Nov 25, 2010

Christina's Pittstop Report!

Lots of dancers from Columbus and other nearby scenes headed out last weekend to the 10th annual Pittstop Lindy Exchange in Pittsburgh, PA, November 19-21, 2010.  One of our Columbus regulars was kind enough to offer up her experience at the event so you can hear what you missed and get excited for next year! 

Christina's Pittstop Trip Report

This past weekend, I went to my first but the tenth annual Pittstop Lindy Hop.  And it blew my mind.
Pittstop is a lindy exchange, which is a type of event that’s basically just dancing all weekend.  There are no classes, but there are dances Friday evening and late night; Saturday afternoon, evening, and late night; and Sunday afternoon.  Exchanges are held specifically for out of town dancers to come and partake of the dancing in the host city, and to make friends with people from other scenes.  I’ve been dancing socially for a few years, but I just started attending this type of event within the last year.  And I hadn’t been to anything as big as Pittstop, so I was really looking forward to it. 

Immediately upon reaching the Friday evening dance venue, our group was swarmed with hugs and greetings. The lovely registration table ladies wanted to know if a bus had just arrived, because our arrival coincided with several other groups from Ohio and the lobby was a bit of a tornado. The actual Friday evening dance was a bit of a blur, but I do know that I spent more time dancing than standing around. (A note on dancing at exchanges: there are usually more follows than leads, so I did do a lot of asking people to dance, but never all weekend was I flat out turned down for a dance.  Sometimes you’ll get deferred, but the leads are overwhelmingly gracious and mindful of who they’ve promised dances to.)

Friday late night was when we really started throwing down.  And so did everybody else. The band played lots of lindy and some blues, and in a smaller room the DJ was a spinning slower stuff and some blues. I had my first dances with the incredible Baltimore crew.  Our group closed out the late night, with the music getting killed around 4:30am, before heading out to our host’s house to crash, all 11 people that were staying there (Thanks, Jay and parents!).

Saturday we went to all three dances, the afternoon, evening, and late night.  The music just kept getting more awesome, with the Saturday evening dance music provided by the Blue Vipers of Brooklyn.  These guys, and the Boilermaker Jazz Band on Sunday afternoon, were my favorite music of the weekend.  Saturday evening was also “dress to impress” night, and everybody came all fancied up, which was super fun and, with the beautiful ballroom we were dancing in, evocative of a more genteel time.  I usually dress to the minimum level of formality, and am often guilty of prioritizing comfort over swishy for dance clothes, but I decided to go all the way to ‘black tie’ for this, and the result was delightful.  I don’t know if I’ve ever gotten asked to dance that much.  I haven’t taken a census, but I feel like all the ladies in their dresses inspired the leads to step up on the asking for a dance front. 

I think my favorite part of exchanges is dancing with people I’ve never met before.  This weekend I had some absolutely magical first dances.  (Hey there, Baltimore, NYC, Pittsburgh!)  Some of those magical first dances turned into repeated dances over the course of Saturday and Sunday, which is particularly delightful because then you know it’s not just you: the lead had a good time as well.

I was neck deep in a groove by Saturday late night, deeply relaxed and happy and having a wonderful time.  This makes for some of the best dances, with new people and familiar people. I had some of my best dances ever with leads from Columbus at Pittstop, just because dancing for days straight will get you in the zone like nothing else. Another wonderful thing about exchanges is that you get to dance with people with no preconceived “status” attached to them.  I know that I sometimes get self-conscious and dance worse with excellent leads, due to nerves, but when no one has told you this is one of the most sought-after leads in City X or so-and-so is an instructor from such and such an east coast city with a huge dance scene, there are no expectations to meet, only awesome-pie to eat as the dance unfolds.  Blisteringly fast lindy to tempos usually reserved for Balboa and extra-sultry blues are both good ingredients for awesome-pie, in case anyone was wondering.  I could easily gush about the wonderfulness of Saturday’s late night for three more paragraphs.

Sunday afternoon I don’t remember any of the particular songs played but I do remember that I floated in a pool of good feeling about the music all afternoon.  The Boilermakers played a killer-diller, smoked-cat, pickled-hellyeah version of Minor Swing for the jam circle, but, to be honest, I didn’t watch most of the jam circle.  [editor note- this is what a jam circle looks like!]  After having hastily scrambled up on the corner of the stage to get a view, I ended up paying the most attention to the clarinet solos, which induced spontaneous tap-dancing.  I don’t tap dance.  But I did.  And then after the circle broke up, to just adulate the band while they took another round of solos, the whole crowd was stomping on the floor in time and if you stood still you could feel it undulate.  I spent almost the whole afternoon dancing, with very little sitting, trying to wring the most out of every last minute, and when the music ended I almost cried. 

Saying goodbyes turned somewhat lengthy, between promises to see each other soon and spelling of last names and pictures and video-taking.  Leaving was sad.  I wished I was staying longer, but we rolled out of Pittsburgh around 6pm… and lindy bombed a Subway on our way home.  We made it back to Columbus in pretty good time, my carpool buddies dropped me off at home.  I was too high off my weekend to compose anything meaningful for Facebook, though I wanted to say something, so I threw “omg pittstop” up on my wall.  It seemed to sum up my feelings at the time pretty well.  Exchanges are fun but this one was especially fun!  It is fun to carpool to them! And I made new friends!

And I can’t wait for next year!


Thanks to Christina for writing that to share with us!

Editor's note: 
Another review:

Nov 8, 2010

History of The Cupcake Aerial

Those who attended Rocktober 2010 here in Columbus, Ohio may have had the chance to learn a crazy aerial from Kevin St. Laurent and Jo Hoffberg, called The Cupcake.  The girl is launched onto the guy's shoulders and he twists to the side to prep before spinning her around his head to the front where he holds her hips against his torso while tipping so her hands smack the floor, then flinging her back up with a slight flip to then drop catch her, pop her to a squatted position, twirl her under one arm and then slam her into a cross-body lunge.

