Ksenia Parkhatskaya

This year at the Harlem 2011, they did their Solo Jazz Contest in “King of the Hill” fashion. Two contestants battle and at the end, the judge must choose a winner who continues to battle until the sweet end! This girl….she kills it.

Her name is Ksenia Parkhatskaya and she’s from St. Petersburg, Russia and she’s pretty freaking amazing. Check out those legs!! She didn’t win, but she threw down.

One more for good measures:

“A story about fragile soul made to be vulgarized and public….Once life have put mask on you only true Love can reveal genuine.” The music is OST La vie un Rosse/ La Mome – Lisieuz
Cabaret Night in Herrang week 5, 2010.

And check out her website! She’s got some great photos up like this one:

Photos by Nika Zhuk

Gaaah!! The best thing about this for me is that I’ve seen this photo a number of times, but never knew who it was. Until now. Ksenia, congratulations on a job well done at Harlem and I love your photos. You’re gorgeous!!

Videos that Make me Smile

Sometimes a great video goes a long way. Here are some things that put a smile on my face this week:


Lady Gaga would be proud!


A very slow, sexy shim sham, no? Gotta give it up for Kęstas, Šlimas, and Andrius for being such classy dudes.


“Goodness, I taste delicious!”


Buwahahah!! That’s the password to the internet at our hotel!!!!

And finally, and Oldie (but Goodie)

Swinglandia 2010

To be honest, I didn’t think Swinglandia was going to be one of my favorite events of 2010, but it was. Instead of it just being another work weekend, it was a dance and party weekend for me. *smile

My first gig with Kevin was Swinglandia 2007 and it was fun, but rough. Kevin and I had never taught together before meaning we had to plan all 15 hours of classes on top of teaching them and we put together a piece to perform at the cabaret (i.e. long working hours). “Because it was spring” the heat was not on in the rooms, but it was snowing out. At that point in time, I was living in Southern California where it’s typically warm year round and had no need for proper winter clothing. Needless to say, I was fucking freezing almost the entire weekend. To top it off, our room was super janky: the bed was too small for Kev and the “springs” drooped heavily in mine, we had no toilet seat, and someone had ripped the mirror in that bathroom off the wall. Overall the weekend was challenging, but the students were amazing and the energy was outstanding. Now, a few years later, I realize that a camp of that size was perhaps a bit much for me at that time in my career with Kevin.

Swinglandia 2007

In all, Kevin and I had a fun time and we went back the following year. We had a much nicer room and it didn’t snow. Already a step up! Again, the students were great, the food was similar, the music was fine, and the people were fun.

Swinglandia 2008

But this year it was a freaking party! And not to say that it wasn’t a party before, I guess I just wasn’t participating in camp life to the fullest. Highlights of Swinglandia 2010:

1. Dax & Sarah were there. I absolutely adore the two of them and don’t get to see them nearly enough. Getting to pal around with them really made my week. ♥ you two!!

2. The Rhythm Junkies were there!!! Mindaugas, Milda, Vytautas, Dangiras, Tomas, Juste, Marius, Andrius, and Giedrė represented. Not only are they great musicians, but they are awesome dancers as well. How crap, I had such a blast dancing with them! On top of that, their English is outstanding, they have a great sense of humor, and they’re all gorgeous. I think I fall in love with each one of them every time I see them. Girls and guys both! All of them, even the ones that stayed back in Lithuania are absolutely studs! I am secretly (or not so secretly) hoping to marry one of them and work on getting my E.U. citizenship. =)

3. The parties were a blast. Perhaps the biggest difference this year for me was that I partied (what the hell did I do the other years?). I stayed up late, I danced around, I drank, I dressed up, I had a blast! Swinglandia is big on having a theme (similar to Herrang) and this year it was “army”. Oooh ooh, guess who has an aviator outfit? That’s right… me! Here’s a video of an Aviator and someone from Naval Intelligence dancing together:

Yup, that’s Kevin swinging me out in flippers. What a guy!

4. The Jack & Jill. The prelims were ridiculous. We had 60 couples to judge and we started judging at 2am. Let’s just say that was a long night. =) Now the finals….wow….they were awesome to watch:

You’ll have to click on the related videos to see the other 6 videos.

Mindaugas was freaking awesome. He is such an elegant mothertrucker. If you don’t know him, he’s the second leader that comes out. Fuck, check out his swing outs! And Veit freaking killed it!! I was super impressed (he’s the second leader in the second clip of Jack&Jill finals). To top it off, the music was great!!! I want to compete to those songs!!

5. The social dancing rocked. I had such a fun time!! Haha, it felt like I was a camper again and I got to dance for me. I felt like my soul had been fed. I had some great dances with too many people to name, but in particular Dangiras. I don’t think I’ve had that many dances with one person in a row for quite some time. Thank man for putting up with me =)

6. The cabaret! Uncle Aubergine were off the hook! “Дядя Баклажан” [dyadya baklajan] Members include  Jimmy Monahan (George III), “Rhythm Junkies”: Dangis, Tomas and Andrius, and the one and only Fedor Nedotko!

7. New friends. I had such a blast (hahah, are you seeing a trend?) with so many new people. Wow, I dig that side of the world. Thank you to all the people that made Swinglandia happen, the staff, The Rhythm Junkies for holding it down, George III (Jimmy Monahan) for killing it on the clarinet and being one cool cat, Vitalii and Oksana for hosing Kevin and me, and Dax & Sarah for being awesome. xoxoxo

The Plan – Wedesday

Our plan continues to change, but in general, this is what I think we are going to do:

(This is from an email that Kevin wrote to a buddy of our back in Pittsburgh)

” We are still in Gotenborg, Sweden and our ideas for what to do next change daily, sometimes hourly, but it looks like we will all go to Stockholm this weekend for a big dance show, then take a ferry down to Riga, Latvia where hopefully our Lindy Mafia friends from Vilnus, Lithuania will pick us up and drive us to Vilnius where Juan and Sharon are teaching a workshop. Meanwhile, Jo and I will try to catch a ride from the Rhythm Junkies (Lithuania Jazz Band) who are hired at the same event in Kiev, Ukraine. Of course, we need to try to get transit visas through Belarus first. Juan and Sharon were already going to be in Europe. The volcano is [potentially] making them miss their gig in Slovenia . Jo and I where hoping to be back in the US for 10 days, but it’s smarter for us to stay since we have three big gigs in May that we don’t want to miss. Even if we go to the US, we may not be able to get back for in time. ”

The latest and greatest! More to come!!

Oh yeah, and you can follow me now on Twitter for my latest updates. I am trying to get them to sync with my site, but so far I am having minimal luck. Sigh.