|September, 1999 Forum|
Archive of Dance Forum Articles From September, 1999
This is the archive of DANCE FORUM articles which appeared during September, 1999
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Greetings from the West Coast!
Just a quick heads up to let you know that Glynis and I are doing fine, loving the weather and being tan. Personally, I've been living like a rock star for the past month, hanging out with the likes of the Royal Crown Revue, Indigo Swing, and the boys from Big Tubba' Mista during their recent visit to the Derby.
The crowd at the Derby is very cool. In fact, the kids are planning a cross country jaunt in October. Swinging Across the Country. So I told my girl out here, Marcela to get in touch with you in case there are any spare couches the LA Swing Kids could crash on. Been dancing a bit since I got here, though the Duchess has hung up her dancing shoes for a bit. She's too busy with her job. And having a real life. Since I have no job to speak of yet, I'm just having a lovely and very long vacation.
I did get to dance with a fabulous boy named Chris who you might recognize from the infamous "swing dance" episode of Ally McBeal. In addition to some other fabulous Hollywood swing kids. The woman who plays Elaine (Jane somebody - but her name escapes me at the moment) on the show was at the Derby this past Tuesday, dancing up a storm. Not to mention being very gracious to all of us non-TV personalities.
Also went to check out Big Sandy at a tiny club near my and Glynis's tiny apartment a few weeks back. It was fabulous. Anyway.
Send my love to the East Coast Scene.
Hope all is well.
E&S Wedding, Cake from Hell
Erik and Sylvia's wedding was so wonderful. I think I can honestly say I have never seen a more beautiful bride and groom... and the 300 wedding guests weren't too shabby either! They were married on Saturday the 28th at the Hollywood Methodist Church on Franklin and Highland. Erik wore a 1930's tuxedo made especially for him, and Sylvia wore a cream satin 1880's type wedding dress. It had a very tight fitting corset bodice and a beautiful bustle in the back. For those of you that have SEEN Sylvia's figure before, just imagine what a corset did for it! VA-VOOM!, She wore a ivory lace, Spanish inspired, shoulder length, mantilla veil, and a high collared, rhinestone/ webbed choker. She also wore clear acrylic and rhinestone, high heeled mules; I have no idea how she could dance in them! *SIDE NOTE* As Hudson and I were sitting in the Church waiting for the ceremony to start, we were flipping through a pew hymnal and noticing the titles of various hymns like "Thou, My God, Art Thee, Thy Love Divine" and "Know Thee Thine Own Spirit Art Here". Which prompted me to muse aloud "If Yoda sang in the Church choir, would these hymn titles make sense?" We immediately got a case of the giggles for which I am sure we art goest into Hell.
As with all weddings, something had to go wrong or it just isn't a wedding. In this case, they ran out of food and Erik and Sylvia didn't even get to eat anything since they were taking pictures while we ran out of food. Someone scurried down the street for them so they had a lovely wedding supper from Burger King!
The eagerly anticipated first dance of the Robisons was performed to "I Want You, I Need You I Love You" by Elvis Presley and they really hammed it up. They played it very cool and straight for the first half of the song and then threw everything into it for the second half ending with the spectacular sight of Erik flinging Sylvia around at top speed into a great lift and dip with full wedding regalia.
This brings us to THE WEDDING CAKE!!!!!
I had hoped Hudson could tell this story, ala' "BEES! FLYING DEATH FROM ABOVE!!!", but he is working and I am off, so I will do my best...
As you all know, I am famous for my brownies but I also do cake decorating, so my wedding gift to E&S was their wedding cake. Initially, I thought it would be for 150, but I found out 3 weeks ago, that it would actually be for 300. In professional baker's speak; that's a damn big cake. My shopping list included ...
BTW - for those of you that care, 1 cake mix box serves 20 people
Sylvia wanted a PINK cake and we decided to go with an art deco motif. It would be four tiers high, made with square shaped layers. I special ordered 4 square cake pans 2 1/2 weeks before the wedding; a 6", 8", 12" and a 16". I go to pick them up on the Thursday before the wedding and I am told they did not come in, but they expected them on Friday. That does me no good, because I had planned to bake all the cakes on Thursday, decorate on Friday, and assemble on Saturday.
