News & Articles

ONE Thing

April 27, 2015

This post is related to an earlier one I wrote about over-training, which you can read here. Neuroscience is able to tell us a lot about brain function and one thing we now know with certainty is that multi-tasking is impossible. The brain is sequential. Some brains may work faster than others, but no one’s…

Read More


April 15, 2015

I began dancing WCS here in Ottawa – that was in 2005. At the time, the community comprised mostly dancers from outside of Ottawa proper, mostly in the 40+ year old age category (only Nelson & Daria were younger than me!), and no WSDC competitors. By 2008, the city had a small group of “die-hard” dancers who…

Read More

The West Coast Swing DJ Interviews

March 30, 2015

I hope this article will open up conversation that leads EVERYONE who dances WCS anywhere to become more musically diverse – because musical diversity is certainly the heartbeat of our dance. Probably 95% of the time when I ask someone what made them take up West Coast Swing, the answer is “the music”. I saw…

Read More

Etiquette for Partner Dancing

January 3, 2015

By request, these are Smoothstyle’s top tips for how to behave when dancing…

Read More

Custom, Filtered Earplugs

December 10, 2014

– posted by Maria Only recently, I learned that I can get special earplugs that protect my eardrums without distorting the sound of music and without blocking out conversation! Audiologist, Richard Kent of Nepean Hearing recently came to one of Smoothstyle’s dance events and created custom-molded earplugs for guests right on the spot, and for…

Read More

The 10% Rule

November 4, 2014

I have a challenge for all dancers: let’s apply the 10% rule to dancing. New dancers are our futures, so make 10% of all your social dances dances with beginners.

Read More

Are You Over Training?

September 21, 2014

Would it surprise you to hear a dance teacher say that you might be over training? As in, working too hard? We see it a fair bit, particularly among competition-driven West Coast Swing students. What is Over Training? Wikipedia defines over training as “a physical, behavioral, and emotional condition that occurs when the volume and…

Read More

Is Misogyny Inherent in the Language of Partner Dance?

July 16, 2014

“Don’t think, just follow”. How many times  have I heard a dance instructor say that? How many times have I said it as an instructor? It’s time to recognize this language for what it is (misogyny), and to eliminate it from our vocabulary in partner dance. The vast majority of women are raised to feel…

Read More

Group Classes vs. Private Lessons

May 12, 2014

I thought I’d give an instructor’s perspective on the difference between private lessons and group lessons. We certainly teach (and learn) differently depending on the situation, and it’s useful to understand the differences between these two learning environments from a teaching perspective. Please use the “Comments” area below to share your motivations for taking either…

Read More

Learning the “Other” Role in Partner Dance

April 24, 2014

– posted by Maria Ford Some dances are “mirrored” dances. That is, an instructor can stand with followers in front of him/her and leaders behind him her, and everyone can learn the footwork together. The instructor demonstrates the leader’s footwork and the followers mirror it. For the same reason, students of these dances are often…

Read More