21st Year • Endicott College • Beverly • Massachusetts • USA

HTTB Year End Message 2010

We often find ourselves reflecting on the past year as it draws to an end. This one has been kind of a rollercoaster for us with some big ups and downs along the way.

We had a truly amazing Beantown Camp this summer. It was more work than ever putting it together, which is really a reflection on the way of the dance world these days. Many events for people to attend and lots of attention needs to be devoted to marketing. Beantown has had many great years, and we always wonder how we can possibly top them, yet this year may have just been the best ever! There was a huge diversity of people attending from all over the country and beyond as well as an outstanding staff of instructors and musicians, and it all merged together into a week full of joy, laughter and a ton of fun! We owe so much to everyone who participated and contributed to making it such a positive, wonderful event.

Hop to the Beat hit an incredible milestone this year with our 15th anniversary. It is quite amazing when we think about that. It all started because we had seen this dance called the Lindy Hop and we just wanted everyone to do it! It seemed the only way to help make that happen was to teach, so we gave it a try. We added small practices which eventually led into what is now Uptown Swing. Along the way we brought in international instructors and eventually started Beantown Camp. It literally just evolved, we along with it, and it continues to be a full time endeavor.

This fall we began a new venture with our 2nd class location in the Fenway Park area. This is something we’ve wanted to do for awhile and were thrilled to find such a great venue with the Ruggles Church. As with anything new, it’s a challenge, but we’ve had some really fun classes so far and welcomed some new people into our friendly dance community.

We have seen a lot of changes over these years, and through it all our classes have always been the heart of what we do. We love introducing new people to this wonderful world of Lindy Hop and we enjoy seeing them grow, evolve and especially develop the passion that makes it part of life. We cherish the wonderful moments we’ve had, whether it’s laughter in class or all the smiling faces having fun at our dance. Plus we are always incredibly rewarded by the friendships we see develop in our local scene and from Beantown Camp. Dancing is something everyone should have in their lives as it enriches your body, mind and soul:-)

This fall turned into a rough one when my (Aurelie’s) Dad went into the hospital at the end of October, which became a very serious situation. There is nothing we are more thankful for than that he recently was moved to rehab. He still has a long recovery which hopefully will get him back home. My Mom no longer can live alone and her world will be vastly improved if they are together. We all face these situations in life and it is not something you can truly be prepared for. Fortunately I have a big family and supportive husband to share it with.

Just 3 weeks ago we were very sad to lose our 17 year old cat Belle. Anyone who has visited our house has likely met her. She was the one lurking down on everyone on top of the kitchen cabinet. She maintained a great quality of life despite over 3 years with kidney disease and losing her eyesight. Belle really amazed us up to the end with how much life she had in her. She still bugged Tony almost every day to go into the dance room with her and throw her food morsels, even though she was no longer very good at finding them. We are grateful for all the years she was part of our family.

As for 2011, we have much to look forward to. New classes will be starting up in January, Uptown Swing already has a great schedule of bands, and plans for our 15th Beantown Camp are underway. Heartfelt thanks to all of you who have enriched our lives with your friendship, your support, and your participation. We are grateful for the opportunity to be a part of your lives and we wish you all a very happy new year!

Happy dancing,

Aurelie & Tony