If your head is spinning at this point, allow me to simply demonstrate with a video:

It's kind of amazing.  Perfect this one and you'll have everyone impressed, including Grandma!  

Kevin and Jo explained a little of the history of The Cupcake during the classes, but Jo just posted on her blog about it with video so you can see the complete line from So You Think You Can Dance, to Jeremy and Laura at Camp Hollywood, to Kevin and Jo at Lindy Focus and the origin of the 'cupcake' name.  Go read about it on Jazz it up with Jo

Nov 4, 2010

Nov 14 Hot Jazz Concert and Food Drive

The Central Ohio Hot Jazz Society announced in their November newsletter that it's fall harvest time!  SwingColumbus dancers have been supporting these concerts for several years and the bands are so talented and a delight whether you're dancing or sitting.  They're so kind to give us ample dance floor space in front of the stage so we can enjoy the music with every muscle in our bodies!

Team SwingColumbus and The Lindyroos will be performing during two of the band breaks! (most likely at 5pm and 6pm) 

From the November COHJS newsletter:

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 1:00 - 7:00 PM
The Makoy Center (in the Burgundy Room) 5462 CENTER ST., HILLIARD, OH
Drinks and snacks will be for sale.

Join us and mix with good friends, relatives, fellow jazz fans, swing dancers and great musicians at Makoy Center for the 2010 edition of COHJS's annual FALL HARVEST OF BANDS AND HOLIDAY CHARITY EVENT as we toast the onset of year-end festivities and simultaneously offer the opportunity to spread good cheer among the less fortunate via charitable food donations.  Rejoining us in this worthy endeavor, as they have with such distinction in previous Harvests, will be these ever-popular Traditional Jazz bands :

Ray Heitger's CAKEWALKIN' JASS BAND, Toledo
The NORTH SIDE JAZZ BAND, from right here in Columbus

North Side Jazz Band - 1:00 & 4:00 pm
Classic Jazz Stompers - 2:00 & 5:00 pm
Cakewalkin' Jass Band - 3:00 & 6:00 pm


The dual purposes of your COHJS Fall Harvest of Bands AND Holiday Charity Event are to present an entertaining program packed with Our Kind of Music to our membership and the Central Ohio community, while at the same time recognizing a desire to help the less fortunate in our area, particularly at the holiday season. This year we urgently request that our attendees bring the at least 2 non-perishable food items which we then contribute to a charity soup kitchen in the spirit of the holiday and to help us all discharge our charitable responsibilities as in years past.

Oct 24, 2010

Lindy Hop in Toy Story

Thanks to our friends on Facebook for tipping us off to this Pixar animation short that contains some classic Lindy Hop moves between the Toy Story characters Jessie and Woody:

According to the blog "Bleeding Cool" this short "was made to play in the intermission of the Toy Story and Toy Story 2 3D double feature that played a year or so ago" in theaters.  I do love how fitting the rag dolls are for the shape of Lindy Hop with it's yo-yo like patterns bringing partners away and toward each other.

The source for this sequence seems to be Todd Yannacone and (my hero) Frida Segerdahl dancing during the 2006 Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown back when it was in Minneapolis (now held in New Orleans).  Watch the very first couple in this video and look for the 'baby carry' position at about 50 seconds in.

Now I don't know the back story on this, but I doubt Todd and Frida ever even knew about this. Contrast that with another Toy Story dance sequence and surely these dancers and choreographers and musicians were paid and recognized for this...

Hey Pixar - hire our Lindy Hoppers!

Oct 22, 2010

Tribute Dances by Lindy Hoppers

The Lindy Hop world tends to favor dancers creating their own choreography, but sometimes it's appropriate to honor our forebears with a tribute dance. A few of these have caught my eye lately so I thought I'd do some original/modern video pairings for you to appreciate.

First, Sharon Davis recently did a tribute to Gene Kelly during the Southern Belle Swing Bash in Atlanta, Georgia. First, the original:

and Sharon's lovely, feminine take on the routine:

She did an awesome job, didn't she?

Next up, Jo Hoffberg put together a hula routine for The Jump Session held in Seattle before Camp Jitterbug in May 2010.  The Atomic Cherry Bombs were her backup dancers.

The original:

The tribute:

Again, a fantastic recreation! Jo wrote about the experience on her blog in case you'd like to learn about teaching choreography to people halfway around the world!

Lastly, a Lindy Hop routine that's a tribute to another Lindy Hop routine, but with a twist. The original was created by Kevin St. Laurent and Carla Heine 'back in the day', and was recreated in hip hop style by Max Pitruzzella and Tommy Blacharez from Montpellier, France (who later formed the Ninjammerz).

The original from 2003 (?) that's pre-YouTube! Forever ago...

The parody from 2006, which made Tommy and Max suddenly much more well known in the Lindy world!

Rocktober 2010 Jack and Jill Results

Here are the results from the Rocktober 2010 Jack and Jill Finals!

I'll use the ladies' outfits to point them out in the video:
1st place - Jon Tigert and Ellen Huffman (blue skirt)
2nd - Chris Schoenfelder and Caitlin Baird (red dress)
3rd - Mark Calkins and Mandy Spencer (red skirt)
4th - Erwin Amurao and Dani Dowler (black and white dress)
5th - Adam Sheltz and Kathryn King (yellow dress)

Congrats to all of you for making the finals! It was a blast to watch you dance!

Oct 19, 2010

Rocktober 2010 Instructors and Jam Video

More highlights video from the weekend -  Kevin and Jo performed their award-winning routine to the song 'Communication' and Patrick and Natasha debuted a brand new routine!  World premiere, people.

