Monday, October 19, 2009

CCB Reflections

Hello, nice to see you at the fourth edition of The Lunar Lounge! This is a very brief reflection on the awesomeness that was Church City Blues 2009.

Picture a tiny room, dark with the curtains drawn and lights dimmed. It's 3am. From the edges you can hear ice clinking and people chatting. The dance floor is so packed anything but closed position is out of the question. The dj sets the blues going, you pull your partner close, and away we go...

What an amazing weekend. So many brilliant dancers, smokin djs, hot dance floors and cool cocktails. CCB is known for it's intimate vibe and highly social atmosphere, and this year it did not fail to deliver. I felt so good at the end of this exchange, and have almost no low points to bitch about. I experienced The Best Blues Dance of my life (and also experienced the creepiest-reverse beaver clamp, I'll say no more), and met so many people who I can't wait to nab for another dance next time I see them.

I'll leave it there, as the next post is written by Karacticus, who was one of the teachers this year. She's going to be sharing her thoughts about CCB. Also Stay tuned for the very first Lunar Lounge podcast, coming soon! Don't forget if you'd like to drop us a line email

Peace out, Luna.

PS This was passed on to me from a lovely guy (who attended his first CCB this year, wooo!). I couldn't find the original source, seems to be passed on by many people. If you know of the source please email me. =D

Here are some very fundamental rules about singing the 'Blues'.

1. Most blues begin with: "woke up this mornin'"

2. "I got a good woman" is a bad way to begin the blues...unless you stick something nasty in the next line like: "I got a good woman with the meanest face in town"

3. The blues is simple. After you get the first line right, repeat it. Then find something that rhymes, like: "Got a good woman with the meanest face in town. Yes, got a good woman with the meanest face in town. Got teeth like Margaret Thatcher and she weigh 'bout 500 pound"

4. The blues is not about choice: you stuck in a ditch, you stuck in a ditch... ain't no way out.

5. Blues cars: Chevy’s, Fords, Cadillac’s and broken down trucks... Blues don't travel in Volvos, BMWs or sport utility vehicles. Most blues transportation is a Greyhound bus or a southbound train. Jet aircraft or state-sponsored motor pools ain't even in the running. Walking plays a major part in the blues lifestyle... so does 'fixin' to die' ....good grammar has no place in the blues: "I'm not going to care very much" ...needs: I ain't gonna give a damn".

6. Teenagers can't sing the blues...They ain't fixin' to die yet. Adults sing the blues. Adulthood means being old enough to get the electric chair for shooting a man in Memphis

7. Blues can take place in New York City, but not in Hawaii or anywhere in Canada. Hard times in Minneapolis or Seattle are probably just clinical depression. Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, Memphis, and Nawlins are still the best places to have the blues. Another thing: you can't have the blues in any place that don't get rain.

8. A man with male pattern baldness ain't the blues. Now, a woman with male pattern baldness is. Breaking your leg 'cause you were skiing is not the blues. Breaking your leg 'cause a alligator be chompin' on it, is.

9. You can't have no blues in an office or shopping mall. the lighting is wrong. You have to go outside to the parking lot or sit by the dumpster

10. Good places for the Blues:
a. highway;
b. jailhouse;
c. empty bed;
d. bottom of a whiskey glass

11. Bad places for the Blues:
a. Nordsrom's;
b. Gallery openings;
c. Ivy League Institutions;
d. Golf courses

12. No one will believe you have the blues if your wearing a suit... unless you are an old person and, maybe, you slept in it.

13. When do you have the right to sing the blues:
a. if you're older than dirt;
b. you're blind;
c. you shot a man in Memphis;
d. you can't be satisfied.

14. You can't really sing the blues if:
a. you have all of your teeth;
b. you once were blind, but now can see;
c. the man in Memphis lived;
d. you have a 401(k) or trust fund.

15. Blues is not a matter of color... It is a matter of bad luck. Tiger Woods cannot sing the blues.... Sonny Liston could have. Ugly white people also got a leg up on the blues.

16. If you ask for water and your darlin' gives you's the blues. Other acceptable blues beverages are:
a. cheap wine;
b. whisky or bourbon;
c. muddy water;
d. black coffee.

17. The following are not blues beverages:
a. Perrier;
b. Chardonnay;
c. Snapple;
d. Slim Fast.

18. If death occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack, it's a blues death. Stabbed in the neck by a jealous lover is another blues way to die... so is the electric chair, substance abuse, dyin' lonely. You can't have a blues death if you die during a tennis match or while getting liposuction.

19. Some good blues names for women:
a. Sadie;
b. Big Mama;
c. Bessie;
d. Fat River Dumplin'.

20. Good blues names for men:
a. Joe;
b. Willie;
c. Little Willie;
d. Big Willie.

21. People with names like Michelle, Amber, Jennifer, Debbie, Heather, Jonathan, Bradford, Chad and Kimball can't sing the blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.

