ILHC 2011 – Solo Charleston

I felt very unprepared this year for charleston, but I figured I’d try and focus on the music and be as ridiculous as possible. Luckily, my poorly formulated plan worked a treat and I made it to finals. Here are the videos from prelims and finals!

Heat 1, Song 1 Heat 1, Song 2 Heat 2, Song 1 Heat 2, Song 2

Competitors:

1) Ann Mony
2) Oliv Wan
3) Nalla Kim
4) Nathan Bugh
5) Sharon Davis
6) Soochan Lee
7) Jo Hoffberg

Warm up:

Delilah, thanks for doing the Chase Break with me in the contest. It would have been a shame to not add to the amount of Chasing done at ILHC 2011.

Finals:

Gaaahhh!! Nathan is soooooooo ridiculously good!!! Check out his first solo at 2:28…….stoooopid good! Nathan, you are a gem. That was one of the most beautiful phrases I’ve seen. You’re genius is undeniable.
Ann Mony’s musicality is so freaking solid. OMG, what a treat it was to watch her and the musicians converse!

So, what do you think?!!

Truckin’ Routine by Sharon Davis

3 Couple

I think this is my favorite version of this routine captured on film. Juan & Sharon nailed their solo and I really enjoyed what we all did in the background. Tommy & Alice were studs, as always, and skated their hearts out! I was SUPER happy with mine and Kevin’s solo and couldn’t have hoped for better energy from the crowd. Maaaaaan, the crowd was fantastic! I LOVE you Korea!!

And small note, tooting my own horn. Check out my jazz! I’m am really happy with my movement and how I complete my lines throughout the routine. Yeah, I miss some stuff, and go all fa-fa-fa-funky on the Tango, but otherwise, I have great lines. There, I said it. :D

6 Couple

Originally, this was going to be the finale of the show and only the Killer Dillers were going to perform it, but there was a last minute decision made to add on Tommy & Alice, William & Maeva, and Shesha & Nikki. I’m really glad we did it with everyone because I think i was a ton of fun, even though rehearsals were….slow going :) That being said, I love that all the girls are in some version of red, Kevin had the BEST floor slide anyone could have hoped for, and I was happy with how Kevin and I did our solo. We miss connection near the end of the routine (perhaps you can’t even see it) and so do William and Maeva, but it doesn’t really matter because we still ended the routine gloriously!

Two Couple

We spent a little bit of time deciding on whether we do two solos each or Juan & Sharon do two and Kevin & I do one and ended up having J&S do two. They really wanted to do their new aerial “The Dutch Cupcake” so they used the third solo to showcase it. Personally I’m not thrilled with how Kevin and my solo went, for various reasons, but otherwise I think the performance went fine.

What do you think? Which is your favorite version?

CSI 2011 – Saturday Performances

What an amazing show this turned out to be! Even though this was thrown together, it couldn’t have worked out any better. The best part: the audience.

You might not know this, but those fans are significantly heavier than they look and Shaz makes them look effortless. I’ve seen this number a few times and it just gets better and better. Not only does she worked the crowd, but she did a great job of keeping her straps from falling off!


How amazing was that?! It was even better live, if you can believe it. I love Alice’s knee socks, I love the swing outs, I love the rhythms and syncopation, I love their dynamic together, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching the audience watch this dance.


I’ll be honest, I didn’t want to perform after seeing Tommy & Alice do their thing; how could we top that? As Kevin and I stood in our “ready position”, I could feel the energy of the crowd. When the music began, the audience got louder, and every time I swished my skirt, the audience cheered! This has made the list of Favorite Performance Moments for myself, and it was all because of the crowd. I’ve danced the routine better before, but the roar of the crowd was sensational!


Nailed it!


G-dang it! They are bloody fantastic. I find their movement to be super-inspiring and their shapes and lines make me want to wiggle (that’s a good thing)! Well done you two; you totally earned your stripes! It was a pleasure to perform along along side of you.


Sharon choreographed this piece for Rock That Swing (which I’m dying to see but hasn’t been posted yet) and I think it’s a fab little piece. We all were super-sucking in rehearsal, but managed to pull it together for the show. Yeah us!!

