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Posts Tagged ‘jazz’

A song that I love and will always love…
This song means so much to me… and it always will….
Nothing but love… is that all we need?

 

I Can’t Give You Anything But Love
Lyrics by Dorothy Fields, Music by Jimmy McHugh

Now I can’t give you anything but love, ooh baby
That’s the only thing I’ve plenty of, ooh baby
Dream a while
Scheme a while
We’re sure to find, baby, happiness
And I guess
Gee
I’d like to see you looking swell
Baby, baby
Diamond bracelets Woolworth doesn’t sell, my pretty baby.
Till that lucky day, oh your lucky day
You know darn well though, baby
I can’t give you anything but love.

 

One of my favorite versions, interpreted by Django Reinhardt:


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From May 21 to May 26 2009, I was in New York City having the blast of my life. This trip is forever unforgettable, because I had so much fun dancing and made so many new friends. The motive of my trip was mainly dancing. It was the Frankie Manning 95th Birthday Festival (Frankie95), and nearly 2000 Lindy hoppers from all around the world were to attend. Imagine, the best dancers from all around the world, all in the same ballroom. :)frankie95flyer

Frankie Manning is the man who had it all started for Lindy hop. Frankie is to Lindy hop, like Jesus is to Christianity! He’s the ambassador of Lindy hop. Air steps were invented by him as well. Basically, all swing dancers owe him what we have today. Thank you, Frankie, for bringing us this passion of yours. Unfortunately, the man passed away in April 2009. At 94, he was still dancing, oh yes he was. He may not be on earth with us anymore, but his passion will live for ever. I, for one, will help assure that!

Day 1
After what seemed like a ride that lasted forever, my friends and I finally arrived in New York City at around 7pm on Thursday. Usually, I tolerate long rides pretty well (been used to saying 12+ hours straight in a plane to go to China), but the unexpected difference between the American and Canadian climates made it all burning hell. Note: BURNING. It was my first time in the States in Spring. Next time, I’ll know. Later on, at night, I was supposed to roam by myself in NYC, because I didn’t have access to the Thursday night dance. Luckily, the event was selling some extra passes. Unluckily for me, at the cost of 50$ USD. To add the cherry on top, I had smartly forgotten my DANCE shoes back in Montreal. Thus, I had to beg the employees of K-Mart to sell me the last pair of shoes from a discontinued series. After a few minutes of puppy faces, they let me have it. THANK YOU, K-MART PEOPLE! Near 10:30PM, I finally made it to the ballroom. Wow. So many dancers. Every single dance I had that night was amazing. The bands also were amazing. It was the first time I heard Gordon Webster’s band play. I sure hope from now on that it won’t be the last!

Day 2
Friday was probably the best day of the entire week. First thing in the morning, my friends and I attended Frankie Manning’s memorial at the Presbyterian church on 5th avenue. Those who missed it, you have no idea what you missed! When I sat there, in that church, I was proud to be part of a historical moment. Benny Powell’s band were playing at the front. When the familiar tune of “How High the Moon” sounded, I couldn’t help but let tears quietly run down my cheeks. It was not only because the lyrics made a great connection to where Frankie would be now, but also because it’s a song that is marked deeply in my highschool memories. Ah, nostalgia~ “Somewhere there’s Heaven, it’s where you are. Somewhere there’s music, how near how far.” Two other things that will absolutely be engraved in my mind forever were actually dancing in a church (oh yes, I did!) and seeing the priests dance on the altar! “Can’t stop the Lindy hop!” Indeed, we were encouraged to express all of our emotions during the memorial. If dancing was what you felt like doing, then you were encouraged to do so.

After the memorial, everyone paraded to Central Park. A live band was playing incredibly fast music. Despite the infernal heat, people were still swingin’ out! Crazy! I’m honestly very happy nobody had passed out! Imagine yourself dancing in a sauna. Who in their right mind would do that? Well, a Lindy hopper maybe. :) Then, there was the famous World’s Largest Jack & Jill. I signed up for it just to have fun and help set the world record, but to my surprise, I was picked to go in the semi-finals! That was certainly unexpected.

Frankie95 Memorial Parade

Lindy hoppers parading in memory of Frankie Manning – Central Park, New York City
(Photo Credit: Jeong-Taek Lim)

With dance, comes food. For supper, I went to NYC’s Koreatown with my new Korean friends. -Real Koreans, eh Saeho? (I give you permission to hit me if you actually read this :P)- For the first time in my life, I had real Korean food. I ordered a Bibimbap (a mega mix of rice, vegetables and raw egg in humongous stone bowl). It had been such a long time I hadn’t been able to finish something I order in a restaurant. I felt really bad, because it was REALLY delicious. I blame it on the mountain of -free- appetizers we had. Seaweed salad, kimchi, radish, Korean PANCAKE, etc etc etc. The list goes on. What a party for the tastebuds!

koreanfood-01On the left: eggs in a stone bowl. On right: seaweed salad, spinach (I think), cold noodles, and radish.

