Wanted: Camel Walkers

April has been quite the month for me, I got to visit and dance in New Orleans then go to Desert Stomp in The Israeli desert when I got home. This much fun in such a short time feels like I’m getting away with something!

There’s so much to share about Desert Stomp that I don’t know where to start. Returning to the Adama center, where last year’s festival was held, set a familiar and cozy tone right from the start. It’s a small peaceful place which had everything we needed – we would eat, sleep, dance and party all right there. No need to worry about how to get back after a party.

We had an exciting group of teachers this year – our beloved  Ali & Katja, who we never let leave Israel for too long, champions William & Maeva, who were full of pep and laughs, and Ninjammer Max Pitruzzella, who schooled us in solo jazz. We had great taster teachers as well – Audun Kveberg & Kris Blindert and Cat Foley.

You know what? I’ll just let this teacher introduction video do the talking for me:

Who’s playing that tasty music in the video, you might ask. None other than The Facepalmers, a band who came all the way from Russia to play at 3 nights of parties at Desert Stomp. The best part is – each one of the band members are also killer dancers. Yes, we get spoiled in the desert. Even the event’s photographer, Alexandre – Light eX Machina dances as awesome as he photographs. And all these videos? Filmed and edited by our world traveling Israeli dancer Mikey Ariel. Only multi talented people here!

With so many great dancers around, the competitions were pure entertainment to watch. The solo finals made me laugh so hard, check it out:

And what’s a festival without a Jack & Jill?

The last night’s party had a Wild West theme, so everyone was dressed up as sheriffs, chiefs, bandits and saloon ladies. There was even a cactus and a road runner. This led to silly photo ops, all of which you can see on Light eX Machina’s site.

We got a rest from posing and dancing to watch a few routines put together by the teachers. The SwingStep team had a delightful moustached group number:

Ali and Katja’s fun choreography:

William and Maeva added some Wild West into their routine:

Max also performed with his intermediate-advanced group and his advanced group, with routines we learned during the workshops.

My teammates from Holy Lindy Land -Sharon, Yana and Lilaj and I also showed a new routine we’ve been working on. It was a lot of fun to create and perform it together, and next I’m going to teach it to our students who will also perform it.

A little bird already told me what’s in store for Desert Stomp 2015, and believe me – if you thought this year was crazy, you better get ready for next April!


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