To bring Lindy Hoppers from St. Petersburg, Russia to Los Angeles.
To promote a certain kind of world peace through dance by bringing in one dancer from Russia to study with Los Angeles-based teachers, attend Swing Camp Catalina, visit all the Los Angeles swing clubs, and return to Russia to teach all she learned to her local swing dance community.
Last summer I taught at the very first Russian Lindy Hop Festival. During my five-day stay in St. Petersberg, I was struck by the country's conditions. (The average Russian earns about $50-$100 a month, and you can do the math on what this signifies.) Despite the terribly rough conditions of daily life, the fledgling Lindy Hop community of about 200 grows each day and is one of the most enthusiastic and passionate I have ever seen. But their access to the dance is extremely limited. Not only are they cut off geographically, but the prevailing economics prevent access to the minimal elements which we here take for granted (paying for classes, bringing in guest teachers, going to camps and festivals, purchasing instructional videos and CDs, etc.)
Within the St. Petersburg Lindy Hop Community, I saw how the simple act of dancing elevated the quality of their lives on a daily basis. We all know how this can be. While there, I knew I wanted to do something for the Russian scene, and an idea blossomed -- Operation Dance.
Without further ado, please allow me to introduce our official Operation Dance Invitee...(drum roll please)...
Katia (Ekaterina Ivanovna Avlasevich) was hand-selected because of her dance expertise and passion, along with her warm, engaging personality. (Many thanks to my St. Petersberg friend and Lindy Hop liaison Megan Virtanen for her help with this process!) I am really looking forward to us all getting to meet her and show her first-hand the wonderful world of dance that we are all lucky enough to experience here in L.A.!
If you would like to contribute to this project, we can use help in a variety of ways:
1. Volunteers to work together as a committee to make all arrangements. (I would like to thank the Operation Dance Committee: Jennifer Thomas, David Russell, and Sarah Heitman for already stepping forward to co-coordinate this with me.)
2. Money to cover all Katia's expenses.
3. Volunteers to help show Katia around the L.A. swing scene -- as well as other fun L.A. spots, like Disneyland or Hollywood! check her calendar: HERE
If you have any more ideas to contribute to this endeavor, we would love to hear from you!
If you think you will be able to give of your time or your money in supporting Katia's visit, thank you so much! Please click on "I'LL HELP!" to see how you can participate and give to Operation Dance.
I know this will be a wonderful experience for both of our communities. We will benefit by meeting one of our kindred spirits from Russia, and we will be bringing untold joy to the St. Petersburg community by the massive infusion of new swing dance material to help their scene grow and grow.
It's hard for me to put everything into words. Please know how passionately I feel about this project. If you want to talk to me personally with ideas, please feel free to do so at 310 606 5606 or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you all in advance for your help and support!