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

Camp Jitterbug 2010

Camp Jitterbug Flyer

Doesn’t Sharon look amazing?! I am so thrilled that The Killer Diller’s very own Sharon Davis on this year’s Camp Jitterbug flyer and on the website header: www.campjitterbug.com

The photo on the flyer was taken during her tribute act to Josephine Baker in last year’s Jump Session show. Josephine, being one of her all-time greatest inspirations, has inspired numerous costumes that take up a great amount of space in Sharon’s luggage.

Josephine Baker Banana Skirt Josephine Baker

The 2010 Camp Jitterbug details are:

Camp Jitterbug & the Jump Session Show 2010

Memorial Day weekend

May 28-31st 2010

Seattle, USA

And this year the Jump Session show will feature all six Killer Dillers! Myself and Kevin, Juan Villafane & Sharon Davis, and Evita Arce & Nathan Bugh will all be attending Camp Jitterbug, performing in the Jump Session Show, competing, and teaching some classes! Without a doubt, Camp Jitterbug is one of the greatest events of the year. Don’t miss out!

Here is the trailer from last year’s Jump Session show. If this doesn’t make you want to be there, I don’t know what would:

Killer Diller Photo Shoot

Yesterday was a long day, but it was so much!!

We, Juan & Sharon and Kevin & I, got up at 7 and were out the door a little before 8am with all of our luggage and 2 bags of snacks from Trader Joe’s. We took a cab down to the studio and met up with Nathan & Evita. The studio we rented had an infinity background and it was so pretty to look at! Nothing but white everywhere. There were clothing wracks which we immediately proceeded to hang our belongings on and then Shaz and I proceeded to take over the make-up counters. I was thrilled!! We were feeling like professionals already!!

While I took the sponge rollers out of my hair, Shaz and Evita had plugged in their curling irons and started on their make-up as well. Simone, Kevin’s sister, began steaming clothing for us. The boys had thrown on their tuxes and began shooting once AO and her team were done setting up. As the boys smiled and threw their canes about, the girls preened in the background and squealed with delight…..we were finally going to get the promos we always wanted!

We found our rhythm as a group and did a good job staying to the time slots we had previously allotted ourselves. So let me give some background on this. Weeks before this photo shoot, we were all supposed to start collecting pictures of images we like, one for us to have something to reference, but also so we could show the photographer what look we were going for. Two days before we left for NY we categorized our photos (group, couple, solo) and looked at what everyone else had. We had similar ideas in mind, thank goodness. Then we needed to get costumes together. I would totally recommend doing this earlier than 2 days before you leave for a big weekend where you’ll be too busy to do any other prep work. We had some costumes, but not for 3 people since we’ve mostly been working at a foursome and twosome. That being said, we did manage to cob somethings together and as you’ll see, it worked out just fine. Finally, we outlined how much time everyone was to have so that everything we wanted could be shot.

Ok, so let’s fast forward. We did a really great job at sticking to the time schedule we made up a week earlier. I think we were all really surprised by that, but oh-so-pleased.

Some highlights from the day:

– having Simone steam clothes, help with make-up and styling, and fixing our clothes when the got pushed/mushed/yanked out of place
– having a mirror in the studio so we could see what shapes we were going to make
– seeing the boys in their tuxes
– having us girls look so fucking cute!!! (just wait and see)
– being able to stick to schedule
– having no disagreements about ANYTHING the entire day. The smoothest photo shoot ever done. Ever. Seriously.
– getting to work with AO and her team
– getting to take some “love shots” with Juan. I don’t know what we’ll use them for, but it was fun to be lovey-dovey with him and get some photographic proof of it
– getting to be really, really ridiculously good-look for a day
– knowing that the Killer Dillers made some major progress

Some other notes:

– doing aerials over and over again on cement isn’t pleasant
– in an all white room, it’s really tough to see where you are flying to and from becuase there is nothing to spot off of
– having music playing is an awesome thing
– snack food rocks
– working with professionals is sooooooooooooo worth the money
– Sharon is such a freaking pro in front of the camera, it’s ridiculous. I’ve never seen anyone go into a shoot and have 90% of everything shot for the day be usable. Wow.
– trying to swing out in sync for a picture is silly….just hit the line you want and move into that position
– photo assistants who haven’t seen aerials before will most likely make disconcerting noises while you fly through the air. Don’t doubt your safety followers!!
– doing stock shots is sooooooooooo much fun. Perhaps you’ll be lucky enough to see them!

So there’s a quick really-really about the long-ass photo shoot. It was fun and nobody died. Yeah!!