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How to Practice

December 15, 2011

Before you become frustrated about a lack of progress in your dance, or wonder why poor habits seem to keep creeping in – or returning to – your dance, you need to commit time and head space to effective practice. This article is written for those of you who want to spend time to improve some…

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Tips to Practice Dance in a Social Setting

December 8, 2011

For many social dancers, the only opportunity to practice new skills or work on basics will be at a dance. (Note: read my article on Optimizing Your Practice to ensure that you understand what “practice” means).  But to get your practice time in means that you need to dance as often as possible. That can…

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Biofeedback in Dance Training

November 20, 2011

A recent conversation with a dance student/friend got me thinking about how important biofeedback is in the movement-learning process. As you read this, think about whether you are getting enough biofeedback in your dance training. What is Biofeedback? Simply put, biofeedback is a process through which a person receives information about the body’s activity. Biofeedback…

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What WCS Judges are Looking For

October 27, 2011

I’ve judged some small, local west coast swing dance competitions in the past, but at Montreal WCS Fest earlier this month, I judged for the first time at a WSDC points event. It is a difficult job but I enjoyed the experience and thought I’d use this “behind the scenes” perspective to answer The Big…

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Becoming YOURSELF Through Dance

October 11, 2011

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ― Oscar Wilde “I want freedom for the full expression of my personality.” – Mahatma Gandhi It is true of any competitive environment that, the higher up the chain you look, the less variety you see among competitors. And that’s so in WCS as well. Although the dance appeals to…

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Very Cool Things You Should Never Wear Dancing

September 5, 2011

At pretty much every dance event I attend, I usually see at least one follower wearing something that causes all kinds of trouble on the dance floor. After some early close-calls, I now test-drive every new item of clothing and many items of jewelry before wearing them at an event. Anyway, for fun & function,…

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Cross-Train to Improve Dance Skills

August 22, 2011

Cross-training is a concept from sport, used particularly by runners: “Cross-training (also known as conditioning) refers to an athlete training in sports other than the one that athlete competes in with a goal of improving overall performance.” – Wikipedia “Cross training is a great way to condition different muscle groups, develop a new set of skills, and…

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Weight vs. Connection

July 20, 2010

Most West Coast Swing followers I’ve taught have at some point expressed concern over whether or not they feel “heavy” to the leader. There are two reasons that I think this language is counter-productive in teaching partnered dance: It is qualitative language and is not practically useful in helping to improve connection. A follower cannot…

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Notes on Dancing with an Instructor or Advanced Dancer

April 4, 2010

I’d like to address a comment I hear now again about the challenge that newcomers feel they have of getting a chance to dance with “the good dancers” at local dances. I’ve heard the comment in three general ways: “This isn’t really a dance, it’s a practice/show for the good dancers to dance with each…

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Dancing with Shapes and Spaces

September 9, 2009

In my own dancing and when I teach dance, I like to focus on shapes. I encourage students to think about the shapes they are creating with their bodies and to be intentional in the shapes they create. Dancers don’t just create movement, they create sketches with their bodies – a dance is like a…

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