Snowstorms and Mad Hatters

tux_fi

tux01

tux02

tux04

I took off from Montreal during an inhumane -30’ish Celsius morning to only end up in Toronto’s version of a snowpocalypse. Luckily I was already in the city when the snow started to fall but all my dance friends coming in for the TUX exchange from Montréal were pretty much SOL on friday evening. I heard that the drive from Montreal to Toronto took about ten hours with the multi-car pileup on the highway east of the city. Ouch.

I have come to the conclusion throughout the many years of being a vagabond that traveling sucks in just about every aspect.

Things that don’t suck about traveling:

  • Free booze from Porter Airlines.
  • Saying the same joke at every airline check-in counter. “Where would you like to sit sir?”; “Next to the hottest lady ma’am”.
  • I can catch up on my emails playing Football Manager.
  • The moment when you realize that no one is sitting in your aisle besides you.
  • Gamjatang in Toronto; Plus Alpha in Vancouver; Coffee in Seattle.

That’s about it. Everything else about traveling sucks. Anyone who says they enjoy traveling for work is flat out lying or hasn’t done it long enough.

Unfortunately, as any independent freelancer knows, money and gigs aren’t just going to be dropped off in front of your doorstep. So we endure long lines at airports/stations/highways, sleeping in every conceivable type of housing, and forgoing any semblance of a regular sleeping schedule. While it is never about the money, when I hear about eighty car pile-ups, I can’t help but wonder… “maybe I should increase my rates?”.

heh.

Troupes and Balls

Scx Awards 2012

bluestroupegroup

Anddd, here we go again… the start of another semester of running a troupe. Honestly, one of the hardest dance related projects I have ever done in my life was running the troupe last year with Gen and yet here we go again for round of madness. Don’t get me wrong, the positives (creating a routine, making friends with like-minded individual, and pushing our own dancing) definitely far outweigh the roles of being an organizer, mediator, counselor and if all goes well, a dance instructor, but just thinking about the long road ahead sometimes gives me the heebie-jeebies.

For the first time this year, we ran auditions for the available open spots we had on the team. And for the first time, we had to let some people know that they didn’t make it :-( . What a heart wrenching decision making process. Gen and I tried really hard to create a good learning experience during the audition so that even if people weren’t picked, they would at least come out of the process with things to work or think about (more on this on another post). I’m toying with the idea for next semester to just have a real thunder-dome audition process and let the applicants work it out themselves…


Alain = Randy???

Scx Awards 2012

I wasn’t able to be there for the SCX awards (chillin’ in VanCity) but I am actually really proud of winning the Balls-Out (“This person totally made your night with their balls-to-the-wall performance…“), Christopher Columbus (“By his dancing or social skills, or both, he definitely made his place at SCX this year…“), and Army of Two (“This couple enthranced you with their attitude, innovations or simply excellence…“) awards because they were voted on by my dance peers here in Montréal. I know I shouldn’t care what people think about my dancing and all that jazz… but… well you know. Being accepted by dancers in my adopted city (even though I don’t speak The French… yet) through funny clip-art awards is WAYYYYY more gratifying to me than any medal or free event pass.

>> Pictures above were taken by Jessika D. from Montréal! She’s literally taken every dance picture in Montreal in the past year. Check her facebook albums out, chances are you are in there.

Le Petit Blues

Le Petit Medley Blues

The first live blues event of the year happened old time dance favourite venue Le Petit Medley last week and it a pretty big success. Major props to Elizabeth, Genevieve and crew for putting on a great night and of course the band for being awesome as usual. They even brought in a new keyboard guy which made the sound that just rich for dancing.

Mmm jass-blues… can’t ever get enough.

PS – the next lundi blues should be on January 28th.

- Randy

2013: Dance Resurgence

Tien Fighting

Over the course of 2012, I have progressively been getting more restless with my dancing and have been tossing around different ideas to improve. I haven’t been stagnant but I could have done more in ways of dance training and growth. I bet we have all felt this way before.

Resurgence: re·sur·gence (r-sûrjns)
n.
1. A continuing after interruption; a renewal.
2. A restoration to use, acceptance, activity, or vigor; a revival.

It’s the start of a new year, and as always, a time for reflection and a fresh start. It’s time for us to all stop tossing around ideas, wishes, and plans. Let’s make 2013 a year to resurge in dance! For myself, I’m focusing inwards, towards training myself in the areas I have been weak to achieve the future goals I have in mind.