The Lunar Lounge: All the vintage dance lovin' you'll ever need.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Blues: the good, the bad, and the downright ugly! Part 1

Looney: Hello everyone and welcome to the third edition of the Lunar Lounge. I'm very excited because in this edition I'm joined by some stellar ladies who will be helping me nut out some topics. So how about you introduce yourselves?

Buggs: I'm Buggs from Radelaide - home of CCB, Camp Oz and a surplus of hot follows!

Babe Ruthless: Batter Up! Well I'm Babe Ruthless, hailing from Brisbane, the sweet Balboa capital of Australia.

Karacticus: ok! Well, I am from lil ol Tassie, home of DCS! woot!

Looney: And I'm Looney, your friendly neighbourhood blog moderator. Also from Adelaide! So to prepare for CCB this weekend our topic is Blues dancing! How do you guys feel about blues dancing? Does it turn you on, does it make you feel icky? Spill....

Karacticus: I *heart* blues dancing SO much (I should say that I heart blues dancing when I don't have to blues dance with someone icky!)

Babe Ruthless: I'll be the first to say , that with the right lead, blues is HOT! with the wrong one, it just feels like I'm fumbling around like a 15yo, not knowing where to go or how to do it.

Karacticus: I guess, further to what both Babe and I've said - I find that blues dancing with the right partner can be wicked but I don't think I've ever been "turned on" by it... I mean, other than with my fella I guess... lol.

Looney: I didnt mean necessarily sexually, but thank you for adding that dimension.

Babe Ruthless: I have.

Buggs: I have a love/hate relationship with blues. It's the one dance guaranteed to make me feel like I really suck as a dancer. Sometimes I suck a bit, sometimes I suck a LOT - depends on the dance. But it's the greatest magnifying glass for all the things you can gloss over in Lindy Hop. There's no hiding in Blues!

Karacticus: hehe, I think that's why I love it Buggs

Looney: Yeah I agree. I love blues, but I have to completely shagged out (figuratively and literally...sometimes, *wink wink*), had a few g and ts, and am dancing with someone trustworthy-lol!

Babe Ruthless: Buggs I feel the same, when I dance blues I am far more self concious of my physicality than in any other form of dance.

Buggs: I avoided blues for SO long, purely because of that microscope aspect - someone's right in your personal bubble, and they can feel everything you're doing wrong (or right!).

I find that with blues I can just escape to a different planet... like I get more in to the music and I can add to stuff that my lead is doing and it just feels right to me - however, I have had dances with people who I feel uncomfortable dancing with that were the longest 5mins of my life!

Buggs: And I started dancing at a time where blues + late night = grinding hookups and beaver clamping. Ugly, ugly stuff!

Looney: Beaver clamp, ha ha! Maybe explain the beaver clamp for our lovely readers.

Buggs: Beaver clamp? Let's just say it's a follow getting WAY to intimate with a lead's leg, if you know what I mean.

Looney: Like a suction cup.

Karacticus:Ba ha ha ha ha ha!

Babe Ruthless: I just thought it was a new form of hair accessory.

Buggs: Eeeeeeeew!

Looney: Well anyway, along this stream of thought (dancing, not beaver clamps), what makes a good blues dance good? What does the lead do (and what can a follow do) to make it amazing?

Buggs: Deodorant. The end.

Karacticus: Mints. Bad-breath or even ok-breath breathed heavily all over you is bad!

Looney: Agreed.

Karacticus: Seriously though, I think that to make a blues dance good - it needs to be an almost equal conversation - like the lead leads, ok... but the follow needs to be able to have her own input to the dance and be given room to play as well... I like being given a direction and a speed but being allowed to determine how I travel and how long it takes me to get there.

Babe Ruthless: For me to allow myself to really make it a good blues dance I have to get out of my own head and completely give over to the lead.

Looney: Thats funny because you guys are saying completely different things

Babe Ruthless: Hey I'm Bal girl, I find security in not knowing or choosing where I go, especially when I feel exposed in blues.

Looney: well I feel both ways sometimes

Babe Ruthless: Thats very ambidextrous of you

Looney: If I'm feeling really comfortable, then I love being given room to play around. If I'm finding the lead difficult to follow, or he's sending me around in weird ways, then I try to just hold back a little and purely follow until I can feel what kind of groove he's trying to give me.

Karacticus: Oh yea, I guess that's what I meant by an almost equal conversation. Connection with the lead is a *must* in a good blues dance (or in an amazing one), so once I have that, the extra room to add on top of it is great!

Looney: You know what I love leads doing when blues dancing? Not forcing their sweaty forehead onto mine.

Karacticus: Yeah, me too!

