Wednesday, November 25, 2009

More to be thankful for...

1. What are you most thankful for this year?

2. What is your favorite part of the holiday season?

1. Family, friends, and Lindy Hop.
2. Pie! Eating lots and lots of pie!

1. I am thankful for so many things. But the thing I'm most thankful for this year, I can't say, cause it's a secret.
Not having to work! Er. And visiting with family and friends.

Thankful for (in no particular order):
1. Frankie being alive as long as he was to show us so many things.
2. For my family and friends having lasted another year
3. For Mike being friggin' awesome (I mean really, guys)
4. For my own good health

Favorite part of the holiday season -- why, seeing family, of course (and Mike not working so I can hang out with him more)!

I am most thankful for my family: my parents, Scott, and our pups. I love the holiday season. Some of my favorite holiday things are egg nog, pumpkin spice lattes, and cozy slippers.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

In thanksgiving...

Hi Lindy Hoppers!

Everyone at The Lindy Project wants to wish you and your family & friends a very happy Thanksgiving!

We'll be posting what we're all thankful for, so check back, add comments, and enjoy the turkey!

What are you most thankful for? What makes the holidays special for you?

I am most thankful for Vanessa, our doggies, and our house. Egg. Nog. And the relaxed atmosphere everywhere (that is, outside of shopping). Oh, and I like dancing when it's cold outside because you can dance super hard then take a step outside for ten seconds and be totally refreshed for more.

I'm thankful for my supportive friends and family, as well as this new city I get to call home. I like crisp, freshly fallen snow.'

More to come!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

International Lindy Hop Championships

What to say about ILHC...

If I had to describe it in one word:

I couldn't.

My name is Sarah. I'm from the junior performance team Bam! Dynamite, and I attended the international Lindy Hop championships this August. All in all, probably one the most overwhelming, intense, fun, wacky, crazy, humbling yet confidence boosting, educational (could I be more full of cheese) experiences of my life.

Watching -and participating in- a lot of the competitions was... well, it was terrifying. I know that sounds bad but it was terrifying in the best way possible. The competition level was, too say the least, high. Every routine pristine. My favorite part of the competitions would have to have been either the Cabaret, held at night, with everything from dancing puppets to a rousing performance of "Singing in the Rain", or the absolutely mind-blowing oh-my-god-did-that-actually-just-happen-are-you-serious performance of the Champion's Strictly Finals. THAT I can describe in one word:


Are you kidding me? It made me realize that someday we juniors could be doing that, or even something CLOSE to that. Which was a pretty awesome realization.

Comparing it to other dance events I've been to is practically impossible because um... I haven't exactly been to many. I have no job or car and I live with my parents, so traveling around the country for a weekend at a time isn't exactly up there with "Sarah, for the love of god, get your permit already" on my parents' to-do lists. But they try as hard as they can to make it happen and to be supportive, even if being supportive is paying for a trip to New Orleans. I guess in my own terms I'd say Lindyfest (one of the few dance events I've been too besides ILHC) was like "Class class class! Fun fun fun!" and ILHC was more "Compete! Perform! Go go go!" Class in the morning, rehearsal in the afternoon, social dance, get dressed, competitions, and then dance until 5:00am.

I loved it.

I loved everything but the elevators (glaciervators) that went about negative 20 miles an hours. But even those were fun when they took you to the supposedly unoccupied 16th floor at 3 in the morning. Fun and scary. And though there were a lot of humbling moments throughout the weekend, and a lot of sore muscles and basically no sleep, it was worth all of the fundraising, and all of the money, and the plane rides, and the asthma (Ok that part was pre-existing...) and I'm lucky to have been involved. Oh, and our performance was AWESOME!! Check it!

Here's a few competitions I saw at the event. Hope you enjoy!:

Champion's Lindy Strictly Finals part one:

Part two:

Ben and Laura's Pro/Am!:

Joe and Delilah's Pro/Am (from the side... sorry):

This is a video from Lindy Focus because as of now there is no video of them doing this routine up from ILHC. Mike and Laura performed this in the Cabaret competition and places 2nd!:


(addition from Scott)

Here is a video of the juniors team performing their routine at ILHC!:

Monday, September 14, 2009

I Think, Therefore I Dance

Joe DeMers
For my first blog ever, and the first installment of my philosophies of dancing and connection, I begin with a single question asked by Dax Hock about 2 years ago- what is dancing? At the time, I could not answer his question. I made silly and naive guesses like an artistic form of nonverbal communication and to skip, leap, or move up and down or sideways; but over time I’ve come to realize that the answer is relative. My definition of dancing is probably very different than yours, and yours very different from another’s. As you follow my blog, you can expect to learn how I came to my definition of dancing and everything I have learned over the last two years about partnered dancing and connection.