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

ULHS 2010

I didn’t know what to expect since I haven’t been to ULHS since 2007, but I’ll tell you, it’s magical, and then some.

I’ve had a hard time finding video from the weekend for some reason. If you find a better quality video than the one I have up, please let me know and I’ll repost. If you find more video from the weekend that should be up here, please let me know and I’ll throw it up into the mix.

The music was ridiculous all weekend long and the weather was perfect. The food was good, transportation was easy, drinks were cheap, and the company was as fabulous as expected. I missed seeing the members of Hot Club Stomp, but they were off at various gigs (which is the same reason I haven’t been at ULHS for the past few years). Sosh & Lisa, thanks for taking care of me. Andrew, thanks for throwing down with me. Lindsay, thanks for being all-around awesome.

Let me throw out a HUGE congratulations to Juan & Sharon for winning Showcase and Showdown!

Congratulations to Sharon and Kevin for winning the Slow Blues!

Congratulations and thank you from the bottom of my dancing heart to Evita Arce for killin’ it in the Solo Blues competition!

Congratulations to Bobby Bonsey for his Solo Jazz win. That back flip was ridiculous!

Final Battle

Congratulations to Rainer Rhythm for their Team victory!

Click here to check it out. Yeah Seattle!!

Southern Belle Swing Bash

This was definitely one of the best weekends of 2010 for me!

Firstly, Gina Helfrich and Michael & Jaya Gamble were the organizers of this glorious event and did a bang up job. Frankly, they are some of the best organizers in the US and if you haven’t been to one of their events, you should go! I know…. you should go to Lindy Focus!!

Teaching Classes

I really felt like I came into my own this weekend. I felt really confident in the material I was teaching and that allowed me to think about how I’d like to deliver the message instead of focusing on what I was going to say. All in all, I felt like I knocked it out of the park. I thought I was funny, witty, silly, sassy, and a bit of an asshole. In fact, I think you could say I was a sass-hole!! Hahah, I think one of my favorite things I told the class was that I aimed to be offensive, but not so much that anyone would leave. :-D I must admit, this weekend of teaching changed who I am as an instructor. I’ll never be the same again….so THANKS M&J and Gina!!

I’d also like to give a shout out to Kevin, my awesome dance partner, for teaching the Jumps! class with me and being my knight in shinning …. er…. jeans. Kevin feels like home base so when I teach with him, it just feels easy! And let’s not forget about Andrew Munoz for being a fantastic leader and teaching partner in my other two partnered classes. Andrew was very brave to agree to teach with me. I only gave him 3 minutes of prep time for each class and he killed it. A great teacher in the making, me thinks!

Performances

I had a really fun time putting together a piece with Carla and Laura and they were such champs! The choreo wasn’t finished until Sunday the week before and I wasn’t able to put it on film to send to them until Tuesday. That just goes to show what professional ladies those two are!!

And speaking of professional ladies, the ever so love Miss Sharon Davis threw down a performance at SBSB. Check it out!

Yes, yes, yes, she wasn’t on the bill because she wasn’t teaching, but the event was THAT good that even Sharon came all the way from Australia for it……heheh, ok, so that’s not entirely true. She was in the general area and she came down from Pittsburgh to have some weekend fun. :-D

Here’s a video from the Solo Charleston Contest:

1st place: Ms. Breanna Perry
2nd place: Jesse Hanus
3rd place: Morgan Lee Kestner
4th place: Lindsay Longstreth

For whatever it’s worth, here is video of the Instructor Jam we had at the beginning of the weekend.

If you had thought about coming but decided last minute you weren’t going to come, I am sorry that you missed such a stellar weekend. It was a rocking good time.

Week 3 Cabaret – Vogue

Last night in the Week 3 Herrang Cabaret, we performed Vogue:

Who is “we”?

Evita Arce and Gio starring as Madonna and the backup dancers were Sharon Davis, Juan Villafane, Michael Jagger, Ilan Dromi, Bobby Bonsey and myself.