Someone also caught some video of the jam that broke out right after the band finished playing for Jack and Jill finals.  I think the band was impressed.... :)

Patrick and Natasha

Kevin and Jo

Jam Circle

Posts about Rocktober are on Patrick and Natasha's blog, and on Jo Hoffberg's blog. We had blast with you guys!   Thanks for working your butts off for us!

Oct 18, 2010

Rocktober 2010 Showcase Competition Results

The 'Any Swing Goes' Showcase competition was so much fun to watch!  We were so proud of all the dancers who worked so hard and put together some really fantastic routines, many for the first time.  You rocked our world!

The results:
1st - Mark & Ellen
2nd - Jon & Mandy
3rd - Mark & Shannon
4th - John & Kathryn
5th - Travis & Ali
6th - Chris & Liz
7th - Brian & Dani

And now the videos!

Mark and Ellen

update- Mark and Ellen's routine was blogged about recently on the topic of creating your own routine and the blogger notes places they'd changed/upgraded between ILHC in August and Rocktober in October.  It's an interesting read!

Jon and Mandy

Mark and Shannon

John and Kathryn

Travis and Ali,

Chris and Liz

Brian and Dani

Thanks to all the competitors!  We're already looking forward to next year at ROCKTOBER!

Go 'like' our Facebook page so you can keep up on all the happenings with SwingColumbus!

Oct 11, 2010

Rocktober 2010 Evening Dances

The complete Rocktober experience includes up to 10 hours of workshops, 12 hours of social dancing, and maybe even a hotel room.  If that's a bit much for you, we hope you can still join us at the evening dances on Friday, October 15 and Saturday, October 16.  We even have a spectator pass for Saturday so you can see your favorite competitors and listen to a live band!

There are a variety of ticket types available so that you can come experience Rocktober with us! 

Pass Type Advance At the Door Member Discount Student Discount
Friday Evening Dance $12 $15 $3 $3
Saturday Evening Dance $15 $20 $5 $5
Saturday Evening Spectator Pass N/A $5 N/A N/A

To purchase, go to the Registration Page and click on REGISTER NOW!  Choose Rocktober in the dropdown.  Any applicable discounts will be applied as you fill out the registration form.  After submitting the form, you will then be directed to Google Checkout to pay for your registration. 
Hyatt Regency Columbus
Location: Both evenings will take place in the ballrooms at the
Hyatt Regency Columbus
350 N. High Street
Columbus, OH 43215

Friday Evening Dance - October 15
8:00PM - 2:00AM
Music provided by 4 DJs battling for GREATEST DJ EVER.
Audience vote will determine the winner of each round.  Champion announced at 1:30AM

Saturday Evening Dance - October 16
Music by Todd Stoll's Jazz 2 Go Septet from 9PM to 12:30AM
10:30-11PM - Showcase Competition  (1 couple, 1 song, choreographed)
11:45PM - Instructor and class performances
12:00AM - Jack and Jill Competition  (couples randomly paired, improvised)
12:30AM - Band finishes, Competition results announced
12:30AM-2:00AM - DJ'ed music

Saturday Spectator Pass
Want to check out 200 people dancing, live music, and all those competitions, but you can't dance? (yet!)  For just $5 you can still join in the festivities!  Available (at the door only) for Saturday night

Questions or Feedback
Give us a call at 614-467-0102 or use the contact form to send us a note.  We will get back to you right away!

Workshops - it's not too late!
There is still room to join any of the workshop tracks, including Beginner Lindy Hop, where you'll learn Lindy from SCRATCH - you don't need experience or a partner to join us!  The beginner track includes admission to the evening dance on Saturday.  See past posts for more info on the Beginner Track, and int/adv  instructors Patrick and Natasha and Kevin and Jo!

Oct 4, 2010

Our Resident Rockstar Instructors - Kevin and Jo

It goes without saying that Kevin St. Laurent and Jo Hoffberg are two of THE BEST dancers and instructors out there today.  You rarely get a chance to catch them in the US, they're always shocking our pants off with amazing choreography and effortless aerials, and gosh darn it they're just great people.  We had SO much fun with them last year and the survey comments we received afterward could not have been glowier.  I think we re-booked them during dinner on Sunday night after the last workshop last year. 

Trust us, you want to come to Rocktober in Columbus, Ohio this October 15-17.  Just look at the photos from Rocktober 2009!

Just like last year, Kevin and Jo will be teaching Aerials 1 and 2 at Rocktober, and these are the only classes where you DO need a partner, because we won't rotate.  Aerials 1 is included as an elective in the Intermediate or Advanced workshop pass, and Aerials 2 is an add-on class.  They'll be doing different material than last year, and woah look at this!

They've got all kinds of great performances on YouTube, some of which is in my blog about them last year.  They've had a bang up year with all kinds of accolades and here's just a sampling:

2nd Place in the Classic at ILHC in August

They both made it to the finals of the Solo Charleston at ILHC (Kevin won 1st place!) and Kevin did this adorable hat trick routine for the Cabaret

Here's an awesome video of them with 4 other dancers who make up the Killer Dillers performing in May in Italy

Killer Diller Show at Swing Brother Swing, Bologna Italy, May 2010 from Killer Dillers on Vimeo.

So go!  Get registered for Rocktober 2010 if you haven't already!  It's gonna be AWESOME!

Sep 23, 2010

Our fierce Rocktober Competitors!

This year we've got three competitions at Rocktober and there are some big prizes on the line!  Only the fiercest will remain on the big stage to reap the rewards....

