Canadian Swing Championships

04-06-11 CSC is always THE event to go to, the weekend we work all year long to perform at and show what we’ve got.

Prepping for CSC: For the 2nd year I was training Balboa Connexion. This year has been a difficult year for me. 2009-10 was the year where Mickey and I were challenging ourselves creating a first choreography, 2010-11 was to do it on my own. Mickey left the team in September and this situation had a hit on the team and me. I had to rely on myself to train them and create the routine and I have to say I was second guessing myself a lot with these 2 aspects.  Training at this level was a challenge, my lead and understanding of it is good but being on my own to critique them was a lot to digest for me I think. Zack was real busy but accepted the invitation to coach with me for 3 classes before CSC.  The routine was mine. I inspired myself from of course Mickey, but also Jeremy Otth, Max Pittruzella, Olivier Harouard and Mikey Pedroza.

Nathan Bugh did visit me a week before CSC, it is always such a pleasure to hang out with him. We started to create a routine in December before Lindy Focus that we didn’t finish, so we went to the studio to create and practice a routine we were going to perform in the classic division.

The weeked: The Balboa routine I created was a challenge for the team. There was still room to improve but they did well.  I had good feedbacks from everybody. David Caya, a member of the team, said it was an honour for him to have a chance to perform these 2 routines, I was real touched. It felt good to have the validation that my work is good even if I was on my own. :p I was real emotional all weekend long as I already had made the decision to leave Montreal and consequently to leave them. I didn’t want to ruin their mind set so I planned to tell them after the competition. It was hard restrain my tears sometimes.

Fortunately this year was a lot of fun! It helped me to put aside all that emotional tension. The energy was high, competitions were inspiring and party were awesome. Andrew Thigpen was attending; I am always amazed how he can push the energy of the crowd to a second level of excitement. You should look up online to the crossover J&J ending how he managed to make the crowd raise up and dance and even make Didier and Andrew Body surfing!  What a skill he has.

I have to say, when I go to this event I don’t expect much to social dance as all my close friends and students are under stress, prepping to compete. And there is a lot of sitting down and celebration for the work accomplished so it is expected. This year I didn’t compete much and could support my friends and the Swing Connexion teams.  Let me tell you, I lost my voice after the weekend. I only did my classic with Nathan and we got 4th (go us!) with only a week of work all together. I was real pleased to see Quebec City teams return after last year being not that much present. They had good team routines choreographed by William and Maéva, I am really happy they are now established in Quebec City, especially since I am returning out there.  It felt good to chat with all my friends from both Qc and Mtl. I really felt my heart is divided between Québec and Montréal; CSC will probably always be for me THE event where most of my dance friends are united.

Montpellier Balboa Rendezvous

22-02-11 After Followlogie I didn’t move or dance for 2 weeks in order to be ready and ok for Montpellier Balboa Rendezvous Weekend.  I did teach with Joel again, Marcus and Barbel were also in the line up. I really enjoyed being able to teach in French even if people had to remind me to switch to French.  I did find it tricky to do so and exclude my partner of the progression in the teaching I was doing. But Joel could figure out and manage and some moments were really funny! We had great classes; students were really sweet and did interact with us a lot. I love when this happens; classes become so much more dynamic.

Cathy and Gilbert did run this event for many years already. They also organize few other events trough the year including Lindy Hop on the Beach. They run their dance School on top of having the cutest and talented little boy I have seen! I was stoked when I realize they were also teaching Rueda de Casino. Joel and I entered one or 2 and had sooo much fun.  Only then I realized Cuban Salsa is more popular in Europe, only I have met people dancing it in North America in my hometown, Quebec city. Visit their dance school website at http://www.swingcatcie.com

I then had time to hang out in the city with my friend Olivier and by myself. I fell in love with Montpellier which reminds me of Quebec city but with Palm trees, a huge carousel and Café’s outside terraces in February. Craziness! I really loved hanging out at Place de la Comédie with its beautiful Three graces, shopping for tea and visit all the cute little boutiques.  It was really fun to meet many people and also to hang out with Remy and Moe. I wish to go again in the near future.

