Archive for May, 2011

Camp Jitterbug 2011

My brother* and I are going to Camp Jitterbug this year, and I’m getting wicked excited. I never would have thought that I’d be able to go to it anytime soon, but here we are, going! This year.

Things I’m looking forward to:
– the Jump Session! Lots of beautiful swing dancers, doing their thing; performing. (I hope there’s lots of Balboa.)


– seeing all of my Seattle friends! and making new ones.
– seeing swing friends from all over the country, who are gonna be there too.
– dancing with leads I don’t get to very often.
– dancing with Peter “the dreamboat” Flahiff, who I did not get to dance with last time I was out there.
– wearing my new cute dance dress.
– all of the amazing instruction! I’m looking forward to having Skye and Frida for my first time ever, plus just so many great instructors, and TAP lessons on Monday…!
– beautiful venues.
– being in Seattle! which means eating delicious food. I’m looking most forward to Tutta Bella, good Pho, and the doughtnuts from Pike Place. mmm…

Things I think I might like less than at regional events:
– waaay more people. I can’t imagine it’ll be easy to get to the good dancers/teachers to dance with them… but we’ll see!
– way more people. I might feel a bit lost! Then again, I love meeting new people, and there will be tons of new people…
– huge classes.

Goals:
– dance with Pontus Persson. He’s just so tall, and Swedish…!
– dance with lots of leads who are good and intimidate me.
– challenge myself in classes, and bring the things I’m learning to the dancefloor.
– more facebook friends!!! heh
– have fun.
– take some nice photos (even with limited camera options).
– record video, so I can make a cool video after the weekend.

*I’m so glad that I got him into swing dancing. And that he likes it as much as I do. Winning!

Day 6: A Picture of Something That Makes You Happy


Swing dancing! (Photo by David Holmes.)

Since I started the Lindy Hop challenge, it’s a little obvious that this is something that I enjoy. It’s my main hobby now, and it definitely makes me happy!

Me, happy, dancing! (Avec Christian.)

I really like pictures, so you’re getting two things that make me happy today.

My nephews.

I love being an Aunt. It’s rewarding and fun and lovely and exciting, and also sometimes involves things like poopy diapers and screaming babies, but it’s wonderful and so worth it. I imagine it’s about 1/10th of what it is to be a parent; both in awesomeness and work/tiredness.

Getting to snuggle with the babies, or play with William is just incredibly rejuvenating, and always valuable. I love being an Aunt!

Day 2: Your favorite place to dance.

This is a surprisingly hard question to answer! But I think I’m gonna have to go with something of a dichotomy:

1 – in other cities/at workshops and exchanges.
2 – my little home scene’s weekly dances.

So much goes into what makes a place a good place to dance, but I think the biggest thing is the people. What I love about going to other scenes or big events is getting to dance with new people, and all kinds of amazing dancers I usually don’t have access to. Dances with new people can be SO much fun; when you find that person you click with, and who inspires you to dance in ways you normally don’t get to.

But on the other hand, what I love about our little home scene is that I get to dance with my friends; with people who I’ve already danced with a million times. They know me and my style and I know them, and we so comfy with each other that it can go places that dances with new people never could.

Hmm. It occurs to me that I’ve answered this question differently than it was meant. If we’re talking about a room, eg, where in the world is my favorite PLACE to dance… then I’ll have to say Century Ballroom in Seattle. A beautiful room (that’s usually not too hot); so many great dancers to watch and dance with; and lots of friendly people. Plus it’s in beautiful Seattle!

best image from google. it's more red sometimes.

Day 1: What got you started in Lindy Hop?

Coming into college*, I knew there were some hobbies I wanted to try out while at school; swing dancing was one of them**.

Fall semester sophomore year I started taking beginning swing lessons, and also beginning fencing lessons. I did both for the first half of the semester, and enjoyed it all, but I fell in love with swing dancing. (I was way more into learning how to dance with someone, then in learning how to fight someone and beat them. Go figure.)

I wasn’t brave enough to take the hard and complicated “Beginning Lindy Hop” until second semester that year***, when I’d already taken both Swing (east coast) classes our college group offered, and had started going to the social dances. I had gone to the fall workshop we offered (Balboa and Charleston****), and with that and the weekly dances, I was well on my way to being hooked.

But what really got me addicted to swing dancing was our spring workshop and traveling to Purdue’s exchange that year. That spring we brought in Todd and Nina for our workshop, and it was SO much fun.

I had only recently learned the swing-out, and a whole weekend spent learning what to do with it was delicious, not to mention the lovely inspiration from Nina, and lovely um, Toddness, that we got to experience. My bar got set high.

Later that spring, some new swing friends convinced me to travel for Purdue’s exchange; and so I also discovered the joy of traveling for swing dancing.

That spring was two years ago (feels like a long time), and I’ve been getting more involved with swing dancing and with the organization of our local scene ever since. My first year swing dancing, and the joy of discovering this thing that I’d always sort of thought would be amazing which turned out to be way more fun than I’d even imagined, was intoxicating. Now-a-days I feel like I have a grip on my swing-out and am working to improve it, that I can dance with just about everyone and have fun, and even be a little creative and musical at times. Sure have a lot I want to learn though!!

*Dear Jerry Almonte, if you’re reading this: you could call me the Tumblr demographic if you’d like. In other words, I am indeed a college aged lindy-hopping girl. Shout out to your awesome lindy-hop-resource of a blog!

