teachers and researchers of traditional jazz dance

Peabody at the Omotesando Ball

On Thursday, May 5, we performed at the Tokyo Swing Dance Society’s annual Omotesando Ball. The swing dance event is held every year during Japan’s Golden Week ( a week in the Spring with three concurrent holidays). We performed a Peabody routine with our students Kota and Yukiko. Kota captured the performance on video and was kind enough to share it with us. Here it is.

Wing and Swing into Summer

We’ll be teaching workshops for the Tokyo Swing Dance Society again this summer! The workshops, held on July 3rd and 4th, happen to be near my birthday. So it’s a nice gift for me, a chance to share dances we love!

Sogo Undojo, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo.

DAY-1: Sunday July 3rd 2010

12:30-14:00 Peabody I:
(all levels, some dance experience useful)
We’ll begin with a brief review of the basics (essentials from our previous workshop) before launching into new material.

14:00-15:30 Peabody II:
(all levels, some dance experience useful)
I think we can fly. What makes Peabody fun is that it travels fast. In this class, we will learn more ways to make this dance fly.

15:30-17:00 Charleston I:
(all levels, some dance experience useful)

We’ll begin with a brief review of the basic (essentials from our previous workshop) before adding new ideas. Footloose, fun and leadable.

17:00-18:00 Lecture with old film footage, Q&A
This will be a screening of old film footage with some notes and interesting facts. Less talking, more watching!

DAY-2: Sunday July 4th 2010

12:30-14:00 Peabody III:
(all levels, some dance experience useful)
What’s all that traveling without a little fancy footwork. We’ll put all those fast feet to good use. This will be fun.

15:00-16:30 Charleston II:
More ideas that will make you request Charleston more for social dances.

15:00-16:30 Lindy Hop:
We are really excited about this class. It will cover fundamentals, styling, and new ideas.

17:00-18:00 Q&A

Please check out the details on the following TSDS website.


SIGN-UP IS REQUIRED. You can find how to do it on the workshops page (link above).

The Golden Week Special

We are thrilled to be invited by the Tokyo Swing Dance Society to teach workshops at Seta-Chiku-Kaikan in Setagaya-ku during Golden Week. These are our first workshops since moving to Japan, so it is very exciting. We’ll be teaching the Peabody, Charleston and Lindy Hop. Stay tuned for more information.

DAY-1                |      DAY-2
Sunday May 2            Monday May 3 National Holiday
13:30-18:00pm        13:30-17:00pm

These Spirit Will Move

“New York, New York, it’s a helluva town…” begins the lyrics of a famous song about the Big Apple. We couldn’t agree more. Both Midori and I arrived well over a decade ago with limited budgets, few prospects, but dreams to make a life in the City that Never Sleeps. It’s really hard to believe it, but we did it. We found Lindy Hop, Tap, Charleston, Peabody and many other dances. We found great friends and mentors. We had too many special nights to count from the eras of Elixir and Hi-Life to Bubble Lounge and the Supper Club to Louisiana and Swing 46 to Jack’s and Frim Fram. Most memorably, we found each other and our son was born here—so we now have a native New Yorker in the family. But to pile on the cliches, nothing lasts forever. We had an opportunity to move to Japan and we took it. It is bittersweet. We say goodbye to a place we have called home for 15 years, almost as many as we lived in our childhood homes. But we are also excited to see what life is like in the Land of the Rising Sun. I have always marveled at Tokyo during our annual visits to see Midori’s family and friends. Now I get a chance to experience it as an insider (kind of). It may take awhile to resettle as I will be a high school teacher and Indigo will be starting school. But we are excited to see what dancing in Tokyo will be like.

We wish that things weren’t so hectic. We had only a little more than a month notice that I had been accepted into the national teaching program. We wish we could see all our friends, dance a bit, and enjoy our favorite haunts before heading out. Unfortunately, we didn’t get much time to packed up and gear up for the big move. So we’ll have to save it for a return voyage. So fond farewell, New York. Meanwhile, hello Tokyo!

We will be in touch, once things get settled. And look forward to representing the Big Apple in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Thanks again!

