Hepcats!

Welcome to the home page of Mike & Mary Richardson, swing dance instructors & performers. We teach and promote the original swing dances of the 1930's & 40's big band swing era - Lindy Hop & Balboa - and the great music of that era!

Balboa workshop on Sunday, March 4th!
Dance Events

Check out the Hepcats dances or calendar page for info on upcoming events. BWShoes,a

Group Classes / Private Lessons

See the Hepcats classes page for info on group classes and private lessons.HP,2[1]

Out-of-town events

Feb. 23-25: Dayton Swing Smackdown, a fun event to attend.

Get Hep to the Jive with the HepcatsSign up for the Hepcats Email Newsletter!  Send an email to Mike Richardson at info@luv2swingdance.com and we’ll get you signed up.  Note:  we don’t sell, lend or provide any email info (or any other of your info) to anyone.

 

Hepcats one day Balboa workshop on March 4th! 

o Hepcats Balboa Workshop!  Sunday, March 4th, 5:00-9:00 pm.  What’s that dance where people are slidin’ & glidin’ on the dance floor as they shuffle their feet to fast (and even really fast!) swing music?  Balboa is the dance!

The Hepcats are mighty pleased to offer this….. Balboa Workshop – your chance to learn this fun, unique and original swing dance from Mike & Mary Richardson, Lexington’s premiere Balboa couple!

Pre-registration is required.

  See the Hepcats Classes web page for all the info.

LHCouple5[1]o Sunday, Feb. 25th, 6:30-9:30 pm:  Hepcats Swing Dance Practice SessionPractice (actually good practice) makes perfect!  Practice is oneBal1[1] of the best ways to solidify any Lindy Hop or Balboa material you may have learned.  These practice sessions are a chance to practice, social dance, work on a new move……on a floating, smooth wooden dance floor, the best in Lexington.  See this link for all the info.

Out of Town Events

o Sat., Feb. 10th: 2nd Saturday Balboa Practice, 3-6 pm, at College Hill Town Hall, 1805 Larch Ave., Cincy.  Thanks to Heather Fanska for organizing this event.

o February 23-25:  Dayton Swing Smackdown.  Workshop classes and competitions; a fun event to attend.

Big Band Revival at Lindy Focus:  2017, Jimmie Lunceford; 2016, Chick Webb


Why the Lindy Focus Big Band Revival is important. 
It’s been said that any music not played live is bound to die.  To participate in the Chick Webb and Jimmie Lunceford campaigns was really a no brainer for Mike and Mary/the Hepcats.  The Lindy Focus Big Band Revival campaign is one of the best things we’ve seen come out of the swing dance community.  For more info on that, click here.

JLunceford[2]2017:  Jimmie Lunceford.

For Lindy Focus 2017, Mike & Mary were proud to once again sponsor two of the songs for the Jimmie Lunceford Project, a project that transcribed c. 30 songs from the Jimmie Luceford library for live performances, the first which was at Lindy Focus on Friday night, Dec. 29th, 2017.

Mike & Mary – Report on Lindy Focus (LF) 2017.

Much of our report for LF 2017 is similar to the 2016 event.  We attended for two days/nights, Dec. 29th & 30th.  The Dec. 29th and Dec. 30th nightly dances featured the music of Jimmie Lunceford and Chick Webb, respectively.  As with the 2016 event, the music for both dances we attended in 2017 was truly exceptional.  The musicians at Lindy Focus did a great job playing the songs in the right style, and at the correct tempo (and maintaining the correct tempo throughout the entire song).  What a treat it was to dance, and listen, to the great swing music of the big band swing-era (instead of the “mayonnaise & white bread” stuff you get from most “big bands” that play these days).

For Balboa dancers, Lindy Focus could easily be called “Balboa Focus” when it comes to great music for Balboa.  (I just wish DJ’s in this area would play the music of the great big bands like Lunceford, Webb, etc…..at swing dances).

For those that couldn’t attend LF 2017, here is the link to the You Tube page for the live streams:

o Dec. 29th, 2017, Jimmie Lunceford night:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNqXwuLZbqU.

o Dec. 30th, 2017:  Chick Webb night:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67MEsEKTRL0.

