Thursday, September 11, 2008

Bobbysox Brigade

I heard some muttering about a potential future upheaval of the Atomic Swing Teams.  I'd been worried about how things had been stagnating for a while, and as a result, I decided to look around.  The other high profile team local to me is the OC Swing Team.  I'd asked Sky about it once, but he gave me a look and told me it was invite only.  OK...  Another potential option was the Bobbysox Brigade, headed up by Jofflyn Valencia and Amber Villa. So I asked Jofflyn about attending a practice to get a feel for their style and philosophies.  They'd been teaching at Atomic since April or so (I know I mentioned their interesting teaching methods before, in Excitement), but hadn't ever mentioned that they have a team.

Let me back up for a bit.  The consensus on Atomic teams for a while had been that Jerry was distracted and unfocused.  Later on, we found out that the family had been considering moving to Texas for about a year.  So eventually, I found out the upheaval in question was a sale of the studio to Shesha and Nikki Marvin, who head up the OC Swing Team.  I talked about that transisition before in Dancing Transition.  Ultimately, I decided that the refactored Atomic Team wasn't for me.  I liked the idea of access to different instructors, different choreographers, different styling.  But the philosophy of running the team was different enough that I wasn't up for waiting out the transition.  But I still needed to figure out if I should fully commit to the Brigade.

I actually took the time to reach out to people who's dancing I liked watching, who had left the Brigade.  One high profile dancer actually told me he had a very positive experience, but hadn't left with a lot of skills that he still used.  Meh.  Other people had really positive things to say about the troupe.

My experience in the audition process was really interesting.  They threw a lot of choreography at us which I didn't know (Big Apple, Dean Collins Shim-Sham).  They told us we should just try to come along for the ride, and that they were looking for those who didn't give up.  Fair enough.  Fake it 'til you make it.  They told us up front that they were looking for people who enjoyed themselves, who could learn, and who could fit in with the existing personalities.

Ultimately, they offered me a spot on the troupe, and I decided to join based on a few factors:  Jofflyn and Amber are amazingly personable people.  They're the type of people who want to have troupe members who they also socialize with.  That's hard to resist.  They're amazing teachers.  And their philosophy of stripping away all styling to get to basics is very compelling.  It's easier to add styling to basic moves.

I miss the old Atomic dynamic that I had.  I loved the team socializing we did.  I miss it enough to have gone to Atomic last Saturday to eat lunch with whoever was willing to go. But joining The Bobbysox Brigade didn't mean I was choosing to leave my friends or my socializing, just my instructors. 

Things were going to change, regardless of what happened.  So far, I'm really happy with the choice I've made.

No comments:

Post a Comment