ryan calloway

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Bearded Rhythm (aka (Adam Boehmer and Ryan Calloway) at Boogie By the Bay 2010

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LOVE LETTERS TO LINDY HOP

Ann Mony & Ryan Calloway

These two bring me so much joy, every time I watch them dance. My dance (and life) catch phrase is “Let’s get weird” and these two are always down! If you have watched their ILHC Classic Division routines the last few years, or any other example of their dancing, then you’ll know that already…but it makes me so happy. 

Their connection and playfulness is wonderful and their movements are so unexpected. PLUS, have you ever watched her face while she dances? Or his hands? He has my favorite hands in the whole Lindy Hop world. It’s not weird. Well…it probably is. But that changes nothing! I have a thing about hands and his are always so engaged and I love them. 

There are tons of great videos of them out there in the world but I picked this one because my preference is almost always to see examples of peoples social or social-ish dancing and these two never disappoint. Sorrynotsorry if I just sent you down the rabbit hole that is youtube. 

Personal story time: 

Ryan taught at Atlanta Varsity Showdown a couple of years ago and it was a HUGE reason that I attended. I’ve been to AVS several times but in recent years, it has fallen on Halloween weekend and that’s a dangerous time of year for me to leave my house. I’m coulrophobic and have generalized anxiety about anything relevant to clowns/the circus/balloons/etc so you can probably see where this is going. 

The Friday night dance at AVS was a Halloween dance and Cate and I showed up dressed as Transylvanians. We looked ballin. 

I had Cate scout the room while I hid in the lobby and she identified a couple of problematic costumes and found us a corner to hang out in that would probably keep me pretty safe. Then she went and kindly asked the dancers who were in those costumes to stay away from me, explaining the situation as simply as she could. BUT, I couldn’t really scan the room or leave my corner to ask people to dance, so she was my middle-woman and went to seek out partners she knew I liked to come dance with my in my hiding spot. She was only asking friends, so it wasn’t super weird, but I really wanted to dance with Ryan, even though we had never met before. 

Cate stepped up to the plate, even though it was kind of an awkward thing to ask, and she went and flagged Ryan down for me. He came to my corner and danced a couple of songs with me and acted like it was the most normal thing in the world. And I was really grateful. Also, the dances were super fun!

They had been nearly silent the whole way back home. They hit up Ed’s, the local diner they had eaten at together about 1000 times, without even having to consult each other about it. Ryan reflected that this was the beautiful thing about their friendship. Her thoughts drifted back to Tristyn. If he was here, everything would be just as it should be. She didn’t know how to bring him up again, after Eadlyn’s big announcement on the beach. 

Speaking of Eadlyn, she had been absorbed in her phone for like 10 minutes. 

“Is everything okay?” she ventured cautiously. 

“Yeah. I uh, I texted Tris. I think he’s drunk. You know how he is when he’s drunk. He can’t stop talking.” Eadlyn looked up and met her eyes. “I think it’s real bad, Ry. He’s real messed up.”

Eadlyn’s face was so serious when she walked over that Ryan grew instantly anxious. Edie had always been a little… well, stoic. This wasn’t her normal face. Something was very wrong. 

“What is it?”

“It’s Tristyn.”

Ryan’s heart dropped a foot in her chest. “Oh my god. What happened?”

“It’s not him, sorry,” Edie said seeing the panic on her face. “Well, it is. I mean, remember Nadia? His wife? She died a months ago. Really suddenly. I guess he skipped the funeral and ran off. No one has seen him in a long time.”

“Oh my god. Edie, you have to call him. You have to make sure he’s okay.” No matter what happened that night on the beach, no matter how estranged things got, Tristyn had been their third musketeer for 15 years before that. He was a sensitive guy, already prone to pulling away from people he loved. If he was MIA with a dead wife, it was bad news.