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Ben Yau

South Pasasdena, CA, United States

Kent, WA, United States
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My Story:
I always liked music and dancing .. grew up watching a lot of stage shows and musicals and the like. In fact I think I've watched "Singin' in the Rain" probably two or three times a year since I was six.

I don't recall when I started liking Big Band music but I bought my first Big Band CD in 1990. Cbut didn't know people actually danced to this music until I saw the 1998 Gap Commercial *blush*

But after seeing the commercial I just figured as fun as that looked, those were professionals. But then my friend said "No, people dance like that all the time now, I've been going to this place called the Derby for six months now. You should come!"

So yeah, eventually I went .. And I was amazed as well as stumped. When did these people have time to plan out all their little routines? Again coming from a background of watching stage shows, all these tricky dance moves were choreographed right? No...? ! They're improvised? no no does she know to kick that way when he kicks that way?

So my friend guaranteed me that most of the dancing was improvised on the spot.

So it was a combination of being awestruck by how fun it looked but really mostly being stumped at how it worked that got me interested in finding out. Like any good Unix/Linux sysadmin, I had to get to the bottom of it.

And that's how I got into swing dancing :)

Why did I stay? Well, because I am a unix sysadmin and need to get to the bottom of things and it took me a long time to try to figure this thing out (still does). It took me probably a good three to four weeks just to get my East Coast Swing down ... I was SOOOOOO confused that all the dancing was done in six counts but music was in eight counts and figured someone was BS'ing me or something ...

Of course I finally got it down to a point where I felt comfortable dancing and fortunately I would go out with three good friends of mine so I always had someone to dance with ... (Thanks Liz, Renee, and Mike!).

Then everyone said they were doing this thing called "Lindy Hop" so I tried my hand at that and wow, I just got frustated all over again ... it took me probably two months at least to even get the footwork right ..and i practiced everywhere .. in the elevator at work, walking down the hallway, in front of the vending machine, yes even in front of the urinal. In fact driving from Irvine to the Derby in 2 hr traffic gave me plenty of time to practice in the car .. so circa 1998 if you saw a green camry on the 5 doing stop-and-go when there was no stop-and-go traffic, that was me in my car practicing and forgetting that my foot was on the gas pedal (well, technically on then off)

Eventually I stuck with it as a I realized how much fun i was having, how much i loved the music, and how I was really starting to meet lots of very cool people including some of my closest friends today.

I'm guessing sticking with it also has to do with the fact that a year later I met Sheri out at the Derby. We ended up having a lot of fun dancing together, eventually competing together and training together realizing we both had similar obsessed crazy competitive drives.

Then three years later we figured out what everyone else seemed to know and started dating.

Seven months later engaged.

Ten months later.. married.

Our first dance :)


Additional Questions

When/where did you first start doing Lindy Hop?
I started in 1998 at the Derby in Los Angeles. I saw the 1998 Gap Commercial and figured I might want to learn

Why did you first start doing Lindy Hop?
I always liked swing music but never knew about dancing until I saw the 1998 Gap Commercial. But I thought those were professionals and then my friend said that people do that every night at this placed called the Derby. And I got hooked!

What is the size of your local Lindy community?
LA/OC has a pretty large community

How often do you go out dancing or take lessons?
Hmm... wish I could take lessons a lot more than I actually do... but yeah I love going out dancing!

What is your favorite thing about Lindy Hop (both as an activity and as a community)?
I love meeting new people, I love the music, I love the active and creative aspect of it, I love the mechanical aspect of it. I love lots of stuff about Lindy!

What do you do for a living?
Unix/Linux Sysadmin


Year you were born?

What bit of non-swing info about you would the Lindy community find interesting?
I have a false tooth. Also, I'm a big huge fan of: comic books/collectibles, MMA, reading books, and playing games like the ones on the I AM LINDY HOP Procrastinate Page.

How has Lindy Hop changed your life?
in too many ways to mention ... the dance itself is so liberating and awesome, and the community itself is very giving and I've met some of my closest friends, and I met my wife and soulmate.

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Michael Quisao said on 2009-08-13 10:52:04
Great idea and great implementation! Thanks for sharing this wonderful website with the world.

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