Archive for the ‘swing dance’ 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.

Imagine you are at a dance club about ready to go home. You are putting your shoes back on. Yes, it’s a real dance club, not some place where you have drunken dry humps on the dance floor to techno music. A hot blonde MILF that you’ve danced with comes up and asks you to walk her to her car.

Now, if you are me, your first thought might be about the beautiful babies you spent time with while in NYC this last weekend and think that God must really be smiling upon you. After all, waking up alive in Rockefeller Plaza at 5AM on a Sunday morning is not the norm for New York. But I digress.

So, I’m sitting there thinking that the MILF can’t seriously be hitting on me. I mean, 20 minutes ago I was asking her about her kids and how long she’s been married. Then she informs me that the guy sitting at the bar had been checking her out all night long and she was a little nervous. I look over and there is no one sitting at the bar. I take another glance.

Clearly a not so distant relative of Jeffrey Dahmer. This guy score a 1600 on the creepy freak SAT. A friggin’ 6.0 in the Winter Creeplympics. A 10.0 on the Creepter Scale. In fact, I just looked up freak ass creepo on wikipedia and his picture showed up in one of the asides.

You get the point, right? We’re talking Captain Creeparoo here. So, I realize that it is my civic duty to walk the hot blonde MILF to her car and make every effort to not hit on her. I kid. I kid! She’s married with kids! I would at least find out if she’s getting a divorce first.

All joking aside… I’m walking out of the building with her, and she turns to me and apologizes, saying that she’s sorry because many of the people in the joint thought that she was picking up on me. Score! I mean, having it look like Mrs. Robinson was picking up on me will definitely score me some points with the college kids when I go back there next week 😀

I love dance. It doesn’t matter whether it is partnered dance, danceteams, solos… I love it all. This person in Singapore posted on one ofmy blogs about my dance charity. I checked out their blog and found one of the best blogs about dance I have ever read:

Another Life Lesson learnt in Jazz class

I’m lovin’ it! 😀 Blogs are a great way to share and contribute!

Checkout their about page:
Set with a powerful personal mission to positively impact more than10,000,000 lives through dance, I’m beginning a deeper exploration intothe world of dance, and in the process of aligning more of my life todance.

BLAM! This is AWESOME

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I love open source. I love the idea. I love the practice.

The concept of open source software is pretty simple. The community freely, openly develops software, each individual collaborating and contributing to others in the community. The result… It’s the future on the Internet.

My former swing dance partner (Denise Gibson) wanted to create a website for her students. She teach swing dance, ballroom, swing dance, and other styles of dance at local colleges and studios. She wanted to provide them with a web experience where they could bond as a community, communicate with each other, meet new people, and enjoy a multimedia arrangement of dance information.

I wasn’t sure where to start. It’s been a while since I was out of the IT game. Of course, it never occurred to me to develop a website for her based on ASP.net or any Windoze platform for that matter. So, I played around with the applications available through my godaddy.com hosting service.

WOW! What a selection!

I stumbled across an application called Joomla. Mind you, by this time, I had evaluated Xoops, Geeklog, Serendipity, and a slew of others. Something about Joomla just really kept me interested. Sure, it has one ridiculous flaw in the fact that an article can only be placed into a single section+category. Hell, they should have talked to me about my infamous name/value pair class I developed back in the days of the psychic chat network. Those were the good ol‘ days, but I digress.

Joomla is as extensible as you can get. Build a community, host discussion boards, member managed blogging, private messaging, newsletters, AJAX shout boxes, eCards, contact management… The list goes on forever, literally. People in the Open Source community are developing tons of projects for Joomla every week.

In a matter of weeks, I developed a community website that had many of the same features as Myspace (minus the abundance of bugs). Granted, denisegibson.com does not have 11 million members, but that’s besides the point. I encourage anyone to test out Denise’s website. Even if you don’t know anything about dance, take a look and see what is possible in just a matter of days with open source software. Who knows… You might just find yourself picking up a pair of dance shoes after all!

Folks, this is where the web is going: community building websites with multimedia entertainment, newsletters, cool features. And it’s all going to be free!!!

www.denisegibson.com – DeniseGibson.com

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It is Fall 2005. I’ve been teaching swing dance with Denise Gibson at Moorpark College for a couple of semester. We both love West Coast Swing. We’ve been taking lessons from the world famous Sonny Watson, and we’d both love to bring it more exposure in the college community.

We start teaching beginning West Coast Swing to a beginning ballroom class. Now, for those of you who know anything about West Coast Swing, it is not as easy or simple as some of the other forms of swing. When it is done right, West Coast Swing is the coolest looking dance on the planet. Period.

West Coast Swing, however, is not an easy dance to learn. Nor is it an easy dance to teach, let alone to beginners. Denise and I are doing our best to prepare the students at Moorpark for a 6 week master class in West Coast Swing with Sonny Watson. When Sonny arrives, the students are excited! They are doing a great job. They are struggling but making excellent progress!

Next thing you know, the six weeks are over, Sonny is finished, and the beginning dancers now have 8 weeks to prepare for the dance concert at the end of the semester! Here is the result:

Remember! These are all beginning dancers. Some of these people have never danced a day in their life before this class. Some, this is their very first partnered dance class. For all but a handful, this is the first time they ever heard of West Coast Swing Dance. One semester! Look how clean they are. I’m so proud of how well they all did 😀

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I’m a lover of Swing Dance. My first love was Lindy, but West Coast has really stolen my heart. However, I will never forget some of the great memories I’ve had with Lindy. My first dance teacher, Denise Gibson, has gotten hip with the times. She’s posting videos of some of the dances she’s put together over the year on youtube.

About 9 months prior to the release of The Pink Panter starring Steve Martin, the Moorpark College Swing Dance Club performed a routine to the Pink Panther Theme. Denise and I choreographed the piece together, and it is one of my favorite pieces I ever did with the MCSDC.

YouTube – Pink Panther

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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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Since this might be an embarassing story, I won’t use full names. I’ll just refer to my friends as V and L in order to protect the innocent

I’m standing there talking to my friend (V) regarding his costume at Sonny Watson‘s Halloween party last night. He is wearing a white dress shirt over a Superman top. It is a rather clever outfit. However, he is complaining about how he can’t seem to get his shirt to close. Earlier in the evening, I was thinking to myself: “Self, how does V keep that shirt perfectly tucked open?”

As I’m standing there watching V attempt to undo his perfect shirt folds, he suddenly pulls his finger back as though he had just stuck himself with a pin. I figure V has accidently poked himself with a safety pin (as my friend L figured as well). V’s finger is bleeding as L is attempting to help him remove not safety pins but staples, yes staples, from his shirt.

V has stapled his shirt together to hold it open perfectly in Clark/Superman fashion. It was truly creative (hence the creative smiley above). Although, I must admit that a staple would not have been my first choice. Admittedly, it was not V’s first choice either. He had tried tape and other wonderful 3M inventions. Finally, he settled for the stapler.

I wonder if I’ll be seeing him at Movie Night: Office Space this weekend? Have you seen my stapler? After all, it will be a 15′ stapler!!!

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