Sooooo, I drive out to Agoura Hills and get 3 of the 4 pans, and hope that the 16" pan would indeed arrive on Friday. I bake, ice, and decorate the 3 tiers I have, and all is well. BTW, it is a french vanilla cake filled with raspberries and white chocolate pudding and cream cheese icing.
Friday, the 16" pan does NOT arrive. I call another shop down in Venice and they have one, but there is an accident in the Mulholland pass and it will take me 3 hours to get down there and back. Hudson agrees to pick up the pan on his way home from work and I busy myself with other preparations. Hudson gets home at 6:30. I whip up a cake and wrap the pan with these insulated bits of material that I have soaked in water to keep the sides from rising faster than the center. I throw the cake in the oven and we walk to the corner to rent a movie. As we walk back, some 20 minutes later, I say "Do you hear something?" Hudson says, "Yeah, it sounds like a smoke alarm". I say, "Yeah, and it sounds like it's coming FROM MY APARTMENT!!!!!"
I rush into my heavily smoke filled apartment ( which is a REALLY DUMB thing to do, BTW). I open up the oven and I can see that the strips of material have come loose and have fallen down on the heating element and have caught on fire. Now, these are chemically treated strip[ and the smoke they are giving off is very over powering. Thank God I have Hudson who still has his wits about him. He gets two wash cloths and wets them down and holds one over my mouth as I get the cake out of the oven and use tongs to throw the burning strips onto the porch. we use the fire extinguisher and put them out. Miraculously, the cake is okay. We go outside and wait for the smoke to clear while I collect my wits. We clean up the kitchen and I get ready to bake the second of three layers. I wrap the strips around the pan REALLY tight, and we settle down to watch the movie.
20 minutes later, Hudson says "Gee, it's still really smoky in here." I jump up and open the oven door and sure enough, SAME DAMN THING HAPPENED AGAIN!!! It seems like even more smoke this time. I fish the half baked cake out, and I try to get the strips out, but they are disintegrating in the tongs, but still burning. I grab a glass of water and I throw it inside the oven and finally, everything burns out. Once again, we clean up the ashes and I throw the half baked cake back into the oven for another 20 minutes.
I go back to check on it and the oven is stone cold, because I, in my infinite wisdom, had blown the pilot light out when I doused the flames with water. I sigh and grab a matchbook and just as I am about to strike the match, a hand is lovingly placed over mine. I look up into Hudson's beautiful, concerned-filled face because he is wondering why his usually sharp witted girlfriend is about to strike a match in a room that has has gas running free in it for about 30 minutes.
We go outside and let the gas dissipate and I fall apart all over his shoulder. We come back in, he lights the pilot, I rebake the cake which is now one of the ugliest looking things I've ever made (because it's half cooked, then smoke surrounded, then cooled and settled, then rebaked). It looks kind of like molten cake lava. HOWEVER, I cut a sliver from it and it tastes fine and I can't deal anymore. I bake the final layer (sans the cake strips) and go to bed.
I get up at 7:00 am, fill and ice the bottom-layer-from-hell, decorate it and I am done... sort of. I got a phone call from Erik wanting me to reassure Sylvia that everything is going okay; pre wedding jitters you see. ;-) I decide discretion is the better part of valor and say that everything is fine, and not to worry. I save the "I-almost-burned-my-house-down-twice -for-you-guys" story for another time. Sylvia called me later and thanked me so much for the sample cake I had sent over on Thursday. She said it was the best tasting cake she had ever had. She said "I know I'm just going to be a maniac today, but I wanted to make sure I didn't forget to thank you for doing this for us." It was extremely gracious for her to tell me, and I felt a lot better about the night before.
