Closing 2013 – The Year of the Team

Snowbound in Rochester, New York after Southwest canceled my flight. That picture illustrates the normal gear worn when trekking through the South Wedge. I was en route to Hedonist Artisan Ice Cream when the storm struck, turning buildings into misshapen unidentifiable lumps.

48 hour delayed flights equates to a busy internet time. I’m planning another national instructor led workshop March 2014 in Denver, playing Angry Birds, chatting with a Lisbon friend, uploading 11 instructional videos to YouTube, Yelping Asheville restaurants, and figuring out some way to synopsisize (new word!) my Lindy Focus experience. Where to start, where to go, how to finish?

With a nod, winks, and overt gestures, let’s start with teams. After all, it’s the year of the team for me. Michael Gamble called out for teams mid November in the Lindy Focus FB group. The team division was returning and they were short teams. I boldly inquired Denver through FB for interest. There was murmuring, but no solid chatter happened on the Merc. Thank goodness, because that would be a serious time crunch.

Then Rochester came a’callin’. 5 out of 6 members from their Groove Juice Swing aerial routine were attending and they needed an extra guy. I was visited over Thanksgiving weekend and could learn the routine, so I teamed with Rebecca Berman. We practiced the aerials, I flubbed the Stephen & Virginie rhythm section multiple times, and I learned most of the routine.

It did make life easier at Lindy Focus, though we had to still schedule extra practices at our super secret practice location and wake up early for floor trials (bah!). Couple that with early morning auditions, are you surprised I was rarely seen on the social dance floor? Results paid off for a 2nd place finish! Good times had been had.

The final team piece was “Summertime Blues,” choreographed by Dan Newsome and Lainey Silver for the New Year’s Eve show. This would prove a massive undertaking because Jesse Hanus and I would not see each other until Lindy Focus. Jesse was the most productive, practicing with Scott Lucchini, while I ran around organizing a Denver workshop weekend with Stephen Sayer and Chandrae Roettig Dec 14-15. Crazy!

Kansas City Christmas vacation was filled with solo dancing in my parent’s living room and me tracking which step goes with which beat. Do you know how hard it is to break down choreography when you can’t see the couple dance to music? Eventually, I edited all the dancing bits together, smashing 28 odd minutes to 5. Tailored learning there. Sometimes you do what you can to survive. No custom counting my steps for this guy.

So each Lindy Focus day brought a 1 hour practice where we danced to music, hammered out our formations, fine tuned our lifts, turning pieces into cohesive sections. It was interesting watching Dan and Lainey deal with our motley crew’s varied needs. And it was fun working with everyone. Some thanks goes to Joe Demers for watching my circle spacing, Mike and Ruth for the Thread the Needle tip, Jon Tigert for allowing me to work my Beyonce behind him,  Jesse Hanus for dealing with me, and Jenna Applegarth for helping organize practice spaces. Overall, I was pleased with our results.

2013 was a good year. I finished my 3 month term at Big Mama Swing, bounced around Europe teaching lindy hop, blues, aerials, and west coast swing, laid low in Denver, ran Auditions and taught at Beantown, performed with three other groups, tied Soochan Lee and Hyung Jung Choi at the Underground Lindy Hop Championships at Camp Hollywood, hop scotched around Europe some more, ran a great workshop in Denver, and finished Lindy Focus with 2 finals (blues, balboa) and 1 alternate (adv. lindy hop). What’s next, 2014?!



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