In Spring of 2017, Michael and Natasha decided to take "Intro to Jazz" class while they were pursuing their respective bachelor degrees. Michael had recently discovered Lindy Hop and wanted to explore more Jazz dance vocabulary and Natasha wanted to take dance class as an elective. Little did Michael know that the class would consist of Plié's and Chaînés turns and not the Suzie Q's and Fall off the Logs he was expecting. Michael and his roommate at the time Kenny (who had also registered for the class) were considering dropping the course when Kenny had gotten a surge of motivation from the teacher complimenting one of his moves.
On Week 3, Natasha's repercussion for missing the previous class was to dance in front of the class. Natasha performed a few of her ballroom routines - the Cha Cha, Rumba, and Jive. Michael was interested in the dance style that Natasha had just performed and introduced himself after class that day. Quickly, Intro to Jazz became the class they both looked forward to the most each week and the rest is history.
In 2020, when the International Lindy Hop Championships went virtual due to the pandemic, Michael and Natasha decided to take advantage of their Big Bear COVID Cabin’s mountain scenery and enter the competition virtually. The newly-formed “Video Showcase” category gave contestants creative freedom to film and edit the submission in any way they would like. The idea of proposing with a video element resonated with Michael, and soon the proposal plan was in motion.
For Michael and Natasha, the next few months would be filled with choreography and practice sessions, but behind the scenes, Michael was sending out requests to some of the world’s top Lindy Hop dancers to film themselves dancing to a selected portion of the choreography which featured solo dancing.
In the weeks that followed, Michael would secretly work on editing an altered “Proposal Cut” of the video, stitching together the videos from the aforementioned Lindy Hop dancers who were submitting their dances, together with the proposal scene surprise. Eventually, the video prop was ready!
On November 21st, 2020, Michael, Natasha, and their friends Stanley (Accomplice #1) and Tina (Accomplice #2) went on a day trip to Joshua Tree National Park. Michael had been keen to mention, repeatedly, that he wanted to record a “fun dance video” during sunset, so he’d bring a suit in the car to change into later that evening (this may or may not have been a slight giveaway). During golden hour on the summit of Keys View, Joshua Tree National Park, Michael began setting up his camera for the “fun dance video”. The plan was for Michael to experience “technical difficulties” while secretly recording Natasha’s reaction to the Proposal Cut.
At the signal, Stanley would then play the Proposal Cut itself and Tina would start a video call with both Michael and Natasha’s parents. Keep in mind that, for the three hours leading up to the proposal, there was absolutely no cell service in the park, a fact that significantly worried Michael. In order to make this proposal work as planned, it would take an incredibly talented individual to be able to spontaneously harness the power of love to intertwine high-frequency electromagnetic waves with the state-of-the-art mobile chipset embedded inside of a Pixel 3 to turn the spinning wheel on Zoom into the excitedly anxious faces of two sets of parentals – a feat Tina managed to accomplish with routine ease.
Meanwhile, as Tina’s miracle efforts came to fruition, Stanley pressed the spacebar on his laptop (which he sensibly brought on a day hike because he was conveniently “on call”) and Natasha became increasingly bewildered as the video she was watching became the video.
Finally, at the end of the video, in synchronicity with the closing fanfare of the Brooks Prumo Orchestra’s rendition of “Dinah”, both physical and digital Michaels went down on one knee, Radiant-cut diamond ring in hand. The rest is history.
The Wedding Day
- Aloft Hotel Silicon Valley is where the bride and bridesmaids got ready
- Bride's amazing mother made the party favors (jams and sun-dried tomatoes)
- One of our friends suggested we do a steal jam which is where the bride and groom stand in the middle of a circle and one by one the guests come in and dance with them until someone else steals them. This was a huge surprise and highlight of the night! We got to dance with so many of our guests thanks to this suggestion.
- Swing Dance teachers (for cocktail hour) - our friends Calvin Lu and Samantha Nguyen
- The only proper way to end the night was at In n Out (per brides request)