Four DJs will compete for the title of GREATEST DJ EVER
Prizes: 1st Place ~ $150 & Headliner DJ gig for CBUS 6 in May 2011 (and more money!)
  • Erwin Amurao - Columbus, Ohio  (returning Greatest DJ Ever)
  • Brian Tietz - Cleveland, Ohio
  • Jöhn Hölmström - Chicagö, Illinöis
  • Brooke Groberg - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA  
Competitors for the Any Swing Goes Partner Showcase (choreographed routines)
Prizes (per couple): 1st Place ~ $500 / 2nd Place ~ $200 / 3rd Place ~ $100
  • Ellen Huffman & Mark Muthersbaugh - Cleveland
  • Travis Hartman & Ali Lodico - Dayton
  • Dani Dowler & Brian Teitz - Cleveland
  • John Holmstrom & Kathryn King - Chicago
  • Elizabeth Thatcher & Chris Schoenfelder - Louisville
  • Shannon Varner & Mark Calkins - Columbus
  • Jon Tigert & Mandy Spencer - umm... Indiana
**there's room for one more couple!   You can still register!

Rocktober Jack and Jill Contest (dancers enter individually and randomly paired with fellow dancers)
Prizes (per couple): 1st Place ~ $400 / 2nd Place ~ $100 / 3rd Place ~ $50

It's only $15 to enter, so why not?

Let's keep it classy, now!

Go to the ROCKTOBER website!

Sep 22, 2010

Our Rocktober Instructors - Jon and Caitlin

Jon Tigert and Caitlin Baird are teaching the Beginner Lindy Hop track at Rocktober.  They are two boisterous, bouncy, joyful people.  They are amazing dancers and lots of fun to be around.  As instructors they have a passion for introducing Lindy Hop to new dancers and will be bringing all that Lindy love to the beginner track at Rocktober 2010, coming up October 15-17 in Columbus, Ohio

Caitlin dances at Swing, IN 2010  (Photo credit Travis Hartman)

Here's the lowdown on what you get with the beginner track:
  • Three hours and 45 minutes of fun with Jon and Caitlin
  • Admission to the Saturday evening dance with a live band
  • Free muffins and coffee in the morning before the workshop
You're also getting the chance to dance with really fun, amazing dancers from all over the region!  The beginner track is shorter because we don't want to overwhelm you, but it's definitely enough to get you out on the floor at the Saturday night dance.  And with the awesome location of the Hyatt Regency, if you stick around on Sunday there is plenty to see within walking distance in some of the best parts of Columbus!  
    If this is your first time taking a Lindy Hop or swing dance workshop, you should also know:
    • You don't need one bit of experience - they'll start you from scratch
    • You don't need to bring a partner because you'll rotate every few minutes and meet lots of people
    • You don't need special clothes - just be comfortable and wear shoes that don't grip the floor and won't fall off easily.  
    (by the way, if you're completely new to swing dancing, you might like to read our FAQ page)

    Jon Tigert leads group choreography at Swing, IN 2010 (Photo credit Doug Sutton)
    So back to Jon and Caitlin....
    They've been winning some competitions lately!

    At the 2010 Hawkeye Swing Festival in Iowa City,  in the Any Swing Goes competition, Jon won 1st with his partner Mandy, and Caitlin won 3rd with her partner John Holmstrom (who will be in our Rocktober DJ competition!)

    And Jon and Caitlin are also on a team called the Hoosier Hot Shots, and they won 1st place in the TEAM competition at Hawkeye!

    Registration prices go up after Thursday, September 23, so better sign up quickly!
    The Hyatt Regency Hotel discount will also expire, so book your room!

    More about Jon and Caitlin on our website

    Got questions? Contact us!

    Our busy Rocktober Instructors- Patrick and Natasha!

    Patrick Szmidt and Natasha Ouimet are two of our awesome instructors for Rocktober 2010 coming up October 15-17 in Columbus, Ohio!  Have you got your ticket yet?  Early registration is cutting off in a few days, so we wanted to highlight these amazing instructors for you.

    It's been a busy summer for Patrick and Natasha.  Though their home base is in Montreal, Canada they've been living like Rockstars all summer, traveling to teach and compete all over the world.   They've really had great success on the international scene this year and we're excited to see what they'll teach us at Rocktober!

    • Camp Hollywood - California
    • Lindy On The Rocks - Denver, Colorado
    • International Lindy Hop Championships - Washington, D.C.
    • Boston Tea Party - Massachusetts
    • Canadian Swing Championships
    • Lindy Hop Workshop for Swing n' Go - Caen, France
    • Lindy in the Streets - Tel Aviv, Israel
    • Montpellier Swing Jammerz Festival - Montpellier, France

    Here are some of their competition results with a few video links: 
    (competing together unless otherwise noted)

    International Lindy Hop Championships 2010

    Lindy On The Rocks 2010

    Camp Hollywood 2010

    Canadian Swing Championships 2010

    Boston Tea Party 2010

    • 1st place - Advanced Jack and Jill Lindy Hop
    • 2nd place - Open Strictly Balboa
    • 4th place - Open Strictly West Coast Swing (Natasha with Max Pitruzzella)

    And of course, one of the coolest dance videos we've seen this year, Natasha performed with Max, Annie, and Tommy with the band Caravan Palace in front of thousands of spectators at the Montreal Jazz Festival

    Got questions about Rocktober? Contact us!

    Sep 21, 2010

    Highlights from the COHJS September 2010 Newsletter

    Byron Does Louis for COHJS!

    ARMSTRONG TRIBUTE set for September 26 at Makoy Center

    Once again your COHJS is pleased to present master trumpeter Byron Stripling, this time in a special tribute to Louis Armstrong, the legendary musician who transformed early American music and inspired the many other musicians of his time to participate in the formative beginnings and subsequent development of our country's original and unique musical artform, JAZZ.

