Wednesday, November 4, 2009

West Coast Swing Debut at the KREMLIN!!

We were honored to be asked to dance at the Kremlin Palace (similar to the White House of Russia). We really didn't know what to expect, but we knew it had to be top notch. We had less than one month to prepare, as well maintain our usual work schedule. We arrived on Thursday night and stayed at the Marriott Aurora. From Friday morning on, every second was well planned. We went sightseeing to the Red Square with a private guide. We were treated to fabulous dinners at the Ritz Carlton, (even tried Russian caviar), and other amazing places. We were taken to the Bolshoi Ballet, where we watched Swan Lake. BEAUTIFUL!! On Saturday we were taken to a private showing of the famous Pushkin Art Museum in Moscow.

Saturday night was the Invitational Latin Competition with the top 32 couples in the world. It was a black-tie event with the men in tuxedos and the women in gowns. There were Russian politicians in attendance, and the entire event was being televised on Eurovision. The dancing was just INCREDIBLE!!! After 2 rounds, they had the top 7. This night made us anxious because we would be returning for the televised show the next day dancing along side the top 7 finalists.

The picture above is 1st and 2nd place at the event. They were very welcoming and showed a lot of respect for our dance. Michael & Joanna even asked which of our numbers that we would be dancing. We were flattered.

Ok...the big night is here. This picture shows Tatiana is with Boyco (Hair Stylist to the Ballroom Stars). You'd think after all our performances, we'd be used to this by now. Tatiana was never as nervous as she was prior to this show. Right before our 8:30 PM performance (around 8 PM) I went down to the ballroom with my friend, Maxim, to double check the order of dance. We hopped in the elevator which came to a screeching halt. The next 15 minutes became the longest 15 minutes of my life. Luckily I was with someone who spoke fluent Russian, because he got on the phone and let them know we were trapped. It still took forever, considering I wasn't completely dressed and knew I only had 30 minutes to begin with. When help arrived, the doors were pried open and the elevator had stopped between floors. We had to slide out on our stomachs and run to the dressing room. Our partners looked at us obviously wondering where we were. I was just happy to be rescued and now the performance seemed easy.

Our first number was "How to Save a Life" and the second was "Viva la Vida." They were so well received, and we are so grateful to experience all of this. At the end of the evening at the after party, the event organizer made a toast to recap the entire event. He mentioned how great it was to have us there, and how bringing West Coast Swing brought a new feel to the event. What a great feeling to hear that.

We want to personally thank Celia (middle) and Maxim (in back) for all they have done for us, and for helping to make all of this possible. They are not only great friends, but very supportive to West Coast Swing. You both make life very exciting for us.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

One of the Reasons we LOVE what we do!

We continually hear how fortunate we are to do something we love, all around the world. That is so true, but sometimes it is the little things that mean even more. While in Medford Oregon, at another great workshop weekend, I had the pleasure to dance with 12 year old Isabeau Kennedy. This video was caught at the very end. Tatiana and I both started at the same age, and it means so much to see other young dancers finding West Coast Swing. It was great having her, along with all the other juniors, attending our workshops. Thanks to everyone who came this past weekend.

We are in a rush to prepare for dancing at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia this weekend. What an honor. We'll definitely fill you in when we return. LOTS TO DO!! Our flight leaves tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Ukraine and UK

Dancing in the UK
Scenic Canyons in Ukraine

The wild ride

I wish I could say that our trips were all smooth sailing, but this one certainly didn't start out that way. It was Tuesday, Sept. 1st, around 7 PM and I'm starting to pack for our early morning flight to the Ukraine... Our itinerary was LAX to Chicago, to UK, to Kiev, and finally to Simferopol. Tatiana had just boarded her flight from Seattle to leave with me in the morning out of LAX. As the flight was taking off, she realized she hadn't packed her passport. This was a first. Her mind was spinning out of control. She was able to get online during the flight and tried using SKYPE to call me and let me know. Let's just say with the bad connection, it sounded like Tatiana had been kidnapped and held for ransom. She was in full panic mode, but realized nothing could be done until she landed. She sent me an email filling me in on the situation, which began a night of a thousand phone calls. Around midnight, we realized she would need to same-day Fed-Ex her passport to my house, but it wouldn't arrive until mid-day, so we would not be able to make our original flights. Tatiana spent hours on the phone with American Airlines and our travel agent. The end result was that we both postponed our American Flights to the UK for one day at no charge. This is because we practically live on their airline. There were fees with the other two airlines, but all in all, it worked out. We arrived one day later, but it didn't affect the work schedule. There were still a few more kinks along the way. We arrived in Kiev thinking we had the LAST 3 hour layover. That flight was canceled and now it was a 6 hour layover. In Kiev, if a flight hasn't sold enough seats, they just bump you to the next flight. We were sitting in an outdoor terminal for what seemed like an eternity, but finally we were on our way.

The Russian camp was filled with such wonderful people. Many of them had traveled for two days by train to be there. What an honor. They were very attentive students who were there to learn. They actually held a full Jack & Jill with a prelim and final. I know you'll be seeing some of those dancers coming to the U.S. to dance with all of you.

We had one day off during the week. The pictures represent a part of the Ukraine I wasn't expecting. We saw beaches, mountains, canyons, a castle, and so much more. The beach water was filled with small, non-stinging jelly fish. It took a while for them to convince us to get in, but I actually held them in my hands. The trip to the canyon was in an open air "Indiana Jones" style Jeep. We were flying down that mountain without a road to follow. (See pics) Anyway, we made many new friends, and experienced a whole new world. Tatiana's ancestors were originally from Kiev, so this trip was extra special to her.

