Intro to Swing Dance and Foxtrot Workshops – Saturday, October 4

Each month we are excited to host a special workshop day which always includes an Intro to Swing Dance Workshop and a special workshop along with it–this month Intro to the Foxtrot! We are excited about these workshops as they will benefit Beginner and Advanced dancers alike.

Beginners: We will break down these dances into their basic forms so that you can start with a strong foundation and continue to grow and have fun in the dance! No partner needed, we will be constantly rotating in class. Also no experience needed, we’ll start bottom-up!

Advanced dancers: It is always worth while to freshen up on the basics of swing (we tend to forget them as we learn more and more figures!). And why not add the Foxtrot to your repertoire so you can integrate it into your social dancing! Swing dance and Foxtrot share the same music! Round out your dancing by attending these workshops.

Saturday, October 4
1:00 – 2:30pm Intro to Swing Dance
2:30 – 4:00pm Intro to the Foxtrot
Ripley-Grier 939 8th Avenue, 2nd Floor, Studio 2A

>> CURRENT STUDENTS: Click here to register!
>> NEW STUDENTS: Click here to grab our Groupon deals for these workshops!

P.S. Our next October cycle of Intermediate and Intermediate/Advanced Thursday Group Classes begins October 9 (which you can also register for by clicking the above link!). We will also be hosting a student outing to Tick Tock Diner before going out swing dancing at Frim Fram Jam all together on Thursday, November 6. Save the date!

Samantha and Brian - Photo by Walter WlodarczykUs dancing a social Foxtrot at Michael Arenella’s The Winter Ball last winter season!
Photo by Walter Wlodarczyk

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Register now for our Fall 2014 Performance Class and Swing Dance Group Classes!

Samantha and Brian's Spring 2014 Performance Class

This September we are excited to host three different weekly offerings for your dancing pleasure! Join us Thursday evenings for our September Cycle of Swing Dance Group Classes and Fall Performance Class beginning September 4!

All classes located at 889 Broadway, Solomons Studio, 4th Floor

Group Swing Dance Classes hosted by Samantha and Brian
Thursdays 6:30-8:30pm
| September Cycle of Group Classes: September 4, 11, 25, & October 2
*No class September 18*
6:30-7:30pm Intermediate Swing (6-count)
7:30-8:30pm Intermediate/Advanced Swing (8-count)

Samantha and Brian’s Fall 2014 Performance Class
Thursdays, 8:30-9:30pm | 
12 weeks: September 4 – December 11
*No class September 18, October 23, and November 27 (same for group classes)*

TWO Performances:
Saturday, December 13 at the 92Y Ballroom Party, and
Thursday, December 18 at Frim Fram Jam!

>> Register now for our September Cycle Group Classes and Fall Performance Class!

We are excited to be back in the city hosted our regular group classes, and are thrilled to hold our fourth swing dance performance class the fall! Our first three seasons of performances were incredible, and we so look forward to another season of awesomeness. Improve your technique, expand your movement vocabulary, and share what you love to do through performing the Lindy Hop! To see what it’s like, watch this video of our Spring 2014 Performance class, click here. And check out a collection of photographs taken by Samantha herself from our 2014 Spring Performance Class this past April!

Have a question? Don’t hesitate to contact us! dance@samantha-and-brian.com

Saratoga Springs Racecourse with Reggie’s Red Hot Feetwarmers

Samantha and Brian - Reggie's Red Hot Feetwarmers - @Sam_and_Brian on Instagram

What an amazing weekend! We got the chance to dance at Saratoga Springs Racecourse with their house band, Reggie’s Red Hot Feet Warmers. We had Don Dworkin on the bass, Peter Davis on the tenor guitar, Juli Duran on the Clarinet, Tom Shields on the Trombone, Heather Jakeman on vocals, and us on the feet! We met a lot of cool cats, connected with some very talented artists, and did nothing but dance the whole weekend! In other words, life was perfect for three days. We cannot wait to return next year! Thank for the wonderful opportunity, Don! All professional photos by Mike Brown

The 9th Annual Jazz Age Lawn Party (August)

Samantha and Brian - Jazz Age Lawn Party (2014) - Photo by Filip Wolak Photography

Photo by Filip Wolak Photography, as seen in New York Observer

Somehow, someway, the Jazz Age Lawn Party just keeps getting better and better and better! We have been performing each year at the Lawn Party with Roddy Caravella and His Canarsie Wobblers for a few years now, and Brian has attended the event at least seven out of the nine years it has been hosted on Governors Island… and WOW what an incredible event it has become! 8,000+ jazz age enthusiasts come to celebrate a time of being carefree and joyful, enjoying music, enjoying the sunshine, and enjoying each other. The Jazz Age Lawn Party is truly a gem and we wouldn’t miss it for the world, literally! We flew in from Paris late Friday night to be to the Jazz Age Lawn Party on Saturday morning.