  1. Solo dance practice / workout

    I have been looking at practicing once a day for at least 30 mins, ideally in the mornings to help me wake up. This would not focus just on blues dance, but also all the other dances I have dabbled in as well; Salsa, locking, popping, lindy hop, tango, jazz, hip hop.
    Randy made a great post about his pre-practice routine that I’ve been meaning to adopt.
    http://hamfats.ca/just-dance/solo-dance-warm-up

  2. Coaching

    I’ve tossed this idea around a couple of times last year and this year I’ll be looking at finding a few folks who want some coaching to improve aspects of their dancing.

  3. bluesShout! 2013

    This will be a tough one, but I have been looking at attending bluesShout! in the last couple of years. I would be ecstatic if I could make this trip happen.

  4. Produce one blues choreographed routine

    I’ve been tossing around this idea in the latter half of 2012, and have been searching for just the right song for me to choreograph.

  5. Blog more

    This is a simple one. I have a lot of dance stuff that I have collected in the last year but have never posted it up on Hamfats. This needs to change and I’ll be adding a note in my calendar reminding myself to post more.

  6. Build my music collection

    I’m finding that the music in my local scene is starting to get stale and in order to do something about it, I’ll need to jump in myself and pop off a few tracks. I had the opportunity to play a couple of times in 2012, and have already set up my first gig but this year on Jan 18th for tps://www.facebook.com/events/263319143795759/?suggestsessionid=1162016381357260014″>The Blues Cafe (Facebook) I’m looking at acquiring my DJ title belt.

Onwards into 2013! It doesn’t look like the apocalypse will happen anytime soon, so I hope you all have your plans set ahead. Now I’m off to the Las Vegas Fusion Exchange to get my fusiooooooooooooooonnnnnnnn on, and the start of my dance training regime.

Let me know what your plans are, or any advice you wish to impart in my endeavour. Hopefully I will have a few things to take away and share with our 3 readers.

Tien

Blues Dancing in Montreal (Early 2013)

Blues Featured Image

Blues dancing in Montreal 2013

When I first moved to Montreal, Javiera ran a once a month blues dance at Pub Brouhahahahahaahha. Now a year and half later, there are a shit-ton of blues related shenanigans going on in the city. So if you are thinking about making the trek up here (out of town) or if you already are winter-proofed (locals), here is a quick overview of what’s happening. For a complete calendar of blues dancing events in Montreal (and other Canadian cities) check out the bluespage of Hamfats.ca .

Weekly Socials and Events

  • Live Blues at Petit Medley, second and fourth Mondays of the month. Previously it was a once a month gig at Gainzbar, Elizabeth is going buck wild and doubling the fun. Gainzbar was a bit… “cozy”… so the venue has now been changed to long time dance venue staple Le Petit Medley just across the street. UPDATE: For January it’s on during January 7th and 28th, then it will be second and fourth. Or so says Elizabeth.
  • Brouhahahahahaahaha, usually twice a month on Sundays just before live blues on Mondays. It sometimes changes in terms of weeks so check on the calendar for confirmed dates.
  • Cats Corner Late Night, second and fourth fridays of the month. Usually starting around midnight at Cats Corner, it’s a smaller blues “late night after the lindy hop dance” event.
  • L’Artere Blues, live blues with one of our local bands. This is a new event so I’m not exactly sure if this will be a regular event but the first one is on the last friday of the month.

Regular Classes

  • Cats Corner Blues Troupe, we have auditions coming up on January 8th for the winter semester and after that there are regular troupe classes every Tuesday 7:00-8:30pm.
  • Studio 88 Blues 2 – blues classes starting on January 29th at the world famous Studio 88 taught by Martin Fortin and Catherine Vourlessis

Special Workshops

  • Damon Stone Workshop, February 16th-17th. Run by Javiera! You should probably go to this workshop.
  • Montreal Bagels and Blues, April 26th-28th. You already know and are going to this event… so I don’t even know why I wrote this ;-)

Tired of trying to find the blues dance events in Montreal on Facebook? I know I am haha. So for a short-cut, just check out the bluespage of Hamfats.ca where I do all the facebook diggin’ for you!


Here’s a youtube clip to put on the background while you re-organize your calendar around:

Randy