Thursday, 29 August 2013

Dreamers Interview Series – Turlough Myers: Answers and Giveaway winner

Today I have the pleasure to announce the winner of dreamer Turlough Myers's giveaway.  If you missed the interview, you can read it here.  But first, let's see the answers to your questions!

Mike asked

Is dancing ability nature or nurture?

Good question, It’s both. As well as dedication. Certainly it takes some natural talent to ever be really good at dancing, but talent without the proper instruction and mentorship can lead to two horrible things, the first is simply terrible dancing, people will teach themselves to move in ways that could be really bad for their own body as well without the proper instruction. The second, it can lead to a terrible attitude, a good mentor should be able to turn a naturally talented dancer into a great dancer and not allow their head to get too big about it.

Sarah Kate asked

What did teaching others to dance teach you about yourself? Have you made any surprising discoveries about yourself as a result of teaching others and what were they?

I’ve made a lot of discoveries about myself through teaching, both about life and about my dancing. Recently I had to completely re-think the way I lead tuck turns because the way I had gotten used to teaching them was not working for a particular group. Also as I started teaching, I realized that being a good dancer and a good teacher are two very different skill sets. The more I teach, the more I dance, the more I feel like I want to keep improving at both. 

Cara asked

There have been great efforts taken to revive Lindy hop as a style of dance. How would you think explains its popularity today? and is preservation more important than innovation?

Great question! This is a pretty hot debate in the Lindy Hop world. I do believe all good art grows and changes. That said, Lindy Hop is a fairly formed art. As far as preservation goes, it is more about the joyful spirit of Lindy Hop, we are doing a great injustice to the people who gave us this art form (Frankie Manning, Al Minns, Norma Miller….) by not working hard to preserve the spirit of Lindy Hop. Style is where innovation is more important. I always say to my students, it is up to them to take classes from many different stylistic voices, and develop their own style over time. 

Here’s what I want you all to do, go to Youtube, and watch some Lindy Hop, watch how different the styles are from dancer to dancer, but then watch their faces, and watch the sort of steps they do. The spirit of the best dancers is the same across the board, but the styles are all unique. 

Lastly, there’s the music, to the music, all us dancers owe our lives.  If the dance is not set to a swinging rhythm, it ceases to be Lindy Hop. So I would say there, that the preservation is important. But however it is as an individual dancer you interpret the music within the Lindy Hop spirit should always be open to innovation. I could talk about this subject all day! 

Victoria H asked

Is there a style of dance you've always wanted to try, but haven't had the chance yet?

When I was little, I wanted to be a break dancer...But I was the whitest and nerdiest Irish/Canadian kid ever. I don’t like to think about what I could have done, and I am very happy being good at a few things and do them with great love.  I have a background in Irish dance, and I love Irish dance, that will never leave me. But for now, Lindy Hop is enough for me.

Anonymous asked

Hi Turlough, I started East Coast Swing Dancing when I was twelve, I have been back at it for four years now. At Swing L'ete a follow (possibly a dance teacher) I danced with guessed from my dancing, that I probably learnt to dance in the fifties to Elvis Presley records. She was right as far as the era but the artists were Theresa Brewer; Four Lads; Glen Miller. My question is do you think I was being complimented on my dancing? She did tell me I was a good dancer at the end of the dance but I felt putdown, any comments, from your experience as a teacher.

I think you are greatly overthinking the situation. I think this person was just making a comment on the sort of connection she felt from you.  Negative comments are always unwarranted at a social dance, so if she meant to put you down, then she has some serious attitude problems to work out.  That said, if she’s a dance teacher, I would give her benefit of the doubt that she was probably just making an observation and was interested in the sort of background you had. It is not personal. Just like how it is not personal when someone says no to a dance, you always have the right to say no, for ANY reason.


Hi Turlough ! Can you give me a trick to help people to discover their ability to follow the beat?

Lindy Hop is a dance where we keep the rhythm of the music in our bodies by bouncing our bodies to the music. My advice is the listen carefully to the music and maintain the bounce all the time! :) Then, give yourself time, it takes a lot of people a very long time to learn how to do that, you can do it if you are patient!

Alexander asked

Analog, and the digital video and the Web played a tremendous role in the spread of Lindy Hop since the eighties. Now, be it motion capture, advanced video playback controls, video annotations, media indexing or other technologies, do you think that IT could make it easier to teach and learn the moves, the technique and the styling of social dancing?

It certainly can, with caution. When advanced dancers are looking for inspiration we often turn to the vintage clips, like Hellzapoppin, Day at the Races, or the Spirit Moves (look all of those up on youtube). Also, instructional video is available online for free and not for free. That said, there is a lot of terrible instruction out there in video form. Nothing will ever replace good proper instruction in a class room or private lesson. and PRACTICE.

