Get Listening

I’m listening to some great blues music right now on Spotify and I’m started to wonder why people have to dance every single song at a social dance night. Shouldn’t your dance music also be great listening music? How many of us strongly listen to the same music we enjoy dancing to?

I, for one, rarely listen to jazz music. When I’m driving around town, I’m usually listening to NPR, alternative rock or Top 40 charts. I’ve also never been one to carry around an mp3 player, curate my own personal playlists, follow bands, or go to concerts. According to a co-worker, I’m a little strange and probably missing out on a lot of good music. I get it. That’s my confession. Continue reading

No, But…

but-noOne trap that teachers need to watch out for is the “No, but…” response when asked if they have anything to add. Sometimes it even happens when I’m addressing class, giving the general “ok” to move on and then the “No, but…” strikes once more. Consider being more decisive and sticking with your initial response. If you have something, but you already said no, remember your point and mention it later.  Or, if you’re already flowing toward moving on, add your point later if you can make it relevant at that time.

Unstack Yourself

Over the summer, a couple from Italy, a gentlemen from Lindy Hop Portugal, and most recently, a couple from Barcelona has discovered us online and come to our local events. We are truly fortunate to reach such far away visitors via internet searches. And the couple from Barcelona are here for 4-5 weeks and started learning swing dancing from us! I can’t wait for them to return to Barcelona and continue learning.

After yesterday’s class, the Barcelona woman was mentioning that she felt seized (held tightly) during class with some leaders – that they didn’t have looseness in their upper bodies, that they felt stacked. And I honed in on this word “stacked” because I even see this in more advanced dancers. Heather Ballew and I briefly addressed this in an advanced lindy hop class back in 2011:

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Dealing With Bias

I’m not sure how to write intelligently about this subject, but I run into people where I feel, giving them the benefit of the doubt, that they have unintentional bias toward the male in the teaching partnership.

– Organizers that ask me first to teach at their event without initially involving either of my teaching partners in the conversation especially when A) they know exactly who they want and B) when they have both of our email addresses

– Students that only thank me for the class without thanking my partner especially when they’re close enough to include. I’m not so picky when a person chooses to compliment me for something specific I did, but when it’s for the entire class, someone else needs thanking.

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When They Change The Competition On You

andy-dwyer-fearsThis past Wednesday I was talking to a dancer who was nervous about competing at an upcoming competition. Understandably so – they changed the strictly competitions relatively recently by combining what were originally two competitions into one.  Unfortunately this sometimes happens when an event can’t fill their competition. Some others just let the divisions run straight to finals. Different events have their approaches.

He was now competing against more experienced dancers, some his teachers. That would make me nervous, too, especially if I hadn’t prepared or, at the very least, taken the time to mentally prepare myself.

As a competitor, you enter certain divisions because A) you want to compete against your peers, B) it’s mandatory (If you’ve won X, you enter Y or westie points system), C) you want a challenge by competing at a higher level, et cetera.  Your reasons are your own. We just discourage cherry picking.

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Giving The Band Appreciation

I recently read an article where someone was encouraging swing dancers to thank the band before thanking their partner. This was on my mind last night especially when we hosted the Paul Asaro Quartet at The Arvada Tavern. I thought it about so much I accidentally faked Jesse into thinking I was giving her a high five when really I was preparing some awesome clapping.

Anyway, I liked what they said about thanking the band first by clapping or exulting them with a “yeah!”

Jonathan Stout and his Campus Five at DCLX
Jonathan Stout and his Campus Five at DCLX

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