Okay, it is now Thursday and we are off to the UK. We were there for Jive Addiction. We've been going to the UK since 2004, and they have improved so much. They hold some of our biggest workshops overseas. This trip went fast and we were very busy. The performance hall looked like the set of American Idol. (See pic on top) It made for a great show, and we were glad to be a part of it. They were such an enthusiastic crowd. Our thanks to everyone for the awesome response. It was now time to return home. We were very excited.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Seeing a Performance From Our Perspective

This is a clip of our performance in La Grande Motte, France at Sea Sun & Swing. As we said in one of our earlier entries, the floor was so slick I wore socks and Tat was wearing her socks over her shoes. It was still a fun performance. Take a look!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Japan..Hong Kong..Florida and HOME!!!

We're finally home after an amazing and exhausting trip. If this entry was ten pages long, it still couldn't capture all we've experienced. To say that this was a trip of a lifetime is putting it mildly. The Superstars of Dance Show was spectacular. Every year they bring in the top 6 couples from Standard and the top six couples from Latin to do a 5 number exhibition in Japan. To have our choreography danced at this event was an honor. Even more, with the popularity of this DVD, I'm so excited that Maxim & Beata chose to do two West Coast Swing numbers in their show. This will only help spread West Coast Swing in the Ballroom world, which has been a goal of ours for a very long time.

We're off to Hong Kong. With a little smooth talking from me, (Tatiana will have to agree), I managed to get us bumped up to First Class on Cathay Pacific, with no extra cost, on an airline we've never flown before. This was by far the best First Class we've ever flown in.

We were in Hong Kong to teach, but it never felt like we were working. We were taken care of so unbelievably, that we cannot thank our Hosts enough. Fantastic 8-course meals, a helicopter ride to Macau Island (the Las Vegas of Hong Kong), great shopping, sight-seeing, the list goes on and on...

On our way home, we stopped in Florida for a workshop weekend. Traveling for 24+ hours straight made it a little hard to get back to reality, but the wonderful group snapped us right out of our jet lag.

We're packing to leave for Summer Hummer this weekend, and next week starts our next big journey. We are heading to the Ukraine for a week long camp on the Black Sea. From there, we head to the UK for the Eclipse Weekender. At the end of that trip, we will have been gone 50 out of 55 days. That's a record for us. Our biggest goal is to spread this dance as far as we can. We're trying our best, but I guess it doesn't have to be accomplished in 50 days :-)

Friday, August 14, 2009

France and Greece Behind us...Japan now..and Hong Kong on Monday!!

Hey everyone! Since we wrote last, we have been in five different countries and traveled for days at a time. Our trip has been tiring, but so rewarding at the same time. Sea Sun & Swing, the camp we teach at in the South of France, had over 300 people attending for the whole week. We have been attending that camp since 2004, when it was completely lindy. It is now completely West Coast Swing. We sure miss our lindy friends, but we're very grateful that the interest in West Coast Swing has grown so much. We've taught 18 hours of workshops and many hours of privates throughout the week to dancers from France and other surrounding countries in Europe.

We want to thank everyone for showing their appreciation towards us during every class and our performance Friday night. With a slick tile floor we had to improvise - with me wearing socks and Tatiana wearing shoes with socks over them. It was worth every second to feel the crowds enthusiasm.

From there we took a much deserved vacation with some friends in Athens. One interesting thing happened before we even got there. Eric, Jenn DeLuca's husband, was meeting us at the airport, and as a joke he was holding up a sign stating "Welcome West Coast Superstars!" A local at the airport said "Which West Coast Superstars will be here?" He said, "Mr. Frisbee and Ms. Mollmann," but before he could finish his sentence the lady said "Jordan Frisbee and Tatiana Mollmann? I watch them on Youtube!" It's amazing to hear that West Coast Swing has made it to Greece. With only 3 days there, it was a great way to celebrate my birthday and relax before our next trip.

Now we are in Tokyo attending The Superstars of Dance Show. We are so excited to be here and will let you know how everything goes. Off to coach at the rehearsal.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Our Longest Trip!!

Today we start packing for our longest and craziest trip yet. Leaving tomorrow for Denver, we start our 33 day summer working tour. First stop is Swingtime in the Rockies, which is our last competition on the NASDE circuit until the end of August. From there we fly to New York where we will be doing two days of coaching, and then on to Barcelona Tuesday night. We arrive the next day and catch a train to the South of France to start our week-long West Coast camp - Sea, Sun & Swing in La Grande Motte. (See picture above from 2005 - Notre Dame - our second year in France). We are expecting our biggest turnout yet, with 350 dancers from France, and many other surrounding countries. We planned on a 6 day vacation in Greece, but it was shortened to 3 days when we were asked to coach at the World Superstars of Dance Festival in Japan. This show hosts the top 6 couples in Latin and Standard in the world to perform their show. We coach two of these couples, who we are very proud to work with. (If you haven't seen the DVD of this show from any of the past years, you are really missing out). We then head to Hong Kong with them and will continue working. On August 20th, we head back to the states where we fly to Florida for another workshop weekend. After this, we head home for two days. It's sure to be a great adventure, and we will try to keep everyone posted along the way.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

First Time for Everything!

We want to thank John McCann for sending us this picture that captured a moment we'll never forget. Approximately 30 seconds into our Classic competition routine at Liberty Swing, Tatiana's shoe strap broke. I didn't realize there was a problem until her shoe flew off during the last 30 seconds of the routine. She finished without missing a beat! In this picture, notice the shoe right by the judge's feet! This first place win will always be special to us.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Welcome To Our New Website!!!

We are excited to be launching our new page to the world.  This site includes everything from instructional DVD's, dance clips, tour schedule, and more.  Check back often, as we will be adding to the site frequently.