Tag Archives: lindy hop

505 Stomp 2012

There are three things I have to say about 505 Stomp 2012: dodgeball, light sabers, and limbo. Yeah, that stuff actually happened. All at the same time. Oh, and by the way, Brett Dahlenburg was dressed up as Darth Vader.

Seriously though. I’m biased, obviously, but 505 Stomp this year was good. Really good. There are a few things that make workshop weekends successful. Having a well organized event, obvious; having friendly, knowledgeable instructors, again, obvious. But the number one thing that makes an event successful is the people, hands down. And it was the vibe that everyone brought to the event this year. It was fun, friendly, and more fun.

Here were some of the highlights from the weekend:

Dani Easley, Eva Robinson, and I performed our first time together as an all girls’ troupe. Name still pending.

I didn’t expect everyone to laugh at my solo, but it was awesome when they did. And it was a good thing we had all those feathers. I felt a little naked and cold without them.

Special thanks to Karen Turman for being the rockstar of the weekend. She made my costume, did my hair and my makeup.

Mikey Pedroza, Nirav Sanghani and Yossef Mendelssohn performing a hat trick shim sham. They were adorable.

The Jedi Jack & Jill competition. We made it go a little faster than at ABQLX, but we’re still honing our skills on running this competition more efficiently. Dodgeball comes in at about 21.:27. Dizzy bats came after that, which was also great. You’ll see what I mean.

There’s no video of this up yet, but the winners of the Jedi Jack & Jill were awarded light sabers, which quickly turned from a planned competition into an unplanned one, as people started a limbo competition during our Saturday late night dance. Limbo turned into jams, which led to an epic end of the dance.

The organizers of 505 Stomp are not professional organizers. We have a very limited budget to work with, and convincing people to visit New Mexico isn’t always easy. But we try our best to make the event run as smooth as possible, to provide the best instruction possible, and to make the event an environment that’s condusive to creating and having a lot of fun.

This was our best year yet, and we hope next year is even better. We hope you had as much fun as we did.

If you want to come participate in the next Jedi Jack & Jill competition, we’re resuming the epic battle October 12-14, 2012 at the 5th Albuquerque Lindy Exchange. Bring your sabers,  bring your shields, and bring your strength. It’s going to be glorious.

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Lone Star Championships 2012

I’m pretty sure Lone Star Championships posesses some sort of magical powers. Why is it that it’s everything you want and need in a weekend event to have a great time and grow as a dancer? I know they don’t necessarily feel like they deserve the credit, but Scott Angelius and Tena Morales put on a killer event this weekend.

Seriously. Free food AND free booze? Come on. Come on. You can’t not love that.

Most dancers don’t realize everything it takes to create a seamless event, and it’s often a very thankless job. I always feel it’s important to give kudos to those organizers that really put their hearts and souls into their events. It shows and it makes every single dancer’s time at the event better.

Going to a Tena event is like going home to your mom’s house for dinner. She’s going to cook up something real nice and nutritious for you and it’s going to be the best thing you’ve eaten since the last time you ate at her house. She’s the momma bear of the Lindy Hop community, and whether or not  you know her or have even been to one of her events, she has directly affected your Lindy Hop career in one way or another.

But back to the magical powers that Lone Star possesses. Seriously, there’s something going on there.

Lone Star is the kind of event that’s intimate, casual, yet so full of content that it’s difficult to not burst at the seams with excitement and inspiration. The afternoons are stuffed full of competitions that are not for the faint of heart. The competition is fierce and you have to bring your A game. At the main dances, you’ll hear great live music and see fantastic competition finals in a large ballroom. The late nights are full of Championsips, kick ass dancing, great conversation and impromptu group singing to Disney songs in the smaller rooms of the mansion where the event is held. You’ll get so in the zone with your dancing that you forget about everything else: feeling sore or tired, feeling hungry, needing to pee. Before you know it it’s 5am, they’re cleaning up the venue and you’re still ready for more dancing. You’ll make friends, talk with people you’ve never talked with before, and sing “A Whole New World” with people from all over the country who not so secretly love the song. You’ll wander into a back room where some lindy hoppers are jamming on instruments, and before you know it, nearly the entire late night is dancing in there.

All of these things are all of the reasons why people love Lindy Hop. And that’s why Lone Star is so awesome. There’s nothing missing from it. It’s everything you need and more. Free food AND free booze!

If you didn’t get to go, here are a few things that you missed out on:

The Blues Finals. This was by far, the best competition of the weekend.

Andrew Thigpen and Nina Gilkenson tearing it up in the Invitational Jack & Jill.

The Booze. Boom.

 

 

 


The Plight Of The Lindy Hop Follower

When you’re first learning Lindy Hop, there’s definitely a learning curve. Lindy Hop is probably one of the hardest partner dances out there, since not only is the swing out your basic and arguably the most difficult move in Lindy Hop at the same time, but there aren’t really any hard and fast rules to the dance. So much of it can’t be shown or explained fully, it just has to experienced.

