Category Archives: Kitty Litter

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The Lingo Of Dance

Filed under Kitty Litter

The Language of Dance by Matt Adami

In ballet, choreography is often used to tell a story and in solo Jazz certain moves can be used in conjunction with the music to create an entertaining performance. The same can be said for Rock and Roll and Swing. When we are being taught a routine for the first time, we often use counts or steps. We know where to be on each count and this helps us remember the routine until it is ingrained in our muscle memory. It is important to remember, though, there is a lot more behind choreography than simple steps or counts. Depending on the intent of the choreographer, choreography can be used to deliver any combination of entertainment value, range of emotion or story.

tumblr mmwv6wbTum1re9o96o1 500 300x300In most cases, there will come a time when counts and steps are forgotten. We have rehearsed the routine so many times it is now second nature and there is no more thought about what the next sequence is or where we need to be. Instead, we begin to give thought to the intrinsic elements behind the choreography – the story. No matter which role you are playing within the routine – front, centre, stage left or right, you are a vital aspect of the overall delivery. There is a huge amount of character, emotion and entertainment value both for the performer and the audience.

As performers, it is our responsibility and duty to deliver all those aspects of the routine to the audience. We can use positive or negative emotion through facial expressions and body movement, we can ask questions to the audience by holding open body language and we can make sharp statements by closing ourselves off in quick movements. Just like a conversation between two people, there is an infinite supply of sequences, combinations, emotion and story we can use – it’s an entire language in itself.

By studying choreography with a little depth I can begin to understand the reasoning behind it. For example, a complex yet flowing Texas-Tommy variation which leads into a crossed hand hold or “octopus arms”, as many of our students call it, can convey technicality and degree of difficulty, however just the same it can reflect emotions such as confusion or hesitation. These feelings can be built around a character, situation or scenario and from here a story is born.tumblr mmv3ziOLs01re9o96o1 500 300x228

There is a lot more to performing than meets the eye. Once the choreography has been learnt it must be experienced. These aspects of performing can be difficult to refine and perfect though it is an amazing feeling when the right balance between dancing, performing and story-telling is found. The connection with yourself, your partner, the music and the audience comes together seamlessly to create a wonderful aura.

Next time you find yourself watching a performance try to analyse the story behind it. It may simply be one to entertain the crowd or it may have deeper undertones you need to decipher by connecting with varies elements. If you are a performer, connecting with all these elements can make a world of difference to everyone involved. It isn’t an easy concept, however it is incredibly satisfying once you realise its full potential to deliver an amazing range of information.



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A Day in the Life of a Kat: ChromeFest 2012

Filed under Kitty Litter, Where To Catch A Kat

Dear Diary,                                                                                                                                By James Star

It was another beautiful day at The Entrance on the Central Coast. The sun was shining and the crowd was plentiful. Back stage the Katz are readying themselves for the performance that lay ahead. We are all a little nervous, and our hearts are beating faster than usual. We can’t shake our nerves, but we always find a way to use them positively in the performance.

We all mentally and physically prepare ourselves for the big performance. Whether it be pacing the room, sitting in a quiet corner or running through the routines for the millionth time.

We get dressed, have a pep talk and encourage each other as we prepare to walk out. All the build up and preparation comes down to this one moment. The aerials, the energy, the crowd interaction, and BAM, suddenly it’s all over, and we are reaping the rewards of all our hard work, as we take a bow. The crowd’s cheers can still be heard as we are walking back stage, to debrief ourselves on the events that have just occurred. Ahh, the feeling of being a Swing Kat…


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             Justin and Eden                                    James and Suz                              Andrew and Lynette


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The Competition Complex ?

Filed under Competition, Kitty Litter

So It Has Been A Long Time Between Random Rants, But This One Has Been Simmering Like A Well Cooked Roast.

I Have Been Speaking To Friends In “The Scene” About Competitions & Competing Alike For Some Time Now. I Have Become Bewildered By The General Impression(s) And Opinions They Have, As A Lot Of Them Find Competing And Competitions In General Negative, Personally And Also To The Scene Itself.