Sooooo... I go to the church at 2:00 to assemble the cake. It is four ties high and the layers are supported by 4 hollow plastic columns which go down into the cake, and support a plastic plate above it which has four pegs which fit into the columns and lock them together. The columns are covered by a wide pink and white ribbon which I have to literally pin into the cake. I have the four layers stacked and the last ribbon is almost attached when I hear this sound...
I stop, back away from the table to make sure I wasn't touching anything, and again I hear...
Now, Erik's family is all around me, decorating the room, and the Chirch choir is practicing in the room as well. There are also a few small children running around and it's all I can do to not shout "F@#$%^&*!!!!!!!", because I knew exactly what was happening. I very calmly ask Erik's family if they could please help me for a moment. I am frantically ripping the ribbon off the cake and pulling the cake apart until I get to the cursed bottom layer. Sure enough, the weight of the cake had pulled on the column about 30 degrees to the side and was VERY close to collapsing all together. The cake had pulled away from the columns and even if I right them, there is nothing to surround them and keep them in place.
In professional cake baker speak, this is a big damn problem.
I stared at that cake with out moving for about 5 minutes trying to figure out what to do. I couldn't set the cakes directly on top of the bottom layer because they would sink right through. I couldn't reposition the columns because the other layers wouldn't line up properly, plus it might collapse again. I had to find something that would support the other three cakes and be in no danger of toppling. I got a brainstorm.
I run across the street to the mini mart and look at the beverage center. I see this drink called "Red Bull Energy Drink" and the cans are about 6" tall and only 1 1/2" wide. I buy four and run back to the church. The family thought I had brought back beer! I start jamming the cans into the cake, upside down, so this little indentation on the bottom would line up with the peg on the supporting plate. It worked great, but I was a nervous wreck. I finished up the cake at 3:45 , left, picked up the flowers, went home, showered and changed and was back at the church at 5:00. Once I saw the cake was still standing, I felt a lot better. I stuck about 100 pink and white tea roses and lilies all over the cake and it really made it come together.
They cut the cake, and everyone made a nice fuss about how lovely it looked, and even better how great it tasted. I even got an "That's the best tasting/ most beautiful cake I've ever tasted/ seen." Which is my true yardstick for evaluating how successful a cake is. I was relieved.
They left for their Honeymoon in Vegas the next day, but before they did, Sylvia, tracked me down at the dance contest I was judging for the Hollywood Bowl. She had phoned for a final thank you for the cake and to say how thrilled she was with the way everything had gone. Now that I have the photos back, and all major disasters were averted, I think it was all worthwhile.
BTW, if anyone is getting married soon, I am NOT available for cake baking skills ;-)
Dan Lagrone Meets Simon Selmon
All the interesting stuff happens after I leave. I swear, you people are like children. This is Dan LaGrone, across the Atlantic, shut in a dorm, and overpaying for dry cleaning. I am doing fine as of now, and my classes are for the most part interesting. But, on to the important stuff. We got in on Saturday and deplaned in Heathrow. (We being me and my pop.) After finding out our luggage was lost, we grabbed the underground to Waterloo. As we were heading for the Union Jack Club, (cheap hotel for the military. Ask me.) one of those happy coincidences happened. I noticed three people getting into a car. This wouldn't have aroused my intrest aside from the car's sticker which said "I love Lindy Hop" I had, by amazing coincidence, run into Simon Selmon, the "Tom Koerner" of the UK. (Sorry, Simon.) He was with his partner, an ex-patroit, and they were picking up a visitor from the US. After exchanging pleasantries( "Nice Shoes."), Simon gave us a lift to the hotel and informed us of an upcoming outdoor dance event close to our hotel that would go on the next day. So, we arrived at the hotel, and attempted to relax. The next day, we went to the Tower of London. Standard