This Wednesday May 30th at The Royal Palace in Manchester, NH
657 Elm Street Manchester, NH 03101
When I started lead and follow dancing just over 15 years ago I was hooked for life. Thinking that I may compete some day I sought out the pros that, at the time, were at the top of their game. After just over $10,000 invested in my dancing I was finally ready to do the first step of this dance correctly. Granted I am a slow learner but $10,000?and it only bought me the first step in a dance with millions of patterns and variations? How long does it take to get good? When do I move one to step 2…I am speaking literally about steps here people. I was learning how to walk when I wanted to dance. I took lessons from everyone Sam and Denise Miller, Bill Cameron, Anne Fleming, Larry Mongeau, Cathy Pothier, John Festa, Ramiro Gonzalez Robert Cordoba, and Deborah Szekely and the lesson started of exactly the same every time.
I was living the Dancers version of “The Karate Kid” Paint the fence, wax the car, sand the floor. Everything but dancing. When I hit my breaking point I stopped my teacher mid lesson (Cathy Pothier) and asked her when I would progress beyond the boring first step and actually learn how to dance? I was sick of hearing the word “Wrong” after every single “one”. Every time I took a step in her lessons for a solid year it was “wrong”. As her customer I demanded an answer and I was about to here the words that would change my dancing life forever!
She stopped the music, walked up to me, put her hands on my face, and proceeded to put the wonder full world of West Coast Swing in perspective. “You already know how to dance. In fact you are such a good dancer that there is very little I can teach you about dancing… you have “IT”…Oh you can dance my friend…you can’t lead for shit…but you can dance!”
We all can dance when no one is watching and our favorite song comes on. Suddenly the chores stop, the taxes get pushed aside, or lunch gets a few degrees colder while we bust a move on the carpet for 3 and a half minutes. All the while pretending that a crowd of 50,000 screaming fans are watching…Ok maybe that last part was what I imagine when I am dancing in my living room. The point is that you are your own “dance” teacher. You know what you like and you do it when you are flying solo.
I am teaching you how to lead and follow…How to take that first step and do it correctly…How to communicate with your partner so that you can each bring your own dance to the partnership. This is why I taught the Advanced intensive the way that I did and its exactly why everyone should be in attendance at this Friday’s “Back to Basics” workshop at DNE and the repeat of the lesson plan in Manchester, NH at Queen City Ballroom.
If you can’t lead or follow that first step you will never see the day that your living room dance (in front of 50, 000 of your closest imaginary friends) makes it into your West Coast Swing.
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.
657 Elm Street Manchester, NH 03101
Share this with your friends!
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