Looney says: Seriously! Is it really that necessary?

Babe Ruthless: I am a sweaty head virgin! Am I missing out ??

Buggs: The best blues dances I ever have are often mostly in open or open-closed (if you know what I mean). I've had some horrible blues-wood/bear claw experiences in which my bubble has been seriously violated, so I'm happy to stay well away from their forehead!

Karacticus: I don't mind feeling sweat on them (like on their back or whatever) but don't make my face feel it ... eww!

Looney: There is no need to connect with brain matter, we're not trying to dance telepathically.

Buggs: I know, right? Just being sweated on in general is pretty nasty.

Karacticus: I'm not grossed out by sweat - as long as a) they don't smell, it isn't b) dripping on me or c) on my face.

Babe Ruthless: Yeah the sweat thing doesn't bother me really, as long as I can stay connected and don't slide off.

Looney: I don't mind a bit of sweat, but on my face.....*mimes vomiting into cereal*. I've danced with someone so sweaty before he literally could not swing me out because he kept giving me all this energy but the sweat made me slip out....ewww! But on the other hand, girls shouldn't wear tops with low backs or anything, that's not cool for the lead.

Karacticus: Yeah, chicks shouldn't wear singlets or low cut backed tops - tis just gross! I mean, even if you don't sweat - I just don't need that much skin contact, and it is kind of yucky to be dancing with it (I lead too).

Buggs: Oh man, when I lived in Canada there was a guy in the scene who always wore these gross 80s tank tops, you know the ones with huge open arm holes?

Karacticus: Ewwww, gross.

Looney: Uuuuuggghhhh.

Babe Ruthless: So, I have a question. Do you guys feel more or less comfortable blues dancing with your really good mates?

Looney: Well I was just about to move into this, because everyone has different ettiquite rules (I think) when it comes to blues dancing, and things which are considered appropriate to some peole aren't to others. Like I personally think its horrible if a guy youve never met before pulls you into a closed position, but some people think its fine.

Buggs: Depends on the guy! There's one dude in Adelaide (one of my fave Lindy Hoppers) who doesn't feel great about blues, so I feel slightly weird dancing with him. We have a big age difference too, so that (for some reason) also makes it slightly weird. Like bluesing with my little brother or something!

Karacticus: I am SO geeky about blues dancing that I don't think of it as a sexual thing, so I'm fine dancing with my close mates (phew - cos otherwise I'd have no one to dance with!).

Babe Ruthless: Funnily enough I think I'm the opposite. When Damon and Heidi did Hand Me Down Blues they talked about almost role playing the song, so for me its easier to do that with a stranger than someone who knows me really well.

Buggs: Ha, that's the part of blues I don't love. It's movement - it shouldn't be about a romantic/sexy connection, even a pretend one. Or should it?

Looney: Shouldnt it be sexy? I mean come on lets face it, blues can be pretty dirty and still awesome.

Karacticus: I don't know - I don't think of it as sexual AT ALL.

Looney: Really?!?!

Babe Ruthless: I think its sensual, not necessarily sexy - but it definitely can be.

Karacticus: In fact in my classes in Tas I actively promote blues as not sexy, I mean yeah, it does have the potential to be.

Buggs: I don't love the dirty aspect of it - guess I'm scarred from all the nasty hookup blues in my early dancing days. Icky and seedy. I don't think blues is like that so much any more - it's more of a genuine dance form than a thin excuse to hook up in the party room! (I should add I was not involved in the nasty blues hookups. I swear!! )

Looney: I dont go into a dance thinking about it as being sexy (like oh yeah baby lets dooooo eeet), but occasionally (though pretty rarely) at the end of a song I'm like 'Phew. Cold shower!!' and that's usually with leads I know and trust A LOT. Of which they're aren't that many. Lol.

Babe Ruthless: It started in Juke joints with guys all drunk up on gin, getting all close with their ladies, how can that not be sexual??

Karacticus: But I just get all geeky about the connection and the dancing and I don't think of it like I've just been intimately dancing with someone. And yeah, I've finished some dances and thought "shit... that was HAWT" but more of in a "man we connected so freakin well and everything that you lead I was all over it and we were in sync and we hit that amazing break..."

Buggs: Karacticus, I'm with you 100%. And sure, it can be sexy - I occasionally blues dance with my bf (who isn't really a swing dancer) and it is hot as hell! But I think it should be a bi-product of good chemistry with your dance partner, not a given going into it.

Babe Ruthless: I agree that it doesn't have to be sexual, but you can't deny its origins.

Karacticus: Oh very true Babe - but it isn't how I *feel* about it.

Buggs: I think the distinction we're trying to make is the difference between 'hot' and 'sexual'. I mean, Mister Darcy is hot, but not necessarily sexual, right?

