I am planning on posting a slue of videos and pictures from Lindy Focus in the next few days, but for now, here are some videos of my work from this past weekend!
NYE Performance – Bellboy – starring Sharon Davis, Evita Arce, and Jo Hoffberg
Sharon did a fantastic job choreographing this and Evita did an awesome job (re)learning this earlier that afternoon. Can we say “stud”?!! Always a pleasure to perform with these two terribly talented dames.
NYE Performance – Roustabout – starring Nina, Kelly, Carla, Maryse, Annie, Claudia, Natasha, Laura, Sharon, Evita, Nikki, Vanessa, Karen, Casey and Jo
What a madhouse of hottness?!! OMG, this was such a blast to get to do; between the costumes, ladies and the boys, there was plenty to oogle over. Nina did a fantastic job choreographing this and I must say, it’s one of the most interesting songs I’ve ever performed to. Props for Nina getting this together for us all and kudos to the ladies and their costume choices!
NYE Performance – Man from Mars – starring Joshua, Casey, Shesha, Laura, Jeremy, and Jo
Haha, the funny thing about this is that Shesha and I talked about him wearing the hat and since he needed it for the next number, we decided to keep it. Not surprisingly, it fell off, but not where either of us expected! Hehe, one lesson I am constantly reminded of: always rehearse in your costume! xoxo
Shesha, thank you for all the rehearsal time you put in with me and for chucking my ass!
AND NOW onto the fastest quick change in Lindy Hop history (well, next to this one)! The numbers were back to back and so I had to hustle! Thank goodness I made it in time; Shesha might have killed Nathan!!
NYE Performance – Charleston – starring Nathan Bugh, Evita Arce, Sharon Davis, Juan Villafane, Kevin St. Laurent, and Jo Hoffberg
BIG, HUGE thanks to Sommer & Dorry and their crew. They take such amazing care of Kevin and me and they are a pleasure to work for. Nina & Michael, thanks for being our “local instructors”. And to the DC Crowd: Thanks for coming out to Baltimore to dance to The Cangelosi Cards and hang out!
Oh, ahahah, let’s see if I can remember some of the skits Kevin and I referenced while teaching. If you haven’t seen these clips, please watch them now. Very quotable.
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. 🙂
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!!!
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.
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!!
To truly appreciate this next clip, you will need to be familiar with the dance scene from Hellzapoppin and have some general idea about HOW much time this video must have taken to create. Enjoy and pass it on!!
Thank you Clay Animation Network for doing this. The Clay Animation Network (C.A.N.) is a traveling animation school based out of Seattle, WA. (and presently travels as far as Dallas, Texas). Students (of all ages) who take classes through C.A.N. work in teams to operate a digital camera, construct sets and characters, compose unique stories, and add sound.
The final installment of photos from the Killer Dillers’ recent show in Dublin, Ireland. Here are pictures from Sharon’s grand solo dance, my Honolulu number, and the KD Finale. Click on pictures to enlarge.
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Thank you Phillipe O’Brien, Danielle Keogh, Geoff Devitt, Norma Owens, and Oyster Zepplin (that’s not a typo!) for taking pictures of us.