**Where had I heard about swing dancing? Well, I grew up in the ‘90s (I was 3 years old in 1990, and 12 in 1999), so swing dancing was this cool thing I’d always heard about but never gotten to do myself (it was for older, cooler people; people who went out dancing in San Francisco and stuff). My brother had done a little in college (the same school I now attend), and some of my friends and cousins had dabbled in it too. From that ol’ Gap ad to “Blast From the Past”, my whole adolescence was lightly steeped in swing.

Another reason I’d always wanted to do it was the 1940s connection; my Gramma used to go out dancing with all the sailors. Always sounded pretty good to me, and I’ve long striven to be as awesome as my Gramma.

***And looking back, I’m glad that’s what happened, because I ended up learning from some local teachers who taught the swing-out better than earlier others would have…

****Yes, you read that right: I did Balboa before I did Lindy Hop. Funny…

The Lindy Hop 30 Day Challenge

Change of plans! I’m adding on another 30-day challenge that I want to do. I was gonna wait until I was done with the original, basic-life one, but I’m too impatient. This Lindy Hop one looks really fun, and I’ve already started writing out the posts, and I JUST CAN’T WAIT anymore!

(To follow along with just one of the challenges, you can click on the appropriate category to the right of this blog’s navigation and see an archive of them all. (I don’t know why it doesn’t work to click on the category to the left of each post, but it doesn’t… I’ll work on that.)

So, starting tomorrow I’m going to be posting either one of the regular 30-day ones, or a 30-day Lindy Hop one (still just one a day. Unless I start feeling super inspired and posting one of each a day… it could happen). To anyone who is not in the swing dancing/lindy hopping community, this might not make as much sense to you as the other ones. But to those in this group, this is a pretty darn awesome blogging inspiration list!

You may be asking: “What is Lindy Hop?” If so, to the Wikipedia, my friend. Wait, scratch that, just watch this:


Swing out battle at the end FTW!!

And so, onto …

THE 30 DAY LINDY HOP CHALLENGE!
(source)

Day 1: What got you started in Lindy Hop?
Day 2: Your favorite place to dance.
Day 3: A description of your favorite partner (and why they’re your favorite).
Day 4: Your favorite live band.
Day 5: Your favorite non-Lindy Hop swing dance (charleston, balboa, shag).
Day 6: Your favorite group dance (shim sham, tranky doo, big apple, etc).
Day 7: Something you really want to learn.
Day 8: Your favorite instructor.
Day 9: Favorite class taken.
Day 10: Favorite workshop weekend (Lindy Focus, Camp Hollywood, etc) or one you’d really like to attend.
Day 11: Favorite song(s) to dance to.
Day 12: Your swing crushes/favorite pros
Day 13: Favorite dancing memory
Day 14: Your swing group of friends
Day 15: Favorite classic clip
Day 16: Photo of you dancing
Day 17: Styling
Day 18: That move you love
Day 19: That move that eludes you
Day 20: Your swing shoes
Day 21: Favorite outfit to wear dancing
Day 22: Favorite city to dance in
Day 23: A dancer you admire
Day 24: Favorite pro performance
Day 25: Describe the last night you went dancing
Day 26: The level you think you dance at
Day 27: Your dance goals for the year
Day 28: Events you’re looking forward to
Day 29: A clip you love
Day 30: Why you dance

Expect Day 1 coming at ‘chu soon.

Day 5: A Song to Fit Your Mood

I’ve written some of these posts ahead of time, and then finished and posted them, but I wanted to wait and pick a song until today, RIGHT NOW, because who knew what my mood would be right now, until now?

See if you can catch my mood from this song:

If you guessed “relaxed and optimistic”, you would be correct. Also “slightly dancey”.

But wait! A bonus song, that ALSO reflects my mood. Although to be fair, this one pretty much always fits my mood (the song, not necessarily the video)…

Day 4: Your Parents

My parents, circa 1984, three years before I would enter their life.

Me and my parents, a few years ago! I think I look like both of them.

My parents are awesome. I know people could easily say this and not mean it, or be wrong, but: they’re the best parents I know or really can imagine. They have a beautiful relationship (I’ve never heard them fight, and it’s not because they don’t fight around us kids, it’s because they don’t fight. This is how they taught us to communicate (with kindness), and I’m so grateful for that), and they were intentional about giving their kids many tools to success in life. They’re also silly, and adorable, and we have a great time together.

My Mom is beautiful (and preternaturally young looking), kind, and silly. She’s a gracious hostess, a strong woman of character and of God, and does a wonderful job of taking care of everyone around her. She also introduced me to Janis Joplin and the Beatles, and she had a wicked cool wardrobe back in the ’70s. I will always be thankful for the lessons she’s taught me, and the silliness we get into together! I hope to be as cool as her, one day.

I’m a lot like my Dad, or at least I hope I am. He’s always been so loving, and supportive, and wise and fun. I have never doubted that my Papa loved me no matter what I did, and that he thinks I’m just awesome.  He got me into Lord of the Rings, and always encouraged me to build my talents.

It’s pretty cool that I’m a part of them both!

I feel incredibly blessed and grateful that I have parents who are my friends, advocates, and advisors. Also, parents who I am happy to introduce to my friends, because they’re just warm and friendly and lovely (and won’t embarrass me; quite the opposite in fact).

This is my family! All the kids and two great parents.