We’re getting married!

We interrupt our usual updates on our business partnership for an exciting personal matter…. WE’RE GETTING MARRIED! This weekend Brian got down on one knee and proposed on top of a mountain after a camping trip together, and Samantha said “YES!”. We are so excited for the future and we look forward to sharing our love together with all of you as we continue to dance, perform, and teach together. Thank you all for your support through everything!

Brian T Lawton and the future Samantha L Lawton!

 

The 9th Annual Jazz Age Lawn Party

This weekend we returned to Governors Island to perform at the Jazz Age Lawn Party. Once again, thousands of people flocked to the island to enjoy the tunes of Michael Aranella and His Dreamland Orchestra. Each morning the ferry was packed with dancers, vintage enthusiasts, photographers, musicians, picnic appreciators, spectators, and more. This eclectic crew succeeded in making yet another perfect lawn party. We performed a total of six routines over the weekend with Roddy Caravella and His Canarsie Wobblers, including two new routines choreographed by Roddy Caravella himself. If you missed out on this fabulous weekend, make sure to purchase tickets for the August 16-17 weekend. Tickets sell out fast! Also join us for our series of weekly group lessons on 1920′s Dances and get ready to show off your moves in August!

This June’s Jazz Age Lawn Party also got a sizeable amount of press! Scroll through the following publications and you’ll find a collection of photos of us!

Vogue Brasil: Jazz Era Lawn Party: uma viagem ao passado durante o evento em NY
The Gothamist: Photos: The Jazz Age Lawn Party Takes Governors Island Back In Time
NY Racked: 82 Dreamy Shots from the Jazz Age Lawn Party

 

Frankie100

Frankie100 Balloon Drop Birthday Celebration

Find us on Instagram! @sam_and_brian

What a remarkable weekend to honor a remarkable man. Frankie Manning was one of the key players in developing and spreading the joy of the Lindy Hop. He helped invent the dance in its early days during the 1930′s at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, and spent the latter years of his life traveling the world  teaching and providing his insight while creating a wonderful community of dancers. He is in part the reason why swing dancing is so popular today! This weekend would have been his 100th Birthday, and in his honor a giant 100th Birthday celebration in NYC took place to celebrate his life and his legacy.  We are so thankful to have been a part of it in multiple capacities. Thursday night Brian performed at the The Apollo Theater show under the direction of Chester Whitmore, and Friday afternoon we performed with the Big Apple Lindy Hoppers in Central Park. We were also fortunate to be included in the Frankie Trifecta events performing Friday night at the Edison Ballroom with Roddy Caravella and His Varsity Syncopaters and Syncopated City Dance Company, and Saturday evening Samantha taught with Roddy Caravella at the same event Brian performed again with the Big Apple Lindy Hoppers! Besides our involvement as performers, we were honored to take part of the event as Lindy Hoppers. The Sunday night event on the eve of Frankie’s birthday was reminiscent of a New Year’s celebration, with a countdown, ballroon drop, and the entire two-thousand plus dancers gathered from around the world singing “Happy “Birthday” to the man who made Lindy Hop what it is today. It was truly a memory we will never forget.

Thank you to all who organized these remarkable events, and we are so grateful for everyone who attended this event in our hometown of New York City. It was such a wonderful opportunity to connect with friends spread out across the world, as well as meet new friends to look forward to more dance with again someday!

Swing Remix Presents Stomp for Frankie

StompForFrankie_PostcardFrontA1webTonight Brian performed with the amazing Big Apple Lindy Hoppers at Swing Remix’s Stomp for Frankie, part of the Frankie Trifecta celebration. In tribute to Frankie Manning we performed a variation on the Big Apple which he choreographed for the Big Apple Lindy Hoppers. In addition to this, Samantha also taught an Intermediate Lindy Hop lesson with Roddy Caravella. Later in the evening we also performed the Lindy Chorus, Samantha dancing with Roddy and Brian dancing with Laura Jeffers, two of our teachers, mentors, and all-around favorite people.

The Frankie Centennial Savoy Ball

Tonight we performed at the Frankie Centennial Savoy Ball as part of the Frankie Trifecta celebration. We performed four pieces with two different dance companies, Syncopated City and Roddy Caravella’s Varsity Syncopators to the music of George Gee and His Orchestra. We have been performing with both groups for several years now and tonight was the first time they have overlapped at a gig. We also had the chance to once again share the stage with stars such as Dawn Hampton, Ryan Francois, and Chester Whitmore. To top it all off, after all the performances, we got to social dance to the tunes of Dandy Wellington and His Band.

