|February, 1998 Reviews|
This was a Valentine for Lindy!
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Review of Dance Events During February, 1998
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Sunday February 1, 1998
We spent the day in Baltimore chasing down collectibles and visiting the Baltimore Museum of Art. I got my dates mixed up and I thought that we were going to see an exhibit of Cigar Store Indians. This does not start until the 18th.
Monday February 2, 1998
We spent the whole day revising the Links page on the website. We have added about 50 more links and organized it so that it is easier to find things. We got reviews for six new cities for the Travel Guide, including: Edinburgh, Scotland, Toronto, Ontario, St. Louis, Missouri, Indianapolis, Indiana, Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, and Chicago. We also found links to swing groups in Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Kansas. So, check out the website and both the Links page and the Travel Guide
Tuesday February 3, 1998
The big item of the week was the meeting to save Glen Echo. As I was working myself up into a righteous froth to save the Ballroom, Carole noticed that we had opera tickets for that night. At $95 each, we went to the opera. More about that later. Here is Sue Fedor's review of the meeting:
From: Sue Fedor
We had an overwelming turnout on Tuesday to show our support for Glen Echo. Not only was it overwelming for the Park Service, it was overwelming for many of us who attended. Just to recap where we are, for those of you who are curious, the National Park Service (a bureau within the Department of the Interior) is undertaking an Environmental Impact Study (or EIS). They must do this in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) if they are to begin any major adjustment to real estate owned, change of ownership, or construction/renovation. What they will have at the end of this process is an ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT which will set the stage for choosing the best use and ownership arrangement for the Interior and for the community. According to NEPA, "environment" means much more than the great outdoors. It means cultural, economic, and social aspects, to name just a few. If you want more information on the EIS process, as spelled out under NEPA, visit a site set up by the Dept of Energy: http//ceq.eh.doe.gov/nepa/nepanet.htm
The Park Service is begining the "Scoping" stage, which sets out the scope of environmental impacts it must consider when determining what sort of alternative is best for the park.
PLEASE KEEP IN MIND THE FOLLOWING:
The Park Service has not chosen an alternative. It does not (and cannot legally) favor any of the alternatives put forth. It is open to suggestions for a better alternative.
The Park Service needs your ideas on the sort of issues you think it should consider (the importance of the arts, the value of having a safe and sober gathering place, the impact on the natural environment, the preservation of unique cultural artforms, etc....) Let the Park Service know what is important to you. They must consider it in their final outcome.
No matter what the outcome of the EIS, the Park Service must still get Congressional approval to transfer any ownership or raise fees. Contact your representatives and inform them of your concerns.
The NEPA/EIS process is not conducive to building concensus, in my opinion. So many people are asked to give comment to various scenarios with very little information. We do not have the data we need to make an informed suggestion. The best strategy is to align yourself with an organization that shares your values for the site. The National Commission to Save Glen Echo appears to be the sort of organization committed to preserving as many of the activities we currently enjoy at Glen Echo. There's strength in numbers, but the more organized the numbers are, the better it is for everyone. Avoid mob rule.
Each scenario has its own opportunities and drawbacks. Keep an open mind to all the possibilities. For instance, private owner could still be subject to legal requirements to allow sufficient time for swing dancing in the ballroom.
That aside....a little scuttle from the get together for you. Many of us noted the entrance of the Montgomery County Council Chairman, Douglas Duncan. He's a man of substantial size and stature. He walked up to the woman in charge from the Park Service and asked her why he had to hear from his constituents about this "public" meeting. Apparently, nobody had contacted his office. He was not pleased. Also, he asked her if all users were represented that evening. She admitted that the crowd was mostly the dance community. I'm not sure if this is good or bad, but just to cover ourselves, we need to reach out to the artists and puppet fans out there as much as we can. Also, let your neighbors know--the folks who like to walk there dogs or attend the Celtic and folk festivals.
Back to the Opera
You should know that I worried all during the opera that the Ballroom might be lost because I bought these tickets last August. The Washington Opera's production of L'Elisir d'Amore (The Elixir of Love) was nice, but not grand, although I am greatly enamored of Paula Almerares who sung the lead soprano role of Adina. It is somewhat rare to see a love interest who can sing the part who is really a "love interest" (If you know what I mean...) The story concerns a dimwitted farm-worker named Nemorino who longs for the lovely Adina. He manages to make a fool of himself every time he attempts to court the lovely lady and is on the verge of losing her to the "studly" Sergeant Belcore when a snake-oil salesman named Doctor Dulcamara appears on the scene. Dulcamara, sung by Erwin Schrott, is the ultimate slippery customer and has a potion and clever rationale for anything that afflicts the human condition. (it "gets rid of rats, cures feminine conditions and removes wrinkles" among other things) During Dulcamara's numbers, I was strangely reminded of Bill Clinton. To make a two hour opera short, Dulcamara sells Nemorino a potion (actually a half-finished bottle of Bordeaux) that will guarantee him fatal attractiveness to women. Nemorino takes a "giant portion" and becomes relaxed enough to flirt and arouses Adina's interest. Then, unbeknownst to him, but known to all the women in town, Nemorino's uncle dies, leaving him a fortune. THEN he does become attractive to everyone. Even Dulcamara begins to believe in his own potion. After enough plot twists and high-jinks to fill two acts, Nemorino wins Adina. As this opera is normally staged, Dulcamara departs the scene in a hot air balloon; the budget considerations faced by the Washington Opera forced the elimination of this. We felt cheated. It is NOT L'Elisir without the balloon and it is not Aida without elephants... Sorry, but we expect Grand Opera to be Grand. I saw Aida at the Baths of Carcalla with FOUR elephants, two lions and a tiger. That is Opera this is Opera for the Bureaucrats.
Wednesday February 4, 1998
We spent the most fascinating four hours of our life with Fayard Nicholas, the elder of the Nicholas Brothers. We were joined by Angela and "Dr. Daniel" Fierer. Mr. Nicholas began his sory with these words: "My brother and I made 65 films, starting with Kid Millions with Eddie Cantor in 1934". The discussion went back to Mr. Nicholas' roots and touched on topics ranging from the Cotton Club, to Ethel Waters, to Eleanor Powell, to the Marx Brothers, to Dizzy Gillespie and Savion Glover. We are currently writing this up and we will have it on the website as our special feature on Monday Morning.
In the evening, we had another interview, this time with Adrianna, the queen of the the DC Middle Eastern Dance scene in the 1960s. Our conversation touched on her life, the roots of Middle Eastern dance, and life in general. A fascinating person as well. Her interview will be on the website next Monday as well.
