Back to Basics WCS Intensive Friday, May 18, 2012

The Advanced Intensive was a well received event. The part I was most nervous about was the roll reversal portion because it takes a room full of brave individuals willing to be vulnerable to pull of a full on roll reversal. All too often we get caught up in how far we think we have come in one area of our life/dance that we lose focus on the end result. Even if it means we take 3 steps forward after, its not easy to take that leap of faith and try something we are not going to be good at because its presenting it self as a step backward. 

Think about how you feel about coming to a beginner anything after you have attended and advanced one. At first you may think that its beneath you to attend one. Most of my students begin taking private lessons to take their dancing to the next level (at $65 per 45 minute lesson) because they “are not getting enough out of beginner/intermediate classes. Guess what we fix during 99.9% of each lesson? Basics! The very same basics that they could have fixed in a $20 Beginner Intensive.

Learning a dance style is like cutting 1″ thick ply wood with a utility knife. Each pass (through the basics) makes the cut deeper and deeper until you make it through to the other side. Taking this analogy a step further (or deeper lol) if we stop going over the same cut and jump to another track some where else on the sheet, we never make it through to the other side. 

Join us on Wednesday, May 30th for a deeper look into the basics and what makes them tick.

$25

Royal Palace

657 Elm Street  Manchester, NH 03101

WWJD…What Would Jordan Frisbee Do?

What is Jordan Frisbee’s and Kyle Redd’s Secret?

When the top pros like Jordan Frisbee or Kyle Redd execute a pattern, during a Jack and Jill Competition, it appears to the untrained eye like they are performing magic on the dance floor.  What is really happening is they are speaking a body language that Tatiana Mollmann and Sarah Vann Drake also happen to speak. Instead of words there is pressure, in place of punctuation there is a beat, and where we use tone and inflection in our voice they use connection to get there point across. 

A new language? Are you kidding me Mr. Jonathan? That will take years to learn…Right? Wrong!

In 2 hours I can show you the “Rosetta Stone” so you can translate your thoughts on the dance floor into patterns with your partner.  After dancing WCS for 3 months or more it becomes time to take your patterns from hit or miss to hit and hit again! 

(Cue Dramatic Music)

After our Advanced intensive…After we learn patterns that teach us how to gauge our distance…Once we learn how to communicate more effectively with our partner…After the final slice of pizza has been eaten…

(DunDuhDuh!)

World Class West Coast Swing DJ Louis St. George will wow us with his mix of music.  He is my favorite DJ for WCS and he will be yours too! Ask him for what you want to hear and he either has it or will down load it right then and there. (Music hits Crescendo) This Friday night Louis St. George will show you why he is the multiple year winner of “WCS DJ of the Year”

Advanced Intensive is $25

Swinging River Cruise Tickets are $25

Buy both this Friday and save $10…$40 for both tickets!

West Coast Swing Basics Are Wasted on Beginners

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West Coast Swing Basics Are Wasted on Beginners

The best workshop that I have ever taken was Bill Cameron’s “Intro to Swing” class and not Jordan Frisbee’s Triple Hammerlock Whip Variations.  I had hit a slump in my dancing that I could not shake and had tried everything from leading the same pattern over and over for an entire song to taking ballroom classes several times a week.  I was trying to break through to the next level and just could not seem to do it.  I took the class to see how he taught (I love to watch how other pros teach their classes).  As the class progressed he went into a brief description of what makes swing swing that quite literally changed my life as a dancer and teacher.  

This story would be so 80’s cool if it ended with me walking away with the 1st place trophy after my epiphany but there were 250 people in my division.  I did make the top 10 though…not too shabby!

Why do the basics help so much? They are the base that holds up the rest of your pyramid. One little change in foot position in your whip, for example, can dramatically affect how it looks, fits to the music, and how it feels to your partner. These changes over time lead up to those special dances where the song, the partner, the connection, and the patterns aline like the stars and produce a dance that is euphoric. The first time you experience this “Dancer’s High” you are hooked for life!

Dance New  England

78 Princeton St, Chelmsford, Ma

Ballroom Cafe

Strippers…The Misunderstood Ballerinas

Strippers…The Misunderstood Ballerinas

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The other night, at the tail end of the Beginner Intensive, I was engaged in some post lesson Q+A with one of the leaders.  It came up that when I am dancing I do not think about what pattern I am doing or even what is coming up.  Instead I listen to the music and let the dance happen. When I said this the young man reached out, grabbed my arm, and gave me a little shake “You listen to the song while you are dancing?” he forced out with the most baffled and confused look on his face.  Of course my answer was yes and I went on to explain.

Music is a mathematically accurate art form comprised of different instruments, melodies, harmonies, emotions, and feelings.  Dancing is the exact mathematical and artistic compliment to music. If two different types of music are played back to back like “You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC and Leo Sawyer’s “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing”.  One is hard hitting, fast, with a lusty overtone while the other is a happy-go-lucky, melodic, and a slower groove. If you had to tell the story of each song, from inside a sound proof room, using only your Sugar Push, would both songs “look” the same?  

All too often we get lost in the search for the next big pattern like its the be all and end all.  Pattern shopping is like having a drug habit.  No matter how many you have you will never feel like you have enough. Knowing more patterns does not make you a better dancer any more than doing more drugs makes you a better person. What makes you a better dancer is understanding the relationship between the song and your dance.  When Mario Robau does his Musicality Workshops he spends most of his time working out the math end.  I find it difficult to break music down mathematically while I am dancing and so I came up with an easier way.

On May 4th, at the Advanced West Coast Swing Intensive, we are going to explore this relationship in depth.  At the end you will have the tools to handle things like breaks, accents in the music, and you will be able to take the patterns that you already know and dress them up so they can help you tell each song’s story.

Dance New  England

78 Princeton St, Chelmsford, Ma

Ballroom Cafe