Frankie 100: Welcome Dance in Central Park

This afternoon, we performed with The Big Apple Lindy Hoppers at the welcoming dance in Central Park for the Frankie Centennial celebration. It is always such a pleasure to dance alongside the Big Apple Lindy Hoppers and under the direction of our teacher and mentor, Laura Jeffers. This performance was the start of the Frankie 100 festivities with hundreds of swing dancers from all over the world in attendance. Five years ago, Brian performed with The Big Apple Lindy Hoppers at Frankie 95 and is so thankful to still be performing with them today at Frankie 100, and this time with the ever-so-talented, Samantha “Shimmy During My Popovers” Siegel. (Check out the third photo for a reference!)

Frankie 100: Show at Harlem’s World Famous Apollo Theater

Tonight Brian performed at the Apollo as part of the Frankie 100 celebration. It was an amazing experience to dance alongside the greats of the greats like Norma Miller, Chester Whitmore, Dawn Hampton, Chazz Young and so many more in a full length show dedicated to the legacy of Frankie Manning. Brian performed three pieces  including two choreographed by Chester Whitmore and a Berry Brother’s routine. All the months of rehearsals truly paid off upon arriving at the Apollo Theater. To perform at such a legendary venue was the chance of a lifetime.

Jazz at Lincoln Center Gala 2014

Jazz at Lincoln Center screenshot - Ryan Francois and his dancers - Samantha and Brian

Screenshot from last night’s live stream performance at the Jazz at Lincoln Center Gala 2014. In the photo we’re on the right with Samantha in the red dress!

Jazz at Lincoln Center Gala 2014 - Samantha L Siegel and Brian T LawtonWOW. That’s all we can say about the opportunity to perform on stage with Wynton Marsalis. At Jazz at Lincoln Center. In the Rose Theater. With choreography by Ryan Francois. With host Billy Crystal. Alongside the most talented jazz musicians and singers in the world and other of our Syncopated City Dance Company members. WOW. This week came and went. It was truly surreal.

We started from scratch on two brand new routines–a Charleston and a Lindy Hop–by Ryan Francois on TUESDAY. Tech was WEDNESDAY. The show was THURSDAY. We worked morning to night on those days to create, clean, and perfect these routines for the prestigious event to share our love for what we do, and the music that inspires us.

To perform for a live orchestra is truly fulfilling, it brings out the best in our dance. We are near speechless trying to describe the dream we lived last night. We cannot be any more thankful for the opportunity to perform last night at the incredible Jazz at Lincoln Center Gala 2014.

Stay tuned for an edited video of our performances!

Photo to the right: Copyright Jazz at Lincoln Center 2014, taken backstage after our final performance!

Photos below by Frank Stewart, courtesy Jazz at Lincoln Center 2014

Spring 2014 Performance Class Debut!

We are SO excited for the debut of our Spring 2014 Performance Class this weekend! We have 12 incredible and enthusiastic dancers who will debut a brand new Charleston choreography we’ve created at the 92nd Street Y Ballroom Party this Saturday, April 26, as well as at Frim Fram Jam, a weekly swing dance social in NYC, next Thursday, May 1! If you are in New York City, please swing by and join us for these performances, and also spend the night dancing away with us!

Two Performances:
Saturday, April 26 – 92Y Ballroom Party, 8:00pm Event starts, 10:00pm Performance
–> Click here for more information and to purchase tickets

Thursday, May 1 – Frim Fram Jam, 9:00pm Event starts, 11:00pm Performance
–> Click here for more information, purchase tickets at the door

Samantha and Brian's Spring 2014 Performance Class

Syncopated City and Cats Paying Dues Split Bill

Tonight we performed with our vernacular jazz and Lindy Hop company, Syncopated City, and a guest tap company, Cats Paying Dues, in our first “experimental” Lindy Hop and tap split bill. Between the two companies we covered a wide range of performance styles, including tap, vernacular jazz, Lindy Hop, voice, soft-shoe, hip-hop, House dance, and even some guitar and banjolele playing worked their way in. The moveable walls within Dance Manhattan studios opened up to create a huge open ballroom stage with the audience in the center. Performances popped up throughout the room and the standing audience traveled from piece to piece with performers dancing through and among the audience. For the finale, both companies fully encircled the audience and presented a 360 degree urban contemporary, house, and tap fusion performance. If you missed out on this one, you really missed out!
Split Bill

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