Followlogie

02/05/11  Wow. This has been the greatest edition of Followlogie so far. Every year was great but this time was set apart.  Everything was awesome. Of course you could I am biased since it’s my baby but I think I can say that my event is now a Kickass event.  I am SO happy with the result.

What can I say… First I had the coolest girls for my line up:  Evita made us cry in the lunch discussion and dance like no one in her blue dress, Jo brought us her Can Can routine with all the Skirts and all the legs and all the woo-oo and Nina brought her legendary swivels and her roustabout routine. Lunou made everybody smile with her cute accent while getting these little legs going and Natalia brought the Diva out of the girls with all her suave moves.  Oh and Mikey has been a real gentleman supporting all the girls and being hilarious quite often, being the usual little endless brown pot of energy that he is. Everybody got out of classes with their eyes full of stars, and the show sure inspired everybody to want to dance more. So many teacher did join us just to attend, Nathan Bugh, Michael Jagger and so many more, I felt very honoured to have then with us.

And at the Rialto. What can I say. It was the Rialto. This place is the most gorgeous theater I have never seen in my life. How can’t you not have a good night surrounded by all that goodness. We had 5 teams competing and a new solo Blues division this year, and I have to say that the girls did step up. Comps were very exciting. The Early Jazz Band did a great performance and some of the magic that was present all weekend long ensued and at some point Evita, Jo, Claudia and I just jumped on stage to dance with them. Pure fun. 300 people were there.

It was a lot of work. No sleep and people had to remind me to eat. Between classes and running the event, there was not much time for me to dance. So did my volunteers. I am very grateful, they put in so much work, without them I couldn’t do it. I think I would die. Some even followed me with lattés to keep me going, that was just the best thing someone ever did for me. No caffeine withdrawal for me that weekend!  With all the work, I couldn’t dance really but my knee being badly injured it was better that way. The show was really important for me since. I was performing a routine with Mikey, one with Nathan, Evita and Michael and also the Nina’s roustabout routine.  After that I barely could walk. Fortunately I only had one class to teach the morning after.  But being part of the show felt good since I don’t perform often.  I loved it but almost cried from the pain!

I had tons of thank you and tons of people telling me how this event changed their dance and how much fun and how inspired the got from the weekend. This is why I do it. And receiving all that love to do something I would have done anyway feels awesome.  Topping this year will be difficult in 2012. But I think we can do it. Thank you everyone for making Followlogie so fantastic.

Moscow X-Mas Camp

01/14/11 I am back home, after spending some time in the splendid Moscow, being away for more then a month. X-mas Camp was a really fun BIG camp. I  had a wonderful time. Working in Russia has been quite an experience, the only time feeling such a difference in culture being when I moved to England for the first time, not knowing English, 10 years ago. Yes there has been a time when I could only say ‘’yes-no-toaster and thank you’’ :p  As much as I felt warmly welcomed and surrounded by my friends and the organizers, I felt dependent of them, not being able to even read signs in the metro or communicate with people in general was very new to me. I usually can get away with English and French all together. I felt very grateful for my friends help, feeling like a baby carried around or just dumb for not being able to purchase a train ticket when only machines were available.

People and students I have met were very nice and I hope to see then again eventually. It was sometimes difficult to communicate and hang out.  My knee being injured kept me away from the dance floor and didn’t help me to meet people. Sometimes the only communication possible was dancing.  I feared that students would perceive me as being cold because of not dancing enough. I did most I could so it wouldn’t be the case, perhaps more then I should have. :p I have been very impressed by how much balboa dancers and competitors take their dance seriously. There was a lot of beautiful dancers there I was happy with the level of the Balboa competitors. Lots of people came back to me asking how they could make it better in the comps. Some even asked me what was ”wrong” with their dance, which I did find hard to answer since they were not wrong. I didn’t know if the use of words was because of the language barrier or if they really thought their dance was wrong!

