Charleston Challenges

Solo comp Bobby the awesomeness

Solo charleston. How I fear and adore you at the same time. Every time I think I have you figured out, that we have finally come to an understanding, you kick (get it?) me down a couple of notches. As if to remind me that I still have much, much more to learn.

This past weekend, I bussed through the cold chills and landed at Rochester New York for the North East Girl Jam. This is only my second “girl jam” type event, having just recently gone to “Followlogie” last fall in Quebec City. I always feel a little bad about being at these girl jam events because I feel like I’m committing theft learning so much for such a low price (usually these types of events are free to leads as long as you can get to the city). The price really being braving the tundra weathers of Quebec City and the chills of Rochester (I’m a tropical wimp I know). There are always great solo jass classes that always inspire me and usually some sort of solo charleston competition during the weekend.

Competition you say? Dun dun dun… queue fight music.

Every time I compete in solo competitions, the first ten seconds of the song is usually drowned by the frantic self thoughts of disbelief that I actually convinced myself to do this again. “Don’t you remember the last time you did this type of competition and you almost threw up?”. Twenty seconds into the competition my disbelief turns into panic as I realize that I just done everything I know in terms of charleston variations. Twenty five seconds… still panicking. After thirty or so seconds, everything just kind of becomes a blur until the music stops.

The first time I learned a “charleston variation”, it was just about one week before my first Lindy Bout event. I remember getting my JoJo Jackson charleston dvd in the mail and going over the moves on my laptop while pretending to be doing work at my co-op job. During that Lindy Bout and during the solo jass competition, Mandi Gould (Toronto) asked us to do the Shim Sham in a line so the judges could verify their finalists. I had no idea what the Shim Sham was. It was truly an epic moment in my dance career.

This time around in NEGJ, I actually felt somewhat okay by the end of the competition. I don’t remember doing more than three or four charleston variations so there is definitely lots of studio time still to be broken in for my next charleston challenge. At least I can take pride that I didn’t puke at the end of the comp.

North East Girl Jam 2010 – Charleston Finals

Laura’s Charleston Routine

Laura’s solo charleston class at North East Girl Jam. She’s a fantastic dancer and her smile is infectious. I secretly steal her moves on the social dance floor when she’s not looking.


  1. Oh. Well, if Bobby Bonsey was there, then no one else had any chance. Sorry, Randy. 🙂

  2. That’s actually from Lindy bout last year. Mais oui. Je suis d’accord 🙂

  3. thanks for posting the video, haha hopefully I can remember pieces of this fun choreo!

  4. Martha, quit messin’ around. Everyone knows you gots that routine down 🙂

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