If you’ve never attended this event, you are really missing out! There are two weekends the Lawn Party takes place in NYC, in June and August. Go to their website to see what it’s all about, and set a reminder in your calendar for next year! It’s that worth it! www.jazzagelawnparty.com

You can find more information on the event and photos of us from press received from this August’s celebration:

New York Observer: Jazz Age Lawn Party Throws a Shindig for the Ages
GloboNews (Brazil): Festa em Nova York atrai 4 mil visitantes que buscam reviver os anos dourados do jazz

Americans in Paris, at home in Swing.

After our touring London and teaching at Camp Savoy in Guildford, UK, we decided to go on holiday to Paris. (Because, why not?!). While we were there we planned to truly take a break, see the sights, meet up with Lindy Hop friends, and of course go out swing dancing!

1606941_10203406589538813_4222892220824719907_nThe best surprise came when I, Samantha, received a Facebook message from an old and very important friend, Je Leung, saying that he too was would be in Paris, overlapping with us for just one day. We meet up with Je and it was completely surreal. Throughout my lifetime there have been hints here and there that swing dancing, Lindy Hop, would be where I would find my life–my dad plays the trombone in big bands, I thoroughly enjoyed swing dance community classes in high school, and Brian was a friend at NYU who was President of the NYU Swing Dance Society–but really the inciting incident, the true “wake up moment” was meeting Je.

In the summer of 2010, I studied experimental modern at the Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance (SEAD) in Salzburg, Austria. On off moments and before and after class and rehearsals Je would teach me the Lindy Hop–a man from Singapore teaching an American girl an original American dance while in Salzburg, Austria! Imagine that! I had been waiting for the day for Brian and Je to meet, and of course it had to happen in a place like Paris that we could finally reunite! Without Je’s great enthusiasm and influence that summer, it is very possible I would have been without Lindy Hop… and without Brian… who knows?! I owe a lot to Je, for giving me that extra push to pursue swing, and for, in a roundabout and unknowing way, ultimately becoming my matchmaker! It was so wonderful to have these men both by my side in Paris.

1907415_676420052445638_2540068839734773477_nNot only did we celebrate the reuniting with old friends, we also celebrated making new ones! We went out one evening to Caveau de la Huchette, a legimate cave dedicated to swing dancing. There we even met dancers from Korea who we had danced with at Camp Savoy in England just two days before, unknowing they would be in Paris as well. Swing dancing has a beautiful way of bringing many different cultures together. Of those pictured below, the United States, France, Argentina, and Korea are all represented, and that was before we made friends with some dancers from Canada! It is truly a blessing to feel at home no matter where we travel. We are at home in swing. – Samantha

Camp Savoy 2014

We were so honored and beyond pleased to return to England and teach at the “Home of Happy Feet”, Camp Savoy. We were once again blown away by this amazing event having taught and attended two years in a row now.  It was so well organized and so seamlessly run. Huge congratulations to Jenny Thomas and team! We owe a huge thank you to Jenny for inviting us back a second year to teach at this event. It is an honor to work with one of the world’s most talented Lindy Hoppers, especially as we are beginning our journey in teaching in the international Lindy Hop dance scene. During the event we were so thrilled to receive such great feedback from our students. One student shocked us by speaking in front of over a hundred people during a teachers Q&A talkback to compliment us on our enjoyable teaching techniques and how much he had learned from us! We promise we didn’t pay him to say anything. ;)

Teaching hours of workshops was only the beginning of the weekend’s excitement! We also performed in the Camp Savoy Saturday Night Cabaret with the rest of the instructors and Jenny Thomas’s Sophisticated Ladies. We also had the chance to let loose at the rock and pop idol-themed costume dance on Sunday where we dressed up together as The Blues Brothers (of course). Really, the only disappointment of the weekend was how quickly it came and went!

If you are interested in attending Camp Savoy 2015, which you should be, make sure to save the dates August 7-9 and stay updated at www.campsavoy.com for more information on registering!

Pictured below: an incredible sketch of the teachers by Phil Mamuyac during the Teacher’s Q&A Talkback!

10570534_783297901693671_5180131178744070200_n

Artwork by Joanne Raptis

Sketch by Joanne Raptis - Samantha and Brian - Jazz Age Lawn Party (2014)

Samantha and Brian - Jazz Age Lawn Party (2014) - Photo by Mark Glenn StudiosHow incredible is this sketch of us by Joanne Raptis?? She saw the photo by Mark Glenn Studios for Prohibition Clothing Company (pictured left) posted on Facebook, and was inspired to draw a sketch of it! What an honor!

To see the original up close, visit Prohibition Clothing Company on Facebook.

To see more of Joanne’s phenomenal work, click here for her Tumblr blog.

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 (June)

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!

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