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Posts Tagged ‘lindy hop’

It’s finals season, in other words: what a great time to update my blog! I’m actually pretty inspired to get over final exams quickly and move onto the summer. April is a rough month, but whatever is coming up next is very promising… and I’m sure going to make the fullest out of it.

Starting May 3rd, I will start working on digital marketing at Standard Life. I have become fascinated by social media marketing in the past few months. Blessed with the discovery of Akuntsu, a social media marketing agency based in Montreal, my learning is just beginning! I’ve always had passions driving me through life and have loved to share them with my surroundings. With the growth of social media usage, building communities to promote this sharing of love has become so much easier!

 

My most recent project: Montreal Swing on Facebook

Montreal Swing.

On the note of passion, dance has been increasingly eating up my time! In the most positive way of course. I am addicted!!! I’ve done a few weeks of waacking right now. My body is picking up a completely different groove, and it’s looooving it! Hip hop is next on the list. Have I given up on Lindy Hop? No way! I believe that by experiencing different dances, I am opening up my body and mind to new body movement philosophies and ultimately, improve my lindy hop and my self-confidence on the dance floor. (Learning baladi has definitely helped my lindy hop swivels!) Up to now, I have adored sharing these exciting conversations with different partners on the dance floor. But once left alone, I am immobilized by fear! I want to be able to enjoy grooving to music by myself too!

Waacking battle:

Here’s some events I’ve attended that have inspired me to do more street dances!!! Wahoooo!!!

Popping battle (finals): Unleashed Chaos II

Hip Hop battle (performance): a2

It’s truly been a while since I’ve felt so light hearted. After letting go of many burdens of the past, I feel like I am finally happy again. Happy for no reason! It is such a wonderful feeling to just be able to laugh for no reason when just walking around in the city. Silly but wonderful. When times are dark, it’s so difficult to even imagine this feeling. Thankfully, once you feel this great, you still remember the pain and are able to enjoy every single moment of sunshine.

I would like to thank all those dear friends that have been supportive towards me in the last few months. I am truly blessed to have you in my life. Thank you for making me smile. Thank you for existing. :)

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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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Sorry I haven’t been writing in here for a while! I’ve been busy with my dance life and school life (late assignments tend to stack up, hehe).

Since a few weeks now, my Swing dance club at school (MSDC: Marianopolis Swing Dance Club) and I have been intensively practicing for our upcoming show. Anyone who’s interested is welcomed to come see probably Montreal’s youngest Swing dance troupe perform!

Swing Fiesta!
Friday, April 11, 2008 at 6:30 PM.

Marianopolis College (room F-105)
4873 Westmount Avenue
Westmount, Quebec
Metros: Vendôme, Villa Maria
Buses: 66, 124, 138

Tickets: $8.00 in advance ($10.00 at the door)
Money goes to help our teacher Alain Wong for his 7-week bike ride from Vancouver, Canada to Tijuana, Mexico “promoting micro-credit as a tool to fight poverty”. Current amount raised: $750.00; the objective: $3000.00!

There are going to be 3 Swing dance choreographies and 2 Latin dance choreographies. My friend Ashley and I are also going to sing “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend”, originally sung by Marilyn Monroe. We’re gonna serve desserts and drinks, and give a mini social dance lesson afterwards. Please come in great numbers to show your support! :)


The MSDC crew 2008! Front row: me, Wisit, Andy and Ilonka. Back row: Nicky, Ting Tin, Jonathan. Missing: David, Martin, Ashley.

Boston Tea Party!
This passed weekend (March 28-30), I went to Boston Tea Party, a major Swing dance event where Lindy Hop and West Coast Swing mix. There were performances, competitions, workshops with pros and lots of social dancing! My favorite part of the event was watching all the pros compete! I have watched a lot of DVDs, but watching the Invitation Strictly Lindy and WCS competition live brought the excitement to a whole other level! Max and Annie did a completely crazy aerial during their Strictly Lindy segment that drove the crowd nuts! The other absolutely amazing (and hilarious) competition was the Jack & Jill Crossovers in which pros of WCS must dance with a randomly chosen Lindy Hop pro! After a whole weekend exposed to WCS, now I really want to learn it! Social dancing to hip hop and R&B is fuuuun!

Here’s fun footage from youtube

It was my first “serious” competition at the Boston Tea Party. I participated in the Lindy Hop Intermediate Jack & Jill, danced with 3 random partners and made it to the finals! I didn’t win anything, but dancing at the finals with the 4th random partner was just one of the best experiences ever! All this motivates me to keep working on my dancing to become better! hehe!


Family for the weekend! <3 Back row: me and Anne. Front row: Aleix, Marie and Alain.

MSDC Practice today!

During the free period at school today, Alain taught us some cool Swing dance tricks! Flying in the air can be super scary, but doing these crazy tricks are probably the only times I’m not so afraid to have my feet off the ground! One note though: Swing dancing is not about these crazy aerials and flips! They are just very fun to learn and flashy during performances!


Martin is pushing me up in the air as I flip across. Wisit is in the back, spotting me in case I crash!

Here’s a clip of me doing the exact flip a few months ago with Alain.

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Yesterday, I had the fun to try out other dances than swing. After school, I ran into Aric Lee (Marianopolis College Alumni) who’s another dance devotee. I learned that besides break dance, he also knows salsa and and bunch of other stuff! Wicked! He was nice enough to teach a few other people and I some basic break dance moves. His friends and him made it look so easy! I got the chance to review the break dance basics I once learned in a crash course from my Lindy U course at Cat’s Corner. Break dance is such a demanding activity for the body! Plus, I am not very compatible with this style because of my lack of bold attitude, haha. Did you know that today’s street dances (break dance, hip hop, etc.) all have a common ancestor: Lindy Hop! When you’ve tried both, you really notice that there are some similar steps.

After that, there was a Jazz dance (more lyrical related) class given by Concordia University dance alumni student, Anika. She started off the class with some yoga stretches which were also very painful for my body though they did good to it. Jazz dance, in such contrast with break dance, is more elegant and lighter. The technique was obviously very different from break dancing and swing. And yet again, I was able to find a few similarities between Jazz dance and my Swing, the “kick-ball-change” for example. It was altogether another great chance. I must discover the elegance in me!

Then, I ended my Friday typically at Cat’s Corner, home! It felt great to be myself again, doing my thing. Swing music is really outgoing, free and joyful. There are many reasons why I prefer partnered dancing. I see solo dances as the dancer expressing his message to the outside world, his audience. Partnered dancing is like a conversation of two, and together, you draw others in and make them want to be part of your conversation too. That is what I like, living the wonderful experience of dancing simultaneously with another and not by myself.

Here’s a video of Max Pitruzella and Thomas Blancharz (two very known dancer in the world Swing scene) doing a funny routine. I chose this video because it shows the outgoing and happy side of Lindy Hop.

For the So You Think You Can Dance lovers (like myself), here are Hok, Dominic and Sabra doing a break dance choreography during their Tour in Cleveland, Ohio.

Lastly, I found this great video of a girl doing Jazz dance. Notice the elegance and peace of this style.

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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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