Archive for the ‘Swing Dance Events’ Category

Nearly a week into 2008, and I am long overdue for a post. What better way than to recap my favorites of 2007:

Favorite blog on my blogroll: 800lb Gorilla

Favorite color: Powder blue from the San Diego Charger jerseys

Favorite day: Day before my birthday (My brother and I ran the LA Triathlon Sprint)

Favorite city: Many to choose from, but gotta love Chicago (even during February)

Favorite SkyMall gadget: Gotta love the Gravity Defyer Shoes

Favorite conspiracy theory: Tom Cruise was cloned by Xenu and the clone is the crazy one we’ve seen in recent years

Favorite book: If I Did It. Just kidding. The Seven Lost Secrets of Success. Joe Vitale has mastered success and is passing it along. That’s the way it should be!

Favorite moment at work: There are so many to choose from. While the Montel Williams show was interesting and The Talking Show was a first, neither of them is the top choice. Not quite the top either, the GBK Oscars Gift Suite was certainly enjoyable, as was the Scriptwriter’s Showcase. I even learned about how bad the strike would be months before it happened. Even though having Reggie Bush on the cover of the magazine was nice, that too was not my favorite moment. My favorite moment at work definitely has to be when I realized I had a great advertisement.

Favorite dance event: 2007 US Open. The Moorpark College Swing Dance Team received second place in their very first team competition at the US Open. I was one of the founding members of the college club at Moorpark, so it was particularly enjoyable to see them do so well in their first competition.

Favorite radio moment: When I was doing the Gadget Panel Radio show while on the road, heading to a Dodgers game. My phone cut out and Gadget Panelist Vadim was unable to get himself on the phone circuit. Great radio!

Favorite blog I didn’t write: The blog recapping my trip to New Zealand with the 20GB of pictures and photos I took while down under.

Favorite Movie: Ratatouille. The little ones teach us so much in life.

Favorite Website: Ext JS. The web’s future is so bright it’s gotta wear shades. My favorite demo is the desktop sample.  My nerd side is shining.

Date: May 4-6, 2007
Irvine Marriott Hotel
1800 Von Karman Avenue
Irvine, CA 92612

Buddy Schwimmer
http://www.usaswingnet.com/worldswing/

In conjunction with The Lindy and West Coast Swing Connection
Teveya Dovbish & Eileen Dovbish
lindywestcoastconnection@earthlink.net

A combination of Lindy and West Coast Swing
with equal prize money for contests and workshops for both styles of swing

Invited judges and workshop teachers:
Bill Cameron
Laureen Baldovi
Sonny Watson
Benji Schwimmer
Lacey Schwimmer
Buddy Schwimmer
Heidi Groskreutz
Manny Variel
Phil Adams

Kim Clever
Dave Frutos
Minn Vo
Corina Acosta
Ben Yau
Sheri Yau
Benjamin Ricard
Genevieve Kerouac

DJ’s Jack Smith and Tip West
Saturday Midnight Buffet

Contests:
Jack & Jill
Young Adult
Team
Masters
Junior
Showcase
Cabaret
Lindy vs. West Coast

Event Ticket
$110 Before March 1
$125 March 1 – 31
$135 April 1 and later

I’m sure there is not much I need to say about any of these instructors, but I’ll say it anyway. They are all gifted dancers, performers, choreographers, and teachers. You will really enjoy learning from all of them. See you there!

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There’s a bit of a rivalry between Lindy Hop and West Coast Swing. Hoppers, as Lindy Hop dancers are sometimes called, claim that West Coast Swing is slow and for old people, while the West Coast Swing dancers (sometimes referred to as westies) claim that Hoppers lack technique and smoothness). The rivalry is mostly playful, but it is playful in a Cold War kind of way. Well, the best thing for both styles of swing dance happened this weekend: A Lindy routine won the Showcase division of the US Open of Swing Dance.

Despite the title “Open”, the US Open of Swing Dance is primarily a West Coast Swing event. People will cite various reasons for this. My opinion is that the West Coast Swing performances have been much better than the Lindy Hop performances over the last couple of decades. Since West Coast has consistently won the US Open titles, the Hoppers have slowly stopped showing up to the event. That is, until Ben Morris came to town (yes, Ben has been around for a while, but I’m trying to add some draaama to this story).