Looney: Buggs: ahahahaha. You crack me up Karacticus, because I watch you dance and I'm thinking 'Daaaaayuuuuum that bird is sexy'

Karacticus: Ummm thanks Looney! I think.

Looney: You could turn me.

Buggs: I have had some awesome hot blues dances that have never gone to a 'sexy' place... or at least, a real heavy-breathing, pants-expanding place.

Looney: Your pants expand?

Buggs: Not mine! Bahahah!

Babe Ruthless: Hey, please don't think that every blues dance I enter is with the attitude that its sexual, because that's just creepy.


Buggs: Aw, 'course not! I know exactly what you're saying.

Karacticus: Yeah, we know what you're saying!

Read on for part 2!!

The Lunar Lounge: All the vintage dance lovin' you'll ever need.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Blues: the good, the bad, and the downright ugly!

Continued from part 1.

Looney: Ok, well on a similar topic, do you think blues dancing does breed the dirty hook up? Like does this happen a lot in the Australian scene? Because I know a few guys who definietly use their bluesing to impress the laaaadies.

Karacticus: I dunno, I am so blind to these things

Babe Ruthless: I have never had a dance hook- up at all so perhaps I'm doing something wrong in my blues?

Buggs: Me too - I've been with my bf forever, so I never enter into it with a view to a dirty hookup!

Looney: Yeah I know that we are all shining examples of purity (ha!), but do you think it goes on?

Babe Ruthless: I think I'd be kinda embarassed if a dirty pash broke out on the dance floor.

Looney: I've seen it.

Karacticus: You've seen it? Really??!!

Looney: They tried to hide in the corner but I saw it.

Karacticus: Classy

Buggs: Haha. Okay, I'll bite. Yes, I have totally hooked up with a boy after bluesing with him at a late night. But in my defence, I blame Long Island Iced Tea, not Blues!


Looney: Well it's ok, you're not the only one (*covers face in shame*).

Buggs: Haha, nothing wrong with that! Look, it's just a grown-up, more socially acceptable version of the teenage dry-hump on the couch. Not always, mind you, but copious booze + hot and heavy blooze + boys and girls with a 'what happens at the exchange stays at the exchange' vibe = hookup central!

Babe Ruthless: Is there a difference between a dance floor hook up and one that takes place post dance ??

Looney: Well I'm sure the difference is amount of clothes.

Karacticus: I guess the difference is the origin of the pick-up. If you've never really met and then you have a blues dance together and then hook up ... well that's one thing, but if you're keen on someone and then you have an awesome blues dance - it is different - because you've probably had the great blues dance because of the connection beforehand.

Babe Ruthless: All this information is very pertinent to those travelling down to CCB this weekend !

Looney: Exactly!

Karacticus: I mean, I know of a few blokes in the scene who impress the ladies with their "moves" but does it happen often?

Looney: It's so hard to tell, because the Australian scene is pretty small so most people seem to be very hush hush about it. I mean I know a few people who have had the exchange hook up, and no one has ever known about it (except me...because I'm special).

Buggs: I totally don't want to scare anyone off blues with this dirt-dishing session - I think the beauty of it is blues is now a bonafide dance form without an implied connotation of sleaziness, but you can still throw off your inhibitions at the late-night if you're feeling it. So basically, you can choose how you want to approach it.

Babe Ruthless: It's nice to know that even with the blooze and booze and boys there is still room for a little old fashioned decorum.

Karacticus: I guess for me, in the lead up to CCB there are a few things that I think the nubs need to know but everyone needs to be reminded of...a) please please please make sure you smell nice b) please please please make sure that you don't just thrust yourself at your partner (lead or follow), make sure that they are comfortable with being in close first. "Test the waters" as they say.

Looney: Naw, no beaver clamp?

Karacticus: only on Jarryd.

Buggs: Blooze dance floors are smaller - please exercise mindful floor craft! If I get trodden on by one high heel, I'm leaving!

Looney: YES! Babe Ruthless you got anything to add?

Babe Ruthless: Only that I'm totally jealous that I won't be there to learn the art of the beaver clamp.

Karacticus: Even though I am a teacher - please ask me to dance! Leads and Follows!

Buggs: Yay! Even though nobody knows me - please ask me to dance!

Looney: Leads, be nice to your follow. It may sound simple, but do it! If your follow makes a mistake, maybe lead the move again later, so she can get it. If she doesn't get it again, maybe leave it (there is nothing worse than a whole dance of trying to get one move right). If she wants to play around with the music, let her! Dont go ruining her flow. And I guess for follows though listen to what the lead is doing with his body and don't get toooo caught up in your own thing! Oh and definietly ask me to dance!

