LONDON, LOVE, LINDY HOP….3 “L” s that reshaped my most important “L”: LIFE (part 2)
FIRST DAYS & VIBE IN LONDON (first time in my life spending time there)
Here I was, on 26th of December 2017, on the plane to London, enjoying my first real Holiday after 7 years of working hard (I do not advise anyone to be a workohoolic like I have been).
Once I arrived in London, the first thing I wanted to do was to feel the “London vibe” so I went with my sister on Oxford Street which I have previously only seen in photos. Since I have started to be more passionate about dances’ history, musicality and movements that I have practiced, back in 2013, but also once I have met Kwenda Lima (Afro Contemporary&Kaizen&Kizomba& other African dances Master) and his teachings in 2015-2016, I started to believe more that if you really want to understand someone’s dance, you need to understand their personality and the history behind that country and people living there.
Kwenda Lima’s Kizomba workshop in History of a lost Love 2016: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryVMHM9kvfU
For a very tired person, going to Oxford Street was one of the most interesting choices. Because I have felt instantly that I couldn’t breathe. It was too much for me. Too many people, too crowded, people really wanting to move forward so made their way into the street, and everything was…on the other side of the road. London has 14 million people, compared to Bucharest’s 2 million. My mind didn’t adjust so we went home.
London Swing dance scene is very interesting and very colorful, lively and has many but many, MANY dance schools and events. I did my “homework” previously and contacted beforehand the two dance schools I wanted to visit and know: “Swing Patrol” and “London Swing Dance Society” and they both were very kind to send a lot of good info about their classes. Thank you Jeff Tong (Swing Patrol) & Anna Lambrechts (London Swing Dance Society) for all the support.
So here I was on the 27th, excited to be in London, wanting to do everything at once: visit London, stay with my family, dance, go to parties, dance, learn…but what I didn’t really realize until I was there….was that I was on my first Holiday after so long. The City was overwhelming, the mix of cultures, very interesting and inspirational. You learn a lot about yourself in London: “either you stay and improve and speak up for yourself, or you go”. There is no other way there.
I was also inspired by the London system of transportation which is always communicating: “See it, Say it, Sorted”.
After a deep breath I made a plan: first, family time and trekking on the London vibe and then, second, the dancing. For me Life is like the Dance and Dance is like Life. So, knowing how to have a break, when, where, with whom and most importantly what part of yourself you want to express during the break, it is like dancing on music’s parts.
MEETING INSPIRATIONAL PEOPLE LIKE LYDIA FRANCES, TREVOR NOAH, SCOTT CUPIT, ARRIANNE O’SHEA, WILL & HAVING THE TIME OF MY LIFE DANCING
The 30th of December was very inspirational:
The first meeting I had in terms of dancing Lindy Hop & Charleston was on the 30th of Dec with Lydia Frances (Swing Patrol London). She is a beautiful lady with all the qualities a true “lady” has to have. But what impressed me more,was the power she had in her movements. I could really feel that she was THERE.This way of dancing is also her vision regarding life. So, I have learnt a lot in my private class with her, some styling ideas, I have improved my technique and saw another side of the dance itself. Thank you, Lydia Frances, for being yourself, a nice teacher and dancer.
Also on the 30th I watched a stand-up comedy video of Trevor Noah. I got inspired by his energy. I immediately started watching all his videos and, on the 4th of January I also ordered on Amazon his book “Born a crime”, which arrived the second day. I spent all my day on the 31st of December and almost every day until now, listening and watching his videos with his vision over life and the way he educates people. In a manner you do not understand that he had a tough life growing up in South Africa and being born from a black African mother and a Swiss white father, under Apartheid. He says things in such a funny way that you only see his happiness. This inspired me a lot. I was doing this kind of funny presentations of facts already, but his style is more engaging and I said to myself: “This is the way you want people to always know you. And you can also educate people in this way. Funny doesn’t mean that you are not serious, it means that you got over the painful moments you experienced”.
Trevor Noah stand up comedy show https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3XCxV_pSBA
New Year came, and I was on the street at 00:00, in London, close to Thames, trying to see the beautiful fireworks over the tops of some buildings. I was impressed by the London police crowd control. It was overwhelming for me, but I was happy to be with my sister and her friends, in a place that I only dreamt that I will be, so I was just standing there admiring.
The time flew by and the 1st day of 2018 came. I went out for a walk and I saw the Day Parade for the New Year on the streets of Westminster Square. I was impressed by the size of it and the many formations of cheerleaders from USA, native people from different countries and some vintage cars, all well organized by the City Hall.
2nd of January arrived. I was excited. I was about to meet one of the most important persons that created a Swing dance vibe and the Director of one of the biggest danceschools in London, a teacher and dancer who’s work I had admired online and I wanted to meet and learn from him. He is Scott Cupit, the Director of Swing Patrol.
I took the train in the morning to Brighton, the city he lives in since 2017. I was nervous but I said to myself: “During the private classes just stay cool and be yourself. Ask your questions, dance the way you like to dance because you want him to know your dance not your fears and do not be overwhelmed by the situation. It is important to be yourself. Trust your intuition that he is a nice person”. And so, I did, I met a wonderful teacher, a great man with a positive energy and a polite, firm way of expression and a vision over life and dance which I admire and share. Everything was falling into place. After the two-hour private class, I was very excited. I got confirmations, revelations, wonderful dances and a new way of seeing life.