Firstly, let’s continue with what I’ve learned in my first conversation with Dax- we are limited by what your minds can perceive. Think of flying. We would not have dreamed of going into the air if we never saw a bird fly. Like exploring unknown universes and laws, our mindset will govern how far we can go. For example, a move may be very hard, but in the span of 5 minutes, by allowing yourself to open your mind to a new way of moving, your body will naturally follow.
Often times we hear teachers make analogies such as “connect like the hitch of a trailer” or “be a frictionless object in space.” These analogies can sometimes limit our body’s motion, by trying to emulate a movement or connection that isn’t natural. For instance, when we ask follows to roll through their feet like the wheels of a car, they tend to mimic “wheels” instead of allowing their bodies to step in sync with their partners. We need to be able to understand how to move our bodies naturally and to relax.
Our minds are our limits. By opening up our minds to new possibilities of moving, we invite in new ways of dancing and connecting. Our theoretical and educational knowledge of the philosophies of dancing will allow us to improve our physical boundaries. Much of dancing now is spent on improving our physical awareness of our bodies, but until we improve our mental awareness of our bodies, our physical movement will be limited. Free your mind and the rest will follow.


(addition from Scott)

Joe DeMers is an awesome dance instructor from Denver, CO. And for being such an awesome dancer, he is incredibly humble, open minded, and cool! The Lindy Project is very pleased to have him as an author with us! You can find more information about Joe at

Quick side thought: If you want to check out Denver, go to Lindy on the Rocks next year! LotR is an incredibly fun event in August every year. It's primarily a workshop weekend, but they have a good number of contests at night along with a ton of social dancing. I've been for 4 years straight and it really is one of my favorite events to go to... it's really fun in general, but being in Denver makes it extra great because they have such a great scene.

And here are a couple of Joe's performances!

Joe and Nelle at Blues Shout:

Joe doing a pro-am with Delilah at ILHC (1st):

23 Skidoo performing at Lindyfest in 2008:

Joe's voguing moment is at 2:49 :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

September Changes at TLP

Class times are changing in September

Beginning in September, TLP is adjusting class times to make everything run smoother, and allow for a bigger practice session after classes. More info:

Wednesday night at Tapestry
Level I, Level II & Level IV are moving to 8:35 PM
Level III will remain at 7:30 PM

Monday night at Uptown Dance
Level I is moving to 7:00 PM
Level II is moving to 8:00 PM

Ninja Workshop: Sept. 19

Dance like a Ninja, and in only one day of training! With a number of instructors from all over town, 2 levels, and free entrance to the Engine Room Dance that night.

Beg / Int Track: $30
Int / Adv Track: $40

Dancer's Workshop
11150 Research Blvd # 107

Laura Glaess
Mike Roberts
Matt Jones
Laura Malloy
Stephen Jean
Karri Martin
Scott Angelius
Billy Marcus
Brandy Lee
Jerry Jordan


TLP's Performance Team is starting up in September

Starting in September, TLP will have a team performance class for Level IV and higher. This class is a full semester long, so to be a part of it you must take part in classes through December to learn all of the choreography. Partners not required, but in order to keep even numbers, we will accept only the first 12 leads and 12 follows to register.

$120 for adults, $90 for students! (Payment plan available)
Performances will be scheduled in December, so minor costume expenses will be required.

Read more:

September Level IV class: Zen and the Art of Slow Dancing

This month's Level IV class, taught by Thain and Laura, will feature the art of slow dancing. This class will cover lots of technique in body control, connection, and how to really fill space and time to make slow dancing look and feel awesome! This class is also the perfect compliment for blues dancing and will help you explore additional possibilities and concepts that can be used in the blues room.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Daily Texan @ Summer Camp!

This past Saturday, Aug. 8th, we had our 2nd, of 3, Summer Camp workshops for teens. Vanessa and I taught them 4 hours of Lindy Hop, and I must say, they learned crazy fast. As of the end of this latest workshop, they've now learned 2 months of material in just 2 days! I am totally jealous of them. If only I could've had this kind of opportunity when I started back 2000!