Highlights of the weekend: Working with Marty is always very fun and inspiring, I was glad his injured foot didn’t keep him away from dancing this time. What a duo we made! Hanging out with my friend Masha after the camp. She made me visit many incredible things, she is such a generous person! I wanted to benefit from every minute despite of being so tired. Hanging out with Sonia and the impromptu photo shoot with Egor at the Kremlin. Thank you guys! Meeting many people and teachers I haven’t met before. So many amazing dancers and people! Can’t wait to see Markus and Frida, Sergey and Yulia, Pep and Emi as well as Remy. And there are so many more I forget!  I came back filled with great memories from the camp and my visit, and I really hope to come and visit in the near future.

Swinging-out and throwing-out of the country for more than a month!

01/02/11  I left Montréal almost 3 weeks ago , staying for a weekend to Québec city then going to New-York visiting my friend and partner Nathan to only continue in North Carolina to attend Lindy Focus for the first time. What an awesome trip! Staying with Nathan was great, t was the real first time we actually had time to hang out not at an event! We worked on a routine we are planning on presenting at CSC and we spent a lot of time working on dance , that felt good to my soul! 🙂 We also got to train with Michael and Evita to present a dance piece choreographed by Nathan to Dance Manhattan Christmas show. I gained a lot of knowledge from them and feel really lucky to get the chance to work with them. Highlights of my time spent in NYC: Michael giving me tickets to the Alvin Ailey performance! It was simply extraordinary. Having Christmas breakfast with Dawn Hampton and getting to hear the stories she had to tell. Going to Smalls, a small bar in the village, where there was more pro tap dancer per square foot then people watching all the jams. They were infamous! They asked us to jam for them, it was intimidating. Great night!

Then Nathan and I’s flight to North Carolina got cancelled due to a huge snow storm. Mike Thibault and Jesse Hanus braved the storm and have been the nicest people to pack us with them and drive to Lindy Focus. Boom!  Thank you!

It was my first time at Lindy Focus and if I had known, I would have put more effort into my New Year’s Eve dress. 😉 Some of the girls were just really beautiful! Next year, next year..  It is always fun to hang out with friends that I don’t see often, especially at Lindy events since I spent most of the last years only going to Balboa Events.  Jaya asked me to be in-class instructor and I really enjoyed dancing with the students. I think the concept should be used more often. Lots of students really appreciated direct feedbacks. Teachers making a point I was there to help made my life easier so people wouldn’t think I was there to work on my lead. It was awesome. I was really excited and looking forward watching the show, hoping I could get inspired for my own.  I finally met Jaya, Sosh and Michael in real, they are great organizers I am sure I can learn tons from. They were really busy but I hope that I will eventually have time to exchange on the topic.  I also had the chance to compete with Jeremy Otth again, we got 3rd. There are unfortunately no video from this comp but it was sure fun anyway! Now on my way to Russia! Yay!

