Category Archives: ILHC

New Dance Resolutions

So I’m gonna make some goals. Because that’s what successful people do. I think I’m going to try this whole successful thing this year. YEAR OF PYE! 2013! Ready? GO!

1. Get a job. DONE.

It’s starting off pretty good. I have a job, which is incredible that anyone would ever give me a job. But not only is it just a job, it’s the best job in the entire universe. I get to play with kids all day, and on top of that help them be awesome at life, and on top of that get paid to learn a lot.

2. Drop off unnecessary baggage. DONE.

Got rid of some things I didn’t need anymore. ‘Nuff said.

3. Be more confident.

Almost there, but not quite. Just generally in my life, in my choices, and especially in my dancing. I need a little bit of Irene Thomas up in here.

4. Do things I’m scared of, but secretly love.

Here’s a secret that maybe 5 people in the world know about me. I have a dream of singing in front of people one day. By posting this fairly embarrassing thing about myself I am putting it out there. I am committing to it. This IS the YEAR OF PYE, after all.

5. Save money for things.

Since I have a job now, I can do this. I’m going to travel more and…

6. Teach more.

I was incredibly honored to get asked to teach at Le Hot Sauce this year with Conrad.  I’m so excited and I cannot wait. Also, I’m going to…

7. DJ more.

This is scary for me so it is part of #4 up there. But I’m tired of being stopped by fear. Ooooo. I got deep there for a second. Also, I will…

8. Compete more.

I’m going to ILHC or Bust, as previously stated. And…

9. Dance more.

However, this is the YEAR OF PYE. This calls for something epic. Something drastic. Something insane. Something unimaginably amazing. You know what I’m talking about. The one. The only. Herrang.


10. Care less about what other people think.

And how self centered this entire post sounds.

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Musicality is not Monotony.

Musicality to me is simply: Music + Brain = Movement. You hear music, your brain process it, and you move to the music. So deceivingly simple. But when you have two people dancing together this complicates it quite a bit. No one hears a sound exactly the same way, just like no one sees exactly the same colors. And even if we all did here exactly the same sound who’s to say were going to move to it exactly the same way. Now imagine 2 people dancing together trying to process the same piece of music with hundreds of sounds which each hears differently and move to it while still trying to be connected. Ladies and gentlemen, you have Lindy Hop!

Musicality is not something one person can hear and the other doesn’t, it’s not magic. Musicality is different from person to person, one person may be listening to the higher notes in the music and the other the low notes. Like wise, the follower could be listening to the drums/base (lower sounds) while the leader to the horns (higher sounds) as in this clip (pay attention around 0:11).

Nina Gilkenson and Mike Faltesek demo to Ochi Chornya by Wingy Manone in Quebec for the no-longer-existing QSRV.

The leader hears something completely different in the music than the follower and wants to accent the horns while the follower thinks it would be much more interesting to accent the drum thud at the end of the intro. Even though they here different things, they do different things they still are dancing together and to the same song. MAGIC!

You cannot “lead” musicality. Yeah, you can lead a certain move that will accent a certain count which the break hits but the follow could always choose to do some insane footwork that accentuates something else in the song. Maybe the leader will lead a plain, good, old, yummy swing out, well the follower can change the whole rhythm of it to fit the song as she hears it as demonstrated beautifully here at around 0:17. Or a plain old sugar push; 0:53. Or just a pass through; 1:09 . Or transition into or out of tandem Charleston (s-turn?) 1:29 and 1:37.

Frida Segerdahl and Mikey Pedroza compete at ILHC in the Invitational J&J to Darktown Strutters Ball.

Notice how even though the leader leads a certain pattern the follower can still add her own musicality to it very easily. Notice how the follow ads a little somthin’ somthin’ at :39 , 1:01, 1:22, and starts a little breezy knees action at 1:12 which the leader catches on to. (I like my knees breezy, please and thank you!)

That little “visual lead” is an integral part of Lindy Hop, at least in my crazy little head. It’s what makes Lindy Hop, Lindy Hop and not ballroom. That is what is meant when you hear people talking about lead and follow as a conversation. One person does something cool, a footwork variation, a styling, a jazz step, and the other catches on. It’s like an exchange of steps or styling, or like a mini competition, where you are trying to out do each other, or game of Simon Says, or just a fun conversation. Frankie describes it the best. You create some thing together, not the leader tells you what to do, but you truly create something together, something you could have never created on your own without a partner because of that conversation with them and the music. Those are the best dances you’ll ever have and you’ll remember them forever. Try to find the visual leads in this here clip all by your lonesome self.

