and the dances!

To Mark: Great job getting into those pants!

Video Clip Time!

Winning Showcase Routine from Mark Mutherbaugh & Ellen Huffman!

The Jack & Jill Finals

Kevin and Jo performing “Communication”.

Patrick and Natasha performing “Please Don’t Talk to Me”.

Jam Time!

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!!

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. πŸ™‚

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 & MΓ©lanie Huot-Lavoie

RESULTS FROM CLASSIC:

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