Words for Lindy Hoppers – Seattle edition

Written by Tien Le – Oh internets. You surprise me sometimes, especially when all y’all find the stuff that we store on Vimeo. More surprising is that sometimes what we do sends to resonate with others and then it goes EVERYWHERE before we even realize it.

One day after uploading my Kelly Porter “Words for Lindy Hoppers” video, I get a message that goes like this:

Randy: Your Kelly Porter Words for Lindy Hopper video is getting lots of airplay in random places.
Me: Really?
Randy: Yep.
Me: WHO RANDOMLY VIEWS OUR STUFF?!? Especially on Vimeo. Seriously, we have no cat videos. None whatsoever.

Anywhos, it is really inspiring to have people actively following us on all our social media channels. We started this site to continuously inspire ourselves and to capture the moments that take place around us in our dance journey. My Words for Lindy Hoppers project started because I wanted to capture a few words from Steven Mitchell and Virginie Jensen to keep the Toronto dancers inspired after an amazing workshop weekend. Through time, I have refined the video asking just one question, “If you had one thing you have to say to all Lindy Hoppers, what would it be?…and GO!” *starts filming*  It is so much fun to be able to film these videos and everyone’s answers always makes me laugh or feel inspired hence the “awesome” or laughter before the clip ends.

Stay tuned! I have a few more videos that I’ve been procrastinating on, but I can’t wait to put them up for you. I’ll do so soon, and the project is far from complete!

When Kelly Porter’s video went viral in the community, I had uploaded a few videos from my time in Seattle at “The Classics Vintage Dance Workshops” (2012) and haven’t had a chance to put them up on this site yet. If you haven’t seen them, above is Kelly Porter’s video, and the rest can be found below:

– Tien

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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)
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.

  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.


Doin’ the Jive – Party Rocking in Seattle 30’s style

One of the greatest things about living here on the West Coast, beyond the sun and mountains, is that Seattle, the mega hub of Lindy + Black Coffee, is only a 2.5 hour drive away.

Seattle punches me in the heart, as I fondly remember falling in love with Lindy with my first experience at Seattle Lindy Exchange in 2007. I will go down whenever I can, and as of recent, it’s been 3 our of the 4 weekends in a month! In my opinion, it is THE place to go for lindy hop because of it’s focus on the local scene. From beginners to internationally renowned instructors, everyone is great, and everyone is working on something all the time. It is inspiring to say the least.

Those of you in Toronto, will get a chance this weekend to experience a piece of Seattle this weekend, when I hear that Joshua ‘Black Coffee’ Welter is coming out there to teach the ‘Doin’ the Jive’ mob dance, created in Seattle, by Seattle dancers, and played by Seattle’s ‘Careless Lovers’.

I was so excited to hear that, I made a video for y’all and the Doin’ the Jive video from this weekend after the jump.

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Preview: Rhythm City Mess Around 2012 – Todd Yannacone & Nina Gilkenson | Andrew Thigpen & Karen Turman

One of the worst things about the winter is the viral bugs floating around. I swear this winter, half of Vancouver population was infected by a super cold virus, and being dancers it’s a wonder how we even remain healthy throughout the year. I predict, we’ll be the one of the first wave of infections when the Zombie Apocalypse takes hold; but I digress.

The one good thing about having a cold is that it forces me to sit back when volunteering for workshops and really focus on taking photos of the event, and boy is it great to hold on to a Nikon D90 once again. Yippee! This time though, I had a manual prime 8mm f3.5 fisheye lens to play with throughout the weekend. From the photos you will see the fun times I had with it. On one hand, the fisheye lens was a breeze to use, point then click, great photo — most of the time. The trickiness about the fisheye is that the field of view is so large, I have to consider so many factors in the way I shoot, other than the distortion.

  • My off-camera flash arm cannot be too far forward
  • Bending my body forward at the hips to avoid my own feet in portrait photos
  • Where the ceiling-bounce flash hits as the area will show up in photos
  • Distance from the subject (you really need to be super close to negate the depth you get in a fisheye)

The results are worth the effort trying to keep track and learn all the tricks on the fly. The next thing I will need to focus on, is nailing the manual focus, and adjusting to using a manual aperture ring as well.

PS. RCMA (Rhythm City Mess Around) 2012 was a blast. The photos above is just a preview of the photos I took that weekend.

Words to Lindy Hoppers

As I travel, take workshops and meet all these great instructors in the dance scene, I started to realize that they have persevered through many of the challenges we face as growing dancers. We all focus to get us to that next level/tier/awesomeness we forget about what keeps us inspired beyond the moves and techniques we learn. So here I ask, to those we look up to what words/advice do you have for us dancers to keep us inspired, or really what do you want to say to all dancers.

At some point, I may refine upon the ideas, but here is what I have collected thus far.

Lastly, thank you to those whom have participated so far: Virginie Jensen, Steven Mitchell, Peter Strom, Naomi Uyama, Nina Gilkenson, Todd Yannacone, Andrew Thigpen, and Karen Turman.