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.

Leaping Lindy 2011

I’m so grateful that it was warmer this year at Leaping Lindy than it was last year! I was able to run around in dresses and tights without issue. 😀

Here’s the scoop. I left LAX on Thursday, arrived in Zurich on Friday, met up with Skye and Kevin at the airport and trained out to Bern. The Hotel National was 3 minutes walk from the station and was just as cozy as I remember it. This year Kev and I stayed on the second floor and had a darling little room with a great big window. The sunlight that poured into our room was really lovely to have in the mornings. Yes, there were curtains, and yes, they were drawn, but they were rather thin. Ah…the point I was originally heading towards; even with a direct flight from LAX -ZUR, I spend a total of 21 hours in transit. My goodness is right!

Highlights of the weekend:

– Getting to see Kev after such a long break. It was great to get to reconnect with him after not seeing him for a month. We gabbed like girls! It was awesome.
– Goodie bags waiting for us on our bed. There were these cute little madeleine that were in the shape of bears!
– Classes were walking distance from the hotel.
– The evening dances were held at the Casino which had a stunning ballroom and a sparkly chandelier.
– The amazing staff – thanks for helping with the sound system, transportation, and all the other small details that make an event run so beautifully.
– Being able to sleep through dinner and not have it be an issue.
– Gordon Webster on Saturday night! Man, he and his band were jammin’. I had such a great time just listening! Naomi Uyama also sang with them and she was lovely, as always.
– Social dancing on Sunday. I was finally tired enough that I wasn’t anticipating and just let myself be moved. Every dance I had was outstanding. Skye, Peter, and Kevin: thanks for leading my ass around in that teeny tiny space and for keeping me safe from getting stepped on.
– Naomi djing from her iphone on Sunday night. The music was awesome solely because of her. Thank Naomi!!
– Peter Lerch for letting Kevin and I crash at his house on Monday night and getting us to the train Tuesday morning.

VIDEOS FROM THE WEEKEND:

There are other angles of these performances, but I really enjoyed watching the dances from this angle because I rarely see them from here.

What we taught:

Tricks & Lifts: climbing exercise. flying baby doll.

Turning: turn drills and moves that used the technique.

Advance Basics: leading and following rock steps, weight changes, pauses, and triple steps. We did this in open position and touched on it in closed position and built on the yo-yo.

Touch Me: a 7 part variation/technique class. The moves built on one another and progressively got more complex. Each variation were similar enough to the last that the leaders had to have a clear idea what they were going to lead and the follows had to wait until the very end of the move for all the information. In other words, we used moves that looked the same at the beginning so that the follow couldn’t recognize the move because all of them were so similar.

Lindy Shock 2010

This was definitely one of my favorite events of the year, if not favorite. Marcell, the organizer, did a wicked-good job of covering all the logistics and knows how to run a tight shift. All of his past research clearly paid off.

First things first, the line up. There were great teachers AND the DJs were fantastic. When you have the combination of great teachers and great music, more often than not, great dancers show up to dance with the instructors to the awesome music. It almost felt like the Who’s Who of Europe came to the event. Don’t believe me? There were 800 people at the event and it’s only in it’s 4th year. The numbers were up 40% since last year. “Dang!!!” is right (*head nod). So here’s the list: the main teachers are Andrew Sutton, Dax & Sarah, Hasse & Marie, Juan & Sharon, Kevin & Jo, Skye & Frida, Vincenzo & Isa, Zack & Maryse. Our taster teachers are Alf & Eli, Ali & Katja, Fedor & Inga, Nejc & Katja. Jamie Cameron, Deeb from Lithuania, Luc Prunet from Toulouse, Paulo BrotherSwing from Paris, Laurent Meirieu aka DJ Lolo from Toulouse were just some of the incredible DJ’s that held down the musical front.

SOME DETAILS ABOUT THE EVENT
From a teacher’s stand point, things were fantastic, other than auditions. That being said, auditions are never “super fun!” so it’s not like this was a special case. (I’ll write another post just on audition, but in short, we don’t want students to feel bad about where they were placed and have it affect their ability to learn. The process itself is also slightly stressful. Other than that, it’s necessary to put people into appropriate levels so that the learning environment is consistent and the teachers are the best people to do that.)
What was so fantastic, you say? The rooms on the boat were teeny, but cute. The shower actually had hot water and good water pressure. The sound systems worked in all the classrooms. The floors were nice in all the classrooms. The students arrived on time and were ready to learn (you might think that is obvious, but it is not always the case). Food was easily accessible, and so was dessert after we asked Marcell. We were given money for drinks. The music was fantastic (there were 5 different rooms playing music so everyone was bound to find something that suited their mood). Terrific people were there. Competitions were super. And finally, we were given a great place to party with our friends. A men!


Photos by Eric Esquivel, Tatiana Satsenya, and Eran Tobi

CONTESTS

Short and quick: The contests were fantastic! I saw so much solid and inspired dancing…..it really jazzed me up. Congratulations to everyone who competed!!

Showcase

William & Maeve – 1st place

Mindaugas & Gierdre – 2nd place

Strictly Lindy Prelims:

Performances

Kevin St. Laurent doing Hungarian

Joysse being amazing

Teachers being impressive

[videos go here….but where are they??]

More video to come!!!

Marcell, thank you for putting on such a fantastic event. To the students, thank you for coming ready to learn and for asking some really great questions! To everyone that attended, thanks for being there and helping make my year. To the competitors, thanks for kicking ass in that tiny space!! To the DJs, thank you for playing the stuff that makes me want to dance! To the boys, thanks for buying drinks! To my friends, I love you and I’ll see you somewhere around the world. 😀

Southwest Lindyfest, videos

Here’s a video of mine and Kevin’s teacher performance.

It’s under 2 minutes, but that was the best I was able to muster after Bronchitis. The steroids and inhaler I was using really, really helped. Thanks doc!!!

Some other great moments captured on video:

Friday night Jam:

Saturday night Jam:

The hotties from The Silver Shadows

Skye and Frida just killing it!

The Silver Shadows doing their Frankie Tribute piece: