Tuesday, November 29, 2005

the koreans

since mlx2005 we've had some fun korean dancers in town to play with. three lovely leads, one shy follow and lots of smiles.

while i barely got to know them over mlx i've since had the pleasure of many dances, laughs and car trips, which has given me more of an opportunity to get know them and find out a little bit about the korean swing scene - in particular the city of Seoul.

considering i had no idea that there was even swing in korea, i'm thoroughly surprised to discover how long it's been around for (about 6 years or so - sortof simular to melb) and how big it is (possibly 800 dancers).

while i've always considered australia to be generally isolated from the wider, global swing scene i think that korea may also be more disadvantaged. they have had far less visiting teachers and are also dealing with a language barrier. it seems that they've only had kevin and carla, solomon douglas and a todd-someone with influential visits - while Oz has had countless visits from many different parts of the world including exchanges, camps and none other than the harlem hot shots.

and even when they do have teachers come out to teach workshops all of the teaching is done via a translator. as someone whom likes to talk about dance theory (to a certain extent) i found this quite exceptional. and when i asked them if they thought it was difficult they only looked at me puzzled - perhaps none of them learn dancing through language but are all much more intuitive learners (like visual, rhythmical etc). possibly it would mean that certain learning personalities would be the only lindyhoppers to survive.

they asked me which dancers i liked and we discussed some different famous dancers from around the globe and it appears that they spend as much time as me searching the internet (being IT nerds would also help) for swing clips to learn from. just like us.

i spotted a digital camera and it also seems that they film themselves dancing and learn from that.

i'm not sure exactly how much influence kevin and carla have had on the scene or if they were already swaying that way but i can definately feel/see/notice certain traits that are simular to kevin&carla students. ...for example the high arm on layouts is something that was very popular in melbourne a few years back, right after K&C were around.

they also have one main studio that they own and can go dancing at every nite and practice at. what a major asset.

there are two main troupes in their town - both ameteur, plus a surplus of smaller groups that get together for various stuff. only one of the three leads that i was chatting to was in a troupe. we got to see some clips taken of the routines performed recently - which were strikingly modern jazz reminiscent. alot of "wiggly hop" type stuff.

someone also suggested that the korean economy is a major disadvantage on the global scale, which would limit the number of visitors they could fly in- or the amount they could travel elsewhere.

i was shocked when they said they had never heard of harrang. what the?

i also asked what were the major differences between melbourne and home in terms of dance styles. it was commented that australian beginners are majorly different than back home. in their general attitude and expressiveness (this is applied to both leads and follows) they are generally quite shy and do not step outside their comfort zone anywhere nearly as much as many of the australian dancers they had seen.
another interesting thing discussed was connection. apparantly right from day one in a beginners class the students are told that tension is the most important thing. that "there will always be tension, whether it be push or pull." that's also really interesting. and explains the feeling that i get when i dance with them. i discussed the locality differences in australia that they may have experienced over mlx (for example the perthies are much more free and relaxed compared to other dancers around Oz.)

i got one of them to show me some of the moves he had lead on me during a dance we had just had and got someone to film it. really complicated moves that require quite alot of technique and remind me very much of an 'oldschool' connection but they've made it work.

can i mention balboa? oh my fricken god!!! one of them is quite nice to do bal with but there is another that has the most amazing wieght change that there is no way in hell that any (beginner even) could miss the fast foot work. i love it, i love it! now how do i work on getting weight changes like that? how?

there is still alot of body rolls etc but are somehow lead.

i wondered about the general korean personality and how much that would effect the overall swing scene of Seoul. would there be that typical sense of pride that i get from many asian cultures? would they have the work ethics of those crazy swedes?

who knows but they sure are fun to hang out with and give my visual communication skills quite a workout - it's like i'm speaking a whole other language and it does get exhausting after some time.

they are currently looking forward to lismore dance camp which i hope they enjoy, but for the moment matt, lotte and i are working on convincing them that harrang is the place to go. and i'm considering that korea might be somewhere to stop over on my way to europe.

Sunday, November 27, 2005


what a crazy crazy time!!

it's definately still one of the most exciting times of the year. every year is different and special in it's own way and this one is no exception. for a while there each one was getting bigger and bolder and almost resembling epic proportions but as a nice change this one was brought back down to size with a decidedly 'social' focus.

for a more detailed idea check out the website here: http://www.mlx2005.com/home.html (and yes that is me in the promo pics)

it really did have an amazing vibe this year, the atmosphere was 100% social. sometimes melbourne can have such a focus on workshops or competitions that they forget to embrace social dancing. and this was one of those fine, fine moments with so many different people brought together in their love for da lindy hop! it was all quite competitively priced as well allowing alot more people than normal to come along and party. my favourite part was seeing all the melbourne people going nuts. like crazy spastic nuts - the way that samlet, lotte and i might go towards the later hours of an evening. infact at both of the friday nite and sat nite after parties the WHOLE room was pumped up into this wild salivating dancing frenzy. it sent chills up my spine.

something that i thought i would really miss about this years mlx would be the lack of visitors (international or teacher-like) but it was juust right. we got treats from all over australia and elsewhere as well. keeping us all teetering on the edge of delirium. including: korea, san fransico, japan, canada, sweden, new zealand and other non-specified areas of the US.