To our surprise, UT's Daily Texan heard about Summer Camp and came out to film a bit of the workshop. Special thanks to Sarah Pritchett for letting them interview her! Here's the video:

The final Summer Camp workshop will take place in just under two weeks, on Aug. 22nd. The first workshop covered Swing & Charleston, the second, Lindy Hop, and this final one will bring it all together. We may even throw some sweet choreography at them!

July Open House Recap

We had a really great Open House at the end of July. Again, I want to thank everyone that came! Both classes were awesome, and the social dancing afterward was great. It's always nice to have to kick people out at the end ;)

I saw some really great flips and jumping going on long after Thain and Laura's Aerials 101 class finished. Look forward to more of that in the Future. Thain is planning a whole month of Aerials around the beginning of 2010!

The Killer Charleston class was way fun too! We had to sweat it out a bit 'cause the A/C was down, but everyone was kickin' it hard (pun intend ;) It's fixed now, so no more fearing Studio 5...

In case you missed them, here are videos of the two performances we had at the open house. Alex and Maya have put in a lot of work on these with us. We're totally proud of them!

Alex Cavalli dancing with Laura Glaess

Maya DiTraglia dancing with Mike Roberts

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Crossing over at Swingtime

Last weekend Scott, Vanessa, Laura and I all went to Swingtime in the Rockies in Denver, Colorado. SwingTime has been a West Coast Swing, aka WCS, event for years, but this year they decided to add Lindy Hop to the mix. There aren't too many Crossover Events, so when I found out about it, I was really excited. Overall we had a great time, though there was a bit of disorganization due to all the new Lindy stuff they added.

Laura and I got to teach a few classes and Scott did a whole bunch of Soul/Lindy DJing, more than he expected actually :). He even ran the competition music for several divisions.

WCS events have a lot of competitions, and with the addition of Lindy, there were way more this year. All 4 of us competed, and did pretty well!

Scott and Vanessa placed 2nd in the Advanced/All-Star Strictly Lindy! (Strictly means you choose your partner and dance to a random song). As Teachers, Laura and I got to do the Invitational Strictly Lindy together and the Invitational Jack and Jill (JnJ = random partner random song). Laura placed 2nd in the JnJ with Dax Hock, a real badass! We got 4th place in the Strictly somehow, and as a result we had to do the Crossover Jack and Jill.

So what's a Crossover JnJ you ask? Take the top five couples from the Pro Strictly WCS and Lindy divisions and throw them into a Jack and Jill where Lindy leads have to dance with WCS follows and vice versa. You get one WCS song and one Lindy song. Crossover JnJ's are the BEST! Everyone usually hams it up really hard. Needless to say, Swingtime was no Exception.

Laura and I were quite stressed about having to dance WCS so we got Scott (who's done a ton of it in the past) to give us some pointers. I saw Jordan Frisbee (yes this Jordan) practicing some Lindy with Jessica Cox, so I shouted some moves he should do. Instead he and Jessica came over and we started trading moves and styling for WCS and Lindy. Eventually Max Pitruzella came over to show Jordan some of his ninja moves. It was an amazing experience getting to really work on stuff with such amazing dancers.

When it came time to compete/perform several really cool things happened. First we all decided to trade clothes. WCS dancers dressed up like Lindy Hoppers. Yup I wore rhinestones and Laura wore sequins. The best part was that I drew Jessica and Laura drew Jordan in the JnJ! Getting them made everything way less stressful. When videos popup, I'll be sure to post them.

We competed in heats of 2 couples and Laura's Heat consisted of her and Jordan and Max and Jennifer Deluca. Since Max and Jordan worked out those sweet moves, they did them in sync. I wish there was video already, cause it was sooo sweet. In the end Laura took 1st place with Jordan. Jessica and I got 4th. It was awesome.

Other highlights of the weekend: A hilarious Truckin' contest and a super fun strictly blues contest. Words wouldn't do them justice, they need videos. I'll post 'em when I see 'em.

Friday, July 24, 2009

What is dance camp, and how do I get there from here?

Some of you may be thinking . . .
"Gosh, this Beantown Lindy Hop camp thing sounds really awesome from reading Angela's post last week about "the hip hop". I'm up for some punishment, uh I mean fun, like that. But I missed it this year. How do I get in on it for next year?"