Thursday February 5, 1998
Carole, "Dr. Daniel" Fierer, Julia Stewart and I made another pilgrimage to the "Zoo Bar" to hear the Danny Morris Band. Those of you who don't know, this place -- directly opposite the National Zoo on Connecticut Avenue -- is one of the city's great neighborhood bars. It is located in a large office complex that houses most of the city's psychiatrists and psychologists (it is commonly known as the "Freud Hilton"). The staff is incredibly friendly, but there is --- well --- no real dance floor. There is a small area in which the indoor-outdoor carpeting has been worn down to a point that one couple can do something like Lindy Hop.
Danny Morris plays jump blues that are distinctly flavored with the "surf style" of the early 1960s. The influence of Dickie Dale and the Del-tones is clearly felt in Danny's version of "Misirlou" (with the Balalaika-style picking). Danny features the classics of this period, including "Apache", "Telstar" (the Ventures), "Last Date" (Floyd Cramer), and the theme from Rawhide. All of this is good fun and well-presented. We were able to use the very small dance floor for a two-couple "jam" when the band offered an extended version of "(Stick Out Your Can) Here Comes the Garbage Man."
Friday February 6, 1998
We were at America for the triumphant continuation of the Tom Cunningham Orchestra's long-running engagement. Once again, the house was packed with high-stepping Lindy Hoppers. Our ace reporter, Cameron Sellers is back:
From: Cameron Sellers
When I got back from my Reserve duty, I was surprised to discover that America was still open. I was even more surprised by the fact that they charged me a dollar for each item I checked in their coat area. They are getting a little greedy. Now, I will not feel guilty if I do not buy a drink.
I wondered how rusty I would be with a two week absent from the dance floor. After getting winded quickly, I realized that I had lost lots of stamina. Go to the Army and get out of shape. Is there something wrong with this.
Tom C. was great to listen to and he played "Sing Sing Sing" for the JAM. The usual participants were not there so a few people had to go out twice. Peter and I did our famous Tom and Deb hustle routine with me mimicking Aunt Deb.
Friday was a good night to get back into shape.
[Editor's Note: We see the coat check fee as a rather small price to pay for keeping this venue, and we remind you that weekend cover charges in New York start at $15. We can't have dancing unless we pay for it! Spend MORE at the dance and LESS at the diner, unless the diner starts offering big band dancing!]
Saturday February 7, 1998
We joined 848 enthusiastic people for an evening of big band dancing and general tomfoolery at Glen Echo. We found that there was PLENTY of room for dancing (that's about 20 sq. ft per couple if everyone should venture on the 7,500 sq. ft floor). The only problem was dirt on the floor which interfered with the jam. We should sweep the floor before the jam, using some of the comic steps that were used at the Hangar Dance in Frederick last summer. It is only a matter of time until our new Lindy Hoppers learn to bring clean dance shoes. Sue Fedor has the review:
From: Sue Fedor
There was blood, there was Dylan, there was shaving cream, and Peaches. And not necessarily in that order. Where do I begin? Peaches O'Dell must have the world's largest sequinned clothing collection...at least for someone who isn't a transvestite. In fact, I suggest that she could earn some dough on the side renting out those little numbers to transvestites on her nights off. Just bring 'em back dry cleaned, please.
The band did "Sing, Sing, Sing" at a blessedly moderate pace. Tom & Debra broke the record for short routine. Gay drew blood when I scratched her (I did NOT bite her) when Steve, Gay, Dave, and I did "that thing we do" in the jam. Iver has informed me that the Germans call it the "flying wing". Gay can call it the "bloody wing". I prefer "a wing and a prayer" as once again I was praying that I could just hold on long enough to keep from hurtling out onto the dusty floor. Gay is such a prankster that when she showed Dr. Dan her bleeding wound, he didn't believe her. She didn't need stitches (like I did, when I impaled my hand on a cheap flag pole for a promotion at Glen Echo last year).
I got to dance with Cameron, who's back from war games. He tells me that there is a slight chance he could be parachuting over Bagdhad if we become engaged in a serious ground war. I have to admit, the thought gave me shivers. My cousin was serving with The Big Red One, Army Infantry, during our last ground invasion of Iraq. It was grim duty for him. The casualties and poverty among the Iraqi people were unlike anything he had ever seen before. Nothing can ever prepare you for that aspect of war. My deepest hope is that we can avoid a serious engagement.
I'm sorry....that's such a downer....let me get back to the frivolity by announcing to the world that CAMERON HAS SUCCESSFULLY FLIPPED A GIRL. Ok....it was lil' Erika, but it's a start.
Ari, our mysterious and handsome visitor from Harrisburg was here again and staying with Lizzy. He joined a large group of us (anchored by Jenny and Mike, for a change) at the American City Diner on Connecticut. It's a small place and we took up several contiguous booths. We were rude, rambunctious, and rowdy. So much so, that a couple across the aisle from us left before they could finish their french toast. I think it was when Steve was trying to suck up his smashed potatoes and gravy through a straw. Or perhaps it was when Steve was trying to suck up Gay's creamed chipped beef on toast through the same straw. Too bad. They missed the good stuff. Ari was looking for napkins or something behind one of the little juke box thingys and managed to find a can of SHAVING CREAM (as Dave Berry often says, I'm not making this up). Since Bob Kleinpeter had ordered a muffin which came wrapped in cellophane (!) (he sent it back), we thought we'd cheer him up with a little treat. A little shaving cream, a little mustard, sprinkle of pepper, dash of hot sauce, splash of catsup, and a topping of lettuce. He appreciated our efforts. Either that, or he was hoping that if he was just polite, we would leave him alone and nobody would notice that we were with him.
All this, and the usual Dylan vs. Dylan between Steve and Mike Duggan. Jenny and I sit there and threaten to leave them for good everytime they do this. It's worse than the Vienna Grille Boys Choir. Steve and Mike kept putting creamers in their eyes as if they were monocles as they did Coronel Klink impressions in stereo. The combination of Steve and Mike creates a volatile atmosphere. Neither can be held responsible for what they do in each other's presence.
We left the waiter a very big tip to go with the big mess we made. And for all our protestations about the long drive to Vienna, we still got home at 3 am.
[Editor's Note: Who says that Lindy Hoppers aren't dignified? (see below)]
From: Cameron Sellers
850 people showed up for Peaches O'Dell. But two couples
stole the show. Sue, Steve, Gay and Dave did the helicopter take
off move during the JAM, and Carolyn and Jeff did the Shag moves
Tom has been talking about.
