Monthly Archives: December 2009

Use Your Noggin

I don’t think anyone uses their head when they dance quite like Naomi Uyama. She really dances with it. And here’s the proof!

At 0:53 she accents the music and her movement with they head.

At 1:18 she adds on to the movement she id doing by nodding her head.

At 1:29 she bends her head forward for the turn, it looks cool, even though it is very small.

At 1:22 she accentuates her leg windmill with her head. I happen to think this is very cute.

At 1:26 she brings her head down to accentuate the movement. *sigh*

At 1:07 she mimics the movement of her leg during the Susie-Q with her head.

At 1:17 she exaggerates the landing of her jumps by bringing her head down.

At 1:40 looks up towards the sky with the sailor step.

At 1:43 looks to the side and flourishes with her hand on the rock steps.

At 1:57 brings head down for the stop.

At 2:13 her head is connected to her body as she “points.”

At 2:23 her head goes back to accentuate the drop.

I know, the song is the same as above…

Actually I just think this video is perfect because even though Naomi’s hair is loose it never goes in her face. That’s pretty amazing.

I think it’s so often that we think of dancing is just with our feet because that’s how we first learned it (generally speaking…). We forget to keep the dancing in parts of our body that we don’t usually think about, like our heads or our fingers or hands, or hips, or knees, or toes! Sometimes I like to put on a song at home and pick a body part and only dance using that one part of me. It’s pretty fun. Watch this for ideas, also by Naomi!

EDIT: Bobby White also posted on his really amazing new blog, Swungover, about Naomi Uyama.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Signed, sealed, Delivered

As promised, I finally set up a blog for all my fashion posts from my previous blog. Here it is:

Old Dirty Things

I hope you’ll like it. I’ve moved all the old “eBay Scavenger” posts there too, so if you’ve linked to any of them you’ll need to change the links because I have deleted all the entries from the Blogger site and I did not post them on this site!

Thanks again!

The brilliance that is Jerry.

I like Jerry.

I think that should be a shirt.

๐Ÿ˜€

 

My fantastically talented friend Jerry has an amazingly brilliant blog called Wandering & Pondering. He is gradually posting an essay he wrote about the modern lindy hop community and how it became what it is today (and to infinity and beyond!) entitled Artistry in Rhythm. If you haven’t seen it yet you are missing out. It is too good to try and describe so I will merely quote his latest entry; pt. 15: Yin & Yang.

“Micromusicality is also fairly common feature in routines because I think it is easy for dancers to do and to show, however superficially, an audience that they are โ€œconnectedโ€ to the music.  Rather than interpreting the music, it conveys the image that the dancers are mere puppets of the music with no independent thought or emotion.  Many people uncritically appropriate this idea superficially thinking that this is part of the winning formula without understanding what made the rest of the routine look so appealing.”

Think about that!

And if you don’t continue reading you’ll be missing out on the pure genius (as always) quote from Skye Humphries! So keep reading!

 

BTW. If you dream of sitting down with Skye Humphries and sipping the knowledge from his brain you can get a little taster on Jerry’s blog. He posted an interview with Skye in four parts. pt. 1  pt. 2  pt. 3  pt. 4

 

I love Wondering & Pondering!

10 Helpful and Simple Tips on How Not to Be an Asshole on the Dance Floor

  1. ALWAYS use your words to ask someone to dance.
    If you stick your hand in my face and stand there I’ll probably spit my gum in your hand. We have a mouth and the ability to communicate through language for a reason. Use it.
  2. NEVER use baby powder in the middle of a dance floor.
    Or even in a corner where you know people will be dancing of stepping. Do it under a table or a chair, or bring some wet wipes with you and clean up after yourself.
  3. ALWAYS give your all to the dance.
    Just because a beginner asked you to dance, it doesn’t mean that they want you to dance with them like you are a beginner yourself. This does not mean you cannot have fun. It took a lot of guts for them to ask you to  dance so give it your all and dance with them as if you were dance with a "rockstar".
  4. NEVER dance with yourself.
    Dancing is about creating something together that you could not have created apart. This does not mean using your partner as an anchor to do cool moves to make yourself look cool. If you liked something your partner just did; let them know. Try to repeat what they just did or just smile, laugh, or say "nice!". WARNING: If overused this can get creepy.
  5. ALWAYS thank your partner warmly and sincerely.
    Even if your dance sucked you don’t want to be the centerpiece of restroom gossip just because you didn’t smile and say thank you. It really isn’t that hard. And if you like dancing with them let them know! Make it Swedish and ask for another dance.
  6. NEVER treat someone like they are below you.
    Just because you know someone has been dancing for a shorter amount of time than you it doesn’t mean that they suck in comparison. They probably know more than you anyway and you’re too stuck up to see it.
  7. ALWAYS assume that you have more to learn.
    Because no one is perfect and everyone always does have more to learn. Even if you like the way you dance, it does not hurt to take more lessons to learn a new way of thinking about the dance or just to see how different people teach the same thing.
  8. NEVER teach on the dance floor!
    I mean really, common. Instead of saying "You should do this" say "I feel this". Make the statement about yourself instead of the person you are dancing.
  9. ALWAYS think about how your words will affect someone else.
    This should kind of be a mastered skill from first grade.
  10. NEVER tell a person that you don’t like dancing with them for any reason EVER.
    That’s just horrible

