Dancing has taught me so many things that cross over into real life…Poise, Posture, Confidence, Self Awareness, and much more. I love sharing my stories via email and my website with you, my students. This weeks story has connections from dance to real life and back to dance.
On his 99th birthday George Burns was invited onto Oprah. During the interview Oprah got a little racy with George. “George Burns today is your 99th birthday! I understand that you not only smoke 6 cigars, have 2 shots of Jack Daniels, but you also have sex with a young swing dancer, every single day…Is this all true?
“Its all true accept for one thing…I have sex with my swing dancing and much younger girlfriend THREE times every single day” George Replied as he put his Cigar in his mouth.
Oprah and her audience gasped and begged for an explanation “How is that even Possible?
“Oprah, I will be happy to tell you my secret, The key is…”
The Punch line of this story will be told at this Friday’s Advanced Intensive at DNE. I am hosting the intensive upstairs this week because their is a private function in the Cafe.
I have a new Advanced Footwork class that will help you take the patterns that you already know and make them look that must cooler through some awesome new movements. Plus we will go through some exercises to help you to match up to and hear the music better. This is a great opportunity to “Get It” like you never have before.
In High School I aced my typing class by training my peripheral vision, shmoosing the teacher, and often straight up staring at the key board. I learned how to “fake” that I was a great typist while never actually learning how to move my fingers across the key board with out looking. Now even as I sit here and type this note to you I am watching my fingers strike the keys with perfect form but I am watching. Had I taken the time to train my fingers 20 years ago I would be done by now!
How often as dancers do we watch John Festa, Robert Cordoba, and Tatiana Mollman and try to “fake” our swing. We try to feel our way along with out knowing the “why” behind the “what”. This Friday we are going to go step by through the “Whys” so that our “Whats” look, feel, and become what they should. This lesson will be centered around some of the more advanced concepts of WCS and the patterns have been chosen as great examples of the concepts put in action. Our Monday night class will then pick up where the intensive leaves off and will push us through to the next level. The patterns are ones that I have never put on line and will be available only to those attending via private viewing on Youtube and Direct Email.
Two Step Pattern from This Week’s Class at Long Fellows:
Class is $10 and is taught every Saturday at 6:30 at Club JoEllen in Wayland, Ma (524 Boston Post Road)
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.
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…
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!