Now Don’t Get Me Wrong Every Coin Has 2 sides, But I Think The Positive Aspects Of Competing Have Been Buried Deep And I Thought I Would Take A Moment To Exhume Some Of The Good And Some Of The Completely Hypocritical Remarks During This Resurrection.

bluesuedeshoesdanceschool 1024x696Some Of The Positives Of Competitions :
Improve Your Dancing
(Goal Setting, Focus, Practising, etc)
Studios From All Over Coming Together
(Exposure To New Styles, People, Friends, Networking)
Further Progression In The Dance Style And Scene
Talking Points & Sharing
Advertisement & Exposure
More “Social” Events

Overlooked Benefits:
Most “Current” Studio Owners, Teachers & Performers Have Or Did Come From The Comp Scene From Mid 90s To Early 00′s
(eg: Bruce Elder, Melinda Jane, Aaron Keenan, Anna Ocello, Geoff Routh, John Hannan (vic), Matt Cochrane (qld),  Kelly Ann Doll, Derek Curuthers, Myself The List Goes On!)
The Scene Had The Strongest Level Of Juveniles & Youth When There Was A Competition Scene.
Where Is The New Talent Going To Come From? How & Where Are The Next Generation Going To Start ?
(I Find This To Be The Saddest Situation At Present, Even Sadder Than What’s Been Happening With The Clubs- Chambers, Unity Hall, Ashfield RSL)

The Ironies
The Ultimate Irony: There Are A Small Minority Of People Who Are The Proclaimed “Anti Competing” Dancers Out There Im Sure You Know One,  The Irony For Me Is The Fact That “They” Love Going To Workshops Held By International Dancers (Who They Love & Idolise), That Are Made Famous And Have Gotten Extremely Good By……. Wait For It …….Competing And Winning Big Competitions, Maybe This Is  Just A Base Level Irony? Yet they Don’t See It.

Artistic Irony: Are The Art Vs Sport People. Now Yes I Think Dancing Is The Point At Which Art And Sport Meet, And Judging It Will Always Have Some Base Level Bias And Subjectivity To The Individual But Its Those Who Feel Passionate About How Art (Dancing) Can Not Be Judged, As Crossing A Finish Line In Other Sports That I Would Like To Pose These Questions To …
Why Is Dancing On Ice A Competitive Sport ?
Why Is Dancing Under Water A Competitive Sport ?
Why Is Dancing On A Trampoline Or Sponge Floor A Competitive Sport ?
Why Is Dancing On Terra Firma Not ?

The Stupids: Comps Are Bad …. Have You Competed In A Comp Before  …. No

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In Conclusion
I Personally Feel That Competition Is Healthy, It Can Bring A Wealth Of Experience, Respect, Knowledge, Awareness, Improvement & Confidence In A Very Short Amount of Time Compared To Lessons Alone. The Scene Is Becoming Smaller And Smaller Due To Many, Many Reasons And I Feel That The Death Of “Competitions” Is A Major Contributing Factor. Fear Of Losing (An Event, A Title, A Dollar) Should Not Override The Benefits, Exhilaration And Other Such Feelings Of Going Out There And Testing Your Abilities, Your Training And Your Style Against The Rest. It’s What In Essence The Foundations Of This Dance Style Was Built Upon ! Going Out And Showing Off Your Moves And Trying To Create Something New No One Has Seen Before, It’s What All The Greats Say From Frankie To Dean.

Again I Will Stipulate  That There Is Always Good And Bad In Something, Even Drinking Too Much Water Kills You, And Yes Some Of The Comps That Have Been Run Have Had Dubious Intent And Biased Decisions. But I Fear That All The Good That Competitions Have To Offer And Have Offered In The Past, Has Now Been Lost And Over Looked Due To This Negative Stigma Wading Around Like Some Bondi Cigar.

Please Note That This Is Just A Rant Based On The Positive Aspects Of Competing And What I Feel Is A Major Part Missing In The Dance Scene Today As I Remember As A Child Going To The Souths Pacific’s At Homebush Watching Over 80 Adults Compete In One Event In Front Of A Sold Out Basketball Stadium, And That I’m Well Aware Of The Other Side Of The Coin icon smile – j 

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Perplexed ?!

Filed under Kitty Litter

So Here Come The Assorted Ramblings Of A Disgruntled Swing Dancer….

Why ?

Because Its Been Long Enough That I Have Had To Listen To The Ramblings Of “Contemporary Swing Dancers” You Know The Type .. The Ones That Think A Pair Of Cheap White Canvas Rubber Soled Shoes Are Authentic Swing. (Sorry I Meant To Be More Stereotypical By Using the Word “Trad” But I Just Couldn’t Do It To Myself)

film strip png by volframia20 212x1024So What Has Set This Off ?

Great Question. This Has Been Brewing For Almost 3 Years Now When I First Started The Katz Back Up, But Now Upon Stumbling Across A Blog Page (Thanks To One James Star), A Cantankerous Rage  Started To Boil To The Surface.

Who Cares Swing Is Swing Isn’t It, Just Harden Up ?

Yes You Are Totally Correct I Have Had This Philosophy Since Inception But My Issue Stems At The Root Of These Snide, Uneducated Opinions And Comments. What Im Trying To Say Is Who Is Giving Birth To These Stereotypical “Contemporary Swing Dancers” Who Bare Such Boorish Opinions As They By No Means Come Up With it Them Selves.