Most (if not all, with some alteration) of these rules also go for life in general. If you just realized that then you are an ultimate asshole far beyond help and hopefully I’ll meet you someday and shank you a few times.

Blues it up good.

Oh no, blues!

Yeah, you should get over yourself.

LA Blues October 23th – 15th, 2009

It was a fantastic event from beginning to end. It was small enough to be intimate and relaxed but intensive enough to make it well, well, well worth your money.

The Dancing

Well, it was pretty good. Personally there were like four people that I wanted to dance with so if you’re looking for a great exchange with lots of fantastic social dancing, this is not it. However, 3 of those people were teachers so if you’d like to dance with some of the best dancers without the pressure of a big event where everyone wants to dance with that one instructor (Skye Home-fries, ever tried asking him to dance at an event?) than this is your event. In fact since the event was so cozy the teachers have a lot of time to hang around and dance without many people attacking them every 3 seconds you can get some valuable one on one time with them. In fact their even willing to help you if you ask them for it!

I really enjoyed how relaxed the atmosphere was. This kind of let the learning sneak up on you, so it seemed like you were not doing much but then all the sudden you’re getting better and doing lots of things you never thought you would get to do, like make it to the finals in the Jack and Jill.

The Competition

Yup. That’s me. (The first one out in the spotlight)

This was the only competition they had this year. Maybe next year they’d have a solo one, those are always more fun than anything else, but scarier to enter. A strictly would have been nice too and would have probably drawn out a few better dancers at least for the one night.

I know that the organizers felt that putting on too many competitions would not only cause a lot of work and stress for them but would also interrupts the social dancing which is so important to blues (and arguably lindy hop but that’s a whole different post). I really like this idea because at a few recent events I’ve really felt cheated out of my dancing due to interruptions for performances and competitions *cough*Frankie 95*cough*. Even when there is a lot of time for dancing, the flow of the night kind of sucks when there is an interruption every 30 minutes.

If you’re curious, here’s Part 2 of the competition:

The Instructors

They were all fantastic. There is really no other word for it. Laura Glaess and Mike Roberts, Nelle Hatley and Joe DeMers, and of course Karissa Lightsmith and Topher Howard. Fantastic instructors and above all fantistic people willing to go the extra mile to see that their students master the material given and excel. Otherwise known as picking up what they’re putting down.

I had a fantastic time and I will FOR SURE be attending next year. I don’t think I’ve ever said that about an event. Plus I have some inside information that the organizers are thinking about asking Mike Faltesek to come teach solo blues in 2010! WOW!

Don’t be a looser and miss it because you think blues sucks because you’re stuck up.

Just in case you’re wondering about future events I’m going to my last one for a while will be Lindy Focus on Dec. 27th to 31st in Asheville, NC. I’ve decided to focus on school for a while so I can finish it extra fast, try to dance at more places locally (Strutter’s and Atomic), then marry a gay man in Seattle to get a green card, move there and start traveling again. This master plan will take approximately one year to reach completion. Stay tuned my lovely Seattle friends.

Just a reminder, If you’re reading this on facebook you’re missing half the fun! Please click on ‘View Original Post’ below!

US Open Photos

If you’re still curious about the US Open and how it was like to be there (they don’t release the videos except for the winning performance) you see all the photos here. This gallery is just the strictly lindy, but you can navigate back to see all of them.

They have a watermark on the large copy which kind of sucks and it costs like $15 a photo, which is ridiculous, but it’s still nice to have pictures.

The pictures of me begin on the 3rd page, if you’re wondering!

Also, I’ll be at Killer Diller in Seattle this weekend so I’ll get back to posting on Monday. Ask me to dance if you see me though!

Eureka!

We’ve hit Charleston Gold!

Watch this video:

Now watch it again focusing on one of the couples. Now watch it again focusing on a new couple. Now watch it as many times as you need to to squeeze out all that sweet sweet Charleston juice.