Thank you Turlough for all your hard work!


And the winner is Cara!  Turlough will get in touch with you directly.  Congratulations!

You know a dreamer or an author that inspires you and would like me to interview them?  Contact me at scbecauseican(at)gmail(dot).  I love to meet new sources of inspiration and I love to hear from you!

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Review Wednesday – The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England

The past is a foreign country: this is your guidebook.

If you were to visit Elizabethan England, where would you sleep?  What would you eat?  Would you know how to be polite?  How would you communicate with the locals?  Ian Mortimer's The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England answers all these questions and many more.

I'm a big history geek.  I love learning about the past customs and practices of bygone times.  I find it fascinating to see that, despite the centuries separating us, people living in distant eras were oftentimes very similar to us.  And, a lot of times, very different!  The difficulty of this kind of interest is that many history books are written in a heavy style that does not encourage reading them for the sheer pleasure of learning. However, it's not the case with this amazing work.  Mortimer uses the perfect balance of humor and historical fact to make the book feel like a real guidebook. The style is rich, yet the book is very accessible. You almost find yourself starting to make plans to travel to this fascinating time in history.

Another great aspect of Mortimer's work is that it debunks many myths and misconceptions about this period in history.  It shows that the Golden age, like any other era, also had its dark side. Furthermore, since this is a guide intended for the modern traveller, the author constantly makes parallels with the readers and the people of the period, which helps seeing history from a much more personal point of view.

The Time Traveler's Guide is divided into twelve general chapters, ranging from Religion to What to wear, and, let's not forget the very important, What to eat and drink.  Each of them is then subdivided into numerous sections, each covering in more details a facet of the main topic.  The bite-size information makes it very easy to put down and pick up at any given time. This format also makes it the perfect reference for anyone wishing to write a novel or short story set in Elizabethan England.

This is the second historical travelling guide written by Mortimer, the first one being The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England (which I also own and intend to read), and I really hope it won't be the last.  I'm all in favor of a Time Traveller's Guide to Victorian England.


Tuesday, 27 August 2013

The ATUA Shelfie Project – Showing our love of books to the world

Take out your smart phones and cameras people, we are going on an adventure! 

 But before we do, tell me what these pictures all have in common.

Aside from having gorgeous models (thank you to my wonderful volunteers, Michele, Erin, Turlough and Gen,) these are all selfies.  But not of the regular kind.  They are selfies taken in front of bookshelves.  They are...

~ ~ ~ BOOKSHELFIES ~ ~ ~

I wish I had coined this but apparently it's a very trendy thing on Tumblr right now.  You can see the blog where it all started here (you will need a Tumblr account.)  If you have a Tumblr and contribute to my project, think of contributing to theirs as well. :)

So! This is the part where we set out on an adventure.  I want us to build a gigantic bookshelfie collection, together.  The minimum of pictures I want is 100 but my real objective is 500.  Yes, it's crazy but we can do it!  I will host the collection on both Flickr and the ATUA facebook page.

Your mission is simple.  

Step 1
Grab you weapon of choice and go take a shelfie of yourself. Your books are in storage on another continent?  No problem!  Go to the library or a bookstore!

Step 2
Send your shelfie to scbecauseican(at) and make sure to include your name and location.  I will be mapping our collection!

Step 3
Spread the word!!!  Tell your family and friends.  Tell your coworkers and anyone who wants to listen.  They don't have to be a follower of the ATUA facebook page or blog to participate (but if they love books, I'm sure they'll enjoy them.)

Let's make this happen people!

Monday, 26 August 2013

Hipster Word of the Week – Lagotic

So, has keranaucopia helped you with the lottery numbers?  This week I provide your inner hispter with a way to insult people.


adj. - having rabbitlike ears

 Audrey?  Oh you mean the lagotic woman over there?  Yes, I know her.

Your turn!  Leave your sentences in the comment section!

Source: Luciferous Logolepsy

Friday, 23 August 2013


Thank you to everyone who participated in the giveaway!  This has been the biggest one so far!

So without further ado, here is the name of the winner!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congratulation David!  Please send me an email ( to give me your address!

Once again, thank you all!

Pssst!  Look forward to the 1 year anniversary giveaway, it's going to be great!

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Dreamers Interview Series – Turlough Myers

Meet Turlough Myers, a dance instructor at Cat's Corner.  Although I did attend some classes at the studio (where I met Christine, our previous guest in this series,) this isn't where he and I met.  We actually have Doctor Who to thank for our friendship as we met through this common interest. So, without further ado, Allons-y!

The details of the giveaway will follow the interview.

Tell us a bit more about what you do? a question I occasionally ask myself. I teach Swing dancing at a studio called Cat’s Corner, specifically Lindy Hop, authentic solo jazz, and Charleston.  Basically all the dancing to swing music that you see in old movies, I teach people how to do that. Teaching certainly is my primary practice of being a dancer, but I do get occasional performance gigs, out of town workshops and competitions. But I am at the studio six days a week, teaching, practicing or dancing socially. :)
Was this a dream you had for a long time? If not, how did it come to be?
Yes...well...sort of. It is, but I didn’t know it was until I found it. I was put in Irish dance at the age of six and from there pretty much always dreamed of performing in some capacity; in high school I was involved in theatre a lot, but that was not for me. I didn’t find Lindy Hop until university and it seems now that I have found the dream I had always been looking for, to be a dance teacher.
What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome to make your dream come true?
The road is bumpy for sure, but it’s hard to say if there has been one thing that really held me back at any point.  Injuries happen, I have had ankle injuries that have kept me from dancing for weeks at a time. The hardest thing to overcome now is more internal, I often find myself thinking “my dancing is terrible, I need to work harder...” but life is about working hard to achieve what you want! :)
What is your next goal? Would you like to own your own dance studio one day?
This is a good question, because I’m a young guy and I still have a job at a call centre to make ends meet. So I still have a long way to go. Owning a dance studio is an option, and that would absolutely be a dream come true. Or even traveling different places in the world to teach workshops for different dance communities. But that is intensely long-term, in the short-term I want to keep competing and keep trying to become a better dancer.
What advice would you like to give to the dreamers who hesitate to take the first step towards their dream?
That’s a great question, in my opinion, you have to fail. Everyone sucks at what the do when they first start doing it, but if you work at it you will get better. so if you’re hesitating to start my advice is to face your fears head on, let yourself fail, and always try again. If you start with high expectations for yourself you’re probably being unrealistic, so be patient and keep trying. As I write this, I realize that I need to listen to my own!
Playwright Jim Burke interviewed two weeks ago would like to know,
"If you were confronted by a student who seemed to have absolutely no sense of rhythm, was horribly self-conscious, and danced like an embarrassing dad at a wedding, would you see him as a challenge to be met, or would you politely suggest that dancing might not really be for him."
This occurrence is far more rare than people would like to believe of themselves.  Here is a conversation that I am constantly having with people: “you can try lindy hop if you want some more fun in your life.” “I am completely uncoordinated and clumsy, I’m hopeless.”
YOU ARE NOT HOPELESS. I believe that you can do anything if you set your mind to it. So to answer your question it would be a challenge for me and a bigger challenge for the person who struggles with it more than others do. While I would see it as a challenge to be met, but I would be honest with him/her about his/her abilities and natural skills so that they know what the road ahead might be like.
Our next featured guest is Marc-André Charron, a French-Canadian playwright, actor and stage director; what question would you like to ask him?

I have a question for Marc-Andre! 
Many people tend to view theatre as a relatively open art form where just about anything is possible within the medium.  With constant new expression and new ideas involved, how important (if at all) is the preservation of “old fashioned” ideas in theatre and what place does “old fashioned” style theatre art have in our contemporary world? 
I would like to thank Turlough for his participation in the DIS. And now, the


For a chance to win a Friday night dance pass at Cat's Corner as well as a half price private dancing lesson with Turlough, leave a question in the comment section.  Turlough will answer all question and whoever he deems asked the best question will be the winner!  You have until Tuesday August 27th 11:59pm ET to enter.  The winner will be announced on Thursday August 29th.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Review Wednesday – The Marlowe Papers

On May 30th, 1593, Christopher Marlowe – celebrated young playwright, spy, fickle lover and declared atheist – was killed in a tavern brawl. Or was he? In this mesmerising novel, he reveals that in truth, he was smuggled across the Channel into lonely exile where he continued to write.  And the pseudonym he chose to hide behind was 'William Shakespeare'...

The idea that Shakespeare was, in fact, a front for another (or a group of) author is not new;  the first manifestations of the concept dates back to the 19th century.  However, this belief has recently been made popular by movies such as Anonymous – in which the playwright is the Earl of Oxford.  In her first full-length  novel, Ros Barber brings a new contender in the game: controversial poet and playwright Christopher Marlowe.   You might be tempted to think that this is just a new way to tell the same-old  story, but you would be wrong.  There is one element that puts this book in a league of its own:
 it's entirely written in verse.