    Byron, an acknowledged authority on Louis, will give us one of his inimitable talks during intermission about the great influence Armstrong had on the music and musicians of his time, upon Byron himself in his formative years, and ultimately the future of jazz, based on his inpired presentation during Columbus Jazz Orchestra's Armstrong "Hot Five" and "Hot Seven" concerts last spring.  Some of our members and readers were present at the Lincoln THeatre, or have since seen it rebroadcast over WOSU-TV, but we thought it was so well done that we've asked Byron to elaborate on it in a reprise edition tailored especially for us in his own intimate, easy-going style.

    This band of top-drawer musicians will join Byron in presenting the music typical of the New Orleans jazz scene:

    Jim Masters- Trombone
    Hal Melia - reeds
    Sid Townsend - bass
    Jon Eschelman - piano
    Bob Breithaupt - drums

    2:00PM - 5:00PM
    Makoy Center, 5462 Center Street, Hilliard, Ohio
    COHJS Members $15, Non-Members $20, Dance Club Members $10

    EARLYJAS 2010 Fall Jazz Festival in Strongsville, Ohio! 
    September 24 and 25, 2010
    Featuring an all-star lineup of FIVE great jazz bands:

    Yerba Buena Stompers
    Climax Jazz Band
    Buffalo Ridge Jazz Band
    Dave Greer's Classic Jazz Stompers
    Chefs of Dixieland

    More info on the festival's website
    Upcoming concerts from the Central Ohio Hot Jazz Society:

    September 26 - Byron Stripling's Louis Armstrong Tribute
    October 17 - The COAST TO COAST JAZZ BAND
    November 14 - FALL HARVEST OF BANDS with Dave Greer's Classic Jazz Stompers, Ray Heitger's Cakewalkin' Jass Band, and Columbus' own North Side Jazz Band
    COHJS is on Facebook!  

    Find us at
    Invite your friends to concerts, share your jazz photos with us, and stay up to date on the latest hot jazz happenings! 

    The complete newsletter can be read here:

    Early registration cutoff for Rocktober 2010 is THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 23

    We don't mean to shout, but ROCKTOBER EARLY REGISTRATION CLOSES ON THURSDAY!!!  That's September 23rd.  In 2 days!  It's Kevin, Jo, Patrick, Natasha, Jon, and Caitlin.  It's workshops.  It's dancing.  It's gonna ROCK. 

    But first...

    Announcing the DJs for the Friday night DJ BATTLE OF THE CENTURY (what will we call it next year?)

    Erwin Amurao - Columbus, Ohio  (returning Greatest DJ Ever)
    Brian Tietz - Cleveland, Ohio
    Jöhn Hölmström - Chicagö, Illinöis
    Brooke Groberg - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA 

    Winner gets shock, awe, 150 bucks and a headlining gig at CBUS 6 in 2011.  Wicked. 

    First Early Registration AND Hotel Discount Reservation Cutoff is Thursday, September 23

    Register now for the low low price of $80 for the Intermediate/Advanced tracks or $40 for the beginner track.  After Thursday, these prices go up by $10, so tell all your friends!  Don't delay!  

    Why would you have early registration cut off on a THURSDAY, you might ask?   That's because the lovely Hyatt Regency Columbus is only guaranteeing our block of rooms until THURSDAY, so we put everything together so you don't have to remember anything but SEPTEMBER 23, which is also THURSDAY.

    Two important things about the hotel:

    1. It's pimped out.  Just read what the Hyatt's over-eager copywriter has to say about their Standard Double/Double rooms: "City or campus views welcome you to a spacious 338-sq.-ft. room featuring elegant interiors including two double Grand Beds offering ultra-plush pillows, the softest sheeting, and thick down blankets, all piled atop irresistible pillow-top mattresses. Deluxe amenities include spacious bath with exclusive bath amenities, generous work area with wireless Internet access and easy video checkout."   (They also have a pool, people.  If you're going to be a Rockstar, surely you'll need a pool.)
    2. IT'S GUARANTEED TO SELL OUT, so book now, think later!  They have a rather generous cancellation policy.  "Cancel by 3PM 24 hours prior to arrival to avoid 1 night room and tax penalty." 

    It's only 26 days to go before Rocktober 2010 is upon us!   October 15-17 in Columbus, Ohio.  Pack your best leather pants!  (though you may be more comfortable in a more humane cotton blend)


    got questions?  CONTACT US

    Sep 1, 2010

    Favorite Pics from Rocktober 2009

    It was so fun taking pictures at Rocktober 2009.  I smiled so hard my cheeks hurt.  We have tons of pictures of people in deep thought, people laughing at Kevin and Jo being ridiculous, and people just hanging out and goofing off.

    Here's just a few of my favorites:

    (okay so to be honest I was just trying to get a bunch of photos in a smaller format and this was faster than editing them!)

    The complete album is here:

    Aug 24, 2010

    Team SwingColumbus makes a great showing at ILHC in Washington, DC!

    This past weekend, the SwingColumbus performance team competed against top teams from the US and Canada at the International Lindy Hop Championships in Washington, D.C.!  The team placed eighth out of ten teams in the competition.  We were thrilled with the experience and proud to represent for Columbus and Ohio on the national/international scene!

    Team SwingColumbus has been training hard this year to add more complicated footwork, faster tempos, and (for the first time!) aerials to our repertoire.  This required everyone to work on personal physical fitness and challenged Mark and Shannon as choreographers and team coaches.  Along the way, there were strained backs, broken toes, and lots of sore muscles, but we're proud of the product!  