stuff, really. Afterwards I went back to the hotel to change(all the starch had gone out of my shirt). The event was outdoors, at the base of the Oxo tower. It was a part of the Coin Street Festival. There was a lesson, led by Simon and his outfit, who go by the moniker of The Sugarfoot Stompers. The band was called Sophie Garner and her Swing Kings. They were an excellent dance band, and played all the hits. Well, most of them. There was a dance contest, which I entered and was quickly eliminated from. Tough crowd. Course, it was won by a five year old, so that may tell you something. The Stompers also did black bottom/Charleston, Jive, and Lindy Hop demos. After Sophie Garner and her crew finished, the Will Gaines Big Band came on. Will Gaines is an old school Be-bop dancer, who even though he is 71, can really move. His band wasn't so much of a dance outfit, though it was an excellent performance group. He had an eclectic mix of hoofers, singers, and musicians.(There were two drum kits and about a million saxaphones.) About halfway through, Simon's partner, Kate suggested we head to the Swing Jam, still in progress. I was all for this. Kate arranged a ride for me with the US visitor, whose name escapes me(Sorry!), and who is a girl, and a charming gentleman by the name of Martin Ellis. We left and on the way stopped by the Hundred Club. There was an apalling lack of Lindy Hoppers, but the band, whose name escapes me, was bar none excellent. Then we headed for the Jam. We go there in time for the Cabaret, which was quite excellent. It featured preformances by Frankie Manning(a coreagraphed Lindy Routine called Masters Plus), a couple from the Rythym Hot Shots( a hilarious burlesque/tap number), and a famous Rock 'n Roll/West Coast couple(A scary support/arieals routine done to the James Bond Theme). The rest of the time was dancing to a band, and then canned music. Fun. Well that's it for now. More later. Keep the Faith. Stick it to the man. Photos coming.
Lindy Luv Tour 1999!
A few swingers got fed up with all the "Swing is dead!" chatter and decided to drive across country spreading the gospel of Lindy Luv.
If "Road Rules" is the peanut butter, and "Swingers" is the jelly, and some crazy kids (without real lives) who are totally devoted to swing are the bread, what've you got?
The greatest event to hit swing since swing itself! And a darn good sandwich.
On Oct 18th, a small group of hep cats and kittens will leave Los Angeles eastward bound, stopping along the way to do a little dance, make a little (lindy) luv, and generally get down tonight! And don't worry, we're getting it all on film!
After Camp Hollywood in L.A., the Lindy Luv crew will get in a rented van and begin the trip. They?ll party along the way with fellow swingers and (eventually) get to Dallas where they will host the Lindy Luv Workshop. Two days of Savoy, Hollywood, Shag, Balboa, Arials, Musicality, Mens/Womens Styling, and even a little Salsa for spice, along with the Annual Hangar Dance at the Vintage Flying Museum, will create the perfect midpoint for this trip of all trips! Then onto more cities and visiting more swingers and finally they?ll reach the East Coast. Look for more information on the "Welcome to the Big Apple, Lindy Luv Machine" party. It's bound to blow the roof off New York! Then, for the big finish, on to the American Lindy Hop Championships where a few of the Lindy Luvers are signed up for the Jack and Jill contest.
The basic itinerary is:
Don't miss out! This may be the very thing that unites swing communities all over the country. Besides, it's gonna be fun!Email Nicole Frydman for more information.
Fidgety Feet Fall Classes
Classes for Fidgety Feet's Fall Session begin next week at the new D.C. Dance Collective Studio in Washington, D.C. All classes are 6-weeks long and are held either in the first or second half of the semester. Here is a quick rundown:
First half (Classes start the week of Sept. 13)
Second Half (Classes start the week of Nov. 1)
All classes are held at the new D.C. Dance Collective studio in Washington, D.C., just four blocks south of the Friendship Heights metro station at 4908 Wisconsin Ave., N.W. All classes, except Alley-Oop Aerials, are $75 per person and do not require a partner. Alley-Oop Aerials does require a partner and is just $95/couple.
For more information on any of these classes, please check out www.fidgetyfeet.com, www.dcdance.com, or contact me at email@example.com or 703-526-0562.
