I recently interviewed our new Lindy Hopper of
The Month - Tise Chao. We sat down for dinner
at a restaurant in Ventura on Friday night during
MONSTERS OF SWING 2002.
When did you first discover Swing & Lindy Hop?
When I saw the movie Swingers, a bunch of my
friends and I decided to go to Derby and check out the dancing. There was this one guy who looked so smooth on the dance floor and when he asked me to dance, I fell in love with the dance.
I know you're trilingual. How did you learn all those languages?
I was born in Taiwan, so I speak Mandarin. Since my father was a diplomat, we traveled, and lived in various countries like: Venezuela, Honduras & Guatemala. That's where I learned Spanish. While in South America, I studied at American schools and learned English. I've been in L.A. since 1979.
Before swing dancing, you did other types of dancing, tell me about that?
I started as a child dancing jazz and ballet. I began salsa dancing when I lived in South America as a teen. In 1997, I started studying flamenco.
What's your favorite thing about Lindy Hop?
I've met so many new friends dancing and the dancing makes me happy.
Most important tip for Leads?
Learn your basic, before you try fancy moves.
A tip for follows?
Keep your frame and a good connection with your partner.
What is your profession?
I'm an art director by trade. I got my degree in Advertising/Graphic Design from CSUN. I worked at advertising agencies for a number of years. Now I am a free-lancer and I teach dancing.
Where do you teach?
I teach a monthly ladies' styling and technique class at my place. I also teach Lindy classes in North Hollywood on Tuesday nights at Synthesis dance studio with my partner Jerry.
Tell me about your dance highlight-
When Mike and I won the Shag contest at Camp Hollywood 2001. We didn't practice and only decided to enter 30 minutes before the contest. Another highlight was performing live with the Bill Elliot Orchestra on the "Swing in the Century" Show.
Do you think it's a good idea to date a dance partner or keep it strictly professional?
It's best when you keep it professional.
What is your pet peeve when it comes to leads?
When they can't keep the beat.
If you could go back in time to the 30s or 40s which movie dancer would you like to dance with?
Other than dancing, what do you do for fun?
I like hiking, going to the movies, and spending quality time with friends.