Return of the Old School

I was perusing the Herrang teacher line up just to check it out even though I don’t have any plans on going. Being the center of the Lindy-verse, it’s a just interesting to see who they’re bringing in each year. I have no plans to do another analysis like I did last year, but I noticed a few new names including Laura Glaess & Mike Roberts, Alice Mei & Thomas Blacharz, and Sarah Breck & Dax Hock.

One name that jumped out at me was Marty Lau, which is funny because I was talking about him with a few friends just this weekend. He’s teaching Balboa during week three with Sylvia Sykes.

Marty was one of my teachers when I started to really get into dancing, when he was teaching with Carla Heiney, and before that, with Naomi Uyama and Nina Gilkenson. He was one of the few guys out there who could really nail the Dean Collins style, but brought a sense of personal flair that really made his dancing distinct from his influences.

Even though he was one of the ringleaders of bringing back the idea of “raw” to Lindy Hop, his execution was crisp, his lines sharp, and had sense of connection that one other teacher compared to telepathy. I even remember David Rehm starting a thread on the old SwingoutDC on the delphi boards entitled something like “The Online Shrine to Marty Lau.”

Then there was his immense stage presence, one of those factors that you either have or you don’t. The lack of which prevents good dancers from becoming great. Marty had it in spades, possibly due to his acting training. But it wasn’t just confidence. He always seemed to have this look in his eye that he knew something that you didn’t.

And he was just one classy mofo.

He’s been keeping a pretty low profile in recent years,concentrating on his new family with his wife Jen, the follow featured in the first and third videos above, so it’s nice to see Sylvia drag him out of semi-retirement.

Then there’s even older names that also came up this weekend: 25 year Lindy Hop veterans, David Dalmo and  Asa Rickardsson who I found doing a rare performance  at Leapin’ Lindy in Switzerland this past weekend.

If his name sounds familiar, it’s because A) you’ve been dancing more than 10 years and you remember that this guy was The Man, B) you’ve had the pleasure of seeing him teach at Herrang, or C) remember me mentioning him as part of the monster show last year that included the Harlem Hot Shots.

Note that I posted that video along with performances by Frida Segerdahl & Skye Humphries and Naomi Uyama & Peter Strom from that same event on the Wandering & Pondering Facebook page.

Ryan Swift passed along a note that indicated that you may have trouble seeing the feed from the page if you’ve “liked” it already because Facebook recently changed some settings. Check out the note to make sure you have everything set ok, so you’ll see more random goodness from me more frequently. Consider that my Valentine’s Day gift to you.


  1. Julie Carpenter said,

    February 15, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    Ahh, Marty. Damn pretty pony, damn pretty dancing, damn pretty wife, damn pretty kids.

    Was that weird, Jen? Nah, you’re probably used to it. 😛

    P.S. Jerry, this post made me realize that I am officially an old dancer.

  2. angie said,

    February 15, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    I am officially an older dancer too. Wow, David Dalmo. It’s awesome to see this, thanks for sharing.

  3. Gene said,

    May 25, 2011 at 1:24 am

    I wish I could be there, Herrang this year. He’s one of my first Balboa teacher with Sylvia.

    Thanks this article.

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