Hello! I’m still here!
Had a stupid busy few months, though. November-February is THE busiest time of year. End of year wrapping up, christmas drama, new year drama. But here, in this post: no drama. Soz, doods. Later in the year, maybe.
Here is what I did:
Went to Stockholm for christmas. Very nice, thanks.
- Went to Snowball for the first time. My first hotel event (we don’t do them in Australia), and I can’t say I’m a huge fan. I could have been anywhere in the world. Yes, it’s a nice hotel, yes it’s great being so close to your room (there was that one time I went to bed at 11pm so I could get up at 4.30 for a 5am shift), and yes it’s all good. But you could be anywhere. Snowball is a good event, btw. I’m a bit tired of Gordon Webster, but he does bring the party. Good workshops, great DJs, fun bands.
- Did some volunteer DJing at Snowball. 1000 people in a crowd: that’s a unique experience. It was fun, but I don’t think I can do the 4-7am shifts any more. And I certainly can’t do workshops and DJ in the same week.
- Did some lovely workshops. Accidentally signed up for two streams (tap and lindy hop), and then accidentally did auditions for all the levels. In one one hour session. Got into the highest level of each audition, but it was a bit of a push. Geez I fucking ran between those studios when I figured out I was in the wrong room. What a dickhead. Fyi Peter Strom is REALLY good at running level auditions. Other fyi: intermediates freak about auditions, and ‘advanced’ dancers have a lot to prove. Would not recommend doing the two auditions, btw. Made me fucking laugh when I realised what I’d done, though.
- Why don’t people do workshops at these events? I reckon it’s because they’re spoilt for choice in Europe. Me, I take workshops whenever I can.
- Decided I can’t do workshops and DJ in the same week. I just don’t have the stamina.
Finished off a busy year.
- This was our first year running our classes as an independent business – Swing Dance Sydney. So fuck, we were all a bit tired at the end of the year.
- Was amazed and proud of the hard work AliceH, AliceR, and Laura do teaching and making this project work. And of course, mad props to all the other people who come along each week, DJ, play music, etcetera and so on.
- We completely restructured our classes, switching from drop-in beginners classes to a 6 week block, and it’s been FANTASTIC.
- We brought on more teachers, so now we have four teachers.
- Last year we taught twice a week, we ran a big workshop weekend with live music, international teachers, we did a bunch of other stuff.
- We introduced our code of conduct and began implementing both these sorts of ‘official’ strategies, but also our cultural change strategies (ie how we teach and run events).
- We introduced a 6-weekly social party specifically for our students and beginners. And it’s been grand.
- I travelled to Herrang last year (staff DJ, workshops), to Korea (social dancing!), and to a few Australian cities. It was kind of full on.
Started another busy year.
- We relaunched our new year on the 13th January (I got back to Australia on the 4th), launched our new class venue on the 15th, and launched our new twice-per-month party Harlem on the same day.
- We ran a workshop weekend, Jazz with Ramona, with live music, solo jazz workshops, etc etc. I’m quite proud of the fact that I’ve run a solo jazz workshop weekend every year since forever. And we aren’t stopping.
- We re-discovered why we don’t run workshop events in December, January, and February in Australia. It’s TOO FUCKING HOT.
- We schemed some schemes, and are running a block of ‘performance lindy hop’ classes with the goal of performing at an event in May. That’s going to be fun.
- We are planning a Little Big Weekend with international teachers, an ambitious live music program, perhaps a lindy hop competition, all that jazz. I’ve never run a comp before (not counting jack and jills and founding Hellzapoppin’ years ago), so that’ll be fun. I’m also excited about working with Andrew Dickeson on a ‘house band’ format, where he puts together three different types of bands with similar band members for one weekend. It’s going to be THE BEST EVER. Yes, I admit it. These weekends are really just a rack to hang my musical day dreams on.
- We put on 2 new door managers to help us run our classes.
I have some more schemes on the go.
- Running Little Big Weekend in May.
- Herrang in July for DJing and workshops. Biggie learns.
- Seoul for Seoul lindyfest in October. BEST FUN.
- Consolidating Harlem, adding in too many live bands, of course. And getting back into DJing more often, so I can get my skills back up.
- Getting some tap dance into our class program, because IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE THERE. BECAUSE JAZZ.
- I’m having a think about running film nights/talk nights as well as dance classes. I’m thinking about an ‘intro to swing music’ session on a Wednesday in our class block. I don’t want it to be boring and tiresome, though, the way a lot of ‘DJ workshops’ tend to be. I want it to be interesting and fun. So of course it will start small and end up far too big and elaboration. yolo, right.
And, of course, there are quite a few other things happening in the rest of my life, but I don’t talk about that stuff on internet. No, dickhead, I’m not having a baby.
Personal things you might be interested in (everyone loves gossip): got a bit fatter because godDAMN I love chocolate and sweeties. I fucking love it. Started getting edgier haircuts more often, which is a good thing, because my hair is thick and woolly like sheep hair and it is too HOT and sweaty. Sewed a lot of stuff. Because I love sewing. Including expanding my pattern-invention skills. Bought a kindle. Changed my life. I read so many books, I can’t take fewer than three or four when I travel. But this kindle: love it. It’s like mainlining crack. Finally got quotes for ceiling insulation. Summer is getting hotter and hotter, and we need to get serious. Reminded myself that I hate cold weather. I tried teaching as a follow this year, and it was dumb. I reckon you can’t get really good at leading or following unless you focus on just one. So I’m not doing that again for a while. And I drank far too much tea, stayed up too late at night, and slept too late in the morning. If you add a bunch of good music and dancing to all that, life is pretty good, actually.
But that’s why I haven’t been ranting on the internet.
I just haven’t had time to write and write and write! The last time I wrote anything prose like was on the plane to Sweden. And then my hard drive BROKE just as I got on the plane home, so BOOM, lost that. BOO!