Sunday February 8, 1998
We were at the Waltz Ball to save Forest Glen. The band was "Slow Death With a Flute" and I was just thrilled to hear the Contra dancers stamping their feet. We turned out most of the Lindy Community at $10 per head for this event, but we were offered only "Pennies From Heaven" at a tempo that would have bored Lawrence Welk. All attempts at putting "one real swing song" on during the break were mildly rebuffed, while the Contra folks got to whoop (?) it up with stuff like the "Scottische" and the "Hambo". Henceforth, if you want our support at fund-raisers, play our music --- at least once. I spent the afternoon fending off comments about teenagers at Glen Echo and the supposed lack of dignity of Lindy Hop. Mind you, all the Hoppers were there in Tuxedos and Gowns, while most of the Contra folks showed up in their --- well --- "costumes". I politely remarked that many of the comments about Lindy were reflected in Life Magazine during the 1930s, but that by 1943, Lindy had become "America's National Folk Dance" on the same pages. Henceforth, I plan to offer Sue Fedor's response to these same folks. Without further ado, here it is:
From: Sue Fedor
Thanks to all the Lindy Hoppers and waltzers who came to the ballroom at the Seminary in Forest Glen (Walter Reed Army Medical Center Annex). A special thank you to our very patient and helpful volunteers. We had a successful dance, raised some money for the Save our Seminary (SOS) group AND got a lot of letters to Congressmen and the Army signed and in the mail.
Big thanks to all. Especially Suzi Nonn, Trish Mannetti, Bill Lehman, Mark Ormsby, and Wendy Dutcher for their expert handling of a rather messy letter-writing process (for which I take no responsibility). Suzi bailed me out of two hours of typing with homemade cookies and personal assistance.
Suzi has become quite adept at leading and many of us non-waltzers were taking the easy way out and dancing with her. Steve and I got a rather successful polka in as well as a couple of slow swing tunes. (Note to Frank: this was not a "Sing, Sing, Sing" event, as many of us were wearing uncomfortable shoes-- although I would have loved to see the woman in the hoop skirt do the Charleston!) Ari from Pennsylvania came dressed in his tux (he never leaves home with out it), as did many of the men, including Dr. Dan, who actually called me earlier about appropriate attire. (Note to Dan: girls do that sort of thing. We don't care what you wear. You could wear a paper bag and we'd still line up to dance with you.)
I have a few notes about the waltz. I'm impressed with the traditions and the variety in the dance. I thought I'd be sick of the music after three or four hours, but the band was very good. I found it rather relaxing (even though I was under relentless pressure to type letters for 2 1/2 hours). One of the coordinators, who first told me about the event, said that waltzing would be easy on the ballroom (which is not only old, but has fallen into disrepair). When I told her I did Lindy Hop, she told me Lindy should NEVER be done in this ballroom. My dear, if you are reading this, you can kiss my ***. Besides the polkas, there were several waltzes that involved people hopping up and down. I could feel the vibrations. Not to mention the stomping on the third beat, which several gentlemen were moved to do during many of the numbers. Waltzing is not gentle.
Also, I told many people that this ballroom was smaller than Glen Echo. That is true. The dance floor is probably half the size. What it does have, however, is side space to stand, congregate and chat. The stage was added in the 40's, leaving an area behind, which conveniently doubled as a "dummy practice area" and a place for Ken Haltenhof to escape Frank's badgering about having the band play another swing tune!
Also, also....the men are much nicer about asking women to dance. They change partners after every dance. It's so refreshing. They don't take no for an answer and they are patient with beginners (which some see as a special challenge, I think). Ask Christie and Carole, who were constantly on their feet with different partners. Even Gay (non-waltzer) got asked out. But a note to guys: if you wear a tux, women will ASSUME YOU CAN WALTZ. If you are not good, you have two choices: (1) Be like Dave, who was dressed in his Navy dress blues, dance with women who can back lead or (2) be like Dr. Dan and Frank who FAKE, FAKE, FAKE. Suzi tells me that the key to good waltzing is to look deeply into your partner's eyes, thereby mesmerizing her into a trance state, where she will not notice how lousy your waltzing really is. You cannot do this if you constantly stare at your feet. It will not work if SHE constantly stares at her feet either.
Big thank you for Ken and Donna, who coordinated the event. Earlier in the day, Ken repaired parts of the dance floor, which had damaged due to leaks. The Army has promised us a new roof and window repairs for the ballroom. We hope it can be stabilized so that we can use it again in the future.
As for SOS, we are involved in the Army's Environmental Impact Study (much like the one with Glen Echo). We are pressuring the Army to let the site be transferred to Montgomery County, while at the same time, we are entertaining developers who are interested in preserving and using the property. We have entered into a cooperative agreement with the Army whereby we have agreed to fix up some of the properties and lease them free of charge. One of our first will be the pagoda, which we plan to paint this spring. If you are interested in our efforts, drop me an e-mail.
The Army estimates that between 420-430 people showed up. We raised over $2,000 and we're sending out over 200 cards and letters to the Army and various congressmen expressing concern about the historic seminary buildings, particularly the ballroom. Thanks a big bunch! Hopefully there will be more events to come.
Side note: Randy, one of Tom & Debra's former students, is now an official, card- carrying tabloid journalist. He is freelancing (camera, editing) for a guy who supplies footage for "Inside Edition". He was staking out Linda Tripp's house last week. Look for his work on a tabloid show near you. Check your paper for listings.
After the dance, Gay & Dave and Suzi Nonn came over our house for dinner and dance chat. Suzi is kind of a historian of the DC lindy/swing scene and puts a lot of our current events into a nice perspective. We talked about such heady issues as dance leadership and followership (she thinks that followers have a harder time in Lindy---waltzing is more equal), the general care and feeding of the fragile lindy hop community, and the eternal question: would you sleep with a guy in order to dance with him or would you dance with a guy in order to sleep with him? For some reason, I suspect that the question is not as complicated among the men out there. Am I wrong?
Monday February 9, 1998
We went on a trip to the wilds of Central Pennsylvania. We spent the day vacuuming up vintage goods from the thrift stores in and around Lancaster, Pennsylvania (The details are soon to be in the Travel Guide under "Lancaster," which is less than 2 hrs from DC, so look for it in the "DC Area section). In the evening, we went dancing at The Hop which is located in the San Carlos restaurant at exit 9E on Interstate 83 in York, Pa. We had a great time showing Lindy to the crowd. Carla Heiney drove over from Millersville with a group of her college friends. Alas, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is very strict on things and we got booted out because the college crowd was not 21. Sorry, Carla, but we do very much appreciate your driving over!
Tuesday February 10, 1998
We continued our voracious foraging for vintage after a breakfast at the Central Market in Lancaster. We made our way to the Roots Auction and Flea Market of PA route 72 in East Petersburg. This is only open on Tuesday and offers acres of vendors of all sorts of things. After spending a considerable amount of time there, we went on to Harrisburg, and checked out a few thrift and vintage stores there. We had initially planned to return, but Carole wanted to stop in Carlisle where she lived when her father was with the Army War College. (The "War College" and "Smart Bombs" were the subject of numerous jokes during the 1960s, but the place is very nice, occupying the space of the old Indian School that produced Jim Thorpe)
We were delayed because we got a lead on a complete Greyhound Bus driver's uniform in a "big size". The lead turned out to be true and I am beside myself with joy -- it fits like a glove! This, however, meant that we had to miss viewing tapes with Iver Cooper and then dancing at Vienna Grille. We stayed at a motel that offered cable and were able to see Stormy Weather, featuring Bill Robinson, Cab Calloway, and the Nicholas Brothers.
Wednesday February 11, 1998
We had a rather leisurely drive home and since it was a beautiful day, visited the National Zoo. The place was empty, so we got to spend a lot of time watching the animals. I was most interested in the baby gorilla who was just as cute as can be. He certainly is a mischievous little devil and spent a lot of time harassing one older male. I noted that when Mom wanted him to go somewhere, she slung him onto her shoulder in a movement that looked JUST LIKE a kip. We have to interest primates in Lindy Hop --- then you would see some "aerials". I can imagine what the dignified ballroom ladies would say if we brought a couple of Orangutans to Glen Echo.
Thursday February 12, 1998
We went back to the Zoo Bar to see Alejandro Lucini and Origem are at a Brazilian Carnival Party. This wasn't Lindy Hop, but we had a very good time. The place was filled with real live Brazilians who were celebrating Carnival away from home with considerable enthusiasm. The very tiny dance space was packed with folks doing Samba. We were sort of pushed into doing it better than we do when we are out on the floor alone. (If imagine a whole can of sardines doing Samba at the same time, you would not have a bad picture of the scene) We left just in time to get home to see the Nicholas Brothers do their famed "Chattanooga Choo Choo" routine (with Dorothy Dandridge) in Sun Valley Serenade. If you haven't read our interview with Fayard Nicholas, you should do so before you watch this film.
Friday February 13, 1998
We were with a nice crowd at America. We decided to vote for Lindy by actually having dinner there. This was a particularly nice evening. Tom and Robin favored us with "Rose of the Rio Grande" and the group did their obligatory bowing and scraping when Robin (Armstrong) sang "Indian Love Call". We really enjoyed having our own table! We may do this regularly -- I'm thinking of setting up a "Lindy Week in Review" place card or even a fake microphone, like those pictures you see in old movies of Walter Winchell at the Stork Club... Seriously, this is a great scene --- it is enough like a movie nightclub to evoke the period, but still is a very nice place for folks to come, particularly our vast crowds of high school and college students.
Tricia Reneau was at the Valentines Sweethearts event at Dancers and filed this report:
From: Tricia Reneau
The Friday night Sweetheart Dance at Dancer's brought back nostalgic memories. Long before America, Dancer's was the place many of us got hooked on this thing called Lindy Hop. Dancer's has long since closed to our dance vernacular, but every once in awhile, Lindy socialite Suzi Nonn unlocks the doors for a Frankie Manning benefit.
Veteran lindy hoppers made up the bulk of the small, yet intimate crowd this Friday past. Mike and Jenny, Peter Gehring, Ted, Elizabeth Magin, Larry MacDonald and more showed up. I was even able to convince Jeff Booth to forego America in favor of open floor space and the unique atmosphere that is only Dancer's. Suzi spun a nice mix of big band and jazz tunes, including my perennial favorite, "Paper Moon" by Nat King Cole. Bill Lehman and Trish Mannetti wowed us with a candlestick maneuver--a move they have perfected to a T. We also got a sneak preview of Lizzie and Misha working toward ASDC--very snazzy.
Being back at Dancer's was a real treat. The strung lights, the snacks and sodas, the cafe tables, the wonderful floor and large mirrors, and most of all the lindy hoppers with whom I've shared so many memories made for a perfect Valentine's evening. Best of all, we had spacious areas in which to dance and great music to boot.
At 11:30, Jeff and I decided to head to Fellini for some late night jiving. To our dismay, we were greeted by a private Latino party. Later, we found out The Cotton Club at Fellini is no more. Apparently, the owners didn't go for the swing theme and closed the event down after just two weeks. As I now understand it, Tina and Emily are once again in search of a venue in which to spin their unique blend of swing music. Not up for the Latino dance scene, Jeff and I instead elected breakfast at the Metro 29 Diner in Arlington (rated best pancakes in Washington , D.C. by The Washington Post's Phyllis Richman--and by us!). It was the perfect cap to the evening and the start of the long holiday weekend.
Saturday February 14, 1998
We made a giant pan of polenta and a quart of tomato sauce and headed out to Annapolis for a little pre-dance stuffing at Gay and Dave's house. Along the way, we celebrated Carla's (and Clarissa's) and Cameron's birthday. If we had been in Lancaster a week later, Carla wouldn't have been tossed out of the bar. A bit of strange trivia, I was elected a partner in my old consulting firm in 1976. As you get older, you pass strange milestones (such as having been in high school or college before a person was born.) It was a bit unusual to think, "I achieved my life's professional goal before Carla was born." Well, now I have lots of Lindy moves as lofty aspirations...
The dance was a lot of fun. We had two jams, the first at the normal time and the last because the band didn't really want to quit playing and the Lindy Hoppers were the only ones left. The folks were very inspired --- however, the best dancing that I saw was when Ellen Engle and Andy Wallo did and incredible bit of lead and follow. I wish that more folks could do this. Specifically, Andy and Ellen did a very entertaining routine -- no aerials, but lots of good steps perfectly matched to the music. It was most impressive and would count as the "play of the week" if we did that sort of thing here. Sue Fedor will take up the typing as I leave off:
From: Sue Fedor
While we were showing Jeff the progress we made on the "Fly", Steve didn't quite connect with me properly and I hurtled through the air with only one leg (my right one) extended. It hit before I expected it...and OUCH! It's Sunday morning and I'm feeling just a little bit of the muscle pull (which extends up the back of my leg) but I can now put full weight on my foot without pain.
Thanks to Andy for his Ace bandage and Mike for his expert wrapping skills and advice. I went home and added the "R", "I" and "E" to the "C". Do you know that when you are injured like this (pulled muscle, strain or sprain) you should "spell RICE" with Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation? It avoids further injury and speeds healing. So this morning, I was greeted with very little pain, no swelling and my cat, who was trying to turn my elevated leg into a bed.
The evening started out with a nice potluck dinner at Gay and Dave's. We celebrated Carla's 21st (and thus, Carissa's, in absentia) and Cameron's ??'st. Not that Carla's legal, we can take her to all sorts of sleazy dives in search of swing music!
Another celebration broke out when we found out that Mike and Jenny are engaged.
