Sunday, June 29, 2014

5 Tips for Traveling to a Dance Event with a Baby

For most people, the wonderful event of having a child signals a drastic life change. Really, having children is a huge change for anybody. I am not going to lie - your priorities DO change when you have them. Howard and I decided that we didn’t want to stop dancing. Slow down, maybe, but stop? Hell no! For us, that was the whole reason we hooked up.
Both of us have danced for a fair bit of time and our generation of dancers are getting to that age where we taking up the challenge of raising children. There are a whole slew of us now with kids. Having just joined their ranks, I wanted to put out a couple pointers that made our first long distance travel with our baby girl enjoyable. 

1) Know Thyself and Thy baby

Our daughter, like all babies, cries. In general though, she's a pretty mellow baby. I am not sure we would have dared our trip to All Balboa Weekend if she were a super colicky baby. I also realized that there would be some points in the trip were we just would need to take some time to ourselves (just baby and I). I tried to be very sensitive to when enough was enough for her. Those are sentiments that as parents, or very close friends, can figure out. Parenting, in general, necessitates this ‘sense’, but being in an unfamiliar place it becomes even more important. So, knowing you and your child’s limits are paramount. If your baby needs some quiet time, take some time, dammit!

Also, speak to your pediatrician for tips on traveling with your infant (i.e. our peds told us to nurse take off and landing).

Oh, AND book a flight during sleepy time if possible. Our first flight out was at 5am in the morning and she slept the entire way!

2) Have a support system

Not only did my husband do a fantastic job of trading off for baby duty, we had some pretty amazing friends on deck for us as well. Our wonderful roommates (the Roberts), Penny Atkins, and the vivacious Lauren who blessedly agreed to watch her while we were competing. I feel thankful for the friends that we have in the dance community. THANK YOU ALL! We couldn’t have done it without you. Also, I want to give a shout out to our house sitter that guarded our vicious fur babies whilst we were gone. Love you Nicole!

Athena and I being silly at 3am on the morning!
3) Get a Carrier

A carrier that you can tote your kid around, frankly, makes it so much easier than just hand carrying her. We lucked out because our baby doesn’t always like being in one, but for the weekend she was pretty much good to go. Maybe the travel gods smiled upon us favorably?  FYI, we use the Ergo carrier. 

4) Get Ear Protection

Ear protection at a dance is a MUST. The music is loud and hearing loss is cumulative over your life time. Better to be safe than sorry and take steps to prevent damage. Make sure to test the earphones on your little one before hand. I can only imagine that some kids will not tolerate them. Also, give your child ample headphone breaks (Anyone with a still-forming skull would want a break from the pressure).
If you are curious, we use a pair of Baby Banz that we bought off of Amazon.

5) Be Flexible

I went to some classes when we were at ABW, but in a lot of cases I took the baby out and we just played. Or she slept. I didn’t stress about this because Howard was taking them and we will be able to practice the material at home. I didn’t have the expectation that I would be able to do it all with a baby in tow.

Most of these tips are common sense. No matter what other people tell you to do, you have to do what is right for YOUR family. Just remember that and don’t feel judged. Besides, people that judge others are usually @ss hats.

Have any other tips for the traveling dance parents? Leave ‘em in the comments! Thanks for reading.

Toss out and prosper!


PS Congratulations to Howard for placing 2nd in the Am Jack'n'Jill!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Getting Started with Balboa

Balboa, to me, is breath itself. I know, sounds overly dramatic when it's put that way, but hey- I can't help that this is my passion. Balboa is a small, albeit, mighty community of interesting and yet astoundingly dapper people from all over the world. Though being dapper and interesting are not a requirement for the dance, for me it is about community, the music, and having fun.

Coming up in Phoenix is BadAZ Balboa with the wonderful Chris & Beth Grover. I hope I can convince some of you to come out and experience a little piece of heaven that I feel whenever I dance Balboa. I must admit it took a little while in my dance journey to truly love this dance, but now that I do, I can't stop! I even danced when I was in the birthing suite at the hospital, getting ready to deliver our daughter Athena! Hey now, we all have a starting point.

Now, if you are a lindy dancer already or any other dancer for that matter, it is often difficult to see what the heck is so great about Balboa. To put it bluntly, Balboa is not a performance dance. It isn't meant for spectacle. Balboa, like 20th Century classical music, takes a trained eye (ear in the case of Twentieth Century music- I'm talking atonal music, in case you are wondering what that's about) to really appreciate and figure out what the hell Balboa judges in competitions look for or why the heck there are people out there that ONLY do Balboa. Yes, it is true. There are Balboa only dancers out there.

Since, I know I won't convince anyone to really love Balboa based off an impassioned article, I wanted to leave you with our "Balboa Homework" so you can decide for yourself. I put this list together when we taught a Balboa workshop in Las Vegas. Balboa is much more about how the dance "feels" in my humble opinion. Lindy hoppers (myself included) all know that a good solid swing out feels freaking AMAZING, but in reality that feeling isn't what drew us to the dance in the first place. There are many reasons people are attracted to lindy hop, but the feeling of a great swing out isn't one of them, because as beginning dancers we hadn't experienced that joy yet.  Same with Balboa, you have to put some practice and energy into learning it so that you can find that "feeling".

We know this is not a complete list of resources. Take it for what it is, a launching point. I leave the rest of the journey up to you.

Toss out and Prosper,



Balboa homework:
Bobby White’s blog, , check out the Who’s Who (Balboa) section and the piece on “Meditatin’ on Pure Balboa”.
Nick William’s article “Out and In-terest”, . I mentioned this specific article in class.
Willie and Lila dancing:  
Peter Loggin’s Balboa and Bal-Swing History:
Peter Loggin’s interview with Dwight Lupardis(Balboa historian), this link lists all(8) of the videos on YouTube:
In the same vein that lindy hoppers SHOULD know about the Hellzapoppin’ clip(i.e), bal dancers should be aware of the Venice Beach clip:

Modern day bal dancers that Howard and I really appreciate (not a complete list in the least, but I wanted to toss out names to look up): Nick Williams, Sylvia Sykes, Jeremy Otth, Laura Keat, Mickey Fortanasce, Kelly Arsenault, Beth and Chris Grover, David Rehm, Mia Goldsmith, Adam Speen, Nelle Cherry, Teni Lopez-Cardenas, Andreas Olsson, Bobby White, Valerie Salstrom, Jacob Wigger, and Kate Hedin.  

Monday, December 30, 2013

BadAZ Balboa 2014

Hope everyone is ending 2013 with good cheer and the likes! We just want to let you know about an upcoming workshop that we are teaching at with the AMAZING Christ and Beth Grover, March 28-30th. If you get tickets now, there are some smokin' deals for early bird registrants. Check out the website for more information. 

Also, you won't want to miss out on this event because the first prize for the Balboa JnJ winners are tickets to California Balboa Classic 2015. Plus, it isn't too late to attend Cal Bal 2014!!!

Tucson Folks- if you are interested in Balboa and wish to join the Tucson Secret Balboa Society, Tell Everybody (aka Balboa House parties, potlucks and dance practices), just email us and let us know and we'll include you on the invite when we do have such events.Viva Balboa!

Anyhow, our baby girl is due in a couple weeks and we can't wait to introduce you to her. 

Toss out and Prosper!