Blog Updates for West Coast Swing and Hustle
Dancing in CT in Autumn 2011
As the weather starts to cool off and the leaves begin to change, people are beginning to consider their fall and winter activities. During the summer, many people got to enjoy the beach, boating, going to local parks, picnics with friends and outside events. In the next few weeks that all changes.
In our preparation for the fall weather, many of us need to change our activities to keep a fun and healthy social life. If you live in Norwalk, Stamford or Fairfield area of Connecticut, you may want to consider partner dancing. Dances like West Coast Swing and Hustle are weather-proof, they make you feel good no matter what season it is.
New West Coast Swing choreography for September 2011
Our student group performed at the Alvin Ailey Citigroup Theater a little over 2 weeks ago. We learned and rehearsed our West Coast Swing and Hustle choreography to Enrique Iglesias' pop song, "Tonight I'm Lovin You" for almost 90 days.
So, when I was thinking about what type of song I should use for West Coast Swing choreography for the month of September, pop music was last on the list. I didn't want anything too fast or anything that sounded like a night club.
I have generally shied away from slow music or R&B simply because it didn't have enough pep, but this was the right time! I also wanted something that the students could enjoy and attain on the surface, but find more challenging was the nuances were examined.
September 11, 2001 - A decade later
From the day that it happened, I have always wondered what it would be like a decade later. I was 28. I lived and worked in New York City. I grew up in New York City. September 11, 2001 was the craziest day of my life.
At that time, I was working at Cushman & Wakefield, the largest and most prominent commercial real estate company in the world. I had been dancing West Coast Swing about 3 years and Hustle 1 year. My partner Tami and I were at the top of our dance game with our classic routine "Fly Me To The Moon" (we had recently placed top 5 at SOS Grand Nationals in Atlanta, GA) and we were about to debut our first Hustle routine to a remix of "Oops, I did it again".
Performance at Alvin Ailey Citigroup Theater was a Success
Our West Coast Swing and Hustle performance as part of the Performing in NY Experience at the Ailey Citigroup Theater was a tremendous success. Personally, it was one of the most memorable moments for me both as a dancer and as a teacher.
There’s something indescribably special about working very hard in rehearsals for a special moment, then for that special moment to be as momentous as it was supposed to be.
For us, it was 19 of our dancers surviving almost 12 weeks of rehearsals, getting through the inconveniences of a hurricane, being postponed and finally having a powerful performance. The feelings of such an accomplishment and the memories that are indelibly etched are priceless.
Hurricane Irene affects Dance
When last I wrote, we were on the "final road" to our performance of our West Coast Swing & Hustle showcase at the Ailey Citigroup Theater. However on Friday afternoon, I received a call from Kat Wildish (the producer) indicating that, because of Hurricane Irene, our Sunday double performances would be canceled and our Saturday evening performance would run an hour early.
Of course, I was disappointed but I was also relieved that I could avoid having my Connecticut cast drive into New York City on Sunday - the supposed worst day of the storm. I immediately started calling the cast starting with the two dance captains, Kim Brolet and Josh MacDonald. I had just finished reaching everyone and getting everyone ready to perform on Saturday night when my phone rang again…it was Kat.
Last Monday rehearsal before Ailey Citigroup Theater
Tonight, we had our last Monday night rehearsal for our West Coast Swing and Hustle Medley. Although we still have one more rehearsal before arriving to the Ailey Citigroup Theater in New York City, this was the main rehearsal to answer questions and add some character to our showcase.
West Coast Swing & Hustle Showcase Video
Crystal Theatre, Norwalk, CT
Friday, July 29, 2011
West Coast Swing & Hustle Showcase in Norwalk, CT
I'm a little late in posting this. We had the most amazing time choreographing for the Choreographer/Student Showcase at the Crystal Theatre in Norwalk, CT last Friday, July 29, 2011. Here's some of the story.
Routines at Disco America
Last weekend we performed all three of our routines (two of them debuts) at Stardust Dance Weekend. This weekend we will be putting the new routines to the test in competition format at Disco America, one of the premier Hustle events on the east coast.
Last Saturday (just over 24 hours ago), Anna and I debuted 2 of our new routines during the Stardust Dance Weekend. We performed with two other couples: Nikolai Shpakov & Tatiana Keegan and the legendary Billy Fajardo & Katie Marlow.
We were the third couple to perform. We opened with our new Hustle routine. I think the audience liked the black and red costumes and you could hear audible gasps when we showed our first lift. We rocked out our routine with drama, speed and power. It was a good start to our new competitive Hustle routine of 2011. We'll be competing it for the first time in one week at Disco America in PA.
2 Weeks to Go!
Anna and I have been working on two new routines to supplement our West Coast Swing routine - a Hustle and a Cabaret routine. Our debut performance date this year is June 11, 2011 where we will perform all three routines at Stardust Dance Weekend in the Catskills.
The New Hustle Routine
One of our new routines is Hustle. For us, this might be the hardest challenge. When we picked music back in January, we knew that it was going to be a musical routine and a test of endurance. The song we picked was Ke$ha's Take It Off which is at 125 beats per minute. We liked the song for its party style energy, strong lyrics, and interesting compositional texture. During our first rehearsal, back on January 14, 2011, we choreographed a solid 45 seconds - which is a good amount.