i might just be inlove with the perth boys all over again. i thought i'd gotten it out of my system when i went to visit in april, but apparantly not. they challenge, inspire and move me. it might be the relaxed playfulness of their leading, or the to-die-for weight commitment, or a few simple jazz steps/rhythmical variations ..or the bounce. who knows, but i'm always left begging for more. (one lead was about to demonstrate some balboa for me and said to himself "i want you on that foot" as he clearly switched my weight for me - i almost peeed my pants.)

my attention wasnt always focused on dancing tho, i was on a mad rush to make as many new friends as possible - how could you not when surrounded with so many friendly faces? i was also spending a bit of time taking footage in preparation of a dodgy/ameteur mlx video which after watching what i have is clearly not enough and i just dont seem to have to attention span for filming the entire weekend.

actually if i'm entirely honest i was having a few doubts about my dancing on the whole. not feeling the music necessarily, not feeling like i was giving the leads what they wanted etc etc. feeling generally not all there. i did manage to get my groove back quite distinctly at the after parties - in particular the blues dancing tends to reinvigorate my body.

blues is really where it's at. i'm sorry for all those people who it makes their stomachs turn but i cannot express how good it is. on so many levels too. on sunday nite at one of the late late after parties i found myself having this discussion with people about the relationship of balboa to blues. they are sooo simular it's not funny. the precision and amazing connection that you experience with balboa is exactly what happens in blues but just at a different speed ..and instead of being limited to footwork is spread to your entire body. it's about listening really really carefully. and keeping your body in neutral unless otherwise requested.

after about 4 or 5 blues dances i found myself all loosened up and my spine doing crazy stuff. infact i think i forgot what my posture was meant to be for a fair amount of the weekend after that (i went back to my sway- think ")" ).

i lurve blues dancing! it's more relaxing than yoga. it's better than a massage. it spins squillion of endorphines up as your spinal chord is stimulated. it is ALL about the music. ..and dare i make comparisons to sex. ..but i think you get the idea. and it what most people mistake is that it doesnt actually have to be sexual. sure it happens, this i cannot deny, but it's not actually as common as people think. usually when it does turn sexual is when i want tto walk right away from the dance - ewww, can you say creepy?

so where was i? blah blah blah lack of confidence blah blah blah searching for mojo blah blah blah questioning how to take my dancing to the next level and please these more "advanced" leads. ..so the weekend comes to a close and i'm saying my goodbyes to these excellent leads whom are just laying the compliments* on quite thick. and i think "heck, if this is true, why the hell dont i know this already? and why the hell couldnt it have been said much earlier?"

one of my absolute favourite parts of the weekend was spending time with some fun-filled chicks like chez, kara and dp (and of course the cheese). it was almost like the ladies again with oestrogen floating around everywhere. the naughtiness was most satisfying.

while my actual interests were placed elsewhere over the weekend i also wanted to fall in love with a local melbourne lead whom spontaneously dragged me into a jam circle when i was obviously desperate to get in there. he then proceeded to jam with several other chicks from both melbourne and elsewhere that were not his usual dance partner. ahh, just the way jam circles were meant to be** -social all the way!

anyway it's starting to feel quite distant now and i'm remembering less and less interesting anecdotes for you lucky readers so i may have to draw this post to a close.

*for those who care one highly favoured lead claimed "when i think of melbourne i think of you."
**given such sentiments -please ignore my other jam appearance over the weekend. very far from social.

date wrap up

well it went really really well, for those of you that are interested. we started with lunch at williamstown followed by a walk, then cake and a stroll down the beach.

infact we were having such a nice time with each other that we decided to spend dinner together as well, except i'm wondering if this was such a great idea in hind sight. it was infact a reunion dinner for him with some mates from a trip he'd gone on earlier that year. this was not an ideal situation and i found myself painfully bored (and slightly uncomfortable). thankfully i did manage to avoid meeting his mother that day as well. phew.

so without going into the boring nitty grittys of the situation i feel that the whole day went quite nicely and i'm looking forward to seeing him again. it's a lovely refreshing change not to worry about those stupid mind games that get played in this early stage. its like: we like each other, so we'll spend some time with each other and if it goes somewhere = cool. if not= oh well, no hard feelings. i couldnt ask for anything better.

anyway, i'm still contemplating exactly how much detail i actually want to post on this blog...

Friday, November 25, 2005

i have a date!

i have a date!

for those of you that know me, you might realise that this is the first thing even vaguely related to a date that i have have had in a really long time. i'm quite nervous too. although i had previously wondered if the other party would out-nervous me. but thankfully this should not be the case.

i was even concerned about what we might end up doing. and was brainstorming as many ideas as possible, but they were not really needed in the end. so it will be a lunch time event, which is totally not scary. thankgod.

some pals insisted i see Hitch to compare dating notes which just made me a little more nervous, and i can just see all of those things going wrong in the exact same way. there could be: injuries, stained clothes, time co-ordination issues, food poisoning, communication breakdowns. what fun!

dont worry i'll make sure i keep you updated with the outcome of the event. just wish me luck.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


hi all. this is the first post for my new blog. not sure how i intend to use this space just yet, but i suspect that it may or may not take on a replacement of my former blog. vague enough?

i have high hopes of creating a more interesting layout than the majorly flawed modblog experience.

feel free to comment and chat about nothing, cause i sure know i will be.

anyways, i want to get back into this set up. i'll post proper soon.