Tuesday, August 30, 2011

ILHC


The International Lindy Hop Championships have concluded, and although I did not win prizes, I consider it one of my strongest appearances. Giselle and I presented the routine that we had prepared, I danced in the Solo Charleston finals, and we danced in the Champion's Strictly Lindy prelims. In the Champion's Strictly, in particular, after reviewing the contest footage, I absolutely believe in every moment of our dancing. That isn't to say that we can't improve. I am looking forward to the maturation of the style we are working on, and I'm hopeful that there will be room for it in the future of the Lindy community. Check out the Strictly contest on Youtube; I am wearing a brimmed hat: Song 1, Song 2

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Saratoga Races


It's race season in Saratoga Springs, and that means that Chance Bushman and Giselle Anguizola are shredding carpet with Reggie's Red Hot Feet Warmers. It also means that I get to sub for them one weekend! I had a great time, as always, and enjoyed dancing with Dominique Blouin from Quebec City, Quebec. This year, in addition to dancing and tapping, I also played rhythm on two songs, while we waited to meet up with Peter Davis--the band's actual banjoist. What a thrill!

Monday, August 8, 2011

PS21


The Vanaver Caravan has completed their residency at PS21 - Public Space 21. The workshop classes were very well received, and the Saturday show was among the best I have participated in. We had several "heavy hitters" in the cast, including Joel Hannah, the Irish dancing star and former "Riverdance" cast-member. We also benefitted from decent technical resources, remarkable for a tent-type stage, with lighting specials and plenty of sound capabilities. We performed the "Earthbeat" program, which celebrates percussive dances from around the world. To find out more, click the Vanaver Caravan link in the right-hand column. Also, big thanks to Emily Vanston, my partner for the classes and in the swing performance piece! (The featured image is actually from the Caravan's residency at Jacob's Pillow; it is a photo of Fode Sissoko and myself.)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Saint Louis Tap Festival


Saint Louis was great...mostly because I got to tap take class every day. Also I don't think I've ever performed in a show with so many celebrities. In addition to the greatest young tappers from around the country, including Dormisha Sumbry-Edwards, we had Cloris Leachman, Bill Irwin, Harold Cromer, and the one and only Arthur Duncan! I loved hanging out with the Saint Louis Lindy crew before and during the event. I hope it happens again and again!

Monday, July 11, 2011

NYC and Welbourne



Giselle Anguizola spent some time in NYC surrounding the Ashokan festival. Workshops in the city went well, we had a photo shoot with Lynn Redmile, and we got a lot of choreographic work done, but we also wore ourselves out. Immediately after Ashokan we had a gig at Welbourne, for which the usual suspect, Chance Bushman, was not available. Welbourne is a scarcely describable plantation home in Virginia, where Nat, the southernly, curmudgeonly, lord of lords, hosts parties to end parties. After a night of dancing, we stayed for a day of ol' swimming hole fun, followed by a legendary stickball game staffed by all the neighbors. Later that evening I was thrilled to tap with, and even join the remaining Loose Marbles (by that time, mostly Tuba Skinny folks plus Mr. Magro), playing a couple tunes on the piano! Reportedly none were offended. Then Giselle and I headed back to New York, for another intense week of mighty artistic mojo. What a month!!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Ashokan HELLO!





For more than thirty years, Ashokan has been home to a magical music and dance camp, sustained by the minds, hearts, intensions, and talents of multiple generations of artists. Nothing could have prepared me, or Giselle, for the profundity or the simplicity of what we experienced, visiting, hopefully joining, that peculiar Catskills tribe. We got to teach class, without an ipod, but astoundingly with the BEST of musicians, and we taught the Big Apple dance to a group of dancers with a twenty-year age span, and they ROCKED IT in performance! We gave an improvised performance to a Bebop rendition of Cherokee, which you can watch above. My deepest thanks to all involved.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Stompology 2011


I am feeling incredibly lucky this year, having been invited to a string of "feel good" events. Stompology was everything I had hoped it would be, and I am still amazed that there aren't more copy-cat events. I always tell my most serious, eager, Lindy students, "working on solo movement is the key to improving your partnering." However, I know how hard it can be for laypersons to see the pathway connecting both pursuits, when the partnered dance classes have such a clear, one-to-one pay off. But despite not feeling like the full value of Stompology is understood, I have no doubt that it will continue to be well attended and loved for years and years. Stompology is definitely a go-at-least-once event.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

CSC!!!!!!!!!


Wow, the Canadian Swing Championships, wow. WOW. What a beautiful event. Very fun, atmosphere, very elegant setting. Not what I was expecting. Not being much of a "party" person I was worried I might feel out of place, but that was not the case! There was something--some activity, some food, some atmosphere, some group of friends, some moment--there was something for everyone at CSC. It was also a pleasure, spending the preparatory week hanging in Montreal and working again with Dominique Blouin. I can't say I was surprised, because I've known Dee and the Montreal scene for a while now, and I know that quality and finesse are simply the way of things. BRAVO!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Edmonton, Canada, Yes Please!


I wasn't ready for the quality of this very rejuvenating trip. Great people, great music, very swingin. It was also the first full weekend for which Giselle Anguizola and I were hired as a partnership. There are many great things about Edmonton as a dance town. Firstly, the city itself has that perfect balance of opportunities and intimacy, much like Houston where I started dancing, that allow a swing community to simmer. Edmonton is not so small that the scene is mired in its own style and self importance, but not so big that dancers with special interests fracture into untenable sub-communities. Secondly, and amazingly, the live music was fantastic! This is such a stumbling block for medium sized swing scenes, because you don't just have to find jazz--you have to find SWING. Thirdly, there are local professional swing dancers working in Edmonton. It is EXTREMELY rare that any but the biggest dance Meccas can support local, full-time, jazz dancers. If it happens at all, it is usually a case where the dancers leave to work--as with Kevin StLaurent and Pittsburgh, but not so in Edmonton! Lastly, all the people, from the beginners to the pros, were lovely and had great attitudes as students. I'm sure this is the true secret to Edmonton's success. A special shout out to Reed and Sierra with whom Giselle and I stayed. That was a trip I won't soon forget! Thank you!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Italy


Swing Brother Swing 2011 was awesome!
Sylvia did it again!!
Got to see and dance with my friends in Italy!
Ryan and Jenny were here this year!
Great playing music, late night with Deebs!
Joel Plys, you're the man!
Dances were fun!
The contests were out of control!!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Followlogie


I had a great time at Followlogie, which was also my first trip to Montreal! Thanks everyone for all the awesome dances, and thanks to Dominique for inviting me. My favorite part was the beautiful movie palace where the Saturday dance and show were held. Bravo! Above is a picture of me in the show, performing "You're Easy To Dance With." The detail on the wall in the background was continued throughout the entire building. I can't wait to go back for the 2011 Canadian Swing Championships--coming soon!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Lonestar Championships


I won first place in the Lonestar Championships' Charleston contest. However that victory was completely eclipsed by the wonderful social dance experiences I had during the weekend. Thank you to everyone with whom I danced, I was honored.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Lindy Focus



Lindy Focus has come and gone, and this year was as fantastic as ever! I won first place in the slow dance contest as well as the invitational Jack and Jill. My favorite part of the week was dancing with friends who I rarely see. However I also had a particularly good time in class this year. These students were awesome!! And congrats to everyone who performed in the New Years Eve show; it was one of the greatest jazz dance shows I've ever been a part of! The photos in this post are from my winning dances. Much thanks to my contest partners, Annie Trudeau and Giselle Anguizola.