Friday, April 27, 2012

Fifth Monday

Fifth Mondays happen more than blue moons, but we at Brew City Hops think they're rare enough to warrant a celebration.  Get ready to kick up your heels with us this Monday, April 30th! We've got a special lineup planned, and we think there's something for everyone this week.

7:00--Lindy Hop Basics class
     This is your chance to lay down the foundation for a tricky dance from the ground up, a chance to strengthen your basics so you have more to play with, and a chance to meet and dance with new folks.  No experience necessary.  Bring your friends who have been meaning to try out dancing, or bring yourself and give it a shot.

8:15--Mini-DJ Battle
   Our MAYDAY! dance will be a DJ battle.  Representing Milwaukee that evening will be......well, that's your call!  Justin & Tory will be spinning music for social dancing after the class; vote for the tracks that inspire your best dances and the songs you just can't sit still to.

7:00-9:00--Screen printing
   BYOTshirt, or whatever you'd like to have BCH'ed.  Rather than printing a bunch of shirts in the wrong size (or a color you hate), we invite you to bring a shirt you love and screen print it yourself.  You get a chance to be creative on the dance floor and crafty with paint all in the same event.  Win.

After class--The fun continues
   Chat with new and old friends over pizza, ice cream, beer, chicken strips, and whatever else you can find on Pizza Shuttle's menu.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Frankie Manning (May 26, 1914-April 27, 2009)

April 27 marks three years since Frankie Manning's passing.  He was creative and energetic as a young dancer at the Savoy, and remains an inspiring and influential figure as swing dancing continues today.  

I'll certainly never forget the dance I was lucky enough to have with him several years ago.  I was nervous enough to even be chatting with Frankie; when he asked me to dance, I was initially terrified I'd step on his feet or forget how to follow or move my own feet or....well, any number of possible nightmares.  I never got around to creating an exhaustive list though, because he just made it so easy to dance with him.  Frankie grinned ear to ear as he swung me out and generally put me at ease.  Ambassador of Lindy Hop indeed.  We shared a short but truly lovely dance, and it's one of the moments in my life I'll never forget.  Thanks again, Frankie.

If you've never seen this clip from Hellzapoppin', today's a great day to watch it. 

So you've seen it a million times?  Understood.  But have you seen Clayzapoppin'?  :)

Posted by Tory, for Brew City Hops

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Milwaukee Returns from Hawkeye

Milwaukee Dancers @ Saturday Evening Dance

Milwaukee-are swing dancers, traveling in 8 carpools, headed out to invade Iowa this past April 13th.  Hawkeye Swing Festival was the destination, and the event played host to 20 dancers from the Milwaukee-area swing dance scene. Oh, yeah and 300 or so other dancers from around the country.

 It's a rarity for a large number of Milwaukee-area dancers to attend one event outside the state so it

 cannot be understated how impressive a showing 20 dancers was.  I for one am extremely proud of the turnout.

Jazz Hands!

The event, in its 7th year, featured dances, workshops, competitions, and an array of all-star jazz musicians from around the country.  Milwaukee pride was shown during classes on Saturday, as many dancers chose to wear Milwaukee related/inspired T-Shirts.  Even better, Trevor Williams and Tory Bahe won a spot in the Strictly Lindy Open Division Finals! What a fantastic way to show the country that we got some dancers in Milwaukee! (Check out the video below)

If you've never been to a weekend long Lindy Hop event, it's an incredible way to improve your dance skills, meet dancers from all corners and walks of life, fall in love with new music, and of course, have the time of your life. I think I can speak for all 20 who went to Hawkeye when I say: "Fantastic times had by all!"

The weekend is also challenging in that it features 15 hours of dancing and 2 full days of workshops.  Even the fittest among us came home sore.  Sleep is an endangered species.

And the music, oh the music.  Hawkeye brought not just a few well known bands (Solomon Douglas, The Careless Lovers), but also an all star cast of musicians such as Bria Skonberg, Freddie Dickinson, and Chase Garrett. 

In then end, Milwaukee represented Milwaukee at a large swing dance event and I believe a lot of dancers went home to their corner of the swing world remembering their dances with the folks in this corner of the swing world.

Let's see if we can invade other cities, other events in the near future.  Let us know if you'd like to join us!