For the Dec. 30th event – a Jam Circle broke out for the song “Clap Hands, Here Comes Charley”; Mike & Mary were in the jam circle, starting at about time mark 1:58:30…

A note about LF for both 2016 and 2017.  A lot of people attend LF, and the dance floor is usually very crowded.  There are a high number of beginner level dancers (which is good!), but overall floor craft is not that good.  You’ll get bumped a lot, even when dancing Balboa (and maybe even kicked), so you have to be aware of that on the dance floor.  Other than that, no real complaints about LF.

In closing, if you get a chance to attend the LF event in the future, do so – especially if LF continues to feature swing-era big band music for the nightly dances!

2016:  Chick Webb.

chickwebbMike & Mary were proud to sponsor two of the songs for the Chick Webb Project, a project that transcribed c. 31 songs from the Chick Webb library for live performances, the first which was at Lindy Focus on Thursday night, Dec. 29th, 2016.  Click here for more info.

Mike & Mary – Report on Lindy Focus (LF) 2016.

What is Lindy Focus (LF)?  As many of you know, LF is an annual event that takes place in Asheville, NC the week between Christmas and New Years.  In addition to workshop classes, competitions and other activities, a definite highlight of the event for 2016 was five nights of swing-era big band music that featured the music of Count Basie, Artie Shaw, Chick Webb and Benny Goodman.   Due to family obligations, the 2016 event (Dec. 27-31, 2016) was the first chance we had to attend LF – and we picked a good year!

LF 2016.  We attended for two days/nights, Dec. 29th & 30th.  The Dec. 29th and Dec. 30th nightly dances featured the music of Chick Webb and Benny Goodman, respectively.  The music for both dances was truly exceptional.  The musicians at Lindy Focus did a great job playing the songs in the right style, and at the correct tempo (and maintaining the correct tempo throughout the entire song).  What a treat it was to dance, and listen, to the great swing music of the big band swing-era (instead of the “mayonnaise & white bread” stuff you get from most “big bands” that play these days).

And for those that couldn’t attend the event, here is a link to a You Tube page for the live stream for the Dec. 29th, 2016 Chick Webb night dance:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jV2M7i8pGl4.

In closing, if you get a chance to attend the LF event in the future, do so – especially if LF continues to feature swing-era big band music for the nightly dances!

A report on the 2017 All Balboa Weekend (ABW) – and save the dates for ABW 2018, June 14th-17th!

ABWLogoMike & Mary attended the ABW that took place June 8th-11th – – so, how was ABW in 2017?

Hyperbole is rampant and commonplace these days, especially on Facebook, swing dance event promotion, etc… Words like “awesome”, “incredible”, “amazing”……. are so overused these days they’ve almost lost any real meaning and definition….but….. the ABW event is indeed worthy of high praise!

2017 was another great year for ABW: top-notch instructors and classes, good music (both live and DJ’d), and great social dancing and competitions.  My one comment is that I would like to see ABW follow Lindy Focus’ lead and feature big band music for the Friday and/or Saturday night dances – that would really make ABW special!

Bottom line:  you should make plans to attend ABW in 2018!

Why Balboa?  To be a versatile and well rounded swing-era swing dancer, you should learn – and embrace – Balboa!  Some seem to think Balboa is a dance only for when the music gets “too fast” for Lindy Hop; or it’s a dance “those” people do — not true!  Balboa is a very unique dance with it’s own historical development and technical dynamics.  It takes a great deal of technique and feel for the music to properly dance Balboa (especiially at the really fast tempos!).

Contact Mike for more info on Balboa group classes and/or private lessons so you can learn, or keep improving your Balboa!  Also see the Hepcats calendar page for info on upcoming out-of-town Balboa events.

ABW17,BestDOne more item of info about ABW 2017 – Mary won the contest for best dressed at ABW 2017!  Mary wore a beautiful 1930’s gown; she can tell you more about the particulars of the dress if you’re interested.  Well done Mary, especially given there was a lot of competition.  A lot of ABW attendees really get dressed up for the Saturday night dance (which is always nice to see at a swing dance!).

Mike wore his mid 1930’s black double breasted tuxedo with a grey Homburg hat.  First time I’ve worn this suit dancing and it was comfortable to dance in, although it was nice having air conditioning in the ballroom, unlike the vast majority of ballrooms in the 1930’s & 40’s!

Lastly, don’t forget to mark your calendar for All Balboa Weekend 2018:  June 14th – 17th, 2018!