    Here's a video of the SwingColumbus performance:

     Special shoutouts to Becky, who performed with two broken toes, and Dan, who trained as an understudy and really rose to the challenge when we needed him to step in at the last second.  Wow!  Also, our other team members not in this video who supported the team by taking video, stepping in as understudies to help us rehearse through absences, and giving feedback/criticism and moral support!  We couldn't have done it without you!

    Learn more about Team SwingColumbus, including how they can be a part of your next event!

    Side note: I was hoping to post all the teams' videos here, but since Patrick Szmidt already did it, here's the winning team, Swinging Air Force from Montreal, QC Canada

    Blogs about ILHC:
    Wrapup post from an ILHC organizer
    A blog post with a bunch of blog post links to reactions to ILHC
    Patrick Szmidt posted all team routines

    Aug 14, 2010

    SwingColumbus goes to Washington

    and on the way, they're stopping at the Ohio Statehouse!

    Team SwingColumbus was founded a couple years ago with the intent to kick butt in a team swing dance competition in Detroit (which they won by 1 point, thank you very much!).  Since then, they have also kicked some butt in Dayton and Indianapolis with routines featuring hammy plot lines and even a Soldja Boy ending.  Here are a few highlights:

    Team SwingColumbus has competed regionally against teams from Indianapolis, Dayton, Cincinnati, Detroit, and numerous universities.  This year the Team has taken on a larger goal of competing against teams from all over the world at the International Lindy Hop Championships in Washington, D.C. on August 22, 2010. 

    Just before hopping in their cars to head straight for Washington, the team will give one last public performance of their competition routine at the Ohio Statehouse in downtown Columbus, Ohio.  This performance, presented by Ohio Dance, will be outside on the High Street side of the Statehouse.  Dublin Dance Centre will also perform.  There is no rain location, so in the event of rain it will be cancelled.  Let's hope that doesn't happen!

    See you on YouTube!

    Learn more about Team SwingColumbus, including how they can be a part of your next event!

    Jul 26, 2010

    SwingColumbus wants YOU!

    A message from the board of SwingColumbus:

    We want you to know that SwingColumbus isn't just the handfull of us who serve on the board. SwingColumbus is YOU! We need your help to run our events and to spread the word about how much fun it is to swing dance so more people will try it!

    So how can you help?

    -Use your skills. We work hard but there's lots more to be done. We could use help in lots of areas including:
    • Marketing: designing flyers, writing blog posts, posting event listings on various websites, photography, video...
    • Events: event planning committees, band searches, venue searches, coordinating volunteers, ideas for improving events, food coordinator, special projects
    • Education: registration/door volunteer for weekly lessons, writing handouts for new students
    • Executive: developing business partnerships
    (we do pay or give discounted admission to an event for certain tasks or for advanced skills - contact us and we'll talk!)

    -Write a review of The Shrunken Head and our Swingin' Tuesdays on Google Maps, CitySearch,,,, or These sites' reviews all feed automatically into map info for Google, Bing, and Yahoo. Be sure to mention swing night is Tuesday!

    -Tell your friends! When we send out event invitations on Facebook, please repost them on your wall and invite your friends. Suggest they become a fan of SwingColumbus on our fan page.

    -Attend other groups' events. Yes, that's right, we want you to go visit the Buckeye Bop Club, the Mid-Ohio Boogie Club, ballroom studios, etc. We want to encourage more crossover between groups so that we can encourage future opportunities to work together. If you have ideas for ways our groups can get involved with each other, we'd love to hear from you! (see our contact form)

    -Come out dancing with us. We often dance at outdoor festivals, bars, and other places so more people can see what Charleston and Lindy Hop look like (and hopefully want to try them!) You can find out about these opportunities sometimes through this blog, but mostly on Facebook.

    Jun 29, 2010

    July 2010 is the Month of the Newbie!

    You were born to be a dancer, you just don't know it yet.  
    You have rhythm like nobody's business, but nowhere to groove it.
    YOU are a newbie, and we will show you the way.  

    SwingColumbus hereby declares July 

    Unleash the dancing fiend within you!

    July is full of beginner-friendly classes, events, discounts, even FREE events!  

    Do you need a partner?  NO!
    Do you need one iota of an idea how to dance?  NO!!
    Do you need special shoes and clothes?  NO!!!  
    Do you have to wear sequins?  NO! But if you want to, that's your thing.  Respect.

    $5 Lessons: Every Thursday 8-9pm we'll be teaching beginner swing dance lessons at Habeeba's near Grandview.  This month we're teaching 'drop-in' style so you can join in any Thursday, even if it's your first time.  We'll cover the basic foot pattern every week so newbies can drop in, but we'll also do different moves so you can come every week and learn something new.  Just $5 per week!  

    Crash Course: Go from square to swinger in one night!  In two hours you'll know enough to impress the coolest hipster, or your grandma.  July 29, 7-9pm at Habeeba's, and just $15/$10 students.  Come to us and find your calling as a dance rock star.

    Shrunken Head Tuesdays: starting July 6th, join us every Tuesday 8-11pm in Victorian Village for live bands playing bluesy, swingy, funky music!  Included with your cover is a half-hour beginner swing lesson.  They've got an awesome beer selection if you need a little courage to let your inner dance warrior run free.

    FREE Swing Dance:  That's right, this month it's FREE, because everyone should get to try swing dancing.  July 17 bring all your friends downtown to the YWCA and impress them with the moves you picked up in the $5 lessons (see above!)  Meet even more friends in the lesson and then hang out with all the traveling dancers from exotic places like Dayton and Cincinnati.  Lesson is 8-9pm, dancing with DJs is 9-midnight.  And it's all FREEEEEE!  There will be some fun performances from Team SwingColumbus and a visiting dance group from Newark, Ohio.

