I actually ordered a pair of Saint Savoy RIVIERA shoes that came in when I received my bag but I had ordered the wrong size. I was so nervous about them being small that I wore socks when I did my measurements and they ended up a size too big.
When I exchanged the shoes, I added another pair along too: WEST in black.
I’ve been waiting to invest it really great shoes in neutral black and white for a long time. For years I’ve been wearing character shoes, which were great when I had my studio, but I wanted something I could wear both on and off the dance floor.
I’m thrilled with the choices I made!
I did find that the Rivieras were a tiny bit tight/pinchy around the ball of the foot. Not to fear! My husband has cobbler tools and he helped me to very gently stretch them out a bit overnight.
The WEST fit perfectly as is.
I’m really excited to take these shoes with me for my workshop in Japan next week!
I’m the event planner for an event marking 35 years since Swedish dancers first traveled to New York to study from the original Lindy Hoppers. I’m wearing my personal event organizing cap (not my Frankie Manning Foundation hat), working independently to help Lennart Westerlund and Daniel Heedman to put on this event in May. We’re collaborating with the Harlem community to be able to include as much history and respect for the origins of Lindy Hop as possible.
What this event represents for me
Lennart Westerlund has been one of my most important dance mentors. He is also one of the only people who has continuously worked to educate about the Harlem roots of Lindy Hop. When he and the other dancers of the 80s and early 90s studied Lindy Hop, they came to it with a deep respect for its African American origins.
For a variety of reasons, my generation of dancers lost our connection with the roots of the dance for many years. It’s something that we’ve been trying to rectify in more recent years, but in the early 2000s we were enamoured by West Coast Swing and other smooth dances like Carolina Shag. Then, when YouTube came along, the emphasis shifted heavily towards contemporary competition videos. There just wasn’t much talk about the history of the dance…
…Except for when we visited Herrang each summer and Lennart shared the history with us.
More than any other community, the Swedish dancers have preserved that contextual approach to learning Lindy Hop, with close study of original videos and teachings rather than becoming overly influenced by modern shifts and trends. And that is most certainly thanks to Lennart’s influence.
I’ve had the privilege of attending the Herrang Dance Camp for about 10 summers and also helped to organize the camp in 2004 when I lived in Stockholm from winter through to summer and got to learn and absorb stories and artistic direction from Lennart and the Harlem Hot Shots.
Additionally, Åsa Heedman has been one of my most important teachers and inspirations as a follower in Lindy Hop. I began taking private lessons with her back in 1999 and it’s an absolute pleasure for me to be able to help to bring her and her now partner and husband, Daniel Heedman (who was in my class for my first Herrang in ’99) to North America where they almost never teach.
I feel very grateful for the positive influence that these dancers have had on me. They have helped me to develop as a dancer, not just going through the motions of Lindy Hop but also rooting my dancing in the historic Harlem context of the dance.
There will be 10+ of workshops with six wonderful Swedish dancers, representing three generations:
eWa Staremo-Burak & Lennart Westerlund
Åsa Heedman & Daniel Heedman
Mimmi Gunnarsson & Fredrik Dahlberg
We’re also excited about the social dancing aspect of the weekend which is starting to take shape with a big Sunday night dance falling on what would have been Frankie Manning’s 105th birthday at the historic Alhambra Ballroom. This dance will be hosted by members of the Harlem community, Julia Loving & Ronald Jones and will be featuring the Charles Turner III and Uptown Swing.
The event will include:
Traditional workshops with three generations of Swedish teachers dedicated to the New York old-school tradition, as they were taught by Frankie Manning, Al Minns, and others
Lectures, interviews, film shows, and panel discussions on the historical context of the Jazz Era and African American roots of Lindy Hop from Harlem
Stretch is one of the most important principles of the Lindy Hop connection but that doesn’t mean that compression isn’t just as important. The way that you use stretch, compression, and the “neutral” space in between can really transform the way that you interact with your partner. We’ll get into the nitty gritty really enlightening ideas behind connection in this workshop.
It’s still very wintery out there but Frankie Month (May) is just around the corner! I’m pleased to announce two workshops, one in Toronto and one in St. Catharines. Happy to have my old pal, Kevin Miller, join me for these! All proceeds will be donated to the Frankie Manning Foundation.
As a board member for the Frankie Manning Foundation (FMF) and someone who had the privilege of assisting Frankie Manning for three workshops in 2002, 2006, and 2008, these workshops are very near and dear to my heart. The workshops are Pay-What-You-Can with a suggested donation of $40 if you do a full afternoon. Please join us.
Frankie Manning Workshops 2018
Toronto:Saturday, May 5th, 3pm-6pm – Dovercourt House, 1st floor – CLICK HERE
St. Catharines: Saturday, May 26th, 1pm-5pm – Beacon School – CLICK HERE
Instructors: Mandi Gould & Kevin Miller
Who is Frankie Manning?
Legendary Lindy Hopper Frankie Manning passed away in 2009, but his spirit lives on in the hearts and feet of swing dancers around the world. Frankie is remembered and revered for his vital role in the history and revival of swing dancing, as well as for his radiant and charismatic personality. His legacy is hugely important and widely influential, and #FrankieMonth is celebrated around the world each May. Learn more about Frankie Manning.
On Thursday, August 3rd, 2017 there will be a charitable workshop in Toronto to support Chazz Young.
Who is Chazz Young?
Chazz Young is a tap, jazz, and Lindy Hop dancer, was one of Norma Miller’s Jazzmen in the 1950’s, and is Frankie Manning’s son. He is a longtime friend of the Toronto Lindy Hop community and over the years has taught several workshops here.
A little over a year ago, Chazz Young experienced a life-altering medical event. While Chazz is doing much better, the financial burden of medical expenses and his inability to teach have made things very challenging for him.
Mandi and Chachi will be teaching this workshop to help raise money to help him with some of his basic expenses. There is no fixed price for the workshop but your donations will be gladly received and sent to help him, via Frankie Manning Foundation.
Thursday, August 3rd, 2017
6:30pm to 8:30pm
Dovercourt House (1st Floor)
Suggested Donation: $25
Level: The workshop will be Intermediate+. The Frankie Phrase (Swing Out from Closed, Swing Out, Swing Out, Circle) is a prerequisite to participate.
To register and make your donation in advance, click here, or send your intention to participate here and make a cash donation onsite.
Event Follow Up
Thanks to everyone who participated in the fundraiser for Chazz. Not everyone was able to stay for the photo but it was a great little group and, along with some extra donations from people who couldn’t attend, we were able to raise $542.06 USD. The money is on its way to Chazz now.
The workshops will run from 1pm to 4ish followed by some social dancing. The first hour at 1pm will be extremely important for anyone who hasn’t learned the Frankie Phrase from Mandi. If you haven’t been doing swingouts for years, aren’t familiar with “straight swingouts”, and can’t do swingouts in your sleep, definitely please don’t miss the first hour. Continue reading “Important Information for this Sunday’s Workshop”→
As part of my role on the board for the Frankie Manning Foundation, I’m behind the wheel of the preparations for #FrankieMonth. It’s only right that I hold an event in my own hometown of St. Catharines. Continue reading “Preparing for Frankie Month”→