Chad, Midori and Indigo

Gone, but Never Forgotten

I came into work today. And I just felt miserable and sad. And I didn’t know why. I do now. Frankie was a mentor to many. Midori and I are happy to be two of that number. He inspired us as a dancer. He inspired us as a teacher. He inspired us as a human being.

We weren’t family (we only knew him for over a decade of his 94 years), but he made us feel like family with warm smile, hug or firm handshake. He was that kind.

To say he will be missed is an understatement. I do know this. I’m sure he’s leading one heckuva shim shim up there. God bless.

American Lindy Hop Championship

We’ll be in Stamford, Connecticut for the American Lindy Hop Championships. It is exciting to participate in the 10th annual edition of Lindy’s Fall Classic. We are honored to be judges at the event, which always features great dancing.

Toronto Dance Weekend

Oh Canada! I’ll be flying north soon to Toronto for a weekend of Peabody, Charleston and Lindy Hop workshops. Easily one of our favorite places to dance (and perhaps the coldest locale we’ve ever taught in—New Year’s weekend a few years back), Toronto is diverse, has a lot of good dancers, and is home to Tim Hudson (as in Timothy’s donuts and coffee). 

For full details about the workshops, visit OddSocks.org.

How to Dance the Big Apple (1938 manual)

For those interested in historical texts related to the Big Apple, here’s one of two pamphlets that I know of about the dance. You’ll really need to zoom in to read.

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Peabody at DC’s Big, Big Event

Jam Cellar has invited us back to Washington, D.C. for their Big, Big Event (BBE) to teach a little Peabody. We are absolutely thrilled, particularly because the dance is in June. When we traveled there to teach in March, last year, we drove in near blizzard conditions (4.5 hour drive=11 hour drive). It’s unlikely, though with global warming you never know, that we will have to deal with these conditions. (But now that I’ve opened my mouth, we’ll probably have a tropical storm, instead.) If you haven’t been to DC for dancing, then you are missing out. It is truly one of the top places in the country with a great community and one of the world’s best venues (Glen Echo). We were sad that we missed last year’s BBE, but we were already traveling in June to celebrate Indy’s 1st birthday. For us, personally, this year’s event will be a big, big event. It will likely mark Midori’s return to dancing following much needed bunion surgery in November. They say it’s 6-weeks to recover, but they mean bear weight on your foot. It’s really like 6 months to return to dancing. Yikes! She has recovered as well as we could have possibly hoped and now has a nice incentive on her calendar. I’ll post more details about the BBE when I have them.

Where Feet Once Sang: Fazil’s is Closed

Fazil's logoAnother piece of dance history will face the wrecking ball: Fazil’s has closed Thursday to make way for another luxury hotel in New York. (We really need another one?) I called to book the space for a private lesson and learned the terrible news. Personally, Midori and I have great memories of rehearsing at the dance studio over the years. Midori learned from tap legend Chuck Green at Fazil’s. We choreographed some of our best routine and had most of our tap rehearsals there. For those who are not familiar, Fazil’s was the unofficial home of tap and flamenco dancers. You would walk up several flights of stairs from its street access point on Eighth Avenue between 46th and 47th Streets and enter a home of happy feet. In some of its lower level rental studios, the ceiling would quake with the stomping of dancers above. The floor was not as polished as other rental studios. OK, the floor may have last been polished decades ago. But we never got tired on it. Perhaps I reasoned this was because the floor was hardwood layered over years of hardwood. But I also loved to tell folks that the ghosts of the studio’s past lightened the impact of its floor—a version of dancing on the shoulders of giants. While I knew the studio space as Fazil’s, the studio’s story merely ends there. The beginning dates back to the 1920s. A few years ago, the New York Times posted an article on the studio, which touched on this past. They have several other articles from 1989 to 2005. I guess that we drew inspiration from this rich dance history. We felt like rehearsing at Fazil’s carried a story forward that has started long before us. I couldn’t wait for us to start tapping for fun with our son, Indigo, at Fazil’s. Unfortunately, we won’t get the chance. Fazil’s may move on. The staff said they are working on finding a new space. But those ghosts will be lost, however. I’m still in shock. A piece of my neighborhood and my New York will just disappear. I guess that’s life in the Big Apple.