We've a lot of Lindy weddings this year....Randi Sue and Howie, Mike and Chrissy, and now, Mike and Jenny. Poor Frank Morra (the eternal "single guy") is worried that the married folk will stop dancing. But for Lindy to achieve complete world domination, we not only have to reach out to teenagers, but to provide new teenagers for the post-millennium age. Frank, you still want to be dancing when you're 84, don't you?
From Carla Heiney
I wanted to tell everyone how much fun I had this weekend... I knew that the folks in the Lindy crowd were great before, but they just seemed to put an extra seal on their sincerity.
I had a wonderful time playing with everyone, and as if it
wasn't already hard enough for me to leave every weekend- it just
got harder! Could you please inform all that were at Gay and
Dave's that I really appreciated the eating, singing, dancing,
and especially the smiling this weekend. They truly are a unique
crew. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
From: Cameron Sellers
Question: What do you get when you combined Hawaiian, rockabilly music, and Valentine's Day? The Hula Monsters! For Valentine's Day, Ron H., Aunt Debra, and I headed for Annapolis to hear this cool band. Before we headed over to the local FOP lodge, we joined other lindy hoppers at Dave and Gay's place for a potluck. We celebrated Carla's birthday and watched the Eric and Slyvia tape. Steve and Buck were both too antsy to get to the dance, so watching the tape was cut short.
The Hula Monsters were great again. We danced to Hawaiian eight count songs for three hours raising the temperature in the room. Even, Psychoboy commented about the temperature as he sweated through his shirt. Around 9:30, Tom and Carolyn B. showed up as well. The evening consisted of fast songs, a class on the Hula dance, two jams, Sue Fedor getting hurt doing the fly, and lots of water.
After the dance, Jeff and Christy went St. John's for more dancing while the rest of us went back to Gay's for more food and lindy hop videos. Ask Jeff or Christy if they got thrown out.
We also have several reports from the dance at the Corcoran. Deborah Brooks leads off:
From: Deborah Brooks
The theme was An Evening In Swingtown at the Valentine Day's Dance at the Corcoran Gallery of Art and everyone as encouraged to wear their favorite retro cocktail attire and dance to the music of Raggs Classic Big Band. The atrium with its soaring ceiling and classic columns provided a beautiful setting for the dance although terrazzo is not my preference for a dance surface. I arrived fairly early and easily found Tuan and Peter, looking like exotically plumed birds in their zoot suits amidst the sea of tuxedos and business suits. Also in attendance were Lizzie Hess, Misha Akkerman, Ellen Werther, Paige, Diana, Brian Kennedy and Angela.
The Raggs Classic Big Band was very tight and produced a nice mixture of tempos and dance styles. During the first set, I virtually had Peter and Tuan to myself which is about as close to heaven as one can get on this earth. I had not been dancing in nearly 3 weeks due to illness and they were both wonderful in helping me find my timing and reconstitute my repertoire of dance steps. By the second set, the place was packed (over 500 people) as was the dance floor, forcing us to the edges of the room behind the band where we all danced in the shadows behind the columns and tried to avoid the wait staff and their trays of glassware. Lizzie and Peter tore up the floor during the last number, swinging out dangerously close to the wall and doing aerial after aerial even though she was in a full-length burgundy halter gown.
For the rest of the fashion update: Ellen was wearing a tailored wine colored dress from the 40's with passementerie on the bodice, Angela was in a contemporary slinky knit and the rest of us were in 50's dresses - Diana's was flowered with green sequins, Paige's was a blue taffeta that would have done Audrey Hepburn proud and mine was fuchsia chiffon with a one shoulder waist-length train which made Texas Tommies a bit of a peril (just call me Isadora).
While the consensus of the group seemed to be that the dance
at the Avalon would have been better, it was still nice to get
dressed up, go to a beautiful place and be reminded that 95% of
the population dances worse than I do. Thanks to Ellen Werther
for letting us know about this event.
From: Peter Gehring
About 650 people attended the event, and the desserts and treats were plentiful and delicious. The band was actually pretty good I thought. The only problem was finding enough dance space. When the floor got crowded (it is not quite twice the size of Dancers), Tuan and I moved off to the corner behind the pillars and went all out. Misha, Diane, Ellen, Page, plus a few other faces I know (but not the names) were also in attendance.
It was a blast to have Lizzie as a dance partner! I made sure
the Times knew she'd just won the Va Open Swing Championship. I
also got a mention put in for the Baltimore FlyCats. I'm sorry
more of the Lindy community decided not to come. It was $20 (not
$35) thanks to Ellen's help, and it was well worth it.
From: Ellen Werther
Dancers in the News. A few of us braved the cold (and downtown parking) to go to the dance/gala held by the 1869 Society at the Corcoran. And now Peter G., Tuan, Lizzie, and Debra Brooks are famous--if you count getting a write-up and your pics in the Washington Times as a claim to fame. I will quote the relevant parts: "Out on the dance floor, zoot suits came complete with long watch chains, and men who wore them [Tuan and Peter] sported footwear to match...."The Hispanic population still wears them today, for their 15th birthday celebration and for weddings, but I just wear it for Lindy dancing, said Tuan Tran, a self-described "computer geek" who is a consultant at the US Mint [I never knew] Mr. Tran and his friend Peter Gehring....are members of the Baltimore Flycats. They had no shortage of dance partners at the event, including Lizzie Hess, winner of a recent Virginia State Open in swing dance. "I'm here for the music, for the dancing. I'll dance with anybody who asks me," said the breathless Miss Hess, who had danced so hard that she had lost a heart-shaped rhinestone earring. . . The doors had to be closed when the room reached capacity....Angela Babineck and...Brian Kennedy [both in Tom and Debra's class]said the event's popularity was no surprise. "Swing dancing is really huge in Europe, "she noted "And California. And New York," he added...." What the article didn't mention was that the dance floor was CA-Rowded and MARBLE. Yes marble, folks. At $10 and with a wooden floor (and some air between couples) America is a bargain. And a delite! We paid $20 a piece (most folks paid $25 - $35) after our freebies fell through...I think Kenneth Starr had or Linda Tripp had something to do with that...Tuan told me today that he had a very good time, so I will let him have the final word.
Sunday February 15, 1998
We were at Suzi Nonn's tea dance and vintage sale at Dancers. The event was lightly attended, but we got a good chance to practice our sweep which has had some difficulties in recent jams. We also got to chat with Suzi and hear her plans to build a 1940s bungalow --- sounds great!
Cameron was at America with this report:
From: Cameron Sellers
At America, Jeff and Carolyn taught the shag to the intermediate class and the lesson must have gone well because when I arrived around 10:00pm, people were still practicing the new move. Before I arrived, I spent the afternoon watching a ship sink with wounded Sue Fedor, Steve, Ron, Sherri Lee, and her boy friend. The Titanic took longer to sink in the movie then it did in real life.
