News & Articles


October 19, 2015

Entering a dance competition is a leap of faith. Especially the first time. For some people, it gets easier to handle the stresses; for others, it never gets easier. Some of us thrive on the experience while others wither under the pressure. In the afterglow of a recent West Coast Swing dance event, where tons…

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How to Choose a Good Instructor

May 30, 2015

Someone once told me that if you can do something, you can teach it. I think that is the most untrue thing I have ever heard. What makes a good dance instructor?

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Etiquette for Partner Dancing

January 3, 2015

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

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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…

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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.

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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…

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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…

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