He (Scott Cupit) had also the courtesy to respond positively to my request to talk over a coffee and to respond to a lot of questions I had, over his life and dance journey, “Swing Patrol London, Brighton, Melbourne…”. I was truly inspired by the depiction of his experiences. As a founder of my “Feel&Dance” school in Bucharest in 2005, as a leader of Bucuresti Swing Dance Society which opened the roads in 2015 for Bucharest Swing Dance scene, I felt that I can learn from him how to do better, to improve myself as a leader, dancer and teacher.
I have received a lot and I gave a lot; he answered so many of my questions and there’s still plenty left for our further meetings.After arriving home I decided to buy his book : “Swing Dance”,when I have the chance, during my Christmas Holiday.
Sleeping and eating well during the Holiday was also part of my planned journey. Because if you do not rest and eat properly, your life can take an unpleasant turn. So the 3rdof January was all about sleeping and resting after the day in Brighton. I have to say that an important person for me in that day in Brighton and not only, was my physical therapist who I am working with since June 2016. Thank you, Calin Marin for turning my life into a positive experience. Due to your weekly exercises and your care in the past 6 months, I can walk properly and painlessly, after 3 years of pain in my legs and after the bad accident I had on the escalators in May 2016.
Thanks to you Calin Marin, and Scott Cupit’s invitation, I had a wonderful journey on the 6th of January when I participated at the Beginner Aerials Workshop that Scott & Arianne taught in Brighton. It was “Time to Fly” as they said on their advertising.
I was in Brighton for the second time in 4 days. It is a lovely city on the shore. I knew in the beginning that I will only attend the workshop as an observer because it was sold out already. But Scott Cupit had a beautiful surprise for me. As he said in a half joke smiling:” You already know that Swing Patrol offers great services soooo…”….
That phrase meant that 5 minutes before the workshop started, he introduced me to one of the nicest men I met: Will (thank you Will for being such a nice team player and strong man). So there we were. I had two choices: to trust or not to trust :). But as I am a positive person I said to myself: I trust Scott’s teaching and mentality and if he says it will be ok it means that it will be ok. Then, I saw Will’s energy: so nice and powerful. That was the moment when I felt that I was about to prove that I also do everything I teach other people in dancing and life: I have trust and love for what I do, I am conscious and open to the Universe during the process. One of the most interesting things I have learnt and applied in this journey is how to go with the flow.
Arrianne O’Shea, partner of Scott Cupit in teaching the workshop, inspired me also as a lady teacher. She is such a strong and fun person and she offers so much support for everyone she works with. Thank you Arrianne for being there for all of us with such valuable information and lovely smiles.
As a teacher and dancer I didn’t actually accept, until 6th of January a concept: “follower”. All my students know that for me being a “follower” means that you do not think, that someone else is doing that for you and I saw that attitude so many times in women dancing. For me, dance is like a conversation between a man and a woman, everyone playing their role and deciding when they place in the dance a new “word”, a “new invitation”. As from that day, the term “follower” has an improved meaning for me which I have received as an inspiration during the process of practicing Aerial steps:“follower is the person who receives the seed that the leader is offering and turns it into something beautiful and powerful”. Because there was trust, support and good timing between my partner and I, while we were practicing the moves, everything went great.And even if we didn’t do everything perfectly, we were having so much fun that it didn’t matter.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Neither Scott Cupit (Director Swing Patrol) or Swing Patrol, as a danceschool, nor I as a President of Feel&Dance and Bucuresti Swing Dance Society DO NOT PROMOTE doing Aerial steps during a Social/Party or in an environment which is not built especially for it. It can harm even the most experienced of dancers so it is important to go by this rule.
Before my trip to London I have decided that I am going to be open minded, so the Universe will send me the right information, through the right people, at the right time. So, I knew that the thing that I was dancing with Will and I was there for the workshop was perfect for me. It turned to be one of the greatest experiences of my life so far.
I have received wonderful things by accepting in my heart and my body, more than before, the positive role of a “follower as a receiver” and having and accepting leaders like my partner Will, Scott Cupit and Arrianne O’Shea,in the terms of: “Leader is a giver in which I have placed my full trust and positivity that we will be fine during the dance/lesson”. Thank you Will & Scottie&Arrianne for a wonderful experience, and also, I say thank you to all the wonderful people from our group.
Top three things I have received during the workshop:
- A fun, full of positive and helpful information regarding aerials and work methods,
- A wonderful group energy,
- The fastest “Judo flip over” that Scott has seen in his life, performed by Will and I only with a shadow spotter (a person who is near the girl, ready to catch her if she is in danger of falling).
Spending quality time with family is always good for the heart :). But this year I got more inspired by my sister who is a powerful person, in a different way than I am. She is always fun but very direct and very good (in my point of view) with everything involving technology. The reason I am sharing that is because one day during this Christmas Holiday, as always, I was asking for her help with my phone and she said: “Do you know what the difference is between you and I? I have the curiosity of pressing the button and seeing what happens. It is not like it is going to blow-up in your face. I am neither better nor worse than you with this. I just have the curiosity to try”.
This opened up new ideas for me. Yes…the difference between me and other people who I consider better is the curiosity and the practice. I am now promoting this idea to my students, starting with the first class held this year: “People, the difference between me as a dancer and teacher and you is the curiosity to try the steps. It is not like the steps will do something harmful to you”.
And so, my adventure in London& Brighton continued. MORE about dancing with experienced teachers, inspirational meetings and the energy London has, in the third episode available HERE: