ILHC 2011 – Classic Division

Oh my goodness, that was such an unbelievable competition! There were 16 competitors last and as I recall, every routine was really well performed and dance. Seriously, everyone brought their A game. Here are my seven favorite performances from last night (plus mine and Kevin’s)!

Regardless of the placement, in my opinion Tommy and Alice won. I think the choreography was a work of art. Their weight changes, rhythms, shapes, partner connection and quality of movement were on pointe and the just killed it. Literally, this is the best piece of choreography I’ve seen all year.

A last minute entry:

As per usual, their quality of movement and brilliant twist on simple movement is what makes these two powerhouses undeniably inspiring. Even though Skye has a moment of confusion at the end, this is still a stunning routine. I’m betting we’ll hear a lot more of this song on the social dance floor this next year!

Here’s Kevin and my latest routine:

If you remember, we performed this at ESDC and I wasn’t able to get the lighter to light. Thank goodness we bought a better lighter and the thing worked a treat! In general, I’d say I’m really happy with this run-through. There are still a few things that I’d like to clean up, but overall, I’m extremely happy with the piece and feel like we nailed it. Woohoo! And I have to give a big shout out to Mindaugas Bikauskas for helping Kevin put out his cigarette.

And to return the favor…

This is Mindaugas & Gierdre first US performance. I am sooooooo proud of them! Ok, now on to the “favor” (I put that in quotes because it’s questionable). Kevin walks out soooooooo confidently and then drops the comb. GAAAAHHHH, I almost died when this happened! Thank god he redeemed himself by still hitting his mark. …..still though.

I’ve seen this routine a few times and it just gets better and better for me

What a lovely couple these two are!

To be honest, with where I am in my dancing, this is not a routine song that I would choose, but if you listen to the lyrics, it’s clear why they chose they song; they are those friends that became lovers! Their movement is crisps and the choreography is beautiful. Uh, these two freaking swing!!

Nathan and Giselle have such an amazing connection and so many innovative ideas. If you haven’t seen them dance together before, youtube them right now, otherwise enjoy their creativity and authenticity.

I love these two!!

The choreography is super playful, Mary is cute as a button, and Andrew is his fabulous self. I love their ideas, shapes, and how they use the floor. Best of all, they dance like them instead of imitating others!! You two are wonderful!!

Congratulations to all the competitors; you were all fabulous!!! Realistically, ALL of the routines were great. PLEASE please please watch them and let the competitors know what you though.

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