This is from a movie made in the 1950s called "Don’t Knock The Rock". I posted another clip from this movie a few days ago. It’s a rock and roll movie about teens trying to get their parents to understand rock and roll. It’s pretty lame-type funny, if you ever want to check it out.

In this clip the teens put on a show for their stuffy parents to show them that Charleston was also considered "wild" when their parents were young and they turned out good enough. What is really funny to me is that from the 50s, the 20s were only 30 years apart. It’s like looking back to the 80’s from today. CRAZY!

Just a reminder, If you’re reading this on facebook you’re missing half the fun! Please click on ‘View Original Post’ below!

Very Very Early Spring Cleaning…

As you may have noticed I fell a little out of rhythm with blog posts this past month. It was busy! But this actually this gives me an opportunity to regroup and reorganize a bit.

1) I’m throwing the schedule and categories out the window. At least for the moment. I’m just going to write about what I feel like writing about instead of trying to make it fit into a certain section of my blog. Also I’m not going to be traveling at all for a while so that kind of screws with the event reviews section. But I do have some plans and ideas for future posts… perhaps some interviews? How do you feel about that? What do you like to read about?

2) The “eBay Scavenger” section will be on a different blog. What I’ve realized reading other blogs is that it’s kind of annoying when you want to read about Lindy Hop and you get a post about fashion instead. It doesn’t really fit here and deserves a blog all it’s own. So if you liked that section I’ll have that up for you soon and if you hated it, well, it’s your lucky day. And if you hate my entire blog why are you still reading? ๐Ÿ˜›

3) I’ll try to post at least once for every weekday this week to catch up for those of you who missed me for the three weeks I was inactive. I’ll try to keep in to the mentality of posting at least 5 times a week after that, but sometimes you just have nothing to say.

I’d like to encourage you all to please comment and rate the posts! I’m so thankful to all of you who have commented and rated in the past! It’s so freakin’ cool! And for those of you still reading on facebook, please click on “View Original Post” directly below the note to the right in tiny print so you can comment and rate!

Also be sure to visit the links to other fellow lindy bloggers from the list on to the right! There is some amazing blogs out there!

Thanks again to all who read!

For the Win!

Competing is terrifying. There’s nothing more you can say. But they are an important part of our dance community for many reasons. Competing pushes you in your dancing which in turn pushes the level of the entire community up. Competing is also a way to share your own ideas about the dance which helps others have more ideas about the dance. That is why I love competitions.

This past weekend I was at the US Open which is a westie event., as you all probably already know, but they do have one division of Lindy which is a strictly. My friend Steve asked me if I’d wanted to compete with him there and I jumped at the chance.

Holy Crap.

The U.S. Open is a HUGE event. Mostly because West Coast Swing is more mainstream,they did make a movie about it, and because they have more money, and therefore most of them (who love it enough) can be a westie full time (while Lindy Hoppers are like superheros and they have a second life/secret identity sitting behind a desk somewhere). Not only is it ENORMOUS it’s very official. They have a backdrop, assigned and raised seating, and professional photography. At the competitors meeting the organizers used a microphone to talk. Yes, really.

I usually don’t get nervous for competitions because I’m just happy to be dancing more, but this was ridiculous. We came down the steps (and the MC said my last name wrong) I couldn’t even see the audience, never mind the judges because the lights were so gosh darn bright. The next thing I remember is blurriness interrupted by Steve’s face every so often and intense nausea. So intense I threw up in my mouth a little as we were leaving the floor after our spotlight. After the contest I couldn’t stop shaking. It was weird. We went back to our hotel room and my legs felt like jelly and I had a little breezy knees action going on every time I took a step.

You might think that this kind of sucks. But I beg to differ. I am so glad and so proud of myself for doing it and you cannot get that amazing feeling of accomplishment any other way.

If you’re thinking about competing I say go for it. First off, there’s no other feeling like it. It’s a chance to showcase your own unique point of view as a dancer and you’ll feel so good and so proud of yourself for actually going through with it.

Second of all, it enriches the entire dance community. The more people there are competing the tougher the competition is and the harder everyone will try to succeed and improve in their dancing, which will push you to improve your dancing to keep up. It’s perfect.

Third of all, it is inspiring. You dance like no one else and no one else dances like you. When you compete you showcase your unique style to the lindy hop world (especially if the video is going on YouTube) and that will inspire others to do new things which may in turn inspire you!

Don’t think of competing as a way to win things or earn recognition. It’s a venue to show what you love to the audience and get better at it at the same time. WIN-WIN. No matter how you place.