    DooDah Parade!!  So there's no lesson or anything, and no particular newbie theme, but you should walk the DooDah Parade with us!  We're going with the theme of Ohio Swing Voters in this come-one-come-all parade on July 4th in Victorian Village.  All you need is a white t-shirt, sturdy shoes, and a talent for writing zingy slogans.

    To stay in the know about this stuff and MORE, you should
    1. Go to and sign up for our newsletter
    2.  Become a fan of SwingColumbus on Facebook

    Jun 18, 2010

    Dancers + Hot Jazzers = Stayin' Alive!

    When swing dancing came back into vogue in the late 1990s, it grew in great part out of the popularity of ska and rockabilly, which was on the rise nationally at the time.  As interest shifted to swing dancing, it was a pretty easy switch for rockabilly bands to add swing tunes to their repertoire because there was ample middle ground and that's where the money was going.  So you had Brian Setzer, Cherry Poppin' Daddies, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy playing what was dubbed 'Neo Swing'.  The bands and the dancers who adored them chose loud, colorful outfits with a touch (or drenching) of the most outlandish aspects of vintage styling.  (um, are you really going to wear that yellow suit?  and the hat?  really?) 

    In addition to questionable fashion, the Neo Swing era was a time of much bad technique, herky jerky awkward dancing that had little in common with its 1930s origins, and injured shoulders caused by horrid moves like The Pretzel.  As the swing movement gained more followers, many people began to look back to move the dance forward.  Extensive hunting for jazz clips ensued.  Gradually, the swing dance community learned better technique and how to dance styles that were much more authentic, like Charleston, Balboa, and Lindy Hop, and that caused people to want to discover more of the music of the 1920s through 1940s that drove these dances to evolve in the first place. 

    YouTube's debut in 2005 accelerated this like nothing ever before and we suddenly were able to share all this information, copy moves from people halfway around the world, and see what really good dancing looked like.

    And all that time, all over the US and Canada and much of Europe, there were hot jazz or dixieland festivals and organizations and bands going strong.  I think though that these sorts of things were viewed as being some sort of vintage, old-timey, historical reenactment.  I don't know if anyone under the age of 65 had any true understanding of how great the music is and how current and relevant it could be. 

    There's a trend going on nationwide of dancers and early jazz bands mutually discovering each other, and this is leading to new partnerships, new audiences, and new generations discovering the happy, hoppy beats of Dixieland Jazz.  It happened here in Columbus when SwingColumbus and the Central Ohio Hot Jazz Society (finally!) discovered one another in 2008.  Our events are most heavily attended by people in their 20s and 30s, whereas the COHJS tends to be 60s and up, so it has been really neat to share our different appreciations of the jazz era and our interests in seeing this American cultural treasure stay alive.  It's a mutual admiration society!

    Here's an excerpt from a recent newsletter of the Central Ohio Hot Jazz Society:
    We've all noticed with considerable pleasure the advent of dance group attendance at recent COHJS events doing the Lindy Hop, Charleston, Cakewalk, and other vintage dances to the live music eminating from our traditional jazz bands.  Turns out we are not alone in this most entertaining experience.  Don Jones, editor/publisher of the American Rag recently collected and then disseminated communications and commentary from festivals and jazz society directors and other interested parties which reveals much about the mutual awareness and beneficial relationships developing between these groups and dance clubs around the country.  The dancers, many in their 20s and 30s, are doing the authentic jazz dances of the 1920s and 1930s, much to the delight of the older attendees, many of whom are inpired to dance with their younger counterparts and each other.  Dance instruction by the clubs is offered, young people are attending the events, and the whole thing seems to gather momentum.  In addition to our COHJS experiences, we've observed first hand at functions in Cincinnati how contagious this can be.  We are most pleased to see this, and we bid it increasing success for all involved.

    If you want to see some happy feet, come listen to the Tollhouse Jazz Band at the Gahanna Creekside Jazz and Blues Festival this Saturday, June 19, 2:30pm-4:00pm.

    It's just $3 to get in, and SwingColumbus will be there (at several other times too) wearing red shirts and dancing with big smiles on our faces.  We'd love to dance with you and we're happy to give an impromptu lesson so you can join in!

    STARTING JULY 6 - Tuesday is Swing Night at the Shrunken Head!!! wicked....

    We are very excited to announce our new weekly event starting July 6th, 2010. Come visit us at our new home every Tuesday for a night of great music and a chance to dance and mingle! 

    Swing out at The Shrunken Head** every Tuesday, hosted by SwingColumbus. We bring in a different live band and swing DJ every week so the music is always fresh! Be sure to arrive early for the lesson- you'll pick up some new moves AND meet people to dance with once the band kicks off.

    Facebook event (go RSVP and invite your friends!)              SwingColumbus website

    The Shrunken Head (Victorian Village)
    251 W. 5th Avenue
    Columbus, OH 43201

    7:30 pm to 8:00 pm - Beginner 6-Count Swing Lesson
    8:00 pm to 11:00 pm - Live Band and open dancing

    Only $5 Cover!
    All ages welcome (it's a restaurant!) 

    July Schedule (we'll update this as more bands are booked)

      Tuesdays' specials include a grilled cheese and chili dinner for $2.99 until 8pm, and $4 Margaritas!  The critically acclaimed menu includes a range of delicious offerings including hummus, five different vegetarian burgers, and Giant German Schnitzels made with locally farmed pork. The bar has over 70 different beers (holy crap!) or, you know, chocolate milk if that's more your style.

      But the menu doesn't matter because you're of course coming for the DANCING, which will be a blast because you'll have great people to hang out with and a wood floor and different music every week to challenge and excite you.  Let's dance!

        Interested in having your band play at Swingin' Tuesdays at The Shrunken Head?
        Contact our Events Chair HERE. Be sure to include some info about your band and a webpage where we can hear what you've got.