The learning curve is also different for leads and follows. Initially, I think it’s a lot more difficult for leads. They have to think about the footwork, the beat, which move they’re doing next and leading their follow at the same time. It’s enough for anyone’s head to pretty much explode all over the dance floor. Eventually, things ease up a lot for leads as all of those different aspects begin to work for the leads instead of against them.

As far as the followers go, I think the process can sometimes be a little more painful to endure. The beginning stages of learning to dance seem to come to followers more easily, but it’s once their leads start to improve more that their learning curve punches them in the face. Suddenly, after dancing for 6 months or a year, followers realize that  they’re pretty much relearning how to do everything in order to dance with well with others. And not only is it a complete mind bend, but it’s also a blow to their ego. It’s almost like they’ve been tricked. All this time they’re feeling like they’re improving, until they crash right into this brick wall and they realize that they don’t know anything about dancing. Ouch.

At least for leads, they can get a lot of that out of the way early on when they’re still brand new to dancing.

There are a couple of followers in our scene who are going through this right now, which is what made me decide to write about it. They’ve both been dancing for about a year or so now. They’re trying hard in classes, obviously concentrating a lot on the social dance floor, and not only look so lost in thought that they aren’t having that much fun, but they’re frustrated with themselves at the same time. I think for anyone, lead or follow, who’s going through this stage, can feel really disheartened, often times more so than you feel it should (as most of us just do this for fun). But don’t let it get you down. It’ll pass with time as long as you persevere through it.

Here are perhaps a few things to remember:

-Anything that you want to be good at, requires practice. And just because you want to be good at something, doesn’t mean that you will be right away. Besides, compared to the rest of the world, you’re probably pretty good at dancing.

-Being positive about your dancing is the best thing you can do for yourself. There’s a difference between understanding what you need to work on and being too critical of yourself. There will always be something that you’re working on in your dancing, so if something doesn’t come to you right away, don’t sweat it.

-There’s definitely an aspect of Lindy Hop that makes it more fun as you gain more skill, and let’s face it, it’s a competitve world out there, but skill isn’t everything. Having a great attitude and a smile on your face goes a long way in the social dance world.

 

 


Lovin’ The Lindy Hop

When people ask me to describe what Lindy hop is, I always tell them that it’s a dance of celebration. Obviously, that can be interpreted in a lot of different ways, and I think it should be.

Honestly though, I haven’t been feeling very celebretory lately. My dancing has felt like absolute crap, I haven’t been feeling inspired at any of the dances lately, and overall I’ve been in a dance slump. I’ve rarely felt eager to go out dancing, I’ve been feeling lazy and haven’t wanted to focus on improving my dancing, and I haven’t been going to any of my dance classes lately. And just the fact that I haven’t been feeling celebretory has made me feel yucky.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been in a funk over my dancing, but somehow it doesn’t seem to get any easier to deal with. Lately, I’ve just been desperately searching for that single moment that changes everything: a great dance, an inspirational student or class, an awesome event (which is hard to come by when you don’t have any money to travel). But between those middle school classes we were teaching (which, just as a quick aside, we spoke with the teacher not long ago when she came to our dance, and she said she transferred schools because those kids were making her hair fall out she was so miserable) and having a rough and perhaps somewhat embarassing weekend dance-wise at ILHC, things just haven’t been super exciting in my personal dance world.

I wrote everything above over a month ago. As you can see, with a lack of inspiration also came a complete inability to write anything worthwhile reading. I didn’t know how to conclude what I was saying, and it was largely because I wasn’t done feeling crappy. But something happened at our Saturday dance that changed everything.

I received a card from a few students who are in The Rhythm Project. There’s 3 or 4 of them that are always hanging out together, they come to every class religiously, even the drop-in class on Saturday (which is the exact same lesson every week). Every Saturday they go across the street to the gas station and get one of those giant slushies. They’re really adorable. And they’re all in their mid 30’s or older.

And it was just a card that completely changed my attitude. All they did was thank me for introducing them to Lindy Hop. They said it’s changed their lives and now they’re happier people. It was so touching that I had a glistening tear.

And that’s when I realized that they’re the reason why I do what I do. I think it’s pretty safe to say that everyone who’s been dancing consistently for while has felt that Lindy hop has changed their lives in one way or another. How can it not? The addiction of fun, the excitement of watching a jam, a competition, dancing late into the night and eating breakfast even later at diners with friends from all over the world that you’ve just met. It makes everyone feel young, no matter how old you are. It’s refreshing and invigorating.

This group of new Lindy hoppers are the kind of people that make going out dancing worthwhile. They’re the content of the scene, the new bread and butter that goes with every meal. They’re crazy obsessed, energetic, and essential. They’re the reason why every dance scene in this world exists. They’re all the things that I love about Lindy hop.

Since I started organizing and scene building, the one thing that I wanted more than anything was for people to be absolutely insane about Lindy hop. Well, here they are. Crazier and more dedicated than ever.