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Lindyfest 2013 – A Swingin’ Spring Break!

What an amazing experience for my last spring break before I graduate and enter the real world!

Wednesday/Thursday

It started out a little rough. As excited as I was for the actual event, I was not looking forward to the twelve hour drive. I ended up getting sick and we had to stop for me to heave out whatever junk food I had eaten at the beginning.

We spent the night at another hotel Wednesday night and Thursday headed over bright and early so the Stricklands (who were working the event) could help set up. David and I were left to our own devices.

Banner
They were decorating!

Dah'ling, it's a pleasure to be here.
Dah’ling, it’s a pleasure to be here.

Oh baby, the event hasn't even started yet.
Oh baby, the event hasn’t even started yet.

We weren’t allowed to check into the hotel until after three, so we found some couches and [I] worked on homework.

After we settled in and Sera (our third roommate) arrived, we ended up getting Five Guys for dinner (yum!) and returned to the hotel to ready for the first dance! (We ended up passing Skye Humphries, Frida Segerdahl and her baby on the way. I pretty much smiled at them like a creep and tugged on David’s sweatshirt the entire time. I’m so smooth.)

After discovering and getting over the fact that my mouth wash soaked half my clothes in my duffle bag, we got ready and headed down to the main dance hall.

It. Was. Amazing.

Just the caliber of the dancers was something to drool over! And then the instructors came out and I pretty much lost it! Steven Mitchell. Chazz Young. Sylvia Sykes. Peter Strom. Naomi Uyama. Skye and Frida (of course). Nick Williams. Laura Glaess. (I won’t bore you with more names, but it was seriously like that who’s who of the swing dance world.) I was pretty much in Lindy Hop Heaven!

The dance was interrupted once for some team performances. And there was one that completely stole my heart:

I saw one or two old faces, but mostly danced with new people. I had to force myself to go to bed at a reasonable time for tryouts on Friday.

Friday

These tryouts were challenging but not nearly as nerve wrecking as Lindy Focus.* The major difference was the tryouts started with solo charleston (following Mike and Laura). It was fun, but I was sweating before we even did one swing out!

Another thing that made it less stressful is that we were only trying out for Masters/Advanced levels. All the other levels were “place yourself”. Which I think added to the more easy atmosphere of Lindyfest. (Also, I wasn’t too worried about making it. I had danced with so many people that I had concluded I could be put in Beginner and still have fantastic lessons.)

And you weren’t just restricted to one level! You could attend any class below your level. And that really put less stress on the levels. In fact, the first day I barely took advanced classes. Instead I found myself following Skye and Frida’s classes.

Now, I’ve always been a fan ever since I saw their ILHC 2011 Classic Lindy routine (which won them first place). But to actually attend their classes! There have been times when I have attended classes by dancers I’ve admired via youtube and have been slightly disappointed. With Skye and Frida, if anything, I admire them even more.

They are FANTASTIC teachers. Honestly, if it’s an intro to beginners lesson, you should take their class and just notice how they’re able to teach rhythm, musicality AND vocabulary at once. Plus, Frida’s pretty much the cutest thing on two legs. She makes all these sound effects and then her Swedish accent makes it even more adorable!

I could probably gush and gush over them, but I won’t (this time). Instead I’ll just show you this picture:

Two Cute Blondes. ;)
Two Cute Blondes. 😉

and move on. 🙂

Friday night is probably going to go down as one of my favorite nights of dancing. I had so many amazing dances. Got in some awesome Solo Charleston jam circle. AND pretty much had one of the best compliments of my life!

After a totally awesome dance, my lead turns to his friend (who just happened to be near by) and said, “You HAVE to dance with her. She’s amazing!”

Almost a week and I’m STILL reeling from that!

*– A point in Lindyfest’s favor.

Saturday/Sunday

Saturday began with a Steven Mitchell Jazz Class. I just… I can’t. If you ever get to take a class by Steven Mitchell. Do it. He’ll make you work your ass off. But it will be good. He fixed my Susie Qs. Ah-maz-ing. (Not to mention I got to see Rebecca in a class setting. That was an experience.)

Between classes there was an Inside the Dancer’s Studio with Chazz Young, Steven Mitchell and Silvia Sykes. It was really amazing just to be in the same room as these greats and hear their stories. Steven’s made me cry. Sylvia’s made me laugh. Then at the end they did those quick fire questions at the end. It was clear none of them had really seen Inside the Actor’s Studio. But I have to say the best part was Sylvia saying “Fuck” multiple times.

(Right to Left) Michael, Steven, Rebecca, me, David
(Right to Left) David, me, Rebecca, Michael

(Right to Left) Chazz Young, Steven Mitchell, Sylvia Sykes
(Right to Left) Chazz Young, Steven Mitchell, Sylvia Sykes

I competed in my third Jack and Jill and made finals! I couldn’t believe it. (My number was 731, which for those of you not cool enough, is Harry Potter’s birthday. Coincidence? I think not!) At first I was crushed. We were scheduled to leave on Sunday around 3 p.m. and the finals weren’t until 5:30. But my wonderful friends agreed that we could stay for me to compete.

But until then I had some time to kill. And due to the mouthwash spill I was short one shirt. Peter Strom was selling shirts. I wore it on the last day and pretty much the best thing happened:

Uptown Swing in the House!
Uptown Swing in the House!

(There’s also a picture on Peter’s phone. Seriously, we’re like BFFs now.) You can order these shirts here.

I was nervous as hell for the J&J finals. I was glad we didn’t have to do spotlights. I still can’t watch the video of myself dancing, but feel free to enjoy!

(I’m the one in the yellow top around 3:20.)

The ride home was long and we did not return back home until 7:30 in the morning. Luckily I was still so hyped up over the weekend I was the one able to stay up with the driver. We talked about the weekend, about teaching, about performing, about Jack and Jills, about the qualities of a “best friend”*.

The next day was interesting as I had never pulled an all nighter before.

But those are thoughts for another post. All I have to say was that my last spring break as an undergrad was truly magical. I hope go back to Lindyfest (and more importantly, dance with all the amazing leads again)!

* — I came up with four: sharing, trust, and I can’t remember the other two.

 

XOXO,

N

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