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The Lindy Focus Saga Episode Two: The Choosing

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In the midst of the scramble to register, there is one other super-duper important thing to think about; your roommates.

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You might not believe me, but it’s true.  Roommates can make or break an event like this. A week in a hotel is a long time when you’re stuck with someone you don’t like.

166996_1585411400944_2764739_nBut fear not!  I’m here to give you a few things to think about before you go choosing roommates all willy-nilly.

The first you’ve got to know about Lindy Focus is that your hotel room is basically just a place for you to store you stuff and sleep.  You won’t be spending a ton of time there, there are simply too many other things to do.  So, bearing that in mind, you don’t necessarily need to fill the room with your best friends.

The first step in the roommate-selection process is knowing what you want.  There are going to be things that you are willing to compromise on and things that you absolutely have to have (or not have).  What are they?  Do you like the room cold when you sleep?  Are you a light sleeper?  Do you like to stay up late?

Things you shouldn’t have to (or can’t) compromise on: 1) the gender of the people in your room, some times people are downright uncomfortable sleeping in a room with the opposite sex. 2)  Perfume.  If you’re like me, you can have a hard time handling things like body spray and perfume.  My nose goes haywire and starts sneezing and that makes for a crappy day.  So I make sure I don’t stay with any middle school boys and their Axe.  3) how you sleep.  It’s nigh impossible to control where you move while you sleep, so if you’re prone to “lobserting” or the flailing of arms and legs during sleep, then you either need to find someone who’s ok with having your body parts in their personal space or volunteer to sleep on the floor.  It sucks for two people to get no sleep.

The absolute key to getting along with  your roommates no matter what is just to be courteous.  If you wouldn’t want someone traipsing around at 6am throwing clothes out of their suitcase while you’re trying to sleep, then don’t do it to someone else.

This is what I find important roommate-wise, but I’m sure there some stuff that I’m missing.  So, what is most important to you in a roommate?  What makes for an ideal stay?

The Lindy Focus Saga Episode One: Acceptance

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There are two words in the swing-dom that can send a shiver of excitement through a room: Lindy Focus.  And there’s good news for those of you who know what those two words mean.  Registration is open.  That’s right.  Go sign up now!

But for some of you who are new to the world of swing, you might be wondering what this is and why it’s such a big deal.

Jam circle

Let me try to explain.  Have you ever dreamed about what it would be like to be on a movie set with Chris Hemsworth, George Clooney, Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Stone all at the same time and they all tell you they want to be your best friend and you get the starring role in the film and the film is being talked about in the Oscar pool… Ok you get the idea, basically it’s a dream come true.

Lindy Focus is a lot like that.  Basically, it’s a week of intensive workshops with some of the best swing and blues dance instructors in the world.  But it’s much more than that.  Let me start at the beginning.

So, you’ve organized a carpool and you’ve got your roommates and you’re feeling like a kid on Christmas.  Literally.  Because Lindy Focus starts the day after Christmas. Best. Christmas present. Ever.

After the hours long car ride to beautiful Asheville, North Carolina, you come up the final hill and the sprawling Crowne Plaza hotel opens its arms to greet you.  You check in and dump your stuff in your room and run off to go explore.  As you whittle away the hours until the first bit of dancing,  you marvel at how big the swing dance community is.  It’s really a worldwide phenomenon.

Then the dancing starts.  You dance song after song and not one of them is awkward.  Everyone you dance with is wonderful.  You’re up until the last of the bluesers at the late night trickle off.  You finally make your way back to your room and fall into bed, completely exhausted but at peace with the world.  You could die happy now.

Happy Birthday, Maggie!

But wait! There’s more….

The next morning you audition for placement in your Lindy Hop track.  Levels 3-9 require an audition.  But don’t fret.  It’s not this terrible fiery ordeal and the judges are normal people, just like you and me.  So breathe and just dance.  Waiting for your results has you quivering with antici………………….pation.

Finally, you get your level and you can settle in.  Or you can appeal and try to get a higher level, that’s cool too.  But for the most part, the judges are pretty dead on.

For the next week, the best of the best fill you with their vast and mighty knowledge of all things jazz, swing and dance.  It’s a lot to take in, so I definitely recommend bringing a notebook to take notes in.  A sad mistake I made last year was not having one and it made practicing rather difficult.

Live music at Lindy Focus

At the first official evening dance, you get to hear the first strains of the live music.  Last year’s choices included Ben Polcer and Paul Constentino of Boilermakers fame.

But holy goodness, the best is still yet to come: Instructor Showcase.