Eastern Balboa Championships

11/15/10  EBC has a special place in my heart. Not only it is the craziest Balboa event I know but it is also organized by 2 awesome people, Chris and Holly, but they were 2 of the first people to motivate and believe in me when I did my first few Balboa steps. You should all go to this event, it has the biggest line up of cool Balboa instructors I know! It’s fantastic! Flight didn’t like me this time. It got delayed and they lost my suitcase. At some point I realize I wouldn’t make it to the Invitational in time, so I took my time, simply praying I wouldn’t stay with my eternal traveling black turtle neck and jeans all weekend long. Arrived at the hotel, I heard the crowd cheering so I thought I would at last watch the end. As soon as I stepped in I heard Chris saying on the mic: ‘’there she is, she can join the comp!’’ So I had hundreds of eyes turning and staring at me, in my tangerine trench coat, no makeup on and my hair looking like I have been in a storm. Yikes! Fortunately I had heels! So I jumped on the dance floor, a little nervous as you can imagine. I got Matt Mitchell which I don’t dance often with and loved it! Very solid and clear competitor, he gave perfect amount of room to play. Awesome and hoping to do it again! Later that weekend Mikey Pedroza’s flight got cancelled and I lost my Intergalactic partner and was really sad. Damn flights!! I still got to compete with Jeremy Otth for the first time in the Open Classic; I was really honoured to do so.  Our battle against Mary and Javier was funny as Jeremy’s pants got stuck in Mary’s heel somehow and hilarity ensued. :p We got 2nd after  Bobby and Laura. This year my Balboa Team followed me to EBC. They are great people and for a lot of them, they have been in the team for 6 years with Zack and Maryse before working with Mickey and I.  It’s because of their passion that Montreal Balboa scene is so strong and they should be more known for the amazing work they put in their dance. I unfortunately had to replace one girl that couldn’t make it in the routine  so couldn’t watch them again but I know they did an amazing performance. And not to forget the awesome Joel which I did teach with! What an awesome person to work with. He definitely has a talent to make his students excited and hungry for the dance. Maryse told me later she could tell the students had our class right before them just by the energy level of the class. What a nice compliment. In Short, great weekend. But I won’t talk about my flight back. :p

Supersonic Weekend

10/21/10 I just got home after a weekend in Albany that was all about dancing to fast tempos, teaching with Nathan Bugh for the first time.  We had many classes to teach, few together, few by ourselves. It was a challenge for me since it was the first time I had to teach on my own in English but also some class topics I don’t get to teach often. It ended up being really fun especially when it would be a style of dance students would discover, like the Collegiate Shag classes I did teach. Exciting! Nathan plays music and sings all the time, even in class. This is amazing and so much better than regular music! Thank to Jason and Jessica and of course to Nathan!

   TC Swing

10/09/10 This was the second time teaching in Minneapolis for that weekend, but again with a brand new partner. Last year it was the first time I would teach with Joel Plys, this time is was Mikey Pedroza. What an exciting and fun weekend! Loved teaching with Mikey, his approach to the dance, the way he connects with the students and his energy was getting along great with mine. What a relief since we didn’t dance much and didn’t know each other’s teaching before this weekend!  We also prepared a routine together for the occasion, filming each other and sending files; we only rehearsed in real the day before the weekend on top of prepping classes! Thant was a challenge. We performed with the students a routine with few sequences of our routine that was fun. Everything went fine and I was really happy with the result. I knew I had a great friend, now I know I also have a good and fun working partner! Thank you Mikey and a big hug to Terry and Cindy for having me 2 years in a row and giving me the chance to work with such amazing partners!

Swing Out New Hampshire

09/09/10 Teaching at Swing Out New Hampshire, held at camp Wiscosuta, had something very special to me. 9 years ago I attended this same camp being a 2 year old swing dancer and having Joel as a teacher. Teaching at that camp with him had a very strange, but cool, feeling of having completed the loop.  It was really peaceful and resourceful to be in the nature.  The lake was awesome, especially when the weather was SO hot, and being able to watch millions of stars at night by the fire felt great. Food was really good, it was nice to have the chance to hang out by meal time with people. One thing I liked is that beginners are the stars at SONH and I find it very refreshing as an attitude.  Joel and I were with the beginners for the performance sessions and it was really exciting to work with them, to see them working hard and going trough different emotions along that process. They did great and looked badass with their sunglasses!  Teaching with Joel is very easy, not only he cares about the material and how it will help students to grow as a dancer but also about the group atmosphere and the class progression.  So here are few other highlights of the week:  delicious night snacks, outside -and oh so essential- midnight wireless wonderland, walking at night, lots of good work and of course lots of dancing. And now a very well deserved rest.  I am looking forward next year SONH.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: