Cat is Back!
Catrine “Cat” Ljunggren is visiting the SF Bay Area this weekend (November 9-11th), and I couldn’t be more excited!
Catrine is the very “Cat” who founded Cat’s Corner at its original location at El Valenciano (a bar in SF), and several years later invited me to teach and run the dance party with her when it moved to Savanna Jazz Club in 2006. We taught together for four and half years, and it was an amazing experience.
Catrine and Nathan along with student performers at her 2010 SF farewell party:
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Catrine, an international dance performer and teacher who specializes in Lindy Hop, Charleston, Tap & Jazz, is one of the original Rhythm Hot Shots, the world renowned dance group from Sweden that trained extensively with Lindy Hop legends Al Minns & Frankie Manning. Indeed, she taught as Frankie’s dance partner at numerous international dance camps. As part of the Rhythm Hot Shots, she played an important part in the formation and popularization of the Herrang Dance Camp (also in Sweden), which is today regarded as one of the modern meccas of swing dancing.
I caught some of my earliest glimpses of Catrine dancing late nights at the original Cat’s Corner with her main dance partner Elliott Donnelly. I also watched them competing and representing San Francisco at the 2003 Harlem Jazz Dance Festival. I was struck by their powerful lines, athletic and acrobatic dancing, and the passionately playful energy that had them just about bouncing off the walls. I loved taking workshops with Catrine and Elliott at the annual Oakland Swing Dance Festival that had us students literally sweating buckets, falling over each other onto the floor, and laughing the whole time. Learning the fundamentals of Lindy Hop with Catrine and Frankie at the yearly Frankie Manning Workshop in Oakland was always a special treat too.
Catrine and Elliott (couple on the left) dance the insanely fast Harlem Congo at the Oakland Swing Dance Festival 2004:Could not parse XML from YouTube
Stylistically, what Catrine brings to Lindy Hop is a consummate spirit of performance and showmanship, and a fierce dedication to preserving the historical roots of the dance. She’s mentioned to me that two of her biggest inspirations (after Al & Frankie) were the old film clips, especially A Day at the Races and the old Harvest Moon Ball footage. Watch Cat dancing, and you’ll see for yourself. More than simply recreating dance routines and copying moves, Catrine and the Rhythm Hot Shots have sought to capture the feeling, emotion and essence of joy and improvisation that’s at the heart of dancing Lindy Hop.
Catrine and Chester Whitmore hoofin’ it at Brazil Swing Out Extravaganza 2011:Could not parse XML from YouTube
Catrine and I will be teaching dance workshops and hosting the dance party at Epic Swing Night on Saturday, November 10th. We’re making it a special “Herrang Dance Camp” edition party, as we compress 7 full days of dance camp activities into one spectacular evening! We hope you’ll join us!
Catrine is also available for private lessons in San Francisco on Friday, November 9th (4-8pm) and Saturday, November 10th (11am-2pm). Email Nathan to schedule and set up your lesson!