Dance Rehearsals for MADjam

20120220-Rehearsal-01-smOver the last couple of weeks we have fully resurrected our Hustle and Cabaret routines for Mid Atlantic Dance Jam, aka MADjam. This event is being held next week and we are gearing up to have clean and powerful presentations of both of our routines.


Valentine's Day Weekend for a Dancer

dancers-jumping-heartAnna and I are looking forward to our Valentine's Day weekend. For most people, Valentine's weekend is an attempt to have idealistically, romantic experiences mixed with chocolates and flowers. Not us!


Music Cut for New West Coast Swing Routine

MIxing West Coast Swing MusicAnd so begins a new year! Anna and I have been discussing choreographing a new West Coast Swing routine for some time now. We have finally chosen a song out of 3 possibilities. Of the two that we did not choose this time, one was a slow blues and the other was an artsy song that reminded me of a vignette from Cirque du Soleil. The one that we did select has a folksy-rock feel with a good up-beat tempo and strong positive interpretation.

2011 - Year in Review

2011 In Review2011 was an incredible year! We had some major achievements, some unprecedented in the United States. We also had some growing pains. Best of all, our dance community continues to expand and our social-fabric is woven ever closer and stronger.


Kim & Ian - A wedding intertwined in the fabric of dance

Erik Novoa, Kim Brolet, Ian Spatz & Anna NovoaOn Saturday, October 22, Anna and I attended the beautiful wedding of Kim Brolet and Ian Spatz. It was a very important wedding to me because of the friendship that I have shared with Kim on and off the dance floor. Through dance, I met Kim; Kim met her husband, Ian and her maid of honor, Charity. Dance might be one of threads that joins Kim & Ian and many of the people who hold them dear.

Married because of Music & Dance - Bruce & Laura

Bruce & Laura Couillard WeddingOn Saturday, September 24, 2012, Anna and I were invited to a wedding. It wasn't just any wedding. It was the wedding of Bruce, one of my most long-term students, and Laura, the woman that he met while attending MidSummer Night Swing, a dance event in New York City.

As much as I would like to take full or even partial credit for both of them meeting, I will allow fate to be responsible for this amazing occurrence. Here's how they met:

Dancing in CT in Autumn 2011

Fall changing leaves - changing activitiesAs 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

Tonight I'm Lovin You - Enrique IglesiasOur 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

world-trade-center-lightsFrom 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

West Coast Swing at Ailey Citigroup TheaterOur 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

Hurricane Irene

Hurricane Irene on 20110828 at 1.53.29amWhen 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.