Friday, January 15, 2010

The first point

I was working with some students after class yesterday (by the way, the class went wonderfully. One student said it changed the way that it made him think about dancing!) and I returned to a point that I remember so clearly and which has influenced the way I have taught leading and following for my entire career.

The scenario: he had some basic lindy instruction and she didn't. I asked them to dance and he tried to do the swingout, with her completely befuddled and wondering what she'd have to do the whole time.

I don't buy into the mishegos that every mistake made in dancing is the lead's fault. However, in the case that the lead isn't noticing how much his partner is struggling, this is certainly the case.

My response: F*** your training. If your partner isn't with you then you've got to find them first. Practically, it's better to just do steps in place than to do swingouts if your partner isn't ready.

Then I taught them how to make a swingout work. Of course, the first impulse was to find each other first and the second is to do something together.

Then I set them on the dance floor and as always I asked them to find some dancers they didn't know and ask them to dance too. I miss having students that need to be taught how to find dances. I think that homework is probably the most important assignment of a beginner's dancing life.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Stomp Stomp

I have absolutely no idea what this video is about, but this song has been stuck in my head all morning, so here ya go. The Wonders of YouTube!

The song is Stomp Stomp, recorded by The Cats and the Fiddle.

This evening we'll be doing some exercises exploring rhythm. Charlotte will be preparing an exercise. I have some thoughts on the subject myself and have some ideas that I'm really looking forward to exploring.

Last week we discussed accomplishments and goals. One student mentioned that they were feeling much more confident dancing with experienced dancers. Another suggested that a goal for them was to let their dancing feel less deliberate. We also discussed taking a field trip down to some farther dance venues.

I confirmed that I would be doing a lot more yoga, which is keeping in line with the commitment I made to the class last year to be more physically active in my life off the dancefloor. I'm also doing improv classes again, which is getting back to my roots. Some of my first dance instruction exercises were based very much on improvisation exercises that I did in college.

So here's to an exciting twenty-ten. I'll be posting a bit more often in the weeks to come!

Thursday, January 7, 2010


I'm currently working on a fan page for Facebook. This is mainly so that there will be another venue through which to post updates about the class. If you're on Facebook and you're interested in becoming a fan, please click here.

I'll still be posting here, but for quick shouts, Facebook seems to be able to get a lot done.

I haven't posted anything for a while, so here's another clip of the Legion of Extraordinary Dancers!