I must be crazy. I’m doing a blogging challenge

Here’s a post I wrote for the Swing Dynamite Blog.  This is the first of a 30 day blogging challenge.  This is the first time I do any kind of blogging challenge and I’m a bit nervous cause I am not the kind of person who can blog every day and worse, on command.  I am the kind of totally random blogger that some days will publish 5 posts and then nothing for four days.

Wish me luck!

30 Day Lindy Hop Challenge

Opening night of the 100 strangers project exhibit

Hello from the middle of nowhere

Hi there, dear blogosphere.

I’m at a golf resort in the middle of Effing Nowhere, QC. surrounded by about 800 swingers… er…. swingdancers from all over North America.

Said swingdancers are about to get hammered since all the competitions are over and tomorrow is a holiday for us Canucks.

Our school got a ton of medals as usual and everybody is ready to party hard (we don’t allow our students to drink until the comps are over)

Wi Fi sucks big time here and I don’t even know if I’ll be able to post this.

The party room is open and I hear they are doing some sort of shot (the MC told us that anybody going there should bring an umbrella and open their mouths).

Continue reading

CSC, here we go!

Tomorrow, we’re all off to the Canadian Swing Championships.  Three days of dancing, competing, more dancing, no sleep and then on Sunday night, after the Award Ceremony, time for partying like there is no tomorrow :)

I’d like to share something Byron Alley -our head coach, sent to all of us last night (emphasis is mine):

It’s important to remember that CSC itself doesn’t *really* matter. Nobody lives or dies based on our performance (at least not until the CSC 2112 Hunger Games edition), and it’s really not likely to earn you a promotion at work (sorry!) I’ve danced in teams that have placed 1st in some of the biggest swing competitions, and it was awesome, but not because of the trophy. (Well, maybe a little bit because of the trophy.)

The only lasting, valuable thing is the feeling of working together and accomplishing something beautiful. It’s about discovering that some of our preconceived limitations are illusions, and that we are amazingly capable human beings. And it’s about learning that when we work together to accomplish things, trying to ignore the needs of our egos and to be patient with our partners’ and teammates’ idiosyncrasies, that we discover that successfully working together is just as worthy a goal as the goals that motivate us to be a team in the first place.

We spend a lot of time focusing on the negatives, because we want to get rid of them. I’m a very critical coach because I believe it’s important to seek our full potential. I don’t want you to sell yourselves short. Personally I don’t care if you have great posture or hunch your shoulders. I don’t care if you wait for your partner to lead, or shoot down the line like a rabid beast. It doesn’t make you less of a person, and some of the most inspiring dances I’ve seen have been with a Mr. Offbeat Armleading and Ms. Wiggly Hairtrigger. Who the hell cares? The reason I care is that I want to share with you the joys of taking your dancing and partnership to higher levels. And especially, because I want to hold you to the standards you’re capable of.

But at this point, before the competition, it’s especially important to focus on the positive. It’s crucial to think about what you WILL do, not what you will avoid. And it’s crucial to focus on your confidence that you’ve gotten this far, and you can get out there and do amazing things.

I thought that was very inspirational.  At least to me.  Even though this year I am not competing with any of the teams.  As for the individual divisions, well… we’ll see.  I don’t feel ready.  I didn’t get much one-on-one training.  Only one, in fact.  Add to that I couldn’t get my dance shoes either, so I think I won’t compete at all.

Also, I wasn’t able to get a new laptop so I won’t be deejaying either.  You might be thinking, what’s the point of going then?  And I’d say you’re right.  I even sent a message to the Event Director explaining the laptop issue and he insisted that I went anyway.  So I’m going.  At least, I’ll make a lot of noise when my teams are competing and when N is competing.  And taking videos.

Besides, it’ll be great to see old friends from all over the continent too.

So CSC, here we go!


Trips to the bookstore are dangerous!

Fall 2004. On my way to the University of Ottawa bookstore to buy my Molecular Biology textbook.

I get to the University Centre and the centrecourt is packed with booths, tables, stands and people. As it turns out it is Club’s weeks which happens at the beginning of every semester. Cool, I think. But! I am on a mission. I’ve been told by my Molecular Biology professor that there was a screw up on the requisition and very few textbooks were ordered so I need to hurry up and get mine before they are sold out…. then I see some people dressed in Vintage (around the WW2 period) seemingly dancing in one of the corners. Naturally, my scientific mind wants to know what is that all about. I get closer and then I hear the music (hearing impaired here). And what do I hear? Wonderful Swing music!

I’ve been fascinated all my life with classic movies and particularly with Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers, Gene Kelly movies. If I didn’t like my iPhone so much I would say that I was definitely born in the wrong decade. But I disgress. My heart is racing, who are those people dressed exactly like in my beloved movies, doing what I had seen so many times in those old Turner and MGM films from the first half of the 20th century?

Now of course I absolutely HAVE to talk to those people and find out how I can get involved. It is the U of O Social Dance Club, they say (now known as SwingUO) and would you like to sign in for the term? how much is it? I ask – you know, broke graduate student and all. $15 they say. Per class? I ask. No, no, for the whole semester, they say. Sweet! where do I sign up?

That’s how I met Michelle, Bruce, Magali and Olivier, the founders of the club. I was hooked from day one. As a side note, I found out years later that I was the very first student to sign up and that they didn’t want to let me see the sign up sheet cause they were afraid I wouldn’t join if I saw there wasn’t anyone else there.

Magali and Olivier were my first Swing teachers. They thought me my first swing steps (step, step, rock step). It was Olivier who encouraged me to go to the Ottawa Swing Dance Society weekly dances.

And the rest is history, as they say. Within three months I was an executive member of the OSDS, six months later I was the house DJ. In 2005 I hired Byron Alley – then co-owner of the Swinging Air Force in Montreal, to come and teach a workshop in Ottawa. In 2006 I finally managed to convinced him (with the help of Bryn Morin and Natalia Rueda) to move to Ottawa and start a swing dance school here… but that’s another story.

The moral of this story? beware of trips to the bookstore. You never know where they are gonna take you!

UPDATE (06-06-12): You might end up in a book and/or on the walls of a very well know Blues Bar in Ottawa

100 Strangers Project Opening night