Let me tell you, I don’t think I have ever nerded so hard about dancing in my life.  By the time all of them were done dancing, I was pretty much in a puddle on the floor because of so much awesome.   And don’t even get me started on the competitions.  It’s just too much for words.

There was one thing I wish I had known about when I went to LF last year.  No one told there was going to be a New Year’s Even Show.  Although, maybe it was a good thing I didn’t know about it.  I might have actually exploded with impatience.

From “New Orleans Bump” Lindy Focus XI New Years Eve Show

Well, I don’t want to spoil all of the surprises that await in Lindy Focus Land, so I’ll stop here.  But you should all know that this is such an exciting event and there is so much to look forward to.

This is only the very tippy top of a ginormous iceberg

For those of you have already been to LF, what was your favourite part?  And for those of you who haven’t been yet, what is it you’re most looking forward to?

That’s Procrastination

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Ok, so, since classes have started up again, and we’re all busy, I figure everyone wants another way to procrastinate.  So, in honor of the brave and noble notion, I’ve posted the New Year’s Eve show from Lindy Focus this year.  Watch and be amazed.

Lindy Focus

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Brenda and Chris

Brenda and Chris

Alright, y’all, I know it’s a bit late in coming, but I’m finally doing my post about Lindy Focus.

LINDY FOCUS WAS FREAKING AMAZING!  There were so many people and so many great dancers, I was so excited, I just couldn’t hide it…

Hold it.  I’ll back up a bit.  For those of you who don’t know, Lindy Focus is a week long dance camp for all skill levels with some of the best swing instructors in the world.  That’s right, in the world.  

All of those names you’ve heard oohed and ahhed over?  Michael Jagger, Sharon Davis, Mikey Pedroza.  Yeah, they were all there.  And they’re just the tip of the iceberg.  The list of instructors is really quite impressive.

So yeah, I fan girl-ed pretty hard.

LF rap?

But really, the lessons I got were unparalleled.  I learned things about the way my body moves that I had never put a single thought to before.  It was amazing!  And more than that, as something that was particularly interesting to me, I got to see what a great instructor looks like.  You can be the best dancer in the world and be a terrible instructor.  Thankfully, most of the Lindy Focus instructors are both.

And not only were there your standard swing classes, there were elective classes in everything you could ever imagine.  I took a vintage hairstyle class, a rhythm and blues line dance with William and Maeva and several panel discussions that gave me a lot of great insights and information.

One of my favourite classes, by far, was one of my first of the week.  I took a Boogie Woogie class with Max Pitruzella an William Mauvais.  And yes, I was that girl.  I’m the one who got called out in the lesson.  Oops.  But when you use the word “contractions” and then make a strange noise, how could I not laugh?  Anyway, sorry guys!  Even with being that girl, the lesson was really great.  I felt a bit like an idiot when I couldn’t get the steps down right off, but I had fun and laughed with some great people, so it was all worth it.527408_385474001545839_1427702777_n

I also got to dip my hand into Burlesque for the first time.  Sharon Davis gave one of her famed classes toward the end of the week, and it was nice to be in a room full of all girls for a change.  We learned an adorable routine and got to play with feather fans.  But the most important thing I took from that lesson was: no matter what you do, own it.  It doesn’t matter if you think you look strange, if you put your whole self into it, you can make it look damn sexy.

Sharon Davis

Sharon Davis

But by far, my favourite thing about Lindy Focus was the people.  It still blows my mind that there can be that many people who are as passionate about swing dance as I am, and that they can be gathered all in one place.      I met some fantastic people and dancers and friends.  And I can’t begin to tell you all how excited I am to dance with you all again soon!252067_385473054879267_969458555_n

So, I could go on and on and on and on…see.  Anyway, I could keep talking about Lindy Focus for the next week, but, I won’t, because I’ll eventually start to ramble.

LF Fashion Show

A huge thank you needs to go out to Jaya, Sosh and Michael, because without them, this never would have happened.  I can’t even imagine the long hours they put into this fabulous event.  You all are the best.

You can find photos from the New Year’s Eve photo book by Bobby Bonsey Hilary Mercer, Jessica Keener.  And Made By Hand Photography has some great LF photos as well.  And for real, guys, if you like a print, please, please, PLEASE buy it from these guys, so we can continue to have fantastic dance photos.

What was your favourite part of Lindy Focus?  Did you have a favourite class?  Have an interesting experience? Get ambushed by the dance ninja?  I’d love to hear from you.

Evita Arce

Evita Acer

 

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