Karacticus: Oh and if you say no to someone for a dance - please sit out that entire song... unless of course your reason is "Oh sorry, I've actually said yes to xxx"

Looney: Well thats our next topic. Because blues is kind of an *intimate* dance (even if its not sexual), is it ok to say no? There's kind of this culture where it is expected you say yes. Do you think this is good or bad?

Karacticus: No, I think in blues you can definitely say no.

Looney: So it's ok to just say "No thankyou" and leave it at that?

Karacticus: I think so. I mean, I don't turn down dances *that* often.I will if I am pooped or if I need water or a break. I wouldn't say no to someone I've never danced with but I would say no if the person hurts me, or makes me feel uncomfortable.

Babe Ruthless: Ahh I think this is a tough one.

Looney: Yeah, very rarely I say no, because I dont want to dance with the guy for whatever reason, and then I feel pissed I have to sit out the whole song so I can pretend I'm resting. Actually Im not sure if I should say that....otherwise all the guys will think Im faking when I am actually resting!

Buggs: Muh, there's only one lead in Oz I'd say no to on sight - but I'll never say who it is! Trust me, it's for a good reason, and I'll always try to be nice about it.

Babe Ruthless: I know how shitty I feel when someone says no to me, so I wouldn't do that to someone else, you could be surprised, it might be nice!

Looney: I have a tip for everyone. If there are people you really don't want to dance with, my suggestion is just do it (unless they're hurting you or something) and get it over and done with. And do it early in the night so that its not late night grinding. Lol.

Karacticus: Yeah that's true Looney.

Buggs: I should clarify that it's because this person has actually hurt me dancing in the past, and is a very hurty dancer in general. As a rule I totally agree with Looney - say yes, be sweet and just do it!

Babe Ruthless: In the blues room at BOTR someone who I felt was a little creepy asked me to dance and I was tempted to say no, but am soooo glad I said yes - It was freakin awesome.

Buggs: Babe - that's awesome! I love surprises like that!

Karacticus: I guess I'm a bit more protective of myself and my enjoyment, like I do this dance because I love it - and I will lindy with anyone! But with blues I feel that some people are inapropriate.
I have been hurt by some people (physically and emotionally) so will avoid dancing with them.

Babe Ruthless: That's when a strategic knee is useful.

Looney: Haha, yeah just *accidently* knee him in the balls and he'll never ask you to dance with him again.

Buggs: By contrast, I've been scared to say yes to someone who was really awesome (thinking I'd be too crappy) but it turned out the either weren't as uber as I thought, or tailored the dance to my level. God, they're my favourite type of leads - the ones who can tailor it to you and don't make you feel they're dumbing it down. We have a lead in Australia with a giant clock who is just like that.

Karacticus: Yeah, there are dancers out there who make you feel like the best freaking dancer in the entire world - because they've lead stuff that you can just do!

Babe Ruthless: A giant WHAT???

Looney: Can't wait to catch up with the clock master.

Buggs: Ah, in-jokes - you never get old!

Babe Ruthless: Oh! OK! I hate being out of the loop!

Karacticus: There are a number of leads who just know how not to make you feel like you're shit and it is lovely - I hate feeling like I am being tested in a dance.

Babe Ruthless: There is one guy who I always feel is testing me - even if he's not.

Buggs: Me too. Or worse, the ones who just lead boring stuff on you when it is clear they're just trying to get through the obligation dance. We can tell, you know!

Looney: Yeah!

Buggs: Ooh, are we naming names now?

Looney: Why not? It's positive.....or do you think the boys we dont mention will be upset?

Karacticus: Not if you mention how big the cLock is.

Buggs: Fair call. In that case, we can reveal the man with the giant clock is none other than Riccardo from Melbourne. He's a 'make you feel good about it, tailor-made' dance guy. I always feel like a million bucks after dancing with him.

Babe Ruthless: Well I shall look forward to MLX and try and nab a dance with the famous Clock Master.

Looney: Ok, so to move on, we are now going to blatantly rip off the Beaver Lodge 'Dance or Do'. Though those ladies ripped it off Sausage Fest so I guess it's not so bad. We contemplated naming it something else such as 'Shag or Shag', or 'Bal or 'Blow', but decided 'Dance or Do' just works so well. So Buggs, I'm going to hand it over to you.

Buggs: "And now it's time for Dance or Do, sponsored by". Babe Ruthless. Peter Strom or Skye Humphries

Babe Ruthless: Ok , so I would dance with Peter and do Skye, the reasons for this are purely based on things I have heard from fellow follows. Skye made the classes at Camp Oz do Crazy charleston in 40 degree heat without aircon/fans, so he clearly has stamina,
And..I would really love to dance with Peter Strom so that he can tell me everything that I am doing wrong, so I can fix it and be the worlds best dancer.

