Monday, January 7, 2013

Jump, Jive an’ Wail – Florida Orchestra Review

Minn Vo & Stephanie Klausman

Swinging into the New Year with the lively music and dancing of Jump, Jive an’ Wail was an auspicious beginning to 2013! Guest conductor Victor Vanacore entertained us with several of his own unique arrangements of swing and big band standards, not to mention with his light-hearted banter. 

Something’s Coming Blues, based on the song from West Side Story, was one of my personal favorites, along with Over the Rainbow and Great American Blues (Bassie Salute).

The orchestral blend added new life and richness to old favorites – I was pleasantly surprised at the incongruous Viennese Waltz string section in Take the A Train! On the other hand, the classic Opus One failed to get my toes tapping, perhaps because the tempo seemed a bit draggy for a jive.

Both solo sax artists were exceptional, as was the drummer, Vanacore’s son, He was the heartbeat of every song, pumping the life blood of rhythm into each orchestral piece.

But of course, the centerpiece of the evening was the dance team of Minn Vo and Stephanie Klausman. This pair, known for their authentic period stylings of dances from the swing era, shed new light on the distinctive characteristics of each dance. In today’s world of social and even competitive ballroom, there is a tendency for dancers to do the same family of swing or fox trot steps regardless of the music being played.

Not so with Minn and Stephanie, who danced a beautifully synchronized, true fox trot with a series of hops in closed hold that fit perfectly to the tempo and light-hearted feel of Almost Like Being in Love. Big band arrangements of songs like these are usually too fast for an American style or standard fox trot, yet too slow for a quickstep. Although this type of choreography is seldom seen any more on the ballroom dance scene, it would be a useful addition to the social dance curriculum for venues featuring big band and Swing Era music.

Also enhancing the orchestra were Minn and Stephanie’s renditions of Charleston, Lindy Hop, and West Coast swing. All in all, Jump, Jive an’ Wail gave us a glimpse back into the legendary era of swing and made for a delightful evening. 

© 2013 Laurie Collett


Kisha Jaggers said...

New Follower! Found you through the I Love My Post Linkup! When you have time, come visit at and if you like what you see.. follow back! Happy New Year!

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks so much, Kisha! I'm following you back!
Happy New Year & God bless,

Crafts a la Mode said...

How interesting! Thanks for linking to What to Do Weekends for my first weekly party. Have a happy, safe weekend. Linda

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Linda, for your lovely comment & for hosting! God bless,

Paula said...

Sounds like a wonderful time!!!
Music and dancing definitely add cheer to any event :)

Thanks for linking up with my NO RULES Weekend Blog Party!


Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Paula! Music and dance are indeed great expressions of joy! Thanks for your comment & for hosting, & have a wonderful week!

mail4rosey said...

Ah, what I wouldn't give to be able to cut the rug! And I come from a family of great dancers...and singers, and I can't do either one. I do so enjoy watching/listening to those who can. :)

Laurie Collett said...

Hi mail4rosey! I'm sure you'd be a great dancer & singer -- just give it a try!
Thanks as always for your comment, & God bless,

Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson said...

Hi Laurie, this sounds wonderful. Nothing better to lift the spirit than a little song and dance. Thanks for sharing with Share Your Cup. Just thought I would mention, I do not see a link back.

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