Sorry, I didn’t take a picture of my bibimbap. Google it up! :)

Hm, it’s getting late. I get carried away so much when I tell my travelling anecdotes. Part 2 to come, soon!

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On Friday, January 25, I left for Quebec City in the middle of the road for Quebec’s biggest Swing dance event: QSRV (short for Québec Swing Rendez-Vous)! It was my first big Swing dance event, and my first time in Quebec city during winter! I didn’t know it was so warmer here in Montreal! I also made great friends! Isabelle Lopez generously housed 4 other people and I. Thanks for your warm welcome and great care!

After having a Quebec city’s famous Ashton poutine, my friends and I went to the majestic vintage theatre L’Impérial where the first QSRV evening dance took place. I had never seen so many people dance in a same place before! As I observed people dancing, I discovered another Swing dance style completely foreign to me: the Collegiate Shag. Collegiate Shag was apparently born amongst rebellious college students of the 1930s who disliked Waltz and wanted to dance to more upbeat music like mid-tempo swinging jazz. The frame and handhold reminds me indeed of ballroom, and the footwork makes me think of Balboa. It was inspiring to watch world famous swing dancers triple step and swivel across the dance floor as jazz bands played!

 
QSRV dance evening at the theatre L’Impérial de Québec. (Saturday, January 26, 2008)

One of my favorite parts of the social dance evenings was watching the Bataille des Plaines d’Abraham (Battle of the Plains of Abraham), Swing style. It was a show in honor of Quebec city’s 400th anniversary (originally founded in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain). The war in the olden days was between France’s and England’s colonies; at QSRV, it was the battle of the Swing dancers from Quebec, Montreal and Ottawa. I had the luck to right in the middle front of the “battlefield” and saw all the action! My favorite scene of the Swing war was when Quebec’s Port-o-Swing dancers imitated a jazz band. Leads held their follows like a trombone, a guitar, drums, piano, etc. Really original! They deserved their win!

There were competitions at the event, and I participated in the Jack and Jill. It was quite a special experience, and I was much less nervous than I expected myself to be! It was truly like social dancing during a normal dance night! I felt the same joy and enthusiasm dancing with a skilled lead, and the same stress and discomfort with an incompatible lead. Congrats to Alain Wong and Ann Mony for winning in Jack and Jill and in Fast Strictly, to Alain Fragman and Sylwia Bielec for winning in Strictly Slow! I love you, my Cat’s Corner teachers! :)

During daytime on Saturday and Sunday, we had the privilege to do dance workshops with internationally known Swing instructors. My favorite workshops were the 20s Shag with Kelly Palmiter and Laura Berger, solo Blues with Kelly Porter and solo Charleston with Andy Reid. It’s a shame that all the Lindy workshops were always so filled, so I didn’t bother participating in them. I will have other opportunities to work on my Lindy skills eventually.

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I went to see a talent show competition (Secondaire en Spectacle) tonight at my high school, Collège Jean de la Mennais (La Prairie). It’s wonderful to see so many young talents in our community. Who knows? One day, one of them just might become a world famous pianist, singer, actor, you name it!

Congratulations to the top 3! They will get to participate to the regional competition in Saint-Hubert.

First position: Jaune d’Oeuf, Blanc d’Oeuf – Band (Michael Sheng, Steven Ah-Lan, Emery Monzerol, André Laï and Didier Pereira-Lauzier)  Video available for download upon request

They did an amazing performance of funk and jazz with a touch of fantastic humour. I loved their concept of making music with plates, cheese grater, chopsticks, etc. Way to go for originality!

Second position: Roche – Band (Charles Naïm, François Trudeau and Charles Boudreau)
They played heavy rock music. Awesome pianist, drummer and guitarist. They were really into what they were playing! Except for the volume being too loud, I really enjoyed their performanced! “Like a real rock show”, as Jeannie said.

Third position: Le Baptistère – Theatric art (Roxane Krief, Marichelle Leclair, Pascale Bujold, Justine Ashby, Marianie To-Landry and Pierre-Olivier Talbot)
These people did a mini-play about a a soul being in the “underworld” that was going to be born. The costumes were very well done and very professional. It shows when people put a lot of effort in what they do! Great punch in the end. The to-be-born soul was French poet, Charles Beaudelaire.

It makes me feel so nostalgic every time I go back to Jean de la Mennais to see shows, or just to visit. Time passes by so quickly, and everyone has grown so much. Even if life undergoes never ending changes, “the show must go on”. I shall prepare for the Marianopolis College Talent Show auditions that are coming up very soon!

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