Rocktober 2012

I recently came back from Rocktober 2012 a few days ago and I’m still glowing from the experience. Kevin and I have not had to opportunity to teach at a workshop like this before. What made our experience so unique is that we had 10 hours with a small group of students and about 70% of them had taken a number of workshops from us previously, and about 50% of them had been at Rocktober the previous year. What that meant for Kevin and me was how far we were able to delve into the material. Normally, we only have the opportunity to go that in depth with a student when they are taking privates, never in group classes.

I feel this year was more successful for a number of reasons:

Classes

….were awesome. Gah!! I love how focused everyone was and how many outstanding questions were asked during the workshop. You guys were soooooooo inspiring to work with. Thank you for letting us challenge your current skill set!

Hahha, I guess I should include a little bit more. In short:

Music

The amazing Robert Bell & the Hot Swing Combo played for us at Rocktober and they were outstanding. You can hear them if you watch the videos of the competition and the jam (below).

The Hot Swing Combo was created for the sole purpose of providing dancers the opportunity to be as expressive, creative and innovative as possible while dancing to a group of less than 8 musicians.

Big Bands with their excellent arrangements and strength in numbers were/are an obvious choice for dancers. But what if a smaller swing combo, able to incorporate multiple genres including hot Gypsy jazz, 1930’s and 40’s swing could offer dancers varying tempos, inspiring solos, and an endless supply of energy combined with some non-jazz material that shouldn’t work?

“All of the live music kicked ass but the band on Friday was seriously the best band I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Y’all are some lucky mofos to have those musicians in your own backyard!” —Ryan Swift, lindy hop DJ

The musicians in the combo are the real deal. The combination of musicians and incredible dancers with their shared respect for tradition and need for innovation will make Rocktober spectacular.

The Jack & Jill Finals

watch the prelims here

Order of dancers: Dan Hoy and Brittany Lewton, Andry Rakatomalala and Heather Lemire, Emory Thompson and Lauren, Owen Richetti and Ali Lodico, John Holmstrom and Emily Steinecker, and Danny Beyrer and Lauren Levey

Winners: Andry Rakatomalala & Heather Lemire

As luck would have it, Laura Glaess and I were able to get a performance together!!

Laura picked the song and arranged the choreography. In case you don’t recognize it, a large portion of the choreography is the Al & Leon Shim Sham. How about that!! If the last chorus of the choreo looks familiar, you probably saw it in the Mike & Laura performance with the Careless Lovers at Stompology VII. I had such a great time with this piece because I really had to work on my arms so I could keep up with Laura. Her arm movements are sooooooooooo pretty!! And yes, I know, I’m not done working on my arms.

And for funsies, the jam that broke loose.

Uh……drum solos….not a fan. The drummer was super cute, but I kept hearing the break in the music and wanted to jam with Laura. Oh well… BIG APPLE time!!

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