Buggs: Superficially? Do Strom, dance Skye. Why? Skye (although very spunky) reminds me of Prince William, and sleeping with Prince William is all kinds of weird. Also, Skye is one of my favourite dancers to watch. Strom is an awesome dancer, but he is luckily also well fit, innit. So dance Skye, do Strom. The end.

Looney: Haha. Nice. I would do Strom, and dance with Skye, only because Skyes hair is so crazy, that I reckon it bouncing around above me would be distracting.

Babe Ruthless:
haha, thats easily solved Looney.

Buggs: Oh dear me

Karacticus: I guess, my reason for dancing with Skye is cos I love the energy he brings and the way he leads... it is just awesome so what is left is do the Strom...and yes, buggs he is "fit, innit".

Looney: I love how he is now "The Strom".

Babe Ruthless: Oh I'll have to change my name for Camp Oz, I don't even know these people.

Looney: Bahahaha. So to finish up, what are your final words of advice for all those heading here to Radelaide?

Karacticus: Come for fun, dance nerdery and to be pleasant to others (and by pleasant I mean smell nice, behave nicely and do nice things).

Buggs: Ask a local to dance! In fact - collect the set! Our ladies are beautiful, our leads are manly, and our personal hygiene is BEYOND REPROACH. Try an Adelaider today, and you'll agree - Adelaide is RADelaide!


Buggs: And I'm done.

Babe Ruthless: I love it! thats my next mission - Try an Adelaider today.

Looney: My advice is dance with as many people as you can, and if you are going to hook up, do it off of the dance floor! Lol. Anyway thanks so much ladies! You have been grand.

Buggs: It's been a pleasure.

Karacticus: Likewise! Ciaow!

Babe Ruthless: Everyone enjoy CCB! Bye!

Looney: And that brings us to the end of our (very long) third edition! Hope you enjoyed it, and hope to see you on the dance floor this weekend. Stay tuned for post CCB goss! Over and out.

Don't forget if you have a topic you'd like the ladies to discuss, drop us a line at

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Next Door Blues...getting to know your swinging neighbours

Ahoy there!

This is the second edition of The Lunar Lounge! I know, the last one only just went up! It's because so many cool events happened in the last few weeks. Once we're all up to speed you'll be hearing these sultry tones (or keyboard taps) around once a fortnight.
This time on the couch I'm going to be chatting about Next Door Blues, Adelaide's newest fortnightly blues dance. NDB (wow we swing dancers really love acronyms don't we?) is run by Meral Nieman, who, apart from being an amazing follow is also a sexy sexy burlesque dancer. She also happens to be one of my closest gal pals, but that doesn't mean I'm biased at all =D.

All of us Adelaide ladies were extremely lucky, as the last NDB played host to Josh McKiterick, who many of you would know is one of Australia's greatest blues dancers as well as a wonderful Lindy and balboa dancer.

I managed to grab some privates with him (and no, not *those* kind of privates. Though how cool would that be? Partaking in random genitalia grabbing. Hmm maybe not. Though you never can tell with some blues dancers). I've done workshops with Josh (and the fab Noni May-Clarke, who I might just have a thing for because she is an incredible dancer), but I don't think anything could have prepared me for the intensity of these lessons. I have never had my swing out critiqued in such detail before. And Josh is not afraid to tell it like it is. Phrases such as 'that was shit', 'when you step on count 3, it sucks', 'no that was wrong', 'no, do it again' were commonly uttered during the few hours I spent with him. I swear, at least 90% of the time, I had no idea how to get my body to do what he was telling me to do. I was thinking to myself 'right...obviously swing dancings not for me..'. However, right towards the end, I finally had the shining moment where it All Made Sense. Now I feel freaking fantastic about my swing outs and bluesing. I highly reccomend doing a lesson with this champ if you haven't already done so, it was very inspiring.

So the actual night of NDB was great fun, Josh and Meral taught two classes followed by social dancing afterwards. There was one serious problem with the night though, which was that almost NOONE ASKED ME TO DANCE. Seriously Adelaide boys, I love you all to bits but man up already and ask me to dance. Now I know that many of you are my students and so you might be a little intimidated but I really want to dance with you! I'm just sick of having to ask all the time. It seems like there is this trend lately everywhere you go that the ladies have to ask. This really sucks! I mean, guys shouldn't have to ask all the time, that wouldn't be fair either, but every now and then would be nice. So that is your mission leads, and you have no choice but to accept it.