Monday, April 23, 2012

MAM After Dark

I love the Milwaukee Art Museum's MAM After Dark series; it's generally a great chance to try out something that my not have been on my radar, and it's also just fun to go out to such a unique place on a Friday night.  This month's Swing event was perhaps that chance to test out a new skill for some folks in the crowd; judging by the amount of fun people seemed to be having, I hope it's not the only time they give swing a chance!  
Michelle DuVall, Doug Brown and their band played swinging music at a variety of tempos and kept the cavernous room of people dancing all night long.  The energy of the crowd, great music, the gorgeous vintage-inspired outfits and updos, and the architecture and ambiance of the venue seemed to combine to produce a buzz that put a smile on everyone's face and a triple in everyone's step.  
Thanks to MAM for hosting such a great event, to Cream City Swing for teaching a beginner lesson in a challenging situation and for manning (womaning?) the table all night to get the word out about swing dancing in Milwaukee.  Thanks to Dave Klemmens for spinning great music between the band's sets and to Henry Boeh for taking all these great photos.  Thanks to everyone--experienced dancers and those testing it out for the first or second time--for a great evening.  

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Swing Big, Swing Small Concludes!

Tomorrow, Monday April 23rd will be the last class in the Swing Big, Swing Small.  We'll be reviewing some of the material from this past month as well as finishing up the Chase/Downs break.  We'll also touch on a couple quick burst combos and with any time left over learn to slow dance to swing music.  Lots of stuff to learn!

Next Monday, the 30th, will be a special 5th Monday class.  We'll be teaching a basic lindy hop class that would be perfect for all those friends of yours you've been wanting to bring into class and introduce to swing!  The class will be shortened a bit so that we can have some social dancing and a mini DJ Battle!  More details coming later this week!

In the meantime, for your viewing pleasure a collection of all of the Chase/Downs breaks done at International Lindy Hop Championship last year:

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Milwaukee heads to Iowa

This weekend, April 13-15th, the University of Iowa Swing Dance Club is hosting the 7th annual Hawkeye Swing Festival. About 20 Milwaukee dancers will be trucking down to Iowa City for a weekend of workshops, dancing and making new friends. Never before has such a large group of Milwaukee swing dancers gone to an out of town event. We are excited about what we’ll learn, and what we can bring back to enhance Milwaukee’s Swing Scene.
This group of dancers represents a wide range of skill levels and experiences. For some, this is the first national event they have attended, and for others, a chance to return to Iowa for some awesome dancing.
I’ve been to Hawkeye once before, but it was years ago. In college, a group from my swing dance club attended the 2008 Hawkeye Swing Festival. I remember being awed by the team competitions. My favorite that year were the winners, the Flying Lindy Hawks.
Other highlights I remember were a jam circle class that put me out of my comfort zone, but healed a ton of my stage fright (as well as gave lots of material that we’ve used in BCH classes), and learning some of the aerials of the California Routine with Joe and Nelle DeMers. Yay for frog jumps, the pancake, and the kip!
We hope that this weekend will create amazing new memories, and be filled with lots of learning and kick butt social dancing!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Leon Redbone

I recently had the privilege of attending a concert by the great Leon Redbone.  Mr. Redbone is a musician and singer specializing in early 20th century music, including jazz, blues and vaudeville.  He pIayed many times on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and sang the theme song to the TV show Mr. Belvedere. I've long been a fan, and his wonderful, authentic sound was a true pleasure to hear live.  Additionally, he's completely hilarious. Please enjoy the sample of his music I've included below (there are many more of his clips on YouTube), and let's spread the Leon Redbone love!

The Sheik of Araby, live

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Swinging Big and Swinging Small Continues!!!

April's Swing Big and Swing Small continues tomorrow!  Kirsten Boeh will be filling in for Becky this week.  Being aware of the space you have to dance, dancing in traffic, and getting creative in small spaces is what we'll be talking about Monday.  Come on out!

In other news, if you haven't heard about it our haven't gotten a chance to check it out,'s Swing Music for Dancers room is a great new resource for those wanting to explore fantastic swing music and check out how it might feel to DJ.  You can just log in and let the music flow (or use to practice to!) or try your hand at spinning a few tunes for the room.   Check it out:

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Wondering where to get your dancing fix this Thursday?

Wondering where to get your dancing fix this Thursday?  The Extra Crispy Brass Band is playing at the Uptowner (Humboldt & Center) from 8:30-11:00, and Tory and Henry will be on hand for a free low-key drop-in Charleston lesson from 7:45 till the band begins.  Don't let "dance lesson" throw you off; in the past it's been less like a formal 45-minute class and more like spending some one-on-one time with folks who wanted to try out dancing.  We're pretty flexible and are happy to adapt; we'll do what we can to help your night get off to a great start! 

Wondering about the ECBB?  Check out their recording of "I Hope" here, and see their Facebook page and event for more info.  
I Hope by christensenkc

Wondering about Charleston and swing dancing in Milwaukee?  You can see this and other videos on our YouTube channel, learn more about this month's Monday night classes here, and get to know Brew City Hops by browsing the blog and our FAQ's:

Hope to see you out on Thursday! Come early to claim a spot, stay late to catch all the great new tunes in their set.