I feel like Wingy is very much like this cat, if not worse.
First I want to thank Scott for turning me onto this awesome show. Thanks Scott! I think I might be obsessed now.
I was on my way to Scott’s to plan today’s class listening to an old RadioLab episode about deception. And at one point on the show they were interviewing a man who’s basically a human lie detector. He reads little glitches in people’s facial expressions that are representative of an emotion the person is trying to conceal. That’s so cool. Then Scott tells me about a TV show he just started watching called Lie to Me about a guy who does just that. Ahh! it’s so interesting! Imagine always knowing when you’re being lied to. Do you call people out on it? Ummm… sometimes. But if you don’t… you still know. How would you ever be able to trust anyone? It’s really fascinating… both in the study of the lie, and the psychology of the lie detector. Like I said, I might be obsessed.
I know a bunch of you have been working on hat tricks here and there, especially since you saw a performance of Shesha and Kevin’s Hat Trick Shiim Sham:
Well, now the two have broken down the routine, and the tricks in to a series of 12 videos. Hehe, looks like he’s posting them as I write this, be cause another one just went up, so hopefully by the time anyone reads this they’ll all be available. Currently 5 of the 12 videos are up — starting with:
Check out Shesha’s youtube page for more: Sheshazam’s Channel
Happy hat tricks!
Every year, I write my words or praise over Stompology… and this year is no different. Why? A bunch of reasons:
1. Rochester. I spent 6 years of my life there and made some really great friends. All of whom I get to see again when I go back. It feels like going home.
2. The vibe. The energy over the weekend is so freakin’ high. Everyone’s excited and inspired. And everyone feels comfortable. There’s no -I’m at a big event and there’s such big name people here, oh I feel awkward -- feeling. The instructors are approachable, and just as silly as the rest of us.
3. Solo Jazz. Well, solo jazz just always makes me happy. It feels like I’m really working on something. Particularly when it’s something out of the norm. Making my body move in ways it’s not used to feels great.
My personal highlights of the weekend:
1. Sharon and Juan’s Ballin’ the Jack routine class. It was a recreation of a Gene Kelly performance. I can’t wait to see a video of the end of class performances. But here’s a clip of the man himself:
2. Bethany’s Chi Chi routine. That was very different from the standard jazz movement we’re all used to -- by that I mean it was flowy motion, instead of sharp, and rhythmically was kind of like hip hop. It made me work hard, mentally and physically. I liked it.
3. Jams at the late night. As usual, lots of dancers have ventured into musicianship and a jam broke out in Mike’s room. It was nice to hear and sing along, and have a chance to chill out away from the crowd.
4. Baby Soda. They absolutely killed it at the Saturday night dance! I wanted to never sit down. Wish I could hear them more often.
5. Grill Jam. Always a great way to wind out the weekend. Grillling, haning out, and spontaneous sing-alongs? Yes, this year there was some spontaneous piano bar style karaoke involving jazz standards, classic rock, and even showtunes. In addition, Juan wowed us with some sweet card tricks, and Mike presented some rare clips he recently acquired. The night ended with a few of us sharing stories, and other random happenings. What a great night.
This is why I try to never miss a Rochester event. They’re always my favorite.
Here’s a video of the post-class performance of Ballin’ The Jack!
Spotted these at Target the other day. Is this a tep in a positive direction for Barbie? Yay for promoting girls having a career but then I noticed how traditionally feminine the career dolls were. A school teacher? A nurse? I hope they have other career dolls like scientist, architect, or stock broker Barbie. I think the most disappointing thing were the little thought bubbles… Take a look, decide for yourself.
I just picked up my new Mac Mini today. If you haven’t heard, my poor old lappy has been on the way out — doing things like not being able to play flash stuff and overheating, and crashing up to 8 times a day even! It’s getting replaced with a new Macbook Pro when the next generation is released. In the meantime though, it’s made me realize I need a stable at-home computer, and that’s wehre the Mac Mini came in. It will now manage all vital files/apps and my old macbook will finally get a rest. Phew! Feels nice to have a desktop again.
Most people were pretty surprised when I told them that this was my first ever Lindyfest. The event has been around for many years, is widely loved, and I tend to travel a decent amount. How did I never attend before?! It was either too far away, and therefore, too expensive to get to, or bad timing for me, or something or other… the reasons aren’t important. The point is, this year I got to go. I live in Austin, TX now, and Lindyfest fun was just a three hour car ride away.
I got in to Houston Thursday night for the event’s first dance. I was expecting a small dance with mostly local dancers and got a dance where I got to hang out with a bunch of my friends form far away places. It made me so so happy. Every night’s dance that followed brought the same level of excitement out of me. I think that when I’m really happy, it shows — particularly through my dancing. And this weekend, I felt like I was on. Everything worked. Even when it didn’t, it somehow did.
