Day 10: Favorite workshop weekend (Lindy Focus, Camp Hollywood, etc) or one you’d really like to attend

I’m gonna treat this as a two-parter, because I can!

Favorite workshop weekend that you’ve attended?

Is it terrible if I say the workshop that I organized? It was pretty much awesome; for me at least. But that’s also the last workshop I attended, and I’m usually a “omg latest awesome is THE most awesome”…

So, very honorable mentions go to:
Camp Jitterbug, 2011. EPIC, and fun; I learned a ton, met some great people, enjoyed Seattle, and got to take classes from a lot of the instructors I’d admired from afar. And I had some really great dances (although maybe not as many as I expected… dang those were some crowded dance floors, and one follow-heavy weekend.) Watching the live competitions with pro dancers was also really fun! And a new experience for this Midwest dancer.

Me and my bro at Camp Jitterbug

Heartland Swing Festival, 2011. A great workshop weekend, and my friends and I had a BLAST, especially when our team shockingly won the team competition! We were so shocked, and SO happy. Met some great people there too, and had an all around fabulous time there in Des Moines.

The Nevermore Jazz Ball & St. Louis Swing Dance Festival, 2011. Christian and Jenny’s first year of their St Louis dance love weekend was a fantastic event, and we thoroughly enjoyed it! I had so many great dances, the music was amazing! I entered the Jack ‘n Jill just for fun and ended up getting SECOND PLACE WHAT how did I even make the finals?? So yeah, it was a blast, in a city I’m starting to fall for.

Ok, so now it’s time for:

Workshop that you want to attend?

Herräng. Of course! Sweden, thousands of Lindy Hoppers, a week of classes and social dances, SWEDEN…. I long! One of these years, it’s gonna happen.

Closer to home, I really really want to attend: Midwest Lindyfest in Minneapolis/St Paul, Lonestar Championships in Austin TX, and ULHS in New Orleans. And I’d happily go back to Camp Jitterbug if it were ever a possibility!


It’s been a long 5.5 years.

Every day of break that goes by, with its fill of sleep, good food, relaxing, spending time with family and friends, and time spent on projects that I want to work on, is bittersweet. It feels like: THIS is how I want to live! But soon, very soon, it will be taken away from me… Thankfully though, this is my LAST SEMESTER!! Praise Jesus, because I don’t think I could take any more school.

For the record: I’ve loved getting my degree. Graphic Design is every bit as fun and rewarding as you think it is, my department is both a challenging and a warm place to be, a big University was exactly the right fit for me, and I’ve cherished the opportunity to meet so many interesting people, take classes on fascinating topics, and hone my skills in a variety of areas. This year, all my classes are really quite awesome! And fun too. But… none of that cancels out the fact that I am tired of living this exhausting life, and being held to a non-realistic weekly schedule.

Art Studentz

The thing with school is: it never ends. You* wake up in the morning, do the work you forgot to do the night before, rush to get ready and make it to class on time, do work in class, grab a bite to eat, go home and do way more homework than you have time to finish, and then fall asleep when you just can’t take it anymore. Then you wake up early, just to do it all over again. The weekend is a bit of a reprieve, but that just means that you might get to sleep more, and you don’t have to go to class.**

This is what design students start looking like at 4am in the screenprinting studio... feral.

I know that for some people, their professional life is like this too. But I personally am not planning on taking a job that demands such a sacrifice of my time; my career isn’t worth that to me. I care more about my health, my quality of life, my hobbies, my family, and spending time with them and my friends. It might not be a very American way of looking at life, but it’s the kind of life I want!

What I’m looking forward to after graduation is just that: living a real, and happy, life; with expectations that aren’t insane, and actually being paid for the work that I do. I don’t know what I’ll be doing (although travel and learning more are two areas I want to pursue), but I know that I won’t be getting graded on it.

Like I told a friend a few weeks ago: [As a homeschooler] I’ve lived a life without homework; and I am thrilled to go back to that.

*Well, I. Surely there are people out there who actually manage to schedule their time more effectively…
**I know a lot of this would be alleviated if I managed my time better… and I’m working on that. But mostly I am just very, very glad to be done with school (soon, so soon).

Day 9: Favorite class taken

This is a hard-to-define question. What was the best class (instance) I’ve ever taken? What was the best class (series) I’ve ever taken? I’m not sure I can remember that… so many to choose from!

But since I have to pick something, I think I’ll go with the few Balboa classes I got to take in Kirkland, WA, last January when I was visiting my brother. I love Balboa, but rarely get the chance to work on it or learn new things. Those few weeks getting to take classes with Peter Flahiff and Ben White was so FUN, and I learned a lot too!