So What Did This Blog Say ?

Well Here It Is In Its Steamy Pile Of Flatulent Glory, Just One Simple Paragraph That Explains It All ….

Courtesy From Lindy Penguin’s Blog (Syd Based)  & Referenced To Dog Possums Blog (Syd Based)

- And Dont Worry Melbourne & Canberra Ive Heard This Exact Rubbish From Your Parts To

…But vintage fashion does have a dark side. Dogpossum looks at the recent history of the zoot suit in Sydney. I’d tend to agree that most people who wear them just look a bit naff (and then there’s the whole link to the zoot suit riots. Plus the whole historical appropriation of wearing a symbol of rebellious second generation Mexican American youth whilst doing a dance invented by lower class African American youth boggles the mind a bit). 

Now I Dont Have The Time To Completely Dissect A Penguin Nor A Possum Per-se ( Yes A Pun To Boot ), But Lets Do This In Point Form, Quickly For You The Reader.

1 The Only Thing That Should Be Boggling The Mind Is The Irony Of A Bunch Middle Class White Suburban Australians Commenting On How They Cant Make The Link Between Mexican Youth Fashion And African American Youth Dance Culture In The Same Era That They Never Existed In. ( Better Hope These People Don’t Do Fusion Dances Like Blues Their Collective Minds May Explode )

2 The Use Of Naff Full Stop.

3 Have They Totally Misunderstood The Basic Psyche Of Getting Dressed Up And Immersing Your Self In A Sub Culture Such As Swing. Even At A Childhood Level, Dressing Up As Your Favourite Super Hero, It Is Ingrained In Us As Human Beings. Have They Been Sitting In Front Of A Computer To Long And Forgotten What It Is Like?

4 Have They Also Not Ever Performed And Understood The Importance Of Costume ? And The Skill It Takes To Dance At Such A Level In A Zoot Suit ?

5 Do They Even Own A “Real” Zoot Suit? (One That Is Not Rented From A Novelty Shop)

6 Who Taught Them This ? Everything Is Inherently Learnt !

7 Zoot Suits Are From The 40s They Are Not “Neo Swing” ( Even Thou There Is Nothing Wrong With Neo Swing It Helped Revived The Scene That You Are Now Apart Of That May Not Have Been Otherwise, So Show “Some” Respect )

-b Sub Point On That, About “The Negative Stigma Surrounding Neo Swing”. Funny How Most Of The People I Hear And See Slagging Out Neo Swing Music Are The Same People I See At Big Bad Vodoo Daddy & Royal Crown Revue Concerts. I Might Even See Them At The Brian Setzer Concert This Year ? If Not Im Sure Ill See Them At Jump Jive And Wail ( Just Another One Of Those Ironies, Just Saying ;))

8 Last Time I Checked You Guys Where Neither Benny Goodmen Or Coco Channel So Really Your Musical Taste And Fashion Sense Are Rendered Useless …. As Scratchy Rare Traditional Music Isn’t Fun To Listen To On A Loud Speaker Let Alone Dance To, And Finding Some Drab Old Clothes That Mismatch Is Not Authentic Nor As Fashionable As You May Have Been Lead To Believe.

Riddle Me This Batman: Going By Your Logic Of Course …Why Should I Listen To Suburban White Aussies Pasting Up You Tube Clips & Blogs Of Suburban White Americans In This Decade, About Fashion On A Dance And Music Style Created “by lower class African American & Mexican youths” * Decades Ago ? Oh How The Mind Boggles (Insert Boggling Sound Effect)

TGSB00145 m1So All That Being Said Now What Will You Do?

Well Now I Shall Give My Closing Thoughts, Then Some Woosaaaz And Then Back To The Daily Grind.

As I Tell All My Dancers Swing Is A Free Dance, How You Dance It, What You Feel Like Wearing And What Swing Music You Like To Dance It To Is And Should Be Solely Up To You.

The Fact That Some Of You May Cop Ridicule From Others In The Same Scene By Doing What Is Fundamentally The Basis Of Swing Is Sad Especially When Our Sub Culture Is So Small.

………….Now Looking Down Upon The Operating Table At These Dismembered Creatures, I Remember That We Live In A Democracy And That Blogs Are A Form Of Expressing Ones Thoughts ….. Oh Well To Late Now Some One Had To Be The Sacrificial Lambs.

That Is All – j icon biggrin

P.S Dogpossums Flatulence Was This

In Regards To Neo Swing: “So this action is now about fourteen years old. It’s not been long enough for neo swing to have retro chic, my friends. It’s just naff. And not very good. If you can buy glorious Halloween zoot suit costumes, there is no cool left in that particular outfit.”


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