You can learn more about Beantown Lindy Hop camp at their official camp URL here:
You can also become a fan of "Beantown Lindy Hop Camp" on Facebook. If you become a fan, you'll get notifications (and I think a Facebook invite) next year when registration opens up for the next Beantown camp.

Dance camp is a fun way to immerse yourself in swing dancing and meet lots of friendly dancers from around the world. It will take your dancing to the next level, and you'll go home exhausted, but happy and in much better shape.

There are lots of other fabulous dance camps that you might consider attending, too.
Many are on Facebook as groups that you can join.
Here's a list of some of them, in chronological order:

Herrang -- -- June/July -- Herrang, Sweden
Camp Hollywood -- -- July 30th - August 2nd, 2009 -- Los Angeles, CA
Studio Hop Summer Camp -- -- August -- Toulouse, France
SONH -- -- Labor Day weekend, Sept 2-7, 2009 -- Hebron, NH
Lindy Focus -- -- December 27-31, 2009 -- Asheville, NC
Swing Camp OZ -- -- January 24-29, 2010 -- Adelaide, SA, Austrailia
Lindyfest -- -- March 11-14, 2010 -- Houston, TX
Camp Jitterbug -- -- May 28-31, 2010 -- Seattle, WA

Monday, July 20, 2009

Michael Jackson - dancing extraordinaire

Here is some rad footage of Michael Jackson on the Jackson variety show. It's awesome to see just how talented that family is.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The "hip" hop

I recently got back from dance camp: Beantown Lindy Hop Camp -- 7 days of dance classes all day and social dancing all night. It was intense.

I had the fabulous experience of taking a Hip Hop "mini-track" (1 hip hop class per day, plus a performance at the end of camp) taught by Eric Fenn, the primary choreographer for the Hip Hop dance troupe called Loose Change. The series was a ton of fun; Eric was a great instructor; and I feel like it really improved my individual body movement.

Much of the fun and art of Lindy Hop is about the interaction and connection between you, your partner, and the music. But another important part of Lindy Hop is individual body movement, which includes things like balance, dexterity, rythm, posture, and moving from your core. Someone once gave me succinct words of advice for improving body movement: "Dance. A lot." More specifically though, one thing you can do to develop your individual body movement is to study and practice other forms of dance. Solo Jazz is the obvious one, because it is so closely tied in with the roots of Lindy Hop, which is sometimes referred to by dance geeks as "(partnered) American Vernacular Jazz Dance" -- Say that five times fast! Solo Jazz can help you do things like increase your dance vocabulary and styling variations. Tap, a slightly less obvious option, can help you improve your dexterity and rythm. But what about Hip Hop? How can Hip Hop help improve your Lindy Hop? Besides being a ton of fun and giving you cool moves for club dancing, Hip Hop can help you focus on initating movement from your core and improve your expressive range, along with learning fun stuff like body isolation (hard! but awesome!).

Check out these clips of Eric Fenn and his troupe, Loose Change.

"Human Nature" --

"Day" --

"Currents" -- -- This one has some Lindy Hop mixed in.

"Evolution" --

At OSDF 2003 --

If you're interested in improving your individual body movement, I strongly encourage you to go out and take a solo dance class, especially Tap, Jazz, or Hip Hop. It's lots of fun AND great exercise, so it will help increase your stamina, too. . . Next time you go out dancing Lindy Hop, you can dance all night long!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Austin Swing Syndicate 10th Anniversary

Last Thursday was the Austin Swing Syndicate's 10th Anniversary bash. It was a fabulous night of wonderful live music by the Syndicate All-star Band, including such awesome local musicians as Jonathan Doyle, JD Pendley, Ryan Gould, Mark Gonzales, Emily Gimble, Donna Hightower, and Erik Hokkanen. I'm missing a couple names in there, so if you know the piano, cornet and drummer's names, feel free to leave them in the comments. Anyways, the All-star Band was fantastic, playing a lot of mid-tempo, hard-swinging standards that kept the entire floor packed all night long! In particular, I absolutely loved that JD played straight rhythm guitar. Having that hard swinging guitar really brings the band together and makes me need to move.