Because Monday was a holiday, Bernstein spun the CDs until 11:30. Afterwards we headed to our favorite dinner, the Amphora, to gossip about others who were not there.
Lots of folks caught the Lindy style aerials on the Olympics:
From: Deborah Brooks
A self-confessed sports junkie, I stayed at home on Sunday night to watched the Olympics Ice Dancing competition. That night they were covering the original dance portion in which all couples do a short program in the same dance style (in this case, jive), using their choice of choreography and music. To my surprise and delight, the skaters incorporated many Lindy aerials into their routines. I saw several kips and fish flips, a waterfall, a driveshaft, a pull-through, an around-the-world and a back to back flip. I was just so amazed that they were doing these moves WHILE ZOOMING ACROSS THE ICE AND WEARING RAZOR SHARP BLADES ON THEIR FEET that I forgot to pop in a videotape and record it. But for those who missed it, remember that the World Championships are next month and they'll be doing the same routines as they did in the Olympics.
From: Randi-Sue Rimerman
I hope your valentine's day was good. Howie and I were in NYC. No dancing -- we saw The Sound of Music, which opens on Broadway next month. We loved it! We also went out to dinner with an old friend who's been living in South Africa this past year.
Did you see any of the ice dancing coverage? The
"original dance" is rock and roll on skates. I saw
some fish flips, around the world, a waterfall, a few very bad
kips (I don't think they're allowed to go too far over the guy's
head), etc. And you thought lifts were hard on the ground!
From: Ellen Werther
Swing is Swank: That was the gist of the segment that aired on Sunday's Metro Section (on NPR) at about 6:30 pm. I hope everyone got my message in time to listen. It was a good piece, although it focused almost exclusively on the young dancers. Our very own Steve and Carla were interviewed extensively. Both are quite articulate. Leonard (didn't catch last name) was also interviewed. And so was dear, dear Tom, who mumbled something about "Shorty George" Snowden and the origins of the name Lindy Hop. Actually, Tom gave some interesting tidbits about Frankie Manning and the friendly but serious competition amongst the Savoy dancers. All in all the segment was excellent. Saddle shoes received prominent mention. As did Glen Echo (yeah!) The only problem was that we middle-aged dancers (anyone in her/his late 20s on up) were not mentioned at all. You would think that after the original swing dancers et al (represented nicely by Leonard) no one Lindy'd until the "kids" came along. Ah well, we truly are (to misuse a famous quote) a lost generation.
Monday February 16, 1998
We were home, catching up on the website while Cameron was out dancing:
From: Cameron Sellers
"One hop, two hop, run run" was the beat for the
lindy hoppers at Chevy Chase. Jeff and Carolyn taught the
California shag to the class and then for the next two hours
watched us struggle to learn the old/new style of Lindy Hop being
danced on the West Coast. One hop, two hop, run run, I
Tuesday February 17, 1998
We were at Vienna Grille along with Sue Fedor who tells this story much better than I can:
From: Sue Fedor
Steve is ON VACATION for two whole weeks. He's doing work around the house during his time off. But more importantly, WE GET MORE TIME TO DANCE!
First things first, Frank, Carole, Steve and I visited Iver Cooper and his TV, VCR and video collection at his home in Falls Church. He and his family (wife and two really cute kids) live in a lovely home on a street straight out of Leave it to Beaver. I kept listening for the music and waiting for Barbara Billingsley. He led us to his kitchen/rec room area where the TV was set up. Iver and his wife take the most spectacular pictures. Iver's into nature close-ups. His wife is a natural with portraits. I've never seen such photogenic kids--or such fun and touching pictures.
Iver showed us a wide variety of aerials and drops--with entrances and exits. He did not discriminate. There were hustle, west coast, jitterbug, and lindy moves...as well as a few dances that defied description. We got to see vintage Debra, with her garters, short hair, long skirts, and poorly dressed partner. We recognized a vintage Tom from his bald spot! He was dancing with the blond Tina. And a teenage Tim Auclair (west coast champion from VSO) when he was a teenager! He hasn't changed much. He was scary good then. We also got to see vintage Sing Lim and Ryan François. It is amazing how much they have improved over the years.
The most popular move seemed to be something Iver referred to as "The Snake". The woman starts out on the guy's shoulder, then slithers down across his chest, through his legs and winds up wrapped around the leg opposite the shoulder she started off on. Once Frank and Steve can figure out how to get us up on their shoulders, I'm sure you'll see us trying that one on for size! Look for it in a jam near you.
Frank and Carole were more interested in a move where Carole leans out, facing away from Frank as he holds her arms behind her. Her legs are between his legs and they do the circle/spin around similar to what they are currently doing in the jam. I saw them experiment with this quite a bit at V.G. Once they finally got it, Frank asked me how they should go about getting out of it. I pointed to Iver, who stared at us blankly. More research is needed. I can see him now, sitting before the TV with the remote....I'm sure by now he's e-mailed Frank the directions. Look for this one too, in a jam near you.
Steve and I tried our hand at a more mundane move: the logroll. Several of you already do it. I found out that I could do it without aggravating my injury. The same could not be said for Steve, who had to keep catching me from my fall back and rolling me....over and over and over. His forearms will look like Popeye's.
We also tried a move called "Walking On Air", or as we like to refer to it, "Iver's Bicycle" or "Sue's Torture". It hurts...in the most unlikely of places: the wrists. But one added plus: you get to put your hands on the guy's thighs. Always very nice. Steve insists he needs a cup for this maneuver. Look for it in a jam near you.
Cameron patiently put me through my shag paces. I'm finally grasping the concept. It helps me reinforce the moves to spend some time teaching Steve afterward.
Steve and I joined Cameron at the "Amphoras" as Cameron likes to call it. We've discovered, as most of you have, that Cameron likes to add an "s" onto words that end in "a": Americas, Amphoras... Perhaps there's more to the pattern that I haven't picked up on, but if anyone can add to my growing collection of CAMERONISMS feel free!
Wednesday February 18, 1998
Thursday February 19, 1998
We stayed home to see the Nicholas Brothers do another of their routines in Orchestra Wives. If you haven't read our Interview with Fayard Nicholas , you should do so before you watch this film.
Friday February 20, 1998
We joined a very big crowd at America. The buzz throught the evening was a crew of photographers from Washingtonian Magazine. Apparently, Lindy is poised on the threshold of being launched into exotic stratosphere of yuppie lifestyle magazines. We can share the same pages with "romantic getaways" at $600 per night. Soon, the arugula grazing set may be having their 1940s hairstyles done at Elizabeth Arden and wearing zoots by Yves St. Laurent. How soon will it be when those personal ads will read something like "Ivy Power Lawyerette seeks tall, distinguished, successful professional man who is comfortable in High Drape pants; must do aerials." The Cunningham band was in fine form.
