My take on navigating the different, and sometimes conflicting, opinions and theories you hear in West Coast Swing.

  1. I am a great believer in paying attention to serendipitous events. Last Tuesday 4:52pm I posted this message to my friend Phil Adams:

    Lets try this: Teaching and dancing is something I’ve been involved in doing for over 50 years. High school English, grammar school and junior high, college level US History and English, computer Literacy and of course dance. I didn’t start out to be a teacher by the way. I started out wanting to know more history, become a better writer, and in dance to find out the difference between just dancing and knowing how to dance. As a student I am self motivated naturally and as a teacher I am a scout who finds out the path and brings back the stuff from which to make plans.

    As a teacher, I’ve always been more concerned with the why and the how than the what.
    Changes in the music and changes in what works in the dance are two main interests of mine.
    As dancer, I’ve learned that there is always something new. And that’s the fun.

    Learning makes new. To observe myself has taken a more meaningful place in my dancing toolbox than ever before. Like you, I really do watch what’s going on. I watch my mirrors, eyes level to the camera, follow my partner like a shadow, or shadow my partner as I dance. I can dance to the instrumentation or follow the singer’s voice. I’m a member of the band by my own choice.

    These days watch the floor has become my new game. Watching “Contemporary/EDM” I see that much of this music’s tempo hovers in the “we could dance Hustle to it” range and that on the dance floor the anchor step has become a “back together forward syncopation” that fits the music but is not Mario’s “rock n go” but something else less clearly defined. It also often comes forward on the followers right, back on leaders left.

    Phrasing seems to make it work but the tempo appears to leave the dancers looking lost.

    In a dance world where the slot has become a widened block, footwork has moved from singles, doubles, and triples to rolling weight changes in 2 beat increments, and slides, drops, lifts, and a playing on the monkey bar mentality have become the new “that’s what the Pros do” mantra. It ‘s not good to get lost. And as Liza May frequently points out, there is a lot to talk about.

    Sorry, I don’t mean to sound like a wise guy. There is plenty of other stuff going on too, like dancers taking personal interest in their dance education. It is great to watch the differing strategies at play. I can see cross-overs in styles that show me every dancer that has stuck with it is still growing. At the endless summer swing dance camp in September I enjoyed the approach of us getting together to just dance and talk with each other about dancing. No comps. All levels using counts to work out problems, stretching themselves to get better, to know more.

    Richard Bray at Dance Addicts anon . . .

  2. Facebook Profile photo

    I recently took Robert Royston intensive and your videos remind me so much of his class. I was thinking about taking his intensive again but now because of these videos I don’t think that will be necessary. Sorry Robert! However if you have never taken his intensive I highly recommend it!

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