Fidgety Feet resumes its Open Dancing for Lindy Hoppers at the new D.C. Dance Collective studio on Tuesdays from 9:30 - 11:00 pm. For just $3, Lindy Hoppers can swing on a sprung wood floor, under twinkly lights, in front of wall-to-wall mirrors, with the best DJ music in D.C.!
D.C. Dance Collective is located just four blocks south of the Friendship Heights metro station at 4908 Wisconsin Ave., NW, Washington, DC. The studio telephone number is 202-362-7244. Additional information on dancing and classes is available at the studio dance site, www.dcdance.com, or check out www.fidgetyfeet.com.
In addition to Fidgety Feet's line-up of swing classes, D.C. Dance Collective features classes in tap, street jam (kind of a hip-hop style), and more. Check it out!
North Carolina Lindy!
First of all, I'm not dead or anything, I've just been insanely busy with my first month at school. It's been tough to find time to go out dancing, but I've just recently been able to do it. This is what I've found here so far.
On Fridays from 9:15pm-1am, there's a dance at a huge place (maybe 2x the size of the Spanish Ballroom?) called the Millenium Center here in downtown Winston-Salem. It used to be a post office and has now been converted into a club. There's a bar and everything and dances are apparently held all the time. Friday is swing night and I'm not sure what else goes on. It's a really fun atmosphere and there is a group of regulars who are pretty good. They just started learning Lindy at the beginning of this year, so they're still a little rough, but it's still a good time and a definite excuse to dance! Also, there's no trace of Hollywood-style Lindy yet, but I'm hoping that'll change when Steve and Carla find their way down here for workshops. I met their friends, Jesse and Saliima, and they told me that Steve and Carla were definitely coming sometime...
In Raleigh at a bar/restaurant called the Warehouse, there are dances every Wednesday and one Saturday a month. I went there last night because Marcus and Baerbl were here doing workshops, but had some trouble. You can't go there if you're under 21, so luckily I had John Gillmer (the marine) with me to sweet talk the bouncers into letting me and a couple of my friends in. I'm still not sure why they let him in, but it all worked out. Unfortunately, the floors are pretty bad (we ended up dancing on the carpet because it was easier), and the music changed an hour after we got there into really bad disco... but we did end up having a good time. It was nice to have someone from home visiting.. and it was really nice to be able to do some Hollywood, since I haven't been able to since I got down here.
The scene is obviously not as strong as it is in DC (duh.. I wasn't surprised), but it is there and it's a great change of pace from the endless frat parties on campus. If any of y'all (yes, you will talk like that immediately upon entering North Carolina) are down in this area, email me and I can tell you where the dancing is. Just don't come with DC-sized expectations.
Other than dancing, I'm doing just fine with classes and
everything. This being my first year, it's still a little
overwhelming at this point, but I'm handling everything just
fine. Getting up at 5am for ROTC training is a tough still, but
I am finally getting used to it! I'll be back home for the next
couple weekends to do some dancing and other stuff, but if anyone
has the desire to visit, please just let me know! I would
absolutely love to have you!
Lindy in Indy
Hi there. Just to let you know, iIve really enjoyed looking through your site. it's a great resource for anything about dancing. all the information is almost overwhelming. i'm a beginning lindy hopper and have been doing east coast for a few years. I also just kind of learned the shim sham. your explanations of dance moves make good sense.
I wanted to let you know of an awesome dance venue in Indianapolis, IN which wasn't on your list. it is the Fountain Square Ballroom. It's where I was first introduced to Lindy Hop and one of the few places around here that draws a huge crowd of swing dancers weekly. hundreds of dancers come out every fFiday night to swing: from the very beginners to the advanced. they have a website at www.fountainsquareindy.c om
Lindy in Barcelona
We are BALLIBALL, a dance club and school in Barcelona, Spain specializing in Swing Dancing We've been the first dance club to offer lindy hop classes in Spain and the first to organize swing events in Barcelona. We're now offering classes in lindy hop, boogie woogie, shag and balboa, and we organize a free, swing event every thursday 11:00pm at La Cibeles. We also cooperate with BCN swing society in promoting non-profit swing events such a the 'lindy in the parc' that happens in Barcelona twice every month.