After the jam, some of the ladies were so motivated by Brent Sessions' solo that they tossed underwear at him. Lindy Hop's first sex symbol has emerged!
From: Cameron Sellers
The JAM was crowded at Americas. I don't know what was in the water or if the star were aligned improperly or maybe it was that reporter from Washingtonion and a photographer, but the line of participants to enter the JAM was longer than the line of planes waiting to take off at Dallas Ft Worth Airport.
Tom C. was great as always and so was Robin with her lovely
voice. He played a mean King Porter Stomp and an unbelievably
fast song towards the end of the night that I can't remember. I
found someone who almost do the California Shag better than
Carolyn. Her name is Laura and she picks up moves about as fast
From: Ellen Werther
Ellen' s Choice --- It was a dilemna I hope to never have to face again....an evening of dancing--on the night of the women's olympic finals in figure skating. I knew the outcome of the olympics, but being a skating freak, I wanted to see the competition for myself.... Yet, I also wanted to dance...and to hear Drum Boogie yet one more time. I got the best of both worlds at America, where I watched most of the skating competition on the TV The jam won out over Tara Lapinski--I got to see half of her long program and then fled over just in time to grab Arnold to do that thing WE do with a little shag thrown in. As a special treat, thanks to Carole, we got to throw undergarments at Brent Sessions--Now THAT was fun, which makes me wonder.. Am I as mature and adult as I fancy myself to be? Please, no one answer that!
Finally, we hear from The Man, himself. (We want to know who wrote "Be my Love Monkey" on one pair of unmentionables that was tossed his way...)
From: Brent Sessions
Hi, Frank & Carole!
To that end, I play to encourage those feelings. I love playing this music, and it pleases me to no end that others enjoy it as much as I do. And I certainly enjoy the connection with the dancers. Who ever minded being a sex symbol? Flying underwear in its own way tells me that I'm doing my thing the right way. And I really appreciate the recognition!
Thanks again, guys!
ps. Tell the gang that I found it fascinating to experience this inner layer of the Dance Culture. /grin
Saturday February 21, 1998
We were at Glen Echo to enjoy a very sprited performance by Daryl Davis. The place was very crowded and it looked like a very big night for the Swing Dance Committee. We got there at 8:30 and people were already parking on the grass. Daryl played a very good mix of songs and there was plenty of Lindy material available.
We had a very nice jam and we were even joined by Daryl himself who did "Around the World" with Debra. Daryl is a truly great musician -- he always has a fantastic sound, even though he never shows up with the same band twice. This evening, he had a fellow who doubled on sax and clarinet who added a whole lot to the performance.
Sunday February 22, 1998
We discovered a WONDERFUL restaurant. They have an all-you-can-eat sushi buffet and the three sushi chefs were fantastic to watch. When I first went to the line, I counted fourteen different types, but during the course of the day, there must have been at least 30 others. We were the only non-orientals there. The only sign that was in English read "To Make Wasabi hotter, stir in counterclockwise direction". Wasabi is sort of like "Japanese Dristan" or "Samurai LSD".
I thought that it was proper to select a few pieces of sushi and artfully arrange them on a tray. This is apparently not so. I saw a very small Japanese woman return from the line with a dinner platter piled high with sushi. I like the "wasabi rush", so I coat my sushi thick with the green stuff and then sprinkle on a drop of soy sauce. (Gay gets on my case for that.) I was pleased to see an elederly Japanese man do the same thing. They also had soups, tempura, chicken and pork barbecue, big chunks of oranges and sweet rice water. Green tea and iced tea were offered as beverages. $6.95 for all you can eat on Sundays from 11:00am - 3:00pm. They also play big band as the background music. There was no room to dance, however.
Oh, yes. The restaurant is called Noda Ji ("Our Treasure"), Tall Oaks Shopping Center, 12022 North Shore Drive, Reston, VA. (703)-318-9494. It is worth the drive.
Cameron had an exciting weekend:
From: Cameron Sellers
After surviving my ninth parachute jump and first circumcision, I eagerly headed for Americas to celebrate no injuries. I ended up dancing with a little more enthusiasm than normal and enjoyed every dance that I did. Bernstein played a couple of great Nat King Cole songs called Paper Moon and LOVE (I think that's the name).
For those who haven't come out, it is a great place to
practice. Tom gets the entire resaurant so there is plenty of
dance space and you are not confined to the traditional area.
People dance all over the place. So pay your five bucks to
Bernstein and check out the place.
Monday February 23, 1998
We were home, catching up on the website while Cameron was out dancing:
From: Cameron Sellers
A University of Maryland student showed up with a camera crew
to do a story on Lindy. This has been a great week of exposure
for the Lindy scene.
Tuesday February 24, 1998
We were at Vienna Grille along with the rest of the gang. Iver has dreamed up a whole bunch of new aerials for us, so we spent the evening practicing several of them. Steve Carlan from Santa Barbara dropped in, and it is always good to see him again. He tells us that Lindy out there is being swamped by teenagers as well. Believe me, from my correspondence with fellow web-masters, Lindy is a phenomenon in the making. And, we celebrated the birthdays of Beverley Bixler and Ray Keaney. Heidi Eastham sent up the most wonderful heart-shaped fruit torte that I have ever seen. It really looked like something from Gourmet magazine! Mark Ormsby made a wonderful apple crumb cake. The Vienna (Grille) Boys Choir shook the rafters once more with their rendition of "Happy Birthday"
Wednesday February 25, 1998
We spent the day in Central Pennsylvania. The Travel Guide has our report on Greencastle, PA (very good), Mercersberg, PA (charming) and Chambersburg , PA (interesting). A good day for vinatge and thrift stores, plus two great restaurants. When we got home, we really enjoyed the PBS series on The 40s, especially the Lindy Hop clips and the two ladies from Mobile, who said, "Men in Mobile don't dance. Well, they'll go to Balls and that but they don't really dance. You can't imagine how much we liked these boys from the Army who wanted to Jitterbug all the time..."
We also got this from Debra:
From: Debra Sternberg
There will be NO Tom Cunningham Orchestra swing dance at America on Friday, March 6. We will, however, return the following week and for every week thereafter until perpetuity, as far as I know! I'm going to have a rare date with my Big Boo-Boo boyfriend Bobby. Ed Burak is having a dance out there in Marshall, Virginia, and I'm sure would be delighted to host a huge influx of suddenly-homeless dancers! I'm sure that Uncle Frankie will list details of Big Ed's dance. If you don't go there, stay home and give yourself a facial and do some laundry!
And finally, I've got one more spot open for the 1940s Hairdo Party. I want to limit it to 10 gals so we get the attention we so richly deserve. If this is successful, perhaps we can make it an on-going series!
