For the past six months, I have spent my Wednesday nights learning Solo Vernacular Jazz dances from local Lindy Hop dancer, Danny Beyrer. These routines are rooted in the drive and pulse of Swing music and have wonderfully absurd names like: Big Apple, Mama Stew, Shim Sham, and the Tranky Doo. Within the routines are codified steps: Fall Off the Log, Suzie Q, Apple Jacks, and the list goes on and on, I can not believe I have been on this earth for 39 years and did not know that these dances existed!!!!!!! Rhythm is like food to me and I have been starved for it since I arrived in Indianapolis two years ago. Learning these routines has made me feel at home in my body again and has done so much for my dancing. These dances have helped me to bring a sense of ease and coolness to movement, which goes against my natural instinct to be BIG and BOLD.
I have been filling Sarah in on my rhythm journey and desperately wishing she was swinging right next to me every Wednesday night. In January I texted her a video of me practicing the Tranky Doo in my kitchen.
Bethany: A kitchen Tranky Doo pour vous!
Sarah: Oh snap. Bucklin my seatbelt. I simply don't believe you.
Bethany: If you'd like to learn it, I'll break it down to the nitty gritty details via video and send them to you to learn along at your leisure.
Sarah: Please! Now, some of that had to be your invention.
Bethany: Definitely added my own flavor but the steps area all Tranky Doo Choreo and almost each move has a name: Fall Off the Log, Apple Jacks, Boogie Forwards, Boogie Backs, Shorty George, Suzy Q
Sarah: Jesus. That is so damn sweet.
So slowly but surely, I have been recording pieces of the Tranky Doo in my kitchen and sending it off to Sarah in Memphis. As some of you know, Sarah is working on The Feeling is Mutual, a prelude to a One Woman Show she has begun developing, that she will be presenting in Memphis' first ever Fringe Festival. During our weekly phone pow-wow last week, she asked if I could, in my own unique way, begin to transcribe the Tranky Doo onto paper. She has plans for the doodles as she begins to research movement material for The Feeling is Mutual. So, I'm off to my kitchen to continue to record pieces of the Tranky Doo and doodle it on paper and let it all ride the radio waves to Sarah's phone and smile knowing she is somewhere in Memphis making magic with it.