We also got to hear and see a bit of the history surrounding the Syndicate's creation. Burke McRae and Amanda Matthews, the main founders, were in attendance. Amanda received one of this year's Syndie's, a golden ticket that allows her the privilege of never again having to pay cover or membership dues. Burke received his a few years ago. The other Syndie went to lindy-lifer Colin "Reverend Shadyglenn" Wise. Colin, a lawyer, helped draft the Syndicate's original by-laws and has been dancing, DJing or helping out at the Fed almost every single Thursday for the last 10 years! It was awesome to see them honored. It ended with a huge snowball/jam with all the board members over the years and those that were dancing back in the beginning.

Tony Spielberg took a ton of pictures, and hopefully they'll be online sometime soon. I'll make sure to add a link to them at the end of this post when that happens.

For the occasion, Laura and I put together a couple performances that we put on right after the Birthday Jam. We did our new Lindy Routine and got a few people together do the Tranky Doo. Thanks to Tony for posting those videos on Vimeo.

Here's to another 10 years of Lindy Hop in Austin!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Overwhelming and Amazing: A Review of the Frankie95 Celebration.

Frankie Manning, the single most influential force in Lindy Hop. It's no surprise that about 2000 Lindy Hoppers from around the world converged on New York over Memorial weekend to honor his passing and celebrate his Spirit. The Spirit of Frankie Manning was indeed present as those 2000 dancers pulsed on the enormous dance floor of the Hammerstein Ballroom in the Manhattan Center. Every where you looked dancers smiled and bounced around until they kicked everyone out in the wee hours of the morning. Frankie95 was the largest and most important Lindy Hop event to date.

My absolute favorite aspect of Frankie95 was the Spirit of Frankie. Everyone at the Event was filled with the Spirit of Frankie. Throughout the 5 nights, everyone carried with them a Warmth, a sense of belonging to something greater. It was a fantastic feeling. Even with several noticeable hiccups over the weekend, everyone stayed excited and supportive.

That excitement was fueled in part by the amazing Performances each night, culminating in a Big Show Sunday night. Dancers from all over the world performed Jazz, Tap, Charleston, and Lindy Hop in a Variety of Forms. There were Vintage recreations, new routines inspired the past, and plenty of tributes to the Man, Frankie Manning. In the Sunday show, they recreated Hellzapoppin'! Sadly, that won't be appearing on Youtube. Performers throughout the weekend included: The Harlem Hotshots, The Silver Shadows, The Ninjammerz, and many others. Here's a few of the most notable nightly performances.

A Recreation of The Berry Brothers' Facinating Rhythm by the Killer Dillers:

A Tribute to Frankie Manning by the Silver Shadows:

The use of the spotlight was brilliant!

A Super Fast Routine, Jitters by the Ninjammerz:

The Harlem Hot Shots performed many times, but my favorite was this weird one:

Since this review is starting to get really long I'll only talk about one last thing, the crazy competitions. The two competitions of the weekend were the Hellzapoppin' Lindy Hop contest, and the World's Largest Jack and Jill competition. The Hellzapoppin' contest pitted some of the best dancers in the world against each other in a no holds barred throw down! Ok, it wasn't the craziest thing ever, but it was pretty awesome. Scott recently posted the finals, but here it is again:

If you look closely at the 4th couple, you'll see yours truly dancing with Laura! I still don't know how we made finals, but we did and it was super fun. The World's Largest Jack and Jill had somewhere around 500 dancers enter! In the end it boiled down to just 7 couples. And again, Laura and I somehow made it to the finals, and Laura was even in the top 3! It was judged by Audience applause. Take a look:

That's it for now! Look out for further installments with details on the Comps, Performances and anything else I can think of!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Congrats to Mike and Laura!

The Lindy Project's very own Mike and Laura made it to the finals of one of the biggest lindy hop competitions since the 1940s!

They are the 4th couple.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Frankie's event and documentary

A bunch of people from Austin just went and attended the HUGE event for Frankie's 95th birthday. I believe there were close to 2,000 people there... and it has to be one of the largest lindy hop events ever. As we talked about before, Frankie passed away a few weeks before his 95th birthday. So the event became a celebration of his life / memorial.

Mike Roberts attended the event and will be giving us a review and his experience there.

Also, there is a documentary about Frankie here... which... is... awesome:

Lastly, let's take a minute and watch one of Frankie's finest works: Hellzapoppin'. He is the dancer in the overalls... the fourth couple. You can see where he got the nickname "musclehead".