        **In case you're a long time Columbusite, The Shrunken Head did used to be called The Victorian's Midnight Cafe, or 'Vic's' and don't worry, the big moon is still there on the wall behind the stage!  It just has a shrunken head painted on top of it now...  

        Jun 4, 2010

        Places to Swing Dance in Columbus, Ohio

        SwingColumbus has a few regular events, but if you crave even more chances to swing dance, there are lots of options in Columbus.  There are more bands with regular gigs than there are dancers to enjoy them (we're working on that!)

        Below are just some of the places you might find the right music and floor space to practice your triple steps and get your groove on.  (You should probably check websites or contact the venues or bands before you head out, just to be sure schedules haven't changed.)

        Places that have actual dance events, where you can expect to see other dancers:

        Bowties Lounge  inside the Ramada Plaza Hotel
        Floor: wood
        Food/drinks: yes
        When: Mondays with Columbus Swing Dance Club (this is different from SwingColumbus), Tuesdays with the Buckeye Bop Club, Wednesdays with the Mid-Ohio Boogie Club

        The Columbus Maennerchor
        This is a German club that loves live music and is open to the public
        Floor: linoleum (fine for dancing)
        Food/drinks: good German beer, and you can order authentic German food from the restaurant downstairs to be brought to you upstairs in the bar area
        When: the last Friday of every month you'll find the band Swing's the Thing, plus other events sporadically (check the calendar)

        The 94th Aerosquadron
        Floor: hardwood (great for dancing!)
        This replica of an old French farmhouse that got caught up in some WWI or WWII action is the perfect place for a big band, and you'll find plenty of dancers and listeners there every Thursday night for the Rick Brunetto Big Band.  This is the most movie-like, vintage swing experience you can find in Columbus.  A fantastic wood floor sits right in front of the band and cafe tables provide seating to enjoy your quite cheap drinks from the bar.  If you eat dinner there they'll waive the $5 cover charge.  The socialness of the dancing varies- some weeks people are very partnered up, other times you can arrive alone and invite others to dance.  Ballroom studios often turn up with groups of their students, so you may have to fend off Foxtrotters circling around you.  Music is mostly swing with some latin or waltz thrown in the mix.  There is also a DJ on Friday evenings for a variety of ballroom styles.

        The Elizabeth Blackwell Center at Riverside Hospital  -
        Floor: gymnasium hardwood floor
        Friday night lessons, or Saturday night dances with lessons (check the Buckeye Bop Club site and click on 'Dance Every Night' for more info)

        Places you can make dancing happen (push some tables aside!):
        The Thirsty Ear - recently renamed as The Woodlands  (Grandview Heights) - Floor:Cement
        Vonn Jazz Lounge (Worthington/Crosswoods area at 270 and 23)  Floor: Cement?  (can't remember...)
        • Wednesday Nights host the Silky Ray Blues Quartet, which is a favorite band of our dancers!  $5 cover.
        Rumba Cafe  (Clintonville/Campus)  Floor: Cement
        Outdoor Concerts and Festivals!   See another post about June Swing Dance Opportunities!  and more will come soon as festivals publish their schedules.

        If you know of other places that welcome dancers or at least don't mind them, let me know in the comments!

        June Swing Dancing in Columbus

        Post updated on June 16 for Gahanna Creekside Jazz Festival

        June 4-6 The Columbus Arts Festival
        • On Saturday, 11:00am-1:00pm a SwingColumbus contingent will be social dancing along with one of our favorite local bands, The Randys in front of the Main Stage.  Join us!  They play a huge variety from Elvis to tango to Banana Phone (you've got to see it to get it) and are a hit with all ages from little kids to 20s/30s bar goers to baby boomers to centenarians.  If you don't like The Randys, there's something wrong with you.  

        June 18-20 The Gahanna Creekside Blues and Jazz Festival
             SwingColumbus has been INVITED by this festival to add to the atmosphere!  We're really thrilled!  Our performance team is committing to attend certain times and may attend even more.  Here are the ones we're committing to attend.  If the times overlap that's because there are 3 stages and sometimes the stuff we like overlaps, so if you don't see us at one stage, check another one. (I will update this post if anything changes)

        FRIDAY, JUNE 18
        • 5:00-6:00  In Full Swing  (big band / 40s-50s swing)
        • 7:45-9:00  Ray Fuller  (rockabilly/blues/swing)
        • 9:30-11 for either Jimi Vincent or Mudfork blues  (blues or blues...)
        SATURDAY, JUNE 19
        • 2:30-4:00 Tollhouse Jazz Band  (Dixieland/20s jazz)
        • 5:15-6:45 Long Tall Deb and the Drifter Kings  (blues)
        • 7:45-9 Swings the thing (big band/ 40s-50s swing)  UPDATE- we have our monthly dance this night so we decided we can't promise to be at this one.
        SUNDAY, JUNE 20
        • 3:00-5:30 Columbus Jazz Orchestra
        • 4:30-6 Sean Carney

        June 19 SwingColumbus' Monthly Dance at the Downtown YWCA!
        • Third Saturday of every month - it's a good time and only $6/$4 students.  Free beginner lesson 8-9pm and dancing to our favorite DJs 9-midnight.  
        • It's friendly and low-key and a great place to meet people and practice your dance skills.  And if it's your birthday month, we throw you in the jam circle and you dance with EVERYONE!

          June 25-27    Community Festival (aka COMFEST!)
          • Sunday at 11:30am SwingColumbus' performance team will be on the Community Stage
          • The schedule hasn't been published yet, but I'll update this post when it is so you'll know the best bands for dancing!
          here we are 2 years ago on the community stage:
           In addition to these festivals and our regular monthly dance, you can also find swing dancing regularly at restaurants, bars, and other places in Columbus.
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