The Apology

No Swing This Friday

This week I had my biggest break through in my 16 year swing career. It occurred to me that the stand that I have taken against “Un-Swung” music has not been helping anyone accept for my over inflated ego. Rather than winning friends, being a positive swing-influence, and a swing-example, I have been making an ass of my self, rubbing people the wrong way, and causing more harm than good.

At this point I owe the swing world my most sincere apology. Over the last five years I have been way too vocal about my feelings about music both swung and unsung. Although my first amendment right to free speech gives me carte blanche to say what I wish. It would have been better for everyone involved had I made the choice to exercise my fifth amendment right to remain silent. Passion is a beautiful thing but not at the expense of the greater good. As passionate as I am about the dance that we all love, others are equally passionate about the dance we all love. For every swung eighth note that I demanded a DJ play there is someone that is demanding straight eighth notes as well as two others that have no idea what an eighth note is, Swung or not, and could careless as long the DJ plays some Top 40 so they can “feel” the beat, sing along, and get their dance on? Who am I to interfere with someone getting there dance on? Who am I to make someone second guess there dancing? Who am I to leverage my position in the swing community to exact change that only makes me feel good? The only answer that comes to mind is that I have been the “A-Hole” that did all of the above and I am sorry.

Socially I have taken too vocal a stand, going as far as to refuse dances because the music was not sophisticated enough i.e. it did not “Swing”. I am sure that some followers have taken this to heart. After all, most girls just want to dance and pay very little attention to the song that is being played. They pay attention to the person who they are dancing with and are thrilled to not be sitting this one out. I am most sorry to all of the girls that I turned down for this lame reason. The absolute least I could do is dance with someone that had the courage to ask me to dance…and I will from now on! 

If I hope to exact change in the swing world I have got to consider that there are two sides to every coin. I do still want there to be more swing music in the swing world but I am not going to fight for it any more. I am going to lead by example. I will be an ambassador  for swing and swing music but I will also hear that there are other genres of music that make people happy when they dance. Dancing is an art form and those of us that practice this art have the right to dance to what makes us happy. Swing makes me happy but it does not bring the same joy to everyone. If we are all going to coexist on the dance floor we must be tolerant of each other and each other’s music choice. I will be the most tolerant from now on in hopes of leading others down the road of tolerance.

Thank you for reading and I hope to see you at my next dance Friday, August 10th at DNE School of dance for Part I of a 2 part intensive that concludes on August 24th. I will follow up with more details next in next week’s email.

Mr. Jonathan Teaches ALL Weekend!

This weekend is a very exciting weekend in Swing. Still a little high from the excitement of the WCS Boat party, Larry and I are going for a Round 2 later in this article! 

Friday night will be our Advanced Intensive #3!

This is what I plan to cover

Roll reversal – Followers Leading and Leaders Following allows you a very brief window into what is going on on the other side. There is no better way to see dramatic improvements than by switching sides.  This will last only a few minutes so please don’t panic!

Distancing – Being able to gauge your distance and adjust accordingly is often the missing piece of the puzzle. Knowing how close or how far to be from your partner is a must.

Connection – The Unspoken conversation that is happening between Leaders and Followers thru pressure. Learn when to push or pull, what it means when you do, and how to get more out of your partner by plugging into the partnership instead of guessing. 

Musicality – The music that we are dancing to is telling a story. It is made up of counts of 8, 32, and 48. It has highs and lows hits and accents and is often ignored completely in favor of whipping out the newest “Cool Guy” move or “Hot Chick” head flip. Learning how to listen to the music is a lot easier when you know what to listen for.

Pattern Selection – As leaders learn more patterns they find themselves doing the same old ones over and over because they forget to try the new ones. Most leaders forget because they have not learned how to think 2 and 3 patterns ahead. I will be sharing my secret formula for working patterns deeper into the dance while maintaining your sanity. I will also show followers how to read the leader’s mind so they can be even more attentive in their slot.

Timing – More than just staying on beat, timing is the art of knowing what to put where and why. New dancers will often throw new move after new move in regardless of how well they fit together. TIming is often confused with musicality but it is really when Musicality meets Pattern Selection.

Training the Eye – I still have a couple tricks up my sleeve for new patterns that look cool but do not fry your brain. A big fan of the acronym K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) I will not only teach you a couple patterns but I will also teach you how to decode what you see so that you can use Youtube the same way that I do when I am looking for something new and exciting.

As long as you know the names of and are somewhat proficient in the 6 basics Left/Right Pass, Sugar Push, Whip, Basket Whip, and Tuck Turn you will have a great time at the intensive. If you struggle with knowing the difference you may want to hold off until our next Beginner Intensive.

DNE School of Dance

78 Princeton St

N. Chelmsford, Ma

7-10:30 $20 Class will begin promptly at 7 so please make every effort to be on time.

  

Saturday Night Brings us to Larry’s SeaSide Swing Dance. I will be whipping up a Night Club 2-Step Lesson and them plugging in and mixing some swing in with Larry. Its a great venue with a huge floor so drink plenty of fluids and carb up for a fun filled night of dancing!

Knights of Columbus

570 North Avenue  

Wakefield, MA

Sunday Night I am Teaching the 2-Step Lesson at LongFellows and hear is the lesson plan:

Longfellow Club

524 Boston Post Road 

Wayland, MA

  

This Weekend’s Adventure’s in Swing

I am still decompressing from Friday Nights Dance Cruise. Larry and I had more fun, more friends, and the best music was played on this one. We want to thank everyone for coming out and enjoying the perfect weather conditions as well as Eric Cudmore for playing such a swingable opening set. His music set the tone and the bar for the night. On top of playing some old faithfuls he also surprised us with some new swing jams and for that we could not be more thankful!

  

This weekend brings us to DNE on Friday for an Intermediate Pattern Intensive. I will show you how I come up with patterns for classes and intensives and teach you how to do it for your self. then you can put that into practice during our Swinging Social Dance afterward. 

Friday Night:

DNE School of Dance

78 Princeton St

N. Chelmsford, Ma

7-10:30 $20

  

Saturday Night is Beginner night and Midnight Rodeo Bar time. We will go through the top 7 patterns in West Coast Swing, Practice for half an hour, and then take the drive on over to the Midnight rodeo bar to dance the night away to some live music! Some of my most advanced students came to the last beginner intensive and told me that they learned some key points that brought their dancing to the next level.

Saturday Night:


 Queen City Ballroom

21 Dow St.

Manchester, NH

7-9:30 and 9:45-Midnight

$25

Sex 3X a Day at 99Yrs Old…George Burns’ Secret

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.

This Friday at DNE:

Advanced Intensive

Pizza, Water, and Dancing 7-10:30pm

$20

78 Princton St. 

N. Chelmsford, Ma

UPSTAIRS THIS WEEK!

Patterns from Friday, Saturday and Sunday:

Intermediate/Advanced Intensive Friday June 22, 2012

Intermediate/Advanced Intensive

Pizza, Water, and Dancing 7-10:30pm

$20

78 Princton St. 

N. Chelmsford, Ma

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)