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

Leading Area General Descrip on WCS

Welcome to:

Mr. Jonathan’s Wonderful World of West Coast Swing

Learn, teach, do. The intrigue of West Coast Swing drives me to be the curious, contemplative, ever-learning student. I share what I learn by conducting classes that emphasize exploration and fun. I perform and social dance for the joy and connection that West Coast Swing Dance makes with the music… and with our souls.

“All men (and women) are created equal…”  This famous constitutional line is sometimes forgotten at the West Coast Swing dance venue.  All too often, we find our selves “sitting this one out”. Song after song. We don’t feel comfortable asking someone to dance.  If I’m in the room, experience-level prejudice (and shyness) takes a seat. Ask me, please ask me to dance! Ask my students to dance. Ask my mentors to dance. Life is too short. Let’s spend it on the floor.

  – Mr. Jonathan