Posted by byron on Tuesday, October 29th, 2013 with 13 comments
Dressing up for a Halloween dance can put a whole new spin on swing dancing, but costume issues can get in the way of great dancing. Here are some tips for enjoying a Halloween swing dance:
- Careful with makeup & body paint — One year a friend of mine tried a costume that required body paint all over his face and arms. Needless to say, the women who chose to wear white costumes were not amused when some of the body paint started to rub off on them!
- Footwear — Try to find sneaky ways to avoid changing your footwear, such as incorporating dance shoes into the costume, or decorating the outside of the dance shoes.
- Keep it close to the body — I’ve seen some amazing costumes that were enormous, and for some people the hilarity of trying to dance in a huge costume is part of the fun, but for many people it makes the dancing too difficult.
- Masks & Headgear — Some masks that are just fine for walking and talking suddenly become very uncomfortable when you’re trying to dance. Make sure you can actually breathe! You also don’t want anything too far above your head, especially if you’re following.
- Accessories — Some accessories can get in the way of dancing, for example:
- Gloves aren’t necessarily always bad, but you’ll get sweaty inside them quickly and they make hand connections hard.
- Necklaces and chains can fly into your partner’s face.
- Bracelets can catch on things
- Props like wands, fake knives and guns, etc. can get in the way.
Continue reading “6 Tips for Halloween Costumes for Swing Dancers” »
Posted by Natalia on Tuesday, September 10th, 2013 with 2 comments
I have been a coach for the Swing Dynamite Dance Troupe for over 7 years now and I’ve been with the Troupe at the Canadian Swing Championships for 7 years in a row. I’ve also been Artistic Director and Head Coach for the troupe for most of those years so that amounts to a lot of memories.
With auditions coming up the last week of September, I can’t help but go back and remember all the good times I’ve had and all the things I’ve seen while working alongside the amazing people that have been in the Troupe over the years. If someone asked me today why they should audition to join the Swing Dynamite Dance Troupe I would share with them my top 7 memories of the Troupe, one for every year I’ve been with it.
Thinking about that made me want to share those 7 memories with who over wants to know them. In no particular order, here they are:
- 2007 – Putting Ottawa on the Canadian Swing map
Before Swing Dynamite there had never been any competitive Swing teams in Ottawa. After the school opened in the fall of 2006, the Swing Dynamite Dance Troupe was born and two teams were created: an all girls team, The Dynamite Girls; and a Lindy Hop couples team, TNTeam. In May 2007 the Troupe went to the Canadian Swing Championships for the very first time and surprised everyone there, not only because it was the first time the Championships saw teams from Ottawa but because TNTeam placed 5th in the team division and The Dynamite Girls brought home a silver medal from the cabaret division. From then on, everyone knows to expect great things from Ottawa!
- 2008 – Olivier jumps in the hot tub with his clothes on
The Swing Dynamite Dance Troupe came back to the Canadian Swing Championship in 2008 with twice as many teams as the year before. That year The Rhythm Blasters and TNTeam competed in the team division and The D-Boyz and The Dynamite Girls competed in the cabaret division. While the Swing Dynamite teams were competing in the same 2 divisions, so technically against each other, that weekend was spent dancing together, having fun together and cheering each other on. On the last night, after all the competitions were over, we all went to relax at the hotel’s spa in the hot tub. One of the coaches of The Rhythm Blasters, Olivier, arrived a little late and wanting to quickly share in the fun, jumped in with his clothes AND shoes on. It’s a little sample of the kind of fun we always have together.
- 2009 – Gig explosion
The Swing Dynamite Dance Troupe had been doing shows around town since its founding but in 2009 we were busier than ever before. That year our shows included performing on the ATV morning show, as well as at The Ottawa Gala, Billings Estate Museum, and Mackenzie King Estate.
Swing Dynamite has always had a great relationship with The Ottawa Jazz Orchestra and in 2009 we really had fun performing together at the Billings Estate Museum, and Mackenzie King Estate. There’s something magical about doing a dance show to the BEST live music your city has to offer.
The Ottawa Gala is also a favourite among Troupe members because after performing, we all get to change out of costume and put on our own fancy clothes and enjoy cocktails and appetizers in the VIP lounge. It’s a great way to relax together after a job well done.
- 2010 – The 1st ever The Dynamite Girls vs. The D-Boyz Purim contest
It’s become a tradition to have an annual Purim party at Saturday Night Swing. Purim is a Jewish holiday with customs that include drinking wine, wearing of masks and costumes, and public celebration.
