Outta my way ’08! Here comes ’09!

What a long, overdue post! 2009 is into the end of it’s first month and things are well underway with my goals. Still, there is much to do and I hope this will inspire all those who are looking to see growth in their dancing this year.

Like most, 2009 kicked off with a reflection of last year; my growth in personal and dance life, achievements, goals, opportunities (taken or missed), expected and unexpected happenings.

2008 was the start of a different life, a new city with little to no friends, living on my own and finding my way through dance. I kicked off ’08 with the New Years Swing dance at Dovercourt and what an awesome way to start, and it set the tone for the rest of the year.

Let me put this out now, I had only started dancing Lindy Hop late-spring/early-summer of 2007 with only a small number of lindy classes taught by Jungle Swing in Vancouver. By the time Seattle Lindy Exchange rolled around, I was about 3 months into it. My resolution for 2008 was to expand and train more in swing. This led to a huge growth in my dancing.

’08 Milestones

  • 2008 Annual NYE dance
  • 3 classes a week with Bees Knees Dance (for 3 months)
  • Stompology ’08 in Rochester, NY – May 30th – June 1st
  • Soul and Lockin’ class with ShabbaDoo @ Broadway Dance Centre in NYC
  • MezzJelly Blues with Jeff Benoit & Kristen O’Neill in Waterloo – June 20-22th
  • Kevin St. Laurent guest class for BeesKnees Dance
  • LindyStock ’08 in Toronto – Aug 1-4th
  • Joined BeesKnees Dance as a Junior/Assistant Instuctor (I’m a male prop)
  • Started going back to Salsa/Mambo
  • Swing Explosion III with Zack Richard & Maryse Lebeau in Ottawa Sept 26-28th
  • Swing Out to Victory – Nov 15th

As for salsa, mid-’08 was when I started to pick up salsa again, this time with mambo/on2. This kicked off with Randy’s multiple visits to Toronto. Randy = more salsa.

  • Salsa classes with Frankie Martinez in NYC
  • Salsa classes with United Salseros
  • Joining the United Salseros student performance group
  • Salsa dancing at the Howard Johnson in Vancouver

Just to reminisce a bit. Here are some photos I have found of me dancing in the streets during an extremely hot day in Seattle. Terrible yes, but we all started somewhere :)

Seattle Lindy Exchange ’07

Uploaded on August 13, 2007
by realcherylcrow

Uploaded on August 9, 2007
by mistystarfire

Uploaded on August 6, 2007
by physibeth


’09 Feels like an awesome year.

It started with a killer workshop weekend with Mike Faltesek and Casey Schneider from Seattle and shortly after, the Toronto University eXchange 2 which took place last weekend and it was KILLER! Kudos to the students that came from all around to enjoy and take part in the Toronto lindy hop scenes; McGill, Western (UWO), Kingston, Ottawa and of course the local Toronto students (UofT). The highlight of the weekend was the Saturday night dance with Swing Toronto with live music from the Rainbow Gardens Quintet.
The next workshop is in February with Steven Mitchell & Virginie here in Toronto with a few other events coming shortly after. I’m excited with all these lindy events so far, it gets better and better each time which will help improve my dancing.

Lindy Goals: Swingouts, Vernacular Jazz, triple steps, transitions from lindy to jazz steps in social dancing.

I’ll probably have a number of posts about this throughout the year so watch out for it.

Next, salsa, my gateway to the world of dance, is something that I have been looking to get back into for the last 2 years. To push myself, I have started performance training with United Salseros with 2 classes a week, one performance training and the other a regular mambo/on2 class. What I have enjoyed with United Salseros is the focus on techniques in the class, mixing body isolations with the steps and patterns as well as control over each move that is made.

Goals: Mambo/On2 steps embedded as default movement, 360 Crossboddy leads, spins, reaching my former level of competency in salsa (I give myself 3 months), shines and body isolations.

I have always believed that all dancing is related and that each borrows ideas and movements from other dancing, thus I will also focus on other aspects of dance in order to help improve. These goals are: More focus on lead/follow connections, more locking and arm movements (maybe wacking), overall body finess.

Finishing off, this year, I would here are a few lindy events that I would like to attend for ’09.

  • Frankie’s 95th Birthday Festival (http://www.frankie95.com/) – New York – NY
  • LindyBout III Apr 17-19 – Vancouver, BC
  • Stomplogy ’09 – Apr 17-19 – Rochester, NY
  • Lindyfest 2009 – Mar. 12-15 – Houston, TX
  • Camp Jitterbug – May 28-31 – Seattle, WA
  • Seattle Lindy Exchange – Aug 7-9th – Seattle, WA
  • Lindy Bomb II with Peter Strom & Naomi Uyama – Mar. 6-8 – Ottawa, ON
  • Vietnam Lindy Exchange (at a beach!) Mar. 20-22 – Ho Chi Minh, VN
  • Canadian Swing Dance Championships (CSC) May 15-18 – Montreal, QC
  • Kevin St. Laurent & Emily Hoffberg Lindy Hop Weekend – Jun 5-7 – Toronto, ON
  • Swing Out New Hampshire – Sept. 2-7 – Hebron, NH
  • Lindy Focus VIII – Asheville, NC

Obviously, I will not make it out to all of them, but ideally, I would like to be there.

4 Comments

  1. Kevin

    Glad to hear that your goals of getting deeper into Lindy Hop are seeing progress! You have a winning attitude and more people need to have Lindy Hop new years resolutions. The only resolution I could think of for 2009 was more and better dancing.
    You should definitely add KLiX (Kingston Lindy Exchange) to your dance events list!

  2. Great little seed of a blog you two have got here. I’ll read the other posts, but I just wanted to leave my initial reaction here.

    I always wanted to say, but never got a chance really, to tell you both how wonderful I think your passion is for dance. It’s a hobby which I wish I could get into myself, but I’m far too shy and clutzy for it.

    Some of my favourite memories are going to Robson Square, with you, Tien. And being so incredibly bashful, shy, and embarrassed, should I be passed on to Randy as his reluctant partner. I felt I had no right to take up your precious time, dancing with such a n00b.

    That being said, I felt so beautiful at the same time. Dance has a way of doing that to people, I think.

    Thanks for the great memories, guys. I hope you guys come home soon, and oblige me once again.

    (haha wow, I always get so serious, when I leave blog comments!)

  3. Thanks for the comments Tracey and Kevin :)

  4. Tien

    @Kevin. I posted up my resolutions to help inspire more people to do the same. I’m glad we have the same kind of aspirations for ’09 about dance! The Kingston Lindy Exchange is on my radar. I should actually add attend every local Ontario event to the list, the local scene can’t grow if people don’t go to it :)

    @Tracy. I’m glad you are reading the site! We had this conversation when I saw you last time in Vancouver. If you really want to dance, you just gotta go out and do it. Everyone is shy and klutzy at first but that’s part of the experience. Without that aspect what are you supposed to look back compare to when you improve?!

    You shouldn’t feel that you are inferior and not deserving of our time. We wouldn’t be dancing if we didn’t want to! We are trying to share the good times with everyone, so just embrace it and enjoy yourself. We are :)

    We’ll dance again soon, if you will join me :)

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