We'd appreciate including our webpage in you swing links. We are at:,
A lindy weekend will be happening next October in Barcelona. JazzJive's James Hamilton and Bridget Tibbs are guest teachers at Barswingona, a Lindy Hop weekend in Barcelona Spain on October 30 and 31. Info and registrations on our Website or telephone +34 934 213 494
Custom Repro Clothes
We make custom vintage reproductions. Mostly 40's and 50's styled clothing, with a new focus on some "Buck Privates" pieces.
Lindy Hop in Australia
Hi there Swing brothers and sisters of the USA!
I'm here to tell you `bout the Swingin' that's going south of the equator!
We are one of the newer branches of the Swing family, but a dedicated one. Residing mostly along the east coast of the largest island in the world, Australia's Lindy Hop family is a close one.
Melbourne, is undoubtedly Australia's most swingin' city. Check out all they have to offer on www.angelfire.com/in2/s wing.
Sydney would be a second place (unfortunately for me, being a Sydney resident), and has some of the country's most famous swing and jazz musicians residing, and also some of the best Lindy Hop dancers and performers. Check the scene on www.angelfire.com /in2/SydneySwing
Brisbane also has a lot to offer the Swing community. I've not yet been to Brisbane to swing, but all the info you need is right here at Swing Tuit.
There are other places in Australia that swing lives on, and they're all linked from the Sydney site...
More Hair and Makeup Classes
Hello Ladies of Lindy!
Group Classes: Classes consist of three or more gals and are taught in two parts: 1 hour hair class and 1 hour makeup class. Prices are $25.00 per one class, or $40.00 for both -- save ten bucks -- go dancing after class!
Classes can be scheduled by anyone at any time. Just gather three or more of your favorite dancing pals and email Chris to set up a date and time: Girlsinger@worldnet.att.net. Chris will also schedule group classes throughout the year. Check her website (as of 10/1) for more info. www.girlsinger.com
Individual Classes: Classes are one-on-one; learn YOUR style with personalized instruction. You pick the topic and determine the length of the class. Clasess are $35.00 per hour and include your everyday hair notions and (oooh! ahhh!) false eyelashes! By the way, these classes make good gifts! Email Chris for more information and to book a class. Girlsinger@worldnet.att.net
Events: Styling and/or teaching for your special event is now available! Contact Chris for rates and scheduling: Girlsinger@worldnet.att.net A few ideas include: Weddings , Halloween parties, Vintage Fashion Party (Hair and Makeup) Competitions, or Birthdays. If you can dream it up, Chris can create it for you! Not just forties, ask about other vintage time periods, too! Also available for reasonable every day styling/makeup consulting.What is so special about these classes? If you've ever taken one of Chris' classes, you know that her styles are really solid. When I say "solid’"I mean they aren't going anywhere! Even on the hottest night at Glen Echo, upside down in the jam! Dancers love these 'do's and they're even getting into the dance-proof makeup, too. You will learn styling and makeup application tricks that will make you wonder why you didn't do this sooner! E-mail Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and class scheduling. Check out her website (as of 10/1) at www.girlsinger.com for class info or just for kicks, and find out what she does when she's not dancing!
Nebraska Swing Club & workshop
Hi, from Omaha
German Tap Website
My name's Rene and I am the webmaster of the German TAP homepage. German TAP was founded in 1995 to support tap dance as an art and promote it's cultural background. By now, German TAP has 800+ members from all across Europe and some from the US, incl. other (Tap-)Dance-Organisations like the ITDA.
I set an link to your site and would be happy, if you would
link to ours, in the "Duke's list", too :) We are
(Germans "love" long names
The site is in German, and contains many, many articles from our newsletter, infos on tap-dance and show-events, portraits of german and intl. teachers. The site's is going to have a relaunch next week, so you probably will get stuck on the index-page til then. If you wanna take a look @ it: check it out in a few days.
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