At the young age of 3 months (I keed, I keed, but Ben is very young), Ben is already an accomplished Lindy Hopper AND West Coast Swing dancer. Now, this talented cross-over performer has won the Hope Diamond of the Swing Dance world. The Showcase Division of the US Open has recently seen winners such as “So You Think You Can Dance” winner, Benji Schiwmmer and his partner Heidi Groskreutz (also a SYTYCD finalist) and “30 Seconds of Fame” winners, Jordan Frisbee and Tatiana Mollman. Past US Open championships have sported the likes of Mary Ann Nunez and Robert Royston.

I know there are many other swing dance legends from the past that I’m not mentioning here because I don’t know them off the top of my head. I’m not professing to be an expert on US Open history. The point is that Ben has accomplished something great here. This is not just because he had a wonderful performance. It is also because he brought Lindy back to life at the US Open. Huge congratulations to Ben Morris on his Showcase win at the 2006 US Open Swing Dance Championships.

Click here for the complete 2006 US Open results

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It’s not quite the same as the Last Samurai or Last of the Mohicans. Yet, I feel as important as Tom Cruise and Daniel Day Lewis. This afternoon, I purchased the final ticket for the US Open Swing Dance Championships this Thanksgiving weekend! Yes, the very last ticket available. Now, I know that there have been some tickets floating around the Internet, and there were rumors that Sonny Watson had some, and then it was Jack Smith. I followed those leads, and those tickets were gone too!

Sure, I don’t have the best seats in the house. In fact, it looks like I have one of the worst seats in the house. I’m on the right side, front row. You might be thinking, “First row is great!” Just looking at the seating chart, I’m not so sure about it. Still! I’ve got a friggin ticket! This means that I get to see all the great performances by the Super Stars of swing. I wonder if So You Think You Can Dance Season Two winner, Benji Schwimmer, will be there?

Of course, there are also the myriad of workshops available to Platinum ticket holders such as myself. Workshops with swing dance greats such as Mary Ann Nunez, Robert Royston, Jordan & Tatiana, and Parker & Jessica. Then there are all the crazy competitions and all the open dancing. The schedule is packed full of great dancers. Now, I just need to get myself a hotel room.

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Jack & Jill dances are a funny thing. You randomly draw a series of partners through the first two rounds and then the top individual dancers end up making it to the finals, where you draw just one partner. The “best” couple then ends up with first place.

This Friday was great. I’m sitting in traffic @ 5:45PM on my way down to the event in Irvine. I’m at least another hour away. So I call my buddy Brent and ask him to register me since the event is at 7PM but you need to register an hour before the event. He gets everything taken care of. Huge thanks to Brent.

I wasn’t thinking that I was going to do very well. It has been three weeks since the last time I went dancing, and two must since my last competition (which I didn’t even make it into the finals for). This event is bigger than the last event I went to. I had no expections for even making it into the finals. It’s not as if I had some great dances during the prelims or semis.

So I’m sitting in my chair at the event when they start calling out the 5 finalist. My regular shoes are on. I’m certainly not expecting them to call my name at all. The host calls out four men, and I’m not one of them. I figure that there is no way that I’m going to end up being the 5th person. Well, sure enough, #5 is me. I’m rushing to put my dance shoes on. I could hardly believe it.

Now, at this event, they run all their finals as spotlights. A spotlight dance is where you are the only couple on the floor and they stick a couple of spotlights on you while everyone watches. This is my first spotlight, my partner’s (Tara) first major jack & jill, and we are friggin in the novice division. It was so much fun though. We had a great time, made plenty of mistakes; but still had a great time.

My friend Eddie (who I started doing Jack & Jills with earlier this year) and his partner (Deanna) ended up winning the thing! He’s been putting a lot of effort into his West Coast Swing, and it definitely paid off this weekend. Congrats, Eddie!

Anyone looking for a good dance event during the Halloween weekend next year should definitely checkout HALLOWEEN SWINGTHING

Have a great Halloween weekend everyone. Mine has started off great!

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It’s off to the Halloween Swing Thing in Irvine, CA for me. A weekend of dance workshops, competitionis, and late night dancing. This is going to be my first dance competition since the beginning of August, so I’m a lil rusty. It should be a lot of fun though. I love these events. I get to meet new people and learn cool new moves. Plus, nothing beats making a woman old enough to be my grandma smile on the dance floor because she feels great about herself.