In January I joined the UA SwingCats, the lindy hop club at school. I have since then become an enthusiastic dancer of lindy hop & blues, I’ve learned some great Charleston and a little balboa, and I can’t wait to learn more. Just before I left for Portland, Tucson had its first big lindy weekend, aptly dubbed the Tucson Lindy Bomb by our lindy hop/blues teacher/mentor/friend, Stryder Crown. There we had our first real experience of what a dance weekend full of workshops and dancing that goes until 3a.m. could be. You can find photos of us dancing here, (hopefully) there are quite a few, but there are a bunch of me dancing with Nate and Cid Galicia. It was one of the best weekends in my memory. When I found out that one of Stryder’s friends was putting on a similar event in Portland (indeed, they happen all over the country, this one happened to be in my vicinity) I knew I would have to be there.
Even though I have a pulled ligament in my knee (yes, I know, I know, I shouldn’t have gone dancing at all but it was worth it), I was determined to dance at Come Rain or Come Shine; many people were coming up from Tucson, as well as people from California and Utah who we had met at our event, and I was SO excited to get to see them all and to make new dance buddies.
We hosted my boyfriend Nate, our friend Alyssa who hails from Seattle, Scott from Utah who we had met in Tucson, Kara, another Tucsonan, and my dear friend, Todd, also part of the Tucson lindy scene. Other representatives of the Tucson lindy scene were Jon and Stryder. Friday included a social dance that lasted late into the night. Saturday we had workshops and in the evenings part of the social dance there was also the Jack and Jill competitions for lindyhop and blues, West Coast swing, as well as diversity, which is where a bunch of different music is played and the lead decides if the couple will do west coast or blues or whatever best fits the music. The hitch? The dancers are paired with others with whom they have never danced. It was incredible to see all the awesome dancers groove together.
Sunday also had a bunch of workshops, and we stayed at the late night until the cows came home (read: 4 a.m. and Cid Galicia, one of my favorite djs/blues dancers ever, saved the last dance for me. AWESOME.) and then drove people to the airport and got into bed as the sun was rising. Overall, it was an awesome experience and I met more dancers from all over the place. Plus, Stryder represented us well by winning the blues Jack & Jill and getting 2nd in the Diversity comp! You can see video of one of his dances here.
Overall, it was an incredible weekend and we had a blast; I am so grateful I have friends in the dance community, because it really is a community. There is so much joy at our gatherings, everyone is feeling the music and dancing becuase they love it and they don’t care about how they look or how good their partner is, it’s all about having fun and dancing. Sounds cheesy, I know, but it is what it is. I hope that my knee gets better soon so I can do a ton more dancing and expand my network of hot moves and funkalicious friends.
**For more videos of us dancing, check out my YouTube account. I highly recommend the video of Stryder and Brenda Collins (a very well-known instructor and probably the sexiest follow I’ve ever seen dance) from the TLB.
Addendum: The morning after I wrote this I checked out Yehoodi.com and discovered that both the Munich Lindy Exchange, that happens during Oktoberfest, and a workshop with Frankie Manning, basically the creator of airsteps and lindy hop as we know it, are both over breaks I have from school. I fully intend on dancing with some of the world’s best (and mediocre, probably) overseas! I will be international! Hurray!