From the beginning, The Dynamite Girls and The D-Boyz teams were each always trying to prove they were better than the other, so The Dynamite Girls challenged The D-Boyz to a friendly competition that took place at the 2010 Saturday Night Swing Purim Party. Both teams created a dance routine just for the occasion and to this day all who were present that night describe the contest as nothing short of EPIC.
A lot of the Swing Dynamite Dance Troupe teams attend at least one national Swing competition per year but we have always found time to do something together, just for fun. Participating in the contest has been one of the most fun experiences I’ve had with the Troupe to date.
- 2011 – Swing Dynamite Dance Troupe Atlantic Expedition
On Tuesday November 22nd, 2011 I got an email from someone who was producing a Big Band TV series pilot for Hi Fi HD TV in Canada (an Arts and Music channel). They needed high level dancers for the pilot that was filming THAT Sunday in Halifax and the producer had heard about The Swing Dynamite Dance Troupe and wanted us for the job. Long story short, I made some calls, booked the dancers, and a few days later six of us were flown out to Halifax to dance for the TV pilot on Sunday.
This a good story to remind Troupe members of the fact that those who train the hardest and advance with their dancing get to do really cool stuff!
- 2012 – The Dynamite Girls vs. The D-Boyz: The Truth
The D-Boyz worked on my favourite routine of theirs in 2012. It was “Chim Chimney” themed and some of The D-Boyz got together and built a wood chimney. One day, I heard some of The Dynamite Girls had volunteer to paint it which I thought was really sweet. A week later I came in to the studio to find the most amazing chimney there. It was very well built and painted beautifully. I came close to inspect it and realized you could see the inside of the chimney from the back side of it. Inside, I found this graffiti: “The D-Boyz suck. The Dynamite Girls rule.”
The truth is that there is competition between The Dynamite Girls and The D-Boyz and between other teams in the Troupe but it is always friendly and mostly just for fun. At the end of the day, all members want to see all other members succeed, all coaches want to see all teams succeed and we all help each other to ensure that happens. To be a member of the Swing Dynamite Dance Troupe is to be a member of a family.
- 2013 – Ottawa at the 2013 Canadian Swing Championships
This year Swing Dynamite brought over 50 people to the Canadian Swing Championships. Over 40 were Swing Dynamite Dance Troupe members and about a dozen were Swing Dynamite students, there were also a handful of other Ottawa dancers there. In the end, you couldn’t tell who was a member of the Troupe and who wasn’t because all Ottawa dancers were always sitting together, cheering for each other and having fun together. There were Ottawa dancers competing in the Newcomer, Novice, Intermediate, Advanced and Pro level divisions–that is, ALL the divisions–which says to me we’re truly succeeding.
To be a Swing Dynamite Dance Troupe member is to share the responsibility of growing the Ottawa Swing community: we are social dancers first and foremost; we are performers second to that. We ask Troupe members to share their knowledge and passion with others so as the Troupe grows so does the community. Our goal as a Troupe is to have fun while working hard and getting better, TOGETHER, every day.Here we are at this year’s Canadian Swing Championships:
While these are my top 7 memories, in general, my favourite thing about the Swing Dance Troupe is that I’ve gotten the chance to meet and work with amazing people. Today, the Troupe’s coaching staff is composed of Laura, Sari, Bill and Byron and they are some of the greatest people to work with.
Thank you to all that have worked alongside of me for all or any of these 7 years, coaches and Troupe members alike. Thank you for all the memories, it has been a real pleasure and I very much look forward to the 8th year of the Swing Dynamite Dance Troupe!
For more information on Swing Dynamite Dance Troupe auditions, please visit:
Continue reading “The Swing Dynamite Dance Troupe: 7 years, 7 Favourite Memories” »
Posted by Claudia on Monday, September 2nd, 2013 with 3 comments
At Swing Dynamite, we are committed to giving back to the community. Several times a year, we partner with different non-profit groups, to organize fundraisers for worthy causes. They include Swing for Cuba, to send much needed medications to Cuban hospitals and Shout & Feel it, to raise funds to fight Childhood Sexual Abuse.
We are proud to partner with The Women’s Integration Network Inc. (W.I.N.) to bring you a lovely evening of dancing and entertainment, featuring Souper Jazz and a special performance by The Hot Tamales on Saturday, September 7th, 2013!
Details of the evening:
Continue reading “Swing Dancing for the W.I.N.” »