June classes at Tapestry and Uptown

The Lindy Project's June classes are starting up next week! Be sure to come out to continue your lindy hop education and enhance your dance moves with professional training.

June @ Tapestry on Wednesdays (6/3, 6/10, 6/17, /6/24)
Level I @ 7:30 - [A] Swing & Charleston w/ Mike & Maya
Level II @ 8:45 - [C] Lindy & Tandem w/ Thain & Karri
Level III @ 7:30 - [D] Charleston Expanded w/ Jonathan & Laura
Level IV @ 8:45 - Frankie Manning Moves* w/ Mike & Laura
* Learn the moves that inspired Lindy Hoppers for generations! Also adapted for follow styling.

June @ Uptown on Mondays (6/1, 6/8, 6/15, 6/22)
Level I @ 7:30 - [B] Lindy Hop w/ Scott & Vanessa
Level II @ 8:30 - [A] Lindy & Swing Charleston w/ Scott & Vanessa

Check out our classes page for the full schedule and class descriptions.

TLP Outing: May 28th

Come join us at the Syndicate's weekly dance at the Fed at 8:30pm this Thursday, May 28th. The basic gist is for all of us to get together to dance, practice, and for us to be around to dance with you guys and answer any questions you might have. But beyond that, we want to get to know you guys outside of the classroom.

Here is some more info about the dance:
The Syndicate (Austin Swing Syndicate) is a non-profit group that throws weekly dances - in fact the Thursday night dance is one of the largest weekly events in the country. Especially impressive since Austin is much smaller than places like NY and LA. The Thursday night dance is at the Fed, on 24th and San Gabriel, and you can park across the street at the Freewheelin' parking lot. It just costs $5 to get into the dance, or if you become a member it's just $2.

Also, this is a great chance for your friends to come out and try swing dancing - there is a FREE beginner lesson from 8:15-9:15. You can drive together!

Next month's outing is going to be at the Engine Room, on June 20th!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

So you think you can dance!!!

Oh yes! My favorite show on TV... other than maybe LOST. :) So You Think You Can Dance is on in just a few days:

May 21st, 2009
8pm/7pm central
on Fox

Friday, May 15, 2009

One Night at the Fed...

Reed Penny from Austin created this fun video of the main weekly dance in Austin. It's run by the Austin Swing Syndicate in one of the most awesome ballrooms around the country!

Every week somewhere between 250-350 people show up to dance. There are tons of new faces each week, and with a free beginner lesson at 8:15p, everyone is welcome.

If you want to learn to swing dance beyond the basics, check out

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Let's do the Time Warp again!

Lindy Hop's own Nick Williams and Carla Heiney were recently featured on the Discovery Channel Television show “Time Warp”. The show aired Wednesday, April 8th, 2009 at 8pm PST.

The show basically has a lot of cool stuff shot in super slow motion. And wow - seeing these lindy hoppers move in slow mo is really awe inspiring. You can see them doing what they are calling a "lindy spin" and a snatch here:

Bam! Dy-no-mite!

Check out this video of some of The Lindy Project's youngest dancers. This is their Bam Dynamite! routine... done to Madame Dynamite. They look AWESOME!

The 10 of them range in age from 14 to 21 and are mostly teenagers. Most of them had been dancing only one to two years... but a couple had only been dancing about six months! This is their performance at this year's Lone Star Championships:

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Frankie95 Worldwide Choreography!

The ever amazing Peter Strom, Ramona Staffeld, Skye Humphries, and Frida Segerdahl created some wonderful choreography in honor of Frankie Manning. They've taken some of Frankie's best moves and set them to Lucky Millinder's "Savoy" off the Album "Apollo Jump".

The goal is to get Lindy Hoppers everywhere to learn the choreography and perform it at the Frankie95 Celebration in a few weeks. If you can't be there, they urge you to learn it and perform it with your friends and post it on YouTube with the tags: Frankie95, Worldwide, Choreography. That's exactly what we're gonna do here in Austin! Learn it and come perform it at the Fed with us on Thursday, May 14!

Here's a video of Peter and Ramona teaching the choreography:

Laura and Mike will be teaching the Choregraphy May 6th and 13th at 9:45pm after our Wednesday classes down at Tapestry. It'll be free, and anyone who's done Level 1B or can do a swing out and circle is welcome to come. If you can't make it Wednesday, keep an eye out for us at the Fed on Thursday, we'll probably be showing people then too!

