Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Time Warp

[Quick background note: I'm back home in Vancouver for the holidays.]

This evening, I went with Phi to our old high school's Christmas concert.

It's been 11 years since my grade 12 Christmas concert, so it was a little mind-blowing to be there. Most of the songs were familiar, as they were songs I had done in my last two years of school. Mr. O. and Mrs. Roberts were still leading the band and choir, and Mrs. Mulder was in the audience, as always.

The highlight was the last number, Silent Night. The concert always ends with a really beautiful choral arrangement of Silent Night, performed from the balcony at the back of the church. The program said that all alumni of the concert choir were invited to participate, so we went up to join the group, and stood in the back row. I'm pretty sure we were the oldest ones in the lot.

Just like 11 years ago, we had picked up candles which we would be holding during the performance. I shook slightly as I tried to light mine, once again feeling the slight nerves before singing. Then, the most fantastic thing happened. Mrs. Roberts was looking around to make sure that everyone could see her. She noticed me, and mouthed, "oh my God, it's David." I mouthed back, "oh my God, it's Franny."

We performed the song and, of course, I still knew every note. Phi later confirmed that she did, too. The last note rang across the church, ending an amazingly exciting experience: a brief trip back in time.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Mandi, Mandi! You're so grandy!

Once again, I'm motivated to post about jazz with Mandi at Swingin'OUT. I fear that this blog may soon turn into nothing more than a record of these classes, but really, would that be so bad? Anyway, I warned you back at the beginning that the primary purpose of this blog is to act as my personal memory aid. And, I really don't want to forget this stuff.

I'll start with the whole routine, and then explain the new and tricky moves below.

The Routine

Messing around
Trucking (right foot first)
Suzie Q to the left
Trucking (left foot first)
Suzie Q to the right
Fall off the log/cross-over step
3 more cross-over steps
Boogie drops (right then left)
Shorty George with hold on four (finish with right foot on 7)
3 sets of reaches (up first)
Jazz hands break and turn (end with stomp off)
3 sets of Tacky Annie
Break with kick ball change and turn
2 sets of raise leg, hold, triple step (raise right leg first)
2 sets of boogie forward/fishtail back

...repeat from trucking!


1. Step inward on heal of right foot.
2. Pivot right foot outward and tap toe. Left foot raises and weight transfers to right.
3. Step inward on heal of left foot.
4. Pivot left foot outward and tap toe. Right foot raises and weight transfers to left.

Left hand on waist, raise and wiggle index figure of right hand.

Fall off the log/cross-over step

8-3. Like regular fall off the log, but focus shifts to cross-over step (right in front of left) on 3.
4. Hold.
5-6. Step left, right.
7. Cross left in front of right.


Turn 90 degrees to right.

1. Step on left foot, and reach up to left, with left hand above right.
2. Hold.
3. Step on right foot, and reach down to centre, with hands next to each other.
4. Hold.
5. Up left.
6. Down right.
7. Up left.
8. Hold.

Second time has same rhythm, but down right first. Third time, up right first again.

Jazz hands break and turn

1. Pushing off with right foot, scoot forward onto left.
2. Step forward on to right foot.
3. Bend left leg back at knee. Arms out, with left up right down. Jazz hands!
4. Left foot down, beside right.
5. Cross right foot behind left.
6-7. Turn over right shoulder.
(and) 8. Stomp-off.

Break with kick ball change and turn

8. Step onto right foot.
1. Touch left foot behind right.
2. Step onto right foot.
3-4. Kick ball change with right onto left.
5. Jump into lock step, right foot in front of left.
6-7. Turn over left shoulder.

Raise leg, hold, triple step

8. Raise right foot with straight leg, and slap leg with right hand. Left arm straight up.
1. Hold.
2-3. Triple step on right foot.
4. Raise left foot with straight leg, and slep leg with left hand. Right arm straight up.
5. Hold.
6-7. Triple step on left foot.

Thanks again, Mandi, for a fabulous class! Indirect thanks to Frida Segerdahl of the Harlem Hotshots, from whom Mandi says she "borrowed" most of this routine.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Wow, Stephane!

Stephane Dion has just been selected as the new leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.

I've been watching the convention all day. It's been amazingly exciting, even though it feels like it's been moving in slow motion.

I've been a big fan of Dion since he wrote his open letters to Lucien Bouchard and Jacques Brassard. He has always displayed a clarity of thought and intellectual honesty that's too often lacking in politics. And his embrace of a strong environmental policy is most heartening.

Gerrard Kennedy, of whom I knew nothing before, has earned a lot of my respect, too. By abandoning his own bid after the second ballot and throwing his support behind Dion, he pushed Dion to the head of the pack. For me, that was a clear demonstration of commitment to his values and principles.

With Michael Ignatieff leading throughout the campaign, I was not looking forward to voting in the next election. Now all of a sudden, I can hardly wait!