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.