The JiveSwing Blog!

Archive for May 2014

Thursday, 15th May, 2014

Norma Miller Dancing at LOT 2014

I was really looking forward to teaching at LOT, as I believe, it would be the first event in Europe dedicated solely to Norma Miller, the writer, the comedian, the dancer, but what happened on the weekend, simply couldn’t have been planned.

                        Norma Miller, sitting with our Jazz Class at LOT 2014 (Olga Kursanova)

The event was held at the Grand Hotel, on the beach of Pescara. We were welcomed by the Organisors and Norma Miller, full of love and energy as usual. With a busy schedule ahead, we were keen to work on our  jazz class and Norma was happy to help, which turned into a scary impromptu private lesson with her.

                               Joseph & Charlotte, being taught by an uncompromising Norma.. :-)

Woah!.. This was an old skool class, as she pointed, sang, then shouted rhythms including ‘Gimme da beat… Gimme dat damn beat!’ to ensure that our Trickeration Jazz class, was rhythmically and  historically accurate, as possible. There was no counting and no room in her books for diplomacy lol..

Despite having my pride ripped, then shot to pieces, Charlotte and I felt honoured, as we appreciated the wisdom and professional level of perfection that Norma has been used to, having worked with the best in the world since
the 1930s. I mean, I’m no Chazz Young.. lol.

                       Norma Miller, with Joseph & Charlotte, in the  Jazz Class

We had a great day, teaching the Trickeration routine, whilst discussing the history of it, then finished the workshop by performing alongside  Norma Miller, to some of her preferred tracks For dancers only, Corner Pocket and Lester Leaps In, which Chazz uses. Amazing coincidence, was John Biffar, movie producer and Director of Dreamtime Entertainment, finishing an assignment to film the Pope, in Rome, who arrived in time to film Norma. With John and Norma watching, this was serious pressure.  :-)

This gave rise to a great, in depth Interview and Q&A session, where it was great to hear so many amazing stories about Norma’s Life, encounters in and out of the Savoy Ballroom.

The evening was something special, as Norma Miller opened the show, by singing her song, Swing Baby Swing to live music for the very first time, to The Billy Bros. Swing Orchestra. The arrangement was written by band leader Maurizio and she invited their singer to join her.

Norma Miller, Roberta Bevilacqua, singing to Billy Bros.Swing Orchestra

The band played Norma’s favourite track Shiny Stockings, the crowd stopped to look at Norma, Norma looked at me, giving me permission, as we slowly took to the dance floor. I kept Norma close, to protect the Queen of Swing, but as the atmosphere rose, she whispered when are you gonna ******* swing me out!.. I said are you sure? Hell yeah.. She exclaimed and the crowd went crazy..

She told everyone, that she hadn’t danced with anyone else like that since Frankie Manning. I felt so honoured.

The weekend ended, with an impromptu Tap performance by Ann Amendolagine (US), who learnt from a student of the great Honey Coles, followed by many informal, historical conversation about Swing, Jazz, Tap and Life.

A massive thanks to Norma for being so caring about our development and generous with her time and knowledge. Another huge thanks to Maurizio, Roberta and the Abbruzzo Swing Dance society for their passion in making this amazing weekend happen, the first of its kind for Norma and inviting us to be a part of Norma’s history.   This kind of experience is priceless and has given more meaning to my journey in Jazz dance. :-)


Tuesday, 6th May, 2014

Havel Hop 2014 – Germany

We had a great time, at Havel Hop 2014, which is an international dance event, based in the town of Postsdam, Germany, with international teachers, live music every night and dancers from everywhere.

                                The Havel Hop International teaching Team

It was great to work with teachers that we hadn’t work with for a long time, such as Peter & Naomi, Henric & Joanna Stillman, along with Nicolas and Mikaela, who we’ve never worked with before, as it made a great team.  It was great to have the opportunity to social dance with a lot of  people from the classes, after which time, were asked to perform. We were thinking of dancing to the band, then asked the DJ to play a slow track for us to do a slow improvised social dance to.

There was the usual, crazy atmosphere, in the classes, as we shared the now standard contagious JiveSwing family spirit and love with everyone

                                             Joseph & Charlotte, with the Level B Class

We would like to say a Massive thanks to the Havel Hop super organisers, Talea, Holger, Veronica and Francesca who ran such a nice event and all the amazing students, who made it so much fun and Janna for driving us. :-)

Joseph and Charlotte

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Sunday, 4th May, 2014

Harlem Nights with The Polka Dot Dolls

What a night.. Oh what a Harlem Nights..!! The feedback from Harlem Nights in Watford, has been great. The night kicked off, with a fun class for people of all ages, levels and abilities, with JiveSwing teacher Steve Merchant, sometimes known as Stephanie.. :-)

The Polka Dot Dolls were on form, looking great and definitely in full swing last weekend, as they kept all the swing dancers on the floor all night. So much so that the photographer abandoned his camera in favour of dancing…. lol..

                                      The Polka Dot Dolls performing at Harlem Nights

The night was run by JiveSwing Watford’s favourite mummy Carol Bungay and JiveSwing DJ Michael Proctor, who kept the night going, before, between and after the band sets, with the help of his protege Fiona Benson. Great night had by all. :-)

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