Jitterbug accepted as a Ballroom Dance

Here is an article from the 20th September 1943 edition of the New York Times (page 23):

Jitterbug Accepted as Ballroom Dance

Jitterbug Accepted as Ballroom Dance

New York Teachers Combine It with Lindy for Classes

History was made in ballroom dancing yesterday when the New York Society of Teachers of Dancing Inc, at its September meeting in the Hotel Astor, officially recognized and decided to teach the jitterbug as a pastime fitted to accompany waltz, tango and rumba on dance programs.

However, the jitterbug to be taught this fall and winter to the city’s ballroom classes will not be the jitterbug of the hepcats, Harlem sidewalks or high school fiestas. Brought under professional control and ballroom decorum, the refined movements are joined with the forerunner of the jitterbug, the Lindy, to form the Lindy-Jitterbug, which was demonstrated at yesterday’s meeting by Mrs. Oscar Duryea and Patrick J. Mastrolia.

A committee appointed to study the jitterbug and advise on its adaptability to the ballroom reported that youth was dancing the jitterbug and would continue to dance it, and the fact must be recognized. The teachers were reminded that youth, not dancing masters, decreed what should be danced and since the jitterbug in its essence was an expression of youth, the thing to do was to adapt it to the classroom and a ballroom routine. Therefore the committee put together what seemed to be the general basic steps of the jitterbug as danced by the youth of the metropolitan area.

In 1941 the US entered WWII and brought lindy hop to the world. Two years later this article was written. Once jitterbug was adapted for the ballroom world, it became more mainstream and therefore was more accessible to the white crowd.
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For more amazing articles like this, and tons a fabulous tidbits from history, please visit Sharon Davis’ blog. She spent many hours scouring microfilm archives while she was in university to dig them up, so go check them out!! She’s not only a rad chick, but she knows her history and her music and she has a keen eye for fashion!

Followlogie, Part Deux

My flight to Quebec was uneventful, but passing through customs was a different story. The night before I left, I checked the details on a few of the websites and from what I understood, I only needed a copy of my contract and I’d be fine. That wasn’t the case, apparently.

I had the contract, but because it wasn’t on letterhead, it didn’t look official. The custom’s lady didn’t want to let me through and was very annoyed by me. She didn’t know what lindy hop was and couldn’t understand why I was in Quebec; obviously I was trying to take work from Canadians! After some bickering and the declaration of “I don’t think we are going to let you in”, she had to double check with her superior on whether or not I could pass. He, a sweet old man, asked me a few question (which took all of 120 seconds) and then said “Oh, she’s fine. She’s not taking away jobs from Canadians. She is basically giving a seminar. No one else can do what she is being paid to do.” OMG, what a star! That man totally made my day. In my head I was thinking “IN YOUR FACE!!!” to the lady, but said nothing. I gloated to myself once I completely cleared customs.

Fast Forward.

I finally get where I need to go, am picked up, I swing by the house, change, grab some food, and get ready to teach. My first class was a charleston class (see previous entry) and it went super well. I was so pleased with myself. What was most amusing for me was that I was trying to speak in French, but mostly Spanish was coming out, and occasionally German. I’ll be totally honest, I have NO idea how people keep multiple languages separate in their heads; what a skill! (There are photos of the class that look awesome floating around somewhere, and if I find them, I’ll provide a link.)

After class, the dance started and I had some awesome dances. I danced most of the night and was the only instructor from the weekend out on the floor (small victory moment for me!). I was super sweaty and gross by the end, but man, did I have a good time!!!

Saturday was a great day as well. I taught my class on details, did a private, had an awesome lunch, and then Mickey and I walked around the city. It was rather gray outside, but it didn’t stop us from window shopping!  We wandered into the Crock’s Shop, Aldo (which was having a sale), a pastry store (but didn’t get anything), and then a Ren-Fair store. It had clothing from the middle ages, swords, quills, trinkets, fairies, potions, and more. It was quite the experience. We then hustled back to the classes to eat dinner and then prepared to go home.

Tonight was the big dress-up night, so I got all dolled up in a vintage dress I bought about 10 years ago. Here I am in the dress with Nina. There were some great performances that night and some fun social dancing. For late night, I changed out of my gown and got into some clothes I could dance in. I had some more great dances that night and probably got in bed around 3am.

Sunday was my big day, but I got to sleep in because I didn’t have the first class. Yeah! I started my day teaching a technique class which was packed. I couldn’t believe how many people were there! Lots of great questions were asked and lots of good swivels were done. I had a cute guy named Martin teaching with me (he was my Demo Boy) and he did an awesome job of following me. He could pull in on one, on two and on three every time I asked. Shout out time: He ROCKED! The leads also asked a lot of great questions too. I feel like I got them to think about the options they have, or could have. Any class that gets students thinking about what and why they are doing what they are is a success for me.

