YEAHMAN Today's News and Inspiring History

Tuesday
Jan142014

Freda Angela Wyckoff

In "Dancing" Memory of Freda Wyckoff, by Rob van Haaren

Freda Wyckoff, a LA dancer who appeared in many movies in the 1940's and 1950's has passed away this last weekend. She was an extraordinary dancer and here she is together with her partner "Crazy" George Christopherson

 

When I started to Lindy Hop in the early 1980's there were not many people doing the original Lindy so when I heard that there was a place by the name of Bobby McGees where the original Lindy and Balboa dancers were getting together in LA, I had found my new adopted family. They took me to the side and taught me their version of their steps and said "Honey don't listen to them, do it this way" I learned 3 ways of doing certain steps as they were hungry to share it with one of the only young guys hanging around and seemingly the only person truly interested in learning their dance at that time. John Mills showed me a break step in the Balboa. I called it "Johnnies Drop". Vena Archer and Ann Mills taught me the ladies twist and a version that I called the "Grand Twist". Hal Takier showed me the Savoy Kicks while Willie Desatoff showed off some of his slides. Harry Berlin showed me his grapevine move and when he got out there to dance with Ann Mills, Natalie Esparza and Venna Archer it was a sight to be seen!

As wild as I was in the beginning, no one was willing to dance with me during the "10 minute long Jam" that was set up by Hal Takier, a great Balboa Dancer who brought in the music they played. Canes were dropped and feet started to shuffle. Where was that Balboa basic? Wow, I had found Mecca! The excitement built as couples took turns showing off their best moves to the heated music. I was thrilled and wanted to get in there and be part of the Jam as my blood started to boil. No one was willing to get out there with a rookie like me who was overly excited and too crazy, but Freda Wyckoff took me out and I became part of something great! At the end of my turn with Frida I ended up in a splits and Freda was right there for me! We talked about that many more times. Thanks again Freda for including me and you are an inspiration to us all. Freda just celebrated her 90th Birthday in Los Angeles. See video here

Rob van Haaren

 

Thursday
May302013

Johnny's Drop

I named Johnny's drop in the late 1980's after the late John Mills the husband of Ann Mills (in the picture on right - one of the original and greatest Balboa Dancers) showed´╗┐ me this break step in the Balboa. The place was Bobby McGees where the old timers did their dancing on Sunday afternoon. It was the place to be to see some of the best dancers strutt their stuff. Willie Desatof, John and Ann Mills, Harry Berlin, Hall and Marge Takier, Ed and Inez Thompson, Maxie Dorf, Natalie Gomez, Marianne Nunez, and a lot of other great dancers. I just missed Dean Collins as he passed in 1984 just when I started to learn to dance. 

This fun break step can be used in Swing, Charleston, Shag and Balboa.
Rob van Haaren

Video to follow soon. 

Here is Diane dancing with John Mills, here around age 92

 

Wednesday
Mar202013

How to KISS!!!

I am for sure trying that tonight!!!

Saturday
Dec152012

Article - Johnny Boyds show in El Segundo Dec 12th

"Johnny Boyd blew the roof off at Rusty's. None of the 230+ people there will EVER forget it."

Article by Rusty Frank on Johnny Boyd's Show:
"Johnny Boyd blew the roof off at Rusty's. None of the 230+ people there will EVER forget it." (See whole article below)
Get your tickets for tonights show now - here at http://www.yeahman.com/

DECEMBER 12, 2012 - SWING DANCE HISTORY

December 12, 2012 is now part of Swing Dance History. The night when the Dean Mora Quintet and Johnny Boyd blew the roof off at Rusty's. None of the 230+ people there will EVER forget it.

It's hard to know where to begin, as I am still reeling from the whole experience. Watching dancer after dancer walk through the door with anticipation and joy, knowing that they were going to have one of the greatest dancing nights in their lives. Watching dancers I started with back in the 1990s stream in with great emotion ready to enjoy the music of two men who were deeply part of the Swing Revival and part of their earliest days of this crazy passion. Watching newbies discover for the first time the genius of these two great artists and their bands.

Dean, your band never sounded better. It truly was as though The Benny Goodman Quintet was right there, living, playing at my club. You did it! Your dream of bringing back that unique sound has come true. Thank you for bringing such stellar musicians with you, plus the lovely canary of song, Miss Kayre Morrison. I was in heaven. And I'm so glad Rusty's was where Dean Mora and Johnny Boyd met in person for the first time!

Johnny, what can we say? We are thrilled to have you back in our lives. Don't go away again, please. Hearing your voice fill the room, was heavenly for all of us. I know I was not alone when I say my head was spinning, and I was constantly in a sort of surreal state; it's been well over a decade since we have enjoyed a live evening of you... and hearing your voice, this time not through the DJ booth, but through YOU right up there on stage, well... it made my heart soar! May I add that your musicians were simply the best of the best. Your show was a perfect blend of the songs we "back-in-the-day" dancers grew up with and your new material. Johnny, I know you put a tremendous amount of time, energy, and money into this tour in order to make it fabulous, and there is not a person who will think it wasn't all worthwhile and who is not deeply grateful to you for doing so.

To all the dancers, new and old, who came to Rusty's last night, I thank you. YOU are what keeps our community together and our scene growing. I am always thankful to you for continuing to walk through my door and what you do to support live music.

To all the volunteers who made this night run so seamlessly - we NEVER could have run the night without you, and I am truly the luckiest club owner to have you in my life: Our teachers: Jamie England, Emily Callahan, Ray Manning, & Dorothy Morris. Our DJs: Robert Vangor & Ray Manning. Our Doorstops: Brian Cleveland, David Kwok, John Lau, Andrea Gilbert, Audra Kleiner, Tyler Smith, Kim Vandermost, and Adam Simpson. Our setup/breakdown crew: Dave Russey, John Connor, and Jon Moody. Our photographers: Adam Simpson & Dave Welch. Please forgive me if I left anyone out!

To Steve Conrad, of the Arizona Lindy Hop Society, who managed Johnny Boyd's tour so beautifully, and first approached me about hosting THE LA Show for Johnny Boyd! You are always a delight to dance with and produce an event with. Let's do more.

Finally, I want to say to everyone. I never, ever take for granted what you each do, musicians and dancers alike, to make our scene a true community.

Let's keep flying high!

I thank you,

Rusty & Her Rhythm Pals
http://rustyfrank.com/

Thursday
Nov292012

Yehoodi features Rob and Diane 

Yehoodi features Rob and Diane In a live show (recorded for your convenience) the global website for Lindy Hoppers Yehoodi featured a "Where are they now" with Rob and Diane. This is a great Website to find out what is happening around the world. Click on image to see. Yehoodi We are 20 minutes into the show - you can fast forward to it!