I’m not saying it was my favorite favorite… just that I can’t pick a favorite, and I really enjoyed that. 🙂 Honestly, it’s the first thing I thought of that I liked. I’m bad at favorites, blahhh

Day 8: Your favorite instructor

Oooooh this is a tough one! In terms of people who’ve helped me the most lately, definitely Peter and Naomi.

This is both because they’re great dancers and great teachers (amazing at managing different levels in the same track, and at giving lots of people individual attention, as well as pinpointing exactly what people need to hear to fix their dancing), but also because they’re the instructors that I’ve gotten the most one-on-one time with. (Not that it was a ton… but I’ve never been able to take private lessons or anything, and at their workshop here in town they both took the time to give me personal critique that helped my dancing so much!)

At Camp Jitterbug, I really loved Frida Borg and Pontus Persson’s classes. They were just FUN; fun moves, something of a different feel, and lots of energy. They’re totally sweet people too! I really enjoyed their perspective. Whether it felt different because it was more Swedish, or because they’re both so young for how amazing they are, I don’t know. But it was fun.

Bear in mind that Pontus is 20 years old there…

Skye and Frida’s classes at CJ were definitely as awesome as I expected them to be (really great fundamentals, and  also cool moves), and they were even more fun than I thought they would be. Skye seems like he’s just about the nicest person IN THE WORLD; and even though the classes were often huge, they were also great at giving everyone there a great lesson.

But on the other hand, there are all my local teachers, who have really done the nuts and bolts of teaching me how to dance. My friends who I play around with and teach classes with… and they’re all my favorites. Bradley, Andrea, Aaron, and everyone: it’s been a great few years!

NOTE: I got a little behind last week on this challenge, but I’ve decided to not care when that happens. I’ll just pick it up when I have time, like now!

Quiet Weekend

Right now I’m snuggling on a couch on a fabulous porch, watching lindy hop videos*, and about to start watching tv. I might have a pizza later, and then go to bed early. Bliss!

I’m house and dog-sitting for a friend this weekend, and it’s turned out to be a lovely little mini vacation. I am so glad to have another week off of school… although for this last week of winter break, I’m gonna have to get into gear; I have homework that was assigned over break that I need to do, I want to work a bunch at my design job at a campus museum, and I need to get a lot done on our spring Lindy Hop workshop (that I’m planning) (which is coming up so soon!!).

But for now, I’m going to enjoy tonight and how I have no homework at all, and am in a lovely environment, with the whole internet before me!

Such as this one. I love these people!! Look at how awesome they are, man…

Day 7: Something you really want to learn

How to do lipstick correctly, how to do sexy (cat-eye) eyeliner, and how to do my hair in vintage-y ways!

She has nice lipstick and eyeliner... and that is the ONE vintage hairstyle that I can already do.

In terms of dance?
I want to learn how to look beautiful, all the time that I’m dancing. I have some weird body things (my legs are turned out from the knees down, so when my knees are straight forward my feet are out, which ends up looking kind of odd sometimes) plus I’m really tall, and let my legs get out from under me… and my hands do random things sometimes. Just in general, I’m kind of a civilian dancer who wants to look as graceful and awesome as the professionals, if that’s at all possible. Basically, I want to look cool all the time, instead of sometimes looking weird and awkward.

I also want to learn better solo jazz, and more tap!
I want to learn how to feel comfortable and like a good lindy hopper when I’m in my heels.
I want to be able to do at least one aerial.
I want to learn the Tranky Doo, and especially the Big Apple.
I want to be able to do my basic balboa like Mia Goldsmith showed us!
I want to have different kinds of swivels that I do, and I want to have more fun things to throw in my swingouts.
I want to follow better. I want to follow so well that I’m comfortable dancing with any of the best leaders, and follow so well and be such a fun dancer, that they have a good time too.

The end!

Day 6: Your favorite group dance (shim sham, tranky doo, big apple, etc).

I’m gonna be honest, I only know the Shim Sham. Shocking; I know, I know… I want to learn the Big Apple and the Tranky Doo and everything, so I don’t feel so leftout and n00bish whenever they happen, but I just haven’t had/taken the time to learn them. Soon, I will! It’ll be good for me, and good for my dancing, I know.

But I do love the Shim Sham! The glory of it is that everyone can learn it, even rank beginners, and it’s such a community-building line dance. And for a dancer who never met Frankie, never had a class with him, it helps me feel a little closer to the original dancers.

This past semster in my tap class, I got to learn the original (or the tap) Shim Sham, and I LOVE IT. It is SO fun, and so cute, and now the swing Shim Sham makes a lot more sense to me.

So I’m gonna have to go with the Shim Sham!