Montreal might be the city where young people go to retire but there was a much needed atmosphere of chillin’ in Barcelona and Valencia. I have travelled to a lot of places in my short time here on earth and I can say that the Barcelonians and Valencians were one of the most friendliest and helpful people I have ever had the pleasure to meet. Whether that was being so accepting of barely passable comprehension of spanish to going out of their way to find us on the beach to bring us to the party (thanks Victor!), Myriam and I really felt welcomed in our short stay there.
Aww writing about it makes me miss it even more. Crud.
Our daily routine there was as follows: Wake up. Espresso, orange juice, tostada con tomate. Go to the beach. Sleep on the beach. Wake up eight hours later and eat some calamari. Find out where dancing is. Repeat.
The Saturday day time dancing for this past weekend’s Montreal Swing Riot was held at a super neato faux-beach venue. We got to dance on wooden beach planks with the amazing summer breeze! Check out some sweet moments!
This week I shot some photos for the dance studio Swing Connexion to replace some of the teacher photos on the website. After some experimenting with various places in the studio to take the pictures, I decided to go with a simple wall background with only one distinguishable piece of furniture – the iconic orange sofa chair.
Summer has always been my favourite time of the year to shoot portraitures because natural lighting is, as expected, a lot more abundant. Also people seem to be a lot more relaxed than even one season ago, which in Montréal literally means winter. For this shoot, I used a simple setup of a large softbox 45 degrees to the top right of the dancers. On my second day of shooting however, I added a second light 90 degrees to the left to just smooth out some of the harsh shadows I was getting with only one light. Overall I’m pretty pleased with the results and the overall improvements of my lighting technique. No longer am I just turning knobs up and down and firing blindly, but I’m actually making conscience decisions on how I want the pictures to turn up.
This year’s Canadian Swing Championships was fairly productive for myself and my dance partner Myriam. I placed first in the advanced Lindy Jack and Jill (woo…) while Myriam was in the finals for Solo Charleston and Solo Blues. We also won the Strictly Blues (confetti!) but that was more of us trying to get legitimacy for blues dancing in a swing dancing competition.
Myriam and I also made finals for Strictly Lindy and pretty much BOMBED our spotlights. There is no sugar-coating it – we were pretty bad. We couldn’t really get going with the music and truth be told our nerves got the best of us. We didn’t dance like how we dance and we looked intimidated out there. I’ll probably write an actual post about this topic in the near future – being yourself in the world of competing.
After a bit of mutual pep-talking and reminding ourselves why we are actually here (to dance), the Canadian Showcase finals went a lot better for us and really felt like we were out there showing our dancing. While we were a whisker away from placing (we ended up in fourth), we received a lot of great feedback which I feel will really improve our dancing for the next competition. While it’s not exactly where we want our dancing to be ideally, it’s still a marked improvement from our last CSC.
Lastly, our blues children also was able to place fourth in the Cabaret division with a pure solo blues routine which is a super big deal because again, Canadian Swing Championships doesn’t have any blues dance judges. I’m so incredibly proud of them and I only see good things in the future for our little team. :)
Randy and THE SHEILA!
Winning advanced jack and jill!
Randy and Myriam all by our lonesome for Strictly Blues
Hey neat thing – I got one of my burlesque photos of Melody Mangler on an article for Canadian Theatre Review! I forgot all about this since the writer contacted me about publishing one of my photos so this was a nice little treat this week.