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Sticky Knowledge – Sternum to Sternum

Sticky Knowledge – dedicated to those words of wisdom that really stuck with me and influenced my dancing and teaching.
sternum-to-sternumFirst up is “Sternum to Sternum”. I find myself repeating this phrase a lot or using similar analogies like “spotlight,” “you’re both trying to pass each other in an airplane aisle” or “You’re War Machine and Iron Man and you have to create a super strong energy blast by combining your arc reactors.” Continue reading

Brain Training

Research has shown that the brain is like a muscle. It gets stronger as you learn new skills and lift “weight.” This is why you might feel mental and physical strain when learning new dance steps. You’re pushing your neurons to make connections so your legs can move with particular rhythm in a particular direction. It’s tough, but there are some methods you can use to strengthen your brain for dance. Continue reading

When Roadblocks Aren’t

I was super pumped to attend my first national swing dance event ever. It was the last Monsters of Swing event in Ventura, California. I was really excited to take classes from some of VHS heroes (chiefly Tip & Holly) and swing dance to bands I only heard on CD or mini-disks.

Then I learned how much I didn’t know. I was an east coast swing kid who learned a smattering of lindy hop, but not enough to handle to counter-balancing Californians. I had such trouble with flying lindy, but I had no trouble flying aerials (there were a lack of followers, so I flew). Then when first handling counterbalance, I confusedly thought the follower was leading. I was a newb in a strange world. Continue reading

Finding the Jitterbug Spirit at Camp Hollywood

Answering what is jitterbug spirit is akin to asking why I enjoy Camp Hollywood so much. Each year I come away measuring how much social dancing I did. And, in recent years, I measure a supremely low number yet I know I still had fun. There’s a euphoric sense that what happens at Camp Hollywood cannot be replicated anywhere else. That is the Jitterbug Spirit.ray-hirsch Continue reading

DJ! I Have A Request!

song-request

Have you ever requested a song from a DJ? Have you received requests as a DJ? Has a DJ ever asked you for your favorite song? Kyle did at the last Wednesday Night Hop, partially sparking this topic. How do you handle this as a dancer or DJ? Continue reading

DJ Thoughts – Watching the Dancers

two-dancers

Another DJ element Beth Bellamy taught us DJ hopefuls was to watch how the dancers danced to your music. Watch how the beginners through the pros dance to your songs. Of course, it might help more if this were your home scene, but even the traveling DJ should be able to pick up on the dancer level and start asking a few questions that might shape their next song choice. Continue reading

DJing to Those Not Dancing

phonograph-dj

One of the most informative DJ workshops I took was taught by Beth Bellamy, a well known west coast swing DJ based in the Bay Area. This was probably back in 2005 and 2006 when I attended as many events as possible. One nugget that shaped my DJ career was her philosophy to DJ to those not dancing.  Continue reading

Listen To Your Body

I’ve been having trouble watching the viral UJC 2015 video. On one hand, I enjoy the fact it has 60,000+ views and 600+ shares. On the other hand, I injured myself within 15 seconds or so. People on my side of the room saw it, folks on the other side were able to hear it over the music, and you can catch a hint on the video.

Continue reading

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