Thoughts on swing dancing and Lindy Hop, one word at a time…

Event Review: Boston Tea Party

This past weekend in Newton, Massachusetts was the Boston Tea party. The Penn State crew, including myself made the seven hour trek from State College, Pennsylvania to there and were rewarded with a great time!

This was my second year attending the event and I am happy to say I enjoyed it even more then my first time, albeit I had a much different experience.

More Social, Less Class

This year instead of attempting to take every class possible, I took it easy and only took three classes the first day, one the second and none on the third (My right hip wasn’t feeling well possibly due to too much tabby the cat/swivels as a follow).

It was an interesting change because I got a lot more social dancing in and I noticed usually a higher quality of dancers were hanging around the 2-4 AM range. I also felt I digested mentally the material from the classes I took a lot better since I wasn’t getting overwhelmed with information like I usually do at most workshops.

One class that was particularly fun and noteworthy was Andrew Thigpen and Karen Turman’s making the 90’s cool again class. We took moves like the butterfly taps/washer/space-invaders (I find it hilarious how many different names this partner back tap move has), drapes, and the dreaded pretzel. Except modified them so they were less sucky/creepy and actually had technique behind them.  If I could sum up that class in two words, it would be pretzel swingout.

I also want to give a shout out to Naomi Uyama who did one of the classiest things I have ever witnessed. Even though I am an extrovert and I am usually not intimated by people, for some reason she seemed to bring out my closet shyness and feelings of “I’m nowhere near her level, I am going to bore her to death” fears that I thought were long dormant. So to deal with it I asked her half way through a song to dance, she responded by asking if we could wait until the next song so she could get a full song with me.  It was a genuine act of kindness that garnered a great amount of respect from me.

Competitions

I did a bunch of competitions this weekend; novice J&J (follow), intermediate J&J (lead), and the open strictly with an awesome follow from Baltimore. Had no luck in terms of making finals, but had a lot of fun and learned a lot in the process.

One couple really stood out this weekend though, Maéva Truntzer and William Mauvais. They competed in the open strictly lindy and drew each other in the advanced J&J. One word can describe their dancing, “badass”.

 

Photo courtesy of the photographer Lynn Redmile

If you can’t tell what is happening in that photo taken by Lynn Redmile,  William dive bombed in between her legs into a tumble. This is only a small sampling of some of the crazy stunts and shannagins these two pulled out in the competitions they were in. Stunts aside what I really enjoyed about both of their dancing was the fact that they brought a lot of energy to the floor and danced with a lot of personality.

Also fun to watch was the invitational cross-over jack and jill, if you are unfamiliar with the competition they take all the Lindy Hop instructors along with all the West Coast Swing instructors and put them in one competition. This means its either a Westie follow drawing a Lindy Hopper lead or vice versa. I wish I had pictures of some of the costumes, they were priceless. However though I think Marty Klempner won this year costume wise by wearing only an open vest  as a shirt with his upper torso covered in spray on body tan.

Highlights of the Weekend

  • Maéva’s headband falling off in the Advanced J&J finals, William didn’t miss a beat and picked it up. Then preceded to let Maéva lead while he followed.
  • Peter Strom noticing the Penn State student section and giving us a shout out.
  • Michael Seguin leading Laura Glaess into switches right in front of the judges while staring them all down.
  • All the ridiculous Westie parody outfits the Lindy Hopper Instructors wore in the cross-over J&J.
  • One ridiculously amazing dance with Ramona Staffeld. (Darn you lucky Australians!)
  • Meeting Rik and Spuds who run help run yehoodi.com and the yehoodi talk show!

Other Attendees’ Blog Posts

To get some cool viedos and a quick blurb about the event check out Rik’s post!

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One response

  1. David L

    Wow! Too funny I have never seen that version of the stunt before. I have seen where she lies on her back and he slides towards her on his knees and back near the ground. Just as he gets near Maeva does a back bend and lets him under. Similarly, I have seen where William does the the same slide while Maeva is at one knee (proposal style).

    March 31, 2011 at 8:36 pm

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