In the interest of getting all of Austin in on this, We've talked with Four On The Floor and Smooth Lindy, and they should be teaching it as well. Check their websites for details.

In Summary:
Learn it: May 6th and 13th @ 9:45pm at Tapestry with TLP
Perform it: May 14th at the Syndicate Dance at the Fed

- The Lindy Project

Here's the Choreography written out:

1) Big apple stomps
2) Big apple butt slap rock step back cross step
3) Big apple tossing baskets
4) Jump claps/boogie backish
5) Tranky doo legs - step step 8,1 hold 2,3 step step 4,5 clap 6,7
6) Boogie forward to cool breeze 5678

Repeat Intro.

1) face each other and walk (halftime) around each other, right shoulder in left out. Make it half way around
2) continue walking, finish circle.
3) Pivot in, pivot out
4) walk forward (halftime) past partner, stay facing away
5) stay facing away and walk (halftime) around eachother to closed position
6) Swingout (45 to audience)
7) Swingout
8) Swingout Scissors 7&8
9) &1&2 finish scissors &3 stompoff, then &5&6&7&8
10) Circle to close
11) Skip up
12) swingout
13) circle
14) Tuck turn behind the back to open pos. side by side.
15) Swivels, left on 1 (same leg for both)
16) Shorty George (same leg still) on 8&1 of swivels, finish w/ step on 8
17) (back to mirror foot)Stompoff forward &1, stompoff back &3 Fall off the log 4-7 hold 8, inside leg kicks, turn away from partner back
18) Around the world
19) tango points
20) Around the world
21) tango points

Social Dance till the end!

Second time the big horns pickup:
1) Swingout
2) Swingout
3) Swingout
4) Swingout
5) Circle
6) Skip up
7) rock step kick step lock turn around to finish!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Frankie Manning

I'm really having trouble working today. I just keep watching videos of Frankie and can't concentrate. If you didn't hear, Frankie passed away today.

Frankie Manning: May 26, 1914 - April 27, 2009

It is with great regret that we inform you that legendary lindy hopper and inspiration to tens of thousands of dancers around the world Mr. Frankie Manning passed away peacefully early this morning.

More information about memorials and an official announcement as we hear it.


Frankie Team

He was one of the most influential people in Lindy Hop. Ever. And I'm very very fortunately to say that I have taken classes from him and heard him speak about his experiences.

It's heartbreaking.

Here is more info on Frankie: his book | bio | bio 2

Friday, April 10, 2009

Lindy Hop on Dancing With The Stars... Not.

So did anyone see "Lindy Hop" performed on Dancing with the Stars? Well you can now on the YouTube clips below. But before we get to that, I have some general complaints.

First, DWTS obviously didn't use Lindy Hoppers to choose the music, the look, or the choreography. As a result, to me, this wasn't Lindy Hop. It looked like jitterbug / jive dancing that ballroom dancers do. And that's fine. I wouldn't want to do it... but it's fine. The problem is that by calling it "Lindy Hop", when it's not, distorts people's perception of what Lindy Hop really is. How many times can they say "Lindy Hop is all about kicks and tricks"? And people will be left with this nonsense.

Going hand in hand with the choreography-that-was-not-lindy-hop, was the music. The music wasn't music you would Lindy Hop to. They had a plethora of ridiculous songs ranging from rock n' roll, to rockabilly, to neo-swing. Not a one would you actually Lindy Hop to. Not one song was a swing song or big band song or hot jazz song... or anything that swung at all. How can we expect the dancers to swing? Bleh.

In sum: watch So You Think You Can Dance. They have amazing dancers that are actual up-and-coming dancers that want to do this as their profession. And not only do they have these great dancers that can actually perform the styles of dance presented to them, but they also hire top dancers in the field to create the choreography for them.

So, on to the videos. The last one actually has something interesting in it!

Steve-O and Lacey*

*Lacey was on So You Think You Can Dance.

Melissa and Tony

Shawn and Mark

Ty and Chelsie*

*Chelsie was on So You Think You Can Dance.

Also, wow, whoever choreographed this one actually looked at what Lindy Hop IS and tried to create a routine that incorporates it. We actually saw some swingouts, swivels, and charleston sans pointy toes and upwards bounce... With a real swing / big band song I think this routine might have actually felt right. For me, this was the best attempt. Get it Chelsie.