Classes were another great part of the weekend. They held a full day of classes Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, a whole day more than most workshop weekends. Classes were incredible. But the thing I want to focus on right now is the selection process for the Advanced track auditions. I was really happy about how this went down. It was Jack and Jill style, for about three songs. The tempos sped up with each consecutive song. But the part I most loved was that at one point, to a rather speedy tune, dancers were asked to only do swingouts. What a great way to clearly see people’s strengths! At that speed, either your swingouts are successful or they fall apart. You can fake it a little in a group of 20 other couples to a medium tempo song. You might get lost in the crowd not triple-stepping and doing some fancy looking stuff. But this made it easy to pick out those that were truly ready to benefit from advanced level instruction and those that weren’t. I can’t count how many times I stood in an advanced level class recently at some events and tried to learn new and challenging material with someone who was not strong on their fundamental movement. This way, people don’t over-place themselves, and students can really benefit from class instruction. And for the teachers, they then get a class who’s students are more or less on the same page. And they can really challenge them all toward a new concept. And for those who didn’t get advanced, and thought it a misjudgment — there were plenty of opportunities to move up later in the weekend. There were two formal auditions (Friday and Saturday before classes), and any teacher could individually advance a student at their discretion during the event. I loved how the class level auditions were carried out. More events should do that.
I took Masters classes over the weekend and an Advanced Tap class taught by Chazz Young. And man oh man, were they mind melters. I think my favorite types of classes are the concept ones. That’s why I loved the Masters classes so much. My favorite class of the weekend was Peter and Ramona’s class. It was the first one of the weekend and the one that challenged my mind the most. No moves. We just focused on dancing with the person holding our hand. It was about communicating an idea. The class focused on the conversation without words. It was hard. It made us put ourselves in a vulnerable position, not relying on our “go-to” moves. It was great.
I’ll definitely go to Lindyfest again. The best way I can describe it was that it was a little, big event. Because it is a big event. Lindyfest is a big deal. People flock to it. But even with all those people, even considering it was half a hotel event, it felt intimate. Ahh, what a great weekend.
I love being in Austin. And last night was awesome. The Fed had a great DJ lineup for the night: Heather, Brooks, and Mike. So much fun dancing. But the night wasn’t over then. Some of my favorite musicians were playing at East Side Showroom till 2am. So we went, and danced like mad. Here’s the best thing. It made me feel super nostalgic for Banjo Jims. It felt just like Banjo Jim’s. Small, intimate, high energy. The band was rockin’.
After East Side Showroom, a bunch of us headed over to Kerbey Kerbey for some Kerbey Queso and other yummy snacks. I think it was about 4am when we finally made it home.
Oh yeah! I forgot to mention. We have a new dancer in town, at least for the next three months. Lindsay, an RIT student and member of swing club is here for a co-op. Daniel Son accompanied her on the trip down. I was stoked to have them both in town and to show Dan the awesomeness that is the Austin scene. And Teni was also in town! It was a really fun night.
Can’t wait till next Thursday.
Except it wasn’t!
For those who don’t know, Thursday night is Austin’s usual weekly dance night over at the Fed. It’s usually a pretty good time. But tonight was a particularly amazing night, at least for me. Allow me to explain…
Sometimes a lot of dances means I’m having a really good night. But, me solo-ing? That means it’s a fantastic night! I haven’t much felt the joy of spontaneous solo dancing since I left Rochester. I loved having a group of peers, with different styles, who would inspire me to be silly within the dance. It just seemed to happen naturally. And since I left, I felt like I had to make myself do it. Tonight, and here’s the magical part, towards the end of tonight’s dance, when more than half the people had left, and Eric was planning on winding down his set, he played something (I don’t remember what) that made me want to move. I was ridiculously happy, and the dancing just happened. I don’t know, or care if it was bad or good. But it was fun. He followed that up with about three more bad-ass tunes and so, I continued to dance. It was invigorating. When the night ended I was sweating like crazy and red in the face. Best feeling ever.
My body still aches from this weekend. Man, Tena and Scott threw one hell of an event. Where should I begin with my praise?
So awesome! The bands were two different configurations of local Austin musicians, both which included Ryan Gould, John Doyle and Oliver Steck. I feel so lucky to be able to listen to these guys play regularly in town, and I’m even happier that people from out of town got to hear them and love them too. I hope this means I might get to hear them at other events outside of Austin in the future. Ahh, but lets not forget the DJ’s. They all did a great job of keeping the energy and flow of the dance going between the band sets, competitions, and at late nights. But, I’d like to particularly comment on how amazing Naomi’s choice of music was for all of the competitions. Not only was it to the benefit of the dancers competing, but for the audience watching. Well, maybe I can’t speak for others, but it definitely had me dancing along as I watched and cheered my head off.
How about the competitions?
Oh my goodness, the level of dancing at this event was incredible… at every division! The novice level competitors were so impressive, and most had been dancing only about a year! I wish I had had the guts to travel and compete when I had been dancing just a year. On the other side of the comp spectrum, and a more personal note – this was my first invitational division event. Being invited to compete in it felt like such an honor. I mean, me? dancing alongside Nina and Naomi?! I felt like I was waaayyy out of my league. Little fish, big pond – that sort of thing. So yes, I was crazy nervous. But as usual, once the music started, It was just fun! And everyone has been really encouraging and supportive, making me feel like I actually belonged up there. Now, I want to go into an in-depth description of the Invitational JnJ, but I think it best if anyone interested in it just watch the video, because I am totally incoherent when it comes to that comp. It was beyond words.
And of course there was some late night jam band fun!
Albanie Falletta, another local musician showed up to the late nights, and she joined a few of the musicians who hung around after their gigs at the main dance in some jams. The Killer Dillers also joined in the fun with some singing, dancing, piano playing, and overall goofing around. The side room with the hard to dance on tile floor was the place to be.
Pictures and videos are still going up, but here’s a few of my favorites from the event and of myself (yes, I’m taking a cue from Sharon on this) from photographer David Holmes. They are really really great shots. And hey! I even got a decent dance picture or two!