Love to all, whom I hope to see on the dance floor (but I
don't mean LITERALLY ON THE DANCE FLOOR),
Thursday February 26, 1998
Carole, and I made a repeat pilgrimage to the "Zoo Bar" to hear Sidney Banda and friends. Those of you who don't know, this place -- directly opposite the National Zoo on Connecticut Avenue -- is one of the city's great neighborhood bars. It is located in a large office complex that houses most of the city's psychiatrists and psychologists (it is commonly known as the "Freud Hilton"). The staff is incredibly friendly, but there is --- well --- no real dance floor. There is a small area in which the indoor-outdoor carpeting has been worn down to a point that one couple can do something like Lindy Hop.
Sydney Banda is fantastic. He holds forth on Soprano, Alto, and Tenor sax with equal fluidity and can evoke artists like Babe Russin, Vido Musso, Charlie Parker, Stan Getz and ---yes--- even Kenny G. He recognized us from three weeks before and led into "Route 66" without our even asking. The best thing was --- no cover! AND the food is good. Sidney is there on the last Thursday of the month, so watch out for him. Anyone seeking to book a relatively inexpensive act for a small affair should SERIOUSLY consider Sidney. Write us for details.
Friday February 27, 1998
Once again, We had dinner at America. This was a Good Thing because the place was packed. It is worth the extra dollars to have the waiters bring you ice-water. We'd like to mention Carole and Harrison Pledger, who have been at the Friday gatherings since they started. They have gotten the Lindy bug and want us to teach them some of our LEHI moves before they take a "Big Bands Cruise". Sounds great.
Also, there was a whole table full of high school kids who had a complete dinner AND showed us what they could do. Thanks to them for supporting America in a way that the Guy in New York will notice. Debra Brooks offers this:
From: Deborah Brooks
It was great being back at America after a couple month hiatus. Despite the hard floor and crowds, it has a wonderful ambiance and everyone always looks so spiffy. Frank was particularly dashing in his tux and Shriner's fez. For the jam, the Tom Cunningham Orchestra should have been playing "Fly Me to the Moon". Steve and Christy executed a fly that was so high that she could have done an extra back somersault and STILL landed on her feet! Of course, with those long legs they start out about a foot above the rest of us but I was still pretty wowed. At the end of the evening, the members of TCO circled the dance floor and it was an incredible feeling to have the music surround you as you danced. It really felt like the music was lifting you up and carrying you along. It goes down as a dance highlight in my book.
Cameron was also there:
From: Cameron Sellers
This week's theme is hot! America was extremely hot. And I'm not talking about the band, even though Tom C. was. But with the mixture of the heater in the restaurant, the unseasonably warm weather, and 247 dancers, the place was hot.
The band was good, so was Brent, the dancers looked like they were having fun, and Tom and Deb looked good in the JAM. Even though it was hot, America was fun.
Tom C. will not be at America this Friday, March 6. So
everyone come to Marshall and support Ed who is teaching lindy
out there in the sticks.
Saturday February 28, 1998
We were at Glen Echo for the Tom Cunningham dance, getting our "Double Shot of TCO". Approximately 748 others shared our choice of venues for the evening. We heard that Jimmy and the Blue Dogs drew a big crowd at the Avalon, so it looks like everyone is having a good time in this rapidly growing swing environment. We sought out some of the high school students that we had helped at the last TCO affair at Glen Echo --- they were back with a lot of their friends. The first group had done some practicing or had gotten some more lessons, because they were out there doing swingouts and tandem Charleston. The new arrivals were trying very hard. So, when we hear "The kids can't dance" we continue to say, "wait a few weeks and they will be better than we are!"
Sue Fedor has this review -- which she was so kind as to send me TWICE because I lost it in the middle of our hair-pulling technical problems.
From: Sue Fedor
Some scenes are forever transfixed in one's mind...and one scene that I will carry vividly to that great ballroom in the sky is of FRANK MORRA standing between the carousel and the bathroom building at Glen Echo, crying out plaintively into the night, "THEY'RE STARTING THE JAM EARLY. HURRY UP!"
Steve and I heard this clarion call just as we were arriving on the scene...late as usual. Somehow, we managed to enter, pay admission, muscle our way to the front of the crowd, get Tom K.'s eye contact AND be in the jam to debut our new move. How did they get there before we did?
My leg is in much better shape, but I've lost two weeks of dancing (and rehearsing) therefore, Steve and I have dropped our ASDC aspirations. That, and we'll be plenty busy the week leading up to the Battle of the Bandz (which, I think was Tom K.'s strategy for keeping many of us out of ASDC.)
Tom Cunningham and the band were fabulous as usual. I had the special treat of dancing with Howie (Randi Sue's betrothed) for a couple of songs. One, in particular, was SO LONG that he danced every single move he knew, a few he had just remembered, and made a few up. Not bad for someone who's only been dancing for a few months--and from what I hear--would rather be playing volleyball. I'm just glad we weren't playing volleyball, cuz I know for sure he would have wasted me.
The dance contest, as usual, ended in controversy, albeit understandable, once again. Dave Dabbondanza is fabulous. Steve Cowles was out there dancing with Carolyn (I don't care how good she is...when will you guys figure out that HER BOYFRIEND is arbitrating the applause-o-meter? You lose automatically when you team up with her.) The twinz: Carla and Carrisa were out there too....but sorry gang. CAMERON SELLERS DID ANOTHER FISH FLIP only this time, it was with a woman who looked old enough to have graduated high school. What I mean by this is that Cameron really proved his manhood. We were so amazed that we hardly noticed anything else. Not the beautifully executed kips and flips from Steve and Caroline, not Dave's flashy footwork, not even the twinz cuteness in stereo.
What cinched it for Cameron was when he leaped into his partner's arms during the applause...and she dropped him! Since the Tom Cunningham pit crew ran out of beverages by 10 pm...I was desparate to open up the bottle of cider as it was the only beverage in sight. My housekey and Stan's knife teamed up to get the bottle opened. Cameron's partner and I drank daintily out of the little plastic glasses while Cameron swigged straight from the bottle like a sailor.
A Lindy collision occurred during Moonlight Serenade when Tobias and Karalee tripped right over my feet as I laid back into a dip. Yes, even on slow tunz, the Lindy Hoppers are just a bunch of klutzes. They'd kick us out of a real ballroom, if we ever dared to show up.
Most folks were off to the American City Diner in Bethesda to wait endlessly for bad food. Buck was off to Vermont to have a near-death experience with a snowboard. Steve and I, however, were headed home to watch our new videotape of "Swing Fever" and "Hellzapoppin'" I'm not sure what was stranger, the movie Hellzapoppin', or the Canadian commercials interspersed throughout. Yes, lawyers advertise in Canada too.
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