Julianne and Chuck

David and Kym

The awesome thing about this last video is they actually went out and saw what Lindy Hop is! LindyGroove is one of the, if not the, biggest weekly swing dances in the country. It's in Pasadena, CA every Thursday night. (Side note: the Austin Swing Syndicate hosts perhaps the second biggest weekly swing dance in the country right here in Austin!) Unfortunately, they dubbed over the music that was playing at LindyGroove with some god awful tunes... but at least you can actually see a real swingout!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Al Minns and Leon James

Last week at the Syndicate's weekly dance we had what I'm guessing is one of the biggest shim shams in the world... many many scenes around the world are doing the same thing and taking that footage, splicing it together, and giving to Frankie Manning, one of the founders of Lindy Hop, for his 95th Birthday. Happy Birthday Frankie! I can't wait to see what the end result looks like.

Here is a video of Al Minns and Leon James doing an amazing version of the shim sham:

Al Minns and Leon James were two other founders of Lindy Hop. Check out Al Minns talking about the Savoy and creating air steps:


April Classes!

The Lindy Project classes start up again tonight, Wednesday April 1st. I hope you can make it out!

April @ Tapestry on Wednesdays (4/1, 4/8, 4/15, 4/22)
Level I @ 7:30 - [A] Swing and Charleston w/ Jonathan & Laura
Level II @ 8:45 - [A] Lindy and Swing w/ Scott & Laura
Level III @ 7:30 - [B] Momentum & Flow w/ Thain & Vanessa
Level IV @ 8:45 - Dips and Tricks w/ Jonathan & Vanessa

April @ Uptown on Mondays (4/6, 4/13, 4/20, 4/27)
Level I @ 7:30 - [B] Lindy Hop w/ Mike & Angela
Level II @ 8:30 - [B] Lindy and Charleston w/ Mike & Angela

Check out our classes page for the full schedule and class descriptions.

And if you are coming to our Wednesday night classes, be sure to register early online to get the best deal:

The Lindy Hop Workout

Think of learning to dance like getting into shape. When you are getting into shape, the most important thing you can do is to eat right. Next is working out. And you may take these even farther by getting a personal trainer and dietitian, taking supplements, going to a boot camp, etc. It really just depends on how in depth you want to take it.

The same is true for Lindy Hop and Swing dancing, or any dance for that matter.

1) The most important thing for learning how to dance is to actually go out and do it. That may seem counter intuitive to say that you should go out and do something that you do not know how to do, but just by going out and watching you will get to see what dancing looks like and see a picture of what you are shooting for in classes. Classes will only be able to show you little snippets of dancing, and without the big picture, you won't have a clue why you are learning what the teachers are showing you. Further, you should participate... watch what other people are doing and then mimic. Trust yourself, you can do it. By getting out there and trying, you will learn something about how to dance, guaranteed.

Going out dancing should be the meat and potatoes of your learning to dance.

And in Austin you are really fortunate! Going out swing dancing in Austin is like an extra healthy meal. There is a huge Lindy Hop scene here, with over 300 people that come out on any given Thursday to the Fed, some of whom travel the world to teach and compete. Check out the Austin Swing Syndicate. Hope to see you there!

2) Classes. Classes are like your work outs. You won't be able to gain muscles or lose weight nearly as easily without doing your work outs. And you won't be able to learn how to dance nearly as fast without classes.

There is a ton of great instruction in Austin every single week. The Lindy Project teaches every Wednesday and Monday night. Wednesdays we teach at our south location, Tapestry Dance Company, which is our biggest night of classes each week. And Mondays we teach at our north location, Austin Uptown Dance. Check out our full schedule of classes: The Lindy Project.

3) After getting the basics to your food and workouts, you can think about getting a personal trainer and dietitian, taking supplements, going to a boot camp, etc. Here are some extra things you can do to improve your dancing:

The Lindy Project teaches private lessons... you can focus on the intricacies of leading and following... new moves and styling... etc.

YouTube has a ton of videos on lindy hop, jazz, and just about everything under the sun. Watch a lot of videos! Steal moves... make them your own!

Attend workshop and competition weekends. There are a lot of really fun weekend workshops and competitions with classes and tons of dancing. These boot camps can greatly improve your dancing. Check out some suggestions.

Get started! Ask questions! Good luck!