On the topic of blues in general, Church City Blues is happening very soon. Blues dancing can sometimes get a bad rap, and everyone seems to have different ideas about the ettiquete of blues dancing. So to prepare everyone for the upcoming blues mania, in the next edition of the Lunar Lounge, our panel of lovely ladies will discuss the dos and donts of blues dancing, with tips for both leads and follows (plus some good ol fashioned bitching about the things we love and hate). So until next time, peace out.
Luna xx

The Lunar Lounge: All the vintage dance lovin' you'll ever need.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Welcome, and BOTR09

Hello there and welcome to the first edition of the Lunar Lounge. This is the place to get your fix of general Luna rambling goodness about Swing, Burlesque, and Blues dancing around Australia. I'll be letting you in on all the goss from the exchanges and shows I hit up, as well as sharing some of the things that make me go squishy, and the things I just can't stand! I was inspired to start this blog by the amazing stuff of LindyBloggers and the fabulous ladies of Yehoodi's Beaver Lodge, which you should totally check out.
But it's not just going to be all about me, I have a stellar group of ladies who will be contributing to some discussions, as well as reviewing some of the events that I can't make it to. We're going to be exploring the dos and donts of the dance floor, the hilarity of costume and wardrobe disasters, how a dancers style reflects *other* aspects of a dancers life (wink, wink) and everything in between.
So, first things first. Who is this Luna chick anyway? Well, I'm a Lindy Hop teacher from little old Adelaide, South Australia. I also dabble in Balboa and Blues, and look enviously upon all those amazing Shag dancers and solo Charlestoners. Apart from Swing I also teach Bellydancing, which I've been doing since I was a wee tacker, and am a Burlesque performer as well. There are many other styles of dance I'd like to try my hand at, but apart from some disastrous attempts at contemporary dance and salsa (I'm sorry I just don't get the appeal) in high school I haven't been able to squeeze much else on my plate (little side note-whilst I was writing this, an elderly lady walked past me in 4 inch heels and a cane. He he. Obviously a woman after my own heart).