Nina Gilkenson and Mike Faltesek demo at Lindy Focus

Here are my favorites: Apple Jacks at 0:26 and Boogie Forwards at 0:48.  Also, something you might have noticed, starting at 0:19 you can also see how Mike is listening to the horns while Nina listens to the piano. Very cool.

The most important thing is to remember that just because the leader is called the leader and the follower is called the follower doesn’t mean the leader can’t play off and visually follow a cool step the follow did. Leaders, try it next time you go dancing! Lead a bunch of swing outs and see what kind of variation the follow comes up with on the 7 and 8, 1 and 2. Then on the next 8 count try to copy what she did. Don’t worry if you didn’t get it exactly right, it’s called social dancing for a reason. Who knows, maybe you’ll come up with your own variation. Believe me followers love swing outs, they could do them all night on repeat, so don’t worry about trying to shove in other “moves”. Next try to do your own variation and see if she catches on to it on the next 8 count. Caution: this may cause you to experience the best dance of your life.

In conclusion, the leader doesn’t always have to be dictating every single movement to the follower and the follower can have her own thoughts and impact on the dance you both are creating, and not just blindly following the leader. You can do completely different footwork or styling and still be dancing together. It’s not a dictatorship it’s kind of an anarchy. Rules in Lindy Hop? Pffft.

Now go and dance!

The competition weekend to end all competition weekends…

ILHC was a blast. I’ll try to make this on the shorter side since I really want to go to sleep right now.

First of all, whenever possible fly Virgin. It’s awesome. Second of all D.C. is such a great place to live, their metro system is awesome. We used it to get from the airport and it was surprisingly easy, if well researched. I didn’t get to see much of the city, which doesn’t really bother me that much because they’re all the same to me, but some of my friends used the metro to see al the famed sights of D.C. Since our hotel was very close to a station it made it even more simple. You can have a very affordable and fun-filled vacation in D.C. very easily.

ILHC – August 27th-30th, 2009

When I first walked in I was surprised at how small the space actually is. You would think from watching the videos that there is much more space off to the sides and behind the camera for the audience, but what you see in the video is basically it.

The Dances

The night dances were a bit slow with less advanced dancers coming out since they were all busy worrying or practicing for their competitions. However, many came out during the late nights and Saturday and Sunday nights. But I had more fun just dancing with anyone who asked me than being a snob and trying to dance with only the ‘pros’. During one of the late nights I had a sort of epiphany about my dancing. I was so tried and sleepy that I decided to stop caring about how I’m dancing entirely.  It turns out that’s how you have fun. Stop caring about how you cool you look, what awesome footwork you’re going to do next, how good your following is, and just dance. I can’t believe I haven’t done that before.

The Music

So The Boilermaker Jazz Band played on Saturday night and they had everyone on the edge of their seats looking for a dance partner for every song. They also provided music for the Champions Strictly, which was ridiculous. They really drove the energy of the dancers. See for your self:

That’s approximately a 260 bmp song for 12+ minutes! Wha!?

However the other nights we not so exciting. The bands felt like they played a lot for crowds of people sitting down but not much for dancers. They played very long very fast songs in a row which didn’t make me want to dance very much. Not to mention one band played melody… It was terrible. I looked forward to DJ’ed late nights the most, even though the DJs were also unsatisfactory most of the time. Like that time they killed a jam on the last night by playing a slow song right after a faster song which had started the jam, and then playing a faster song right after the slow song  to keep the jam going which they already killed. Maybe there should be some sort of camp or event for DJs too. Mary Freitag and Augie Freman would teach them how to do it right!

But I guess that’s what you get for wanting quality social dancing at a competition event.

The Competitions

Amazing. The dancing was superb and awesome. But like most lindy hop today, it was missing fun.  Sometimes  don’t want constant AWESOME in-your-face lindy hop. Sometimes it’s much better to have fun. What am I saying! It’s always better to have fun! You need the dance to have a character and a direction than just a sequence of AWESOME steps/moves/footwork/styling etc. without fun, it wouldn’t be lindy hop anymore. It would be like… Broadway jazz… yech… But that’s just my personal bias. Check out my 3 favorite moments of fun:


Watch the second couple up, especially during the all-skate




T-minus 3 1/2 hours till I’m on a plane to D.C. to ILHC

Hope to see a lot of you there. I hope to dance with you!

I’m just really excited and I haven’t slept and now there’s no point in even going to bed…

Anyhow, wish me luck!