Yup, you've read correctly.  The Marlowe Papers is entirely written in iambic pentameter.  The whole 407 pages of it.  I didn't notice when I purchased the book ( I was in London, reading all things English, so the book just caught my eye) and was a bit deterred at first by it.  However, it's so well written that it reads easily.  In a matter of pages, I was accustomed to the rhythm, and my eyes flew across the page.  Aside from being a feat, this ingenious way of telling the story gives it a feel of authenticity that regular prose couldn't have.  Furthermore, poetry being more flexible in sentence structure (if not in format,) it allows Marlowe to express himself in sentence fragments, thus conveying his emotional states more vividly.  It is impossible not to fall in love with the man for through his verses, the reader rejoices, suffers and lives.

The story itself, although completely fictitious, feels true.  The exile, the cover up, everything is plausible and makes sense in the context of the novel.  Barber is great at depicting the Elizabethan society, showing the dirty reality of the so-called "Golden Age."

I strongly recommend that you read The Marlowe Papers.  Do not let the format deter you; this is a read you will not regret.  I truly hope Barber will write other novels in verse.

To learn more about the Shakespeare authorship question, I suggest you read this very informative article on Wikipedia.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Dreamers Interview Series – Announcing Turlough Myers

Running parallel to the Author Interview Series, the Dreamers Interview Series introduces people who have decided to follow their dreams and have created (or are still in the process of creating) a life out of their passion.  They are a source of inspiration and we can learn much from them, regardless of our craft.

This week, I have the pleasure of hosting Turlough Myers, a swing dance instructor at Cat's corner, who left his little Ontario village to make his dream come true in Montreal.  Turlough will be offering great prizes for the giveaway.  Stay tuned!

Image Source
You can read the previous interview here:

DIS – Christine Guenette

Monday, 19 August 2013

Hipster Word of the Week – Keraunoscopia

Is jugulate now part of your inner hipster's vocabulary?  This week I bring your hipster another way to hariolate!


  n. - fortune telling by thunder

Juan says he can predict when the next apple product will be out by using keraunoscopia.

Your turn!  Leave your sentences in the comment section!

Friday, 16 August 2013


Image source

To show my appreciation to my loyal and my new facebook followers, and also to celebrate my 100th like on the ATUA facebook page, I have decided to throw a giveaway. Yay!!!

The prize? A 20$ gift certificate from Amazon.

To enter simply click the link below. 


You have until Friday August 23rd to enter.

Good luck to everyone! 

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Author Interview Series – Jim Burke– Answer and Giveaway Winner!

Today (after much delay), I'm happy to announce the winner of the author Jim Burke's giveaway.  If you missed the interview, you can read it here.  Once again, I would like to thank Mr. Burke for taking the time to participate.

David asked

Mr. Burke, I was just wondering if you ever got the itch to direct one of your plays and/or would you, given the chance, consider adapting one of your plays for the big or small screens a la David Mamet?

Thanks for your question. I've directed some of my plays in the past, usually down to necessity rather than choice. It's a tricky business. As with writing, the scene I've directed in my head doesn't always translate to the finished product on the stage. Plus, I'm not a trained or experienced director, so I much prefer to hand my stuff over to people who know what they're doing. Mamet is a bit of a cautionary example really. The screen adaptations of his plays that have worked best are usually the ones he didn't direct, especially Glengarry Glen Ross. When he does direct, he seems to be so invested in every word he's written, the dialogue comes over as stilted, stuffed and mounted. So, although it's tempting for a playwright to control everything from the directors chair, the results don't often bear this out as a good idea. But I'm sure there are 1001 exceptions to this!

And the giveaway winner is... David!  David wins a poster depicting the timeline of the Globe Theater.  The print was acquired at the theater itself.  Congratulations!

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Literary Paradise

@Jane Austen Center in Bath

I am sadly finally back from the UK.  I had an amazing time and those 30 days went by way too fast.  I didn't lose any time and caught a cold as soon as I got home (because, you know, everyone has a cold right now and I don't want to be left out.)  

Unlike what I thought, I wasn't able to keep up with the blog. That doesn't mean I will not get ATUA back on track now that I'm back.

What you can expect in the months to come:

  • More hipster words
  • More interviews and giveaways
  • More reviews
  • More musings
  • An entirely new top secret project starting in September.
Stay tuned!

Monday, 12 August 2013

Hipster Word of the Week – Jugulate

I'm bet you didn't know that there was a verb such as immerd.  I would like to use it in a conversation; explaning it could be funny.  This week's word is less juvenile and a bit darker.


v. - to check or suppress by extreme measures; or to cut the throat of

Did you hear how the government intends to jugulate the uprising? Ghastly!

Your turn!  Leave your sentences in the comment section!

Monday, 5 August 2013

Hipster Word of the Week – Immerd

Did your inner hipster learn to hariolate?  Did he guess this week's word?  Here it is, just in case he didn't.


v. - to cover with excrement

If you don't stop taunting me, I swear, I will literally immerd your flat!

Your turn!  Leave your sentences in the comment section!

Image source