The choreography class ended up being a lecture. I walked the students through, step by step, how Kevin and I choreograph, from picking a song, to putting on the final touches of a piece. I thought it was a good class. I haven’t taught it before so I didn’t have a flawless flow, but I still think it went along nicely.

The last class of the day was a class on power moves. I had a bunch of ideas, but only got through 2 of them. The biggest challenge was teaching people to do kick-steps down a line while keeping their rhythm. We added arms on top of that, but mostly it was the legs that proved to be a problem. But everybody looked great in the end. 🙂

That night there was no dance, but there was a dinner for the instructors who stayed around. It was really cool to get to hang out afterward, chat about the weekend, drink a beer, and eat some awesome food. They have a really great thing going in Quebec, and Dominique and Vero did an awesome job getting the weekend together. The students asked great questions and were soaking up the information. Yeah!!!

My flight home took ALL day. I got up around 830am, and didn’t get home until about 8pm that night. That sucks, but that’s what I get for not looking at my ticket more closely.

The exciting thing a bout my flight was that I had a bag-check issue. I almost never check my luggage. I don’t have time for it to get lost or miss a connection, and frankly I just don’t need that much stuff (laundry can be done, after all). Well, the plane from Quebec to Toronto was rather small, and my suitcase wasn’t going to fit in the over head, so I gate checked it, assuming it’d be there at the gate when I arrived. I was wrong. I got off the plane, checked with the stewardess, and she said it’d be there at baggage claim. So I headed towards baggage claim, but for where my connection was going to be. Mistake. My bag went to normal baggage claim, but because I had walked through the special glass doors leading to “American territory”, I couldn’t leave to get my bag. After waiting for my bag at the wrong conveyor belt, and some chatting with the guy at the help desk, he went downstairs to get my luggage. How sweet. Those Canadian – they sure are swell!

All in all, the weekend was awesome on a personal and professional level.

If you have pictures, please link them here, or send them to me. Cheers!!

Preparing for ILHC

OMG OMG OMG! There is sooooooooooooo much to do!!!!

Kev and I are trying to finish our Classic Routine and just started on our Showcase Routine. This is super stressful because we need to finish both, and polish them by this weekend, and I don’t know if we can get all the work done that we’d like to have done.

We’ve been doing 2 hours on and 2 hours off at our dance studio. In the 2 hours off, Juan and Sharon are polishing their Classic and finishing their Showcase. OMG, there is so much going on in the house too. So so so…. in our “down time” we are still coming up with ideas so when we have the space, we can actually dance it.

There is not enough time in the day to choreograph 2 routines, watch the Olympics, prepare material for classes, teach group classes, and privates. And spend time with your significant other. Oh my word.

Well, that’s the rant for the day. More after ILHC. I am sure we are going to pull something together.

Cheers.

Day One – Sweden

Today was a very fulfilling day.

Kev and I got to sleep in until 11am (and we went to bed early last night) and it was soooooooooo nice. We have cute little beds that are nice and warm and rather conducive to a good night sleep, might I add.
I got up and showered and Kev got to his emails. After a bit, we realized that we were hungry, so we took ourselves to the restaurant we ate at last night and ordered the lunch special. Kev had a pizza (again) and then I ordered a Greek Salad, which I thought had meat on it. I was unpleasantly surprised to find that it was just like the salad they had at the “salad bar” thing, but with olives, feta cheese, and lots of onions. Now if you know me, you know that I don’t like uncooked onions at all. They taste bad and they make me smelly.

I digress.

Lunch was nice, but we still hankered for more. We headed down the street a little ways more and bought some goodies at the local grocery store before we had hustled back home to prepare for training.

Jane drove us to the studio and her card didn’t work so we couldn’t get in. Kev and I danced around for about 45 minutes before someone showed up and let us in. We realized how out of shape we were after our 20 minutes cardio session, but we prevailed. And to top it off, we did a fast Charleston song to push ourselves even though we were tired. I am so glad we did that, but MAN and I out of shape.
And then we worked on choreography. We have some good stuff, but we need to start stringing our ideas together.

Jane came and grabbed us around 5:15pm so that we had some time at home before the dance. I read through emails while Kevin napped and then we showered quick-quick and got ready for dinner and dancing.

The dinner was serve-yourself style and was nice and basic. Ooh, and there was a rhubarb cobbler for dessert. It was a tad tart, but still nice. Kevo and I danced a bunch, took some pictures and recorded some video of the evening, saw a performance, attended the teacher’s meeting, and headed home. We are getting up a little before 8am tomorrow, and we had classes to plan, so we figured it was best to head home early. And now it is almost 1am!

I am going to shower and then head to bed.

Goodnight!