So enough about that let's get down to business-Balboa On The River.
BOTR is an exchange run by Swing Dance Brisbane in Brisbane (funnily enough). It's a whole weekend dedicated to lovely shuffly Balboa. Before departing I was pretty nervous, I'd taken maybe 4 balboa lessons before in my life (in 2007) and had learnt just from winging it on the social floor. This was to be my first bal exchane. My education was somewhat hampered by the fact that there are only around 5 balboa leads in Adelaide (though there are some lovely up and comers!!). So all in all I was pretty much shit scared.
The Thursday night welcome was a pretty casual and nice affair, had a few lovely dances and spent most of the night chilling out with all my interstate chumps. Most of my dances were with Jarryd (fab lead who I teach with), who I always have the first few dances with at an exchange. It's ok, he knows I'm just using him to warm up with ha ha!
Friday saw us dive into the workshops. The first one of the day was with Mickey Fortanesce and Kelly Arsenault. It was nice and chilled, and I breathed a sigh of relief when I could actually keep up with the material. However this was obviously to lull us into a false sense of security however, for the next workshop with Heidi Salerno and Steve Garrett. It wasn't the material I was worried about, but I'm not going to lie, Steve Garrett scares the freaking bejesus out of me. That man is *loud*. He's like Will Farrell and a megaphone combined. I'm sure he doesn't intend to be scary-he seems like a pretty groovy guy (and he is an amazing dancer), but it certainly didn't help when he creeped up behind one of the follows in the class and screamed 'RELAX!!!!' in her ear. The poor girl almost had a coronary. Ok ok, so it was pretty funny, but I tell ya, everytime he came remotely near me I most certainly was not relaxed! (maybe this has something to do with my insecurities as a dancer? Hmmm, nah). The day finished with Joel Plys and Australias own Sophie Yesberg. What a great teaching partnership. Those two had me walking around all weekend singing 'there's a three, and a seven... and a three, and a seven'.
Friday night I made the solemn promise to the lovely boys i was staying with (I was hosted by the fantastic Smiley Pete with 3 other guys-total sausage fest! Luckily they were all super sweet blokes who weren't up in my goodies all weekend) that I would dance with all the teachers (the leads that is) before the end of the weekend. Although I've been dancing for a few years now, I never dance with the guest teachers at an exchange-I never have the guts! I'm determined to change that though. Anyway, so I plucked up the courage to ask Joel to dance and it was probably The Best Fricking Dance I've ever had. He managed to make me feel like the greatest follow in the universe depsite missing several leads. Joel is great because he grins the whole time and every time I did a slight bit of styling he would say 'ooooh' or 'weee'! Actually I think one of the best things about Joels dancing is his facial expressions. So thanks man! I can't say that my dance with Steve went so well, but I'll get to that in a moment...
Steve and Heidi attempted to break the guiness world record for most number of dance turns in one minute at this social, which was 113. The turns had to be full rotations and unfortunately after three attempts they only managed to fit 99 in. However they started a new record for the most number of bal-swing turns, 116, which is pretty impressive (pfft what am I talking about? I could totally do that =$). On a kind-of-related-but-not-really topic, Heidi's hair is *insane*. She looks like she is standing in a wind tunnel all the time! What's with that? It's incredible. Wish my hair had that kind of volume.
Friday night also featured the Jack and Jill heats which were pretty cool. There was also a smashing performance by some of the local bal dancers.
The competition continued Saturday night at the bal ball. The comps were pretty tight with so many amazing dancers. The results:
Jack n Jill
1st Dave Shackleford and Stephanie Resciniti (Melb)
2nd Derek Carruthers (Syd) and Denise Cox (Melb)
3rd John Saunders and Meral Nieman (Adel)
Australian Balboa Championships
1st Johnnie Warington and Denise Cox (Melb)
2nd John Saunders and Meral Nieman (Adel)
3rd Adam Douglas and Roma Villaneva (Syd)
I had such a great time watching this comp. And can I just say, GO RADELAIDE!!! Ok now that's off my chest.
I do have one little negative thing to say about the Saturday night social...why didn't it say anywhere that it was the formal night? It seems the only way people found out it was formal was through a local. Luckily I'm a fairly girly girl when I dance and like to get dressed up most of the time so it wasn't too much of a worry for me. On the other hand, a friend of mine had a bit of trouble. Now he knows I love him, but this boy is just not the dressy kind of guy. So the only clothes he had with him were jeans and a couple of fairly well loved tees. So during the day on Saturday, he actually skipped one of the workshops, bussed it to town and bought a whole new outfit for that night. How insane is that? Love it.
On the topic of clothes I've got to get something off my chest. Is it just me or does the Balboa scene in Australia seem to have a fairly large amout of fashion crimes. Seriously! I saw some very strange outfits over the weekend. I mean, its not exactly like I'm a fashionista or anything, and I tend to dress kind of quirky myself, but there were some seriously bizarre clothing choices! And a lack of formal hair dos and make up. Now I understand, it's hot, you're sweaty, and you don't want makeup running down your face. But there is such a thing as waterproof. And I admit I casual down on the last night of exchanges, but at least at the ball a little bit wouldn't go astray? Embrace your inner hot chick, it's the best way to get asked to dance =D. Am I being horrible? Yeah I probably am. Ha ha. That's the way I roll baby. Moving on...
By the time I got to Sunday night I was pretty wrecked. All the workshops were awesome, if not slightly dragged down by some leads who didn't understand the concept of spare tshirts, or who insisted on teaching me how to do the moves "the right way" (dude! There are international instructors standing *right there*, let them teach me! Or alternatively, lead the move correctly and I'll follow correctly). So anyway, Smiley Pete and I shared a gloriously revolting energy drink, we all tucked into burgers and got ready for the last night of BOTR. I finally managed to ask Steve for a dance on this night. How can I describe this dance best? Interesting? Creative? Got punched in the face? Yeah, going to have to go with punched in the face! Now before I get murdered for sullying Steve's reputation, it was an accident...I hope. He led some weird kind of turn in which my arm was supposed to flick up and over my head. However because I have this annoying tendancy to have tense arms when I do balboa (it's a horrible affliction) instead of whipping over my head, both our hands whipped into my face. To get specific, right into my nose. Welcome to the land of pain. I'm not sure which one of us was more embarassed. The worst thing was this happened right at the begginning of the dance, so I had to endure another 3 minutes of mortification. I could not wait for that dance to end. So I guess it was totally my fault, but...surely if my arms were tense and whatnot, it's probably not best to lead a move like that? Just a point...(trying to save my rep just a little). But oh well, had a good laugh about it afterwards, love ya Steve. Unfortunately I never got to ask Mickey to dance, epic fail.
Now I'll be perfectly honest, by the time it got to the end of the official social Sunday night I had kind of had enough of bal. Don't get me wrong, I love love love it. But 4 days is a bit much. When we rocked up to the after party, and I walked into the Blues/Slow Lindy room, I was just like 'woah mama, I'm home'. I think the first Lindy dance I had that night was one of the most satisfying dances ever. I think I had a little dancegasm (by the way a dancegasm is just as good as an orgasm, but is brought on by sweet footwork and is less messy. Usually). The blues dancing that night was AWESOME. There is nothing like blues dancing at 2am after being completely fucked from bal dancing for 40 hours over the weekend. Oh baby, so good. It was made even cooler by the fact that Joel, Steve and Heidi rocked up around 3am and had a boogie. Had some amazing dances that night. Sigh....
Jarryd and I eventually hit the hay at around 5.30am Monday morning. Luckily we got to sleep a little. The others we were staying with were responsible and had gone home much earlier. I know some amazing troopers who caught a flight straight from the afterparty home, and then worked on Monday. You guys are rockstars.
So that was pretty much my BOTR experience. So many people made it really cool and I am definietly going back next year. Stay tuned for my next post: Next Door Blues. Over and out.
Luna xx