Coach’s Corner 2016 Year-In-Review

The best articles you may have missed – you’re gonna wanna share these!

The Coach’s Corner blog allows us to discuss common topics our students asked, published in a format that dancers worldwide could learn from and respond to.  We enjoy “talking shop”, but for the blog, I draw the line at skill development: physical skills are better discussed in private lessons. But there are so many topics that dancers all over the world are uninformed or confused about – information that should be free and discussed publicly, no lesson required. The Coach’s Corner targets these topics.

Help spread the word!

Our biggest challenge has been spreading the word. Facebook only allows us to have 5,000 “friends”, which I maxed out years ago. The “overflow” friends get filed as “followers” by Facebook. We try to encourage people to “like” our fan page instead, and follow us on Instagram. But the Facebook gods don’t display the Coach’s Corner posts on all 5,000+ friend’s news feeds. Which means a few thousand deserving dancers never get a chance to access this rare and thorough informative articles.

So, we call upon you, dancer, to think as you read, “Who do I know this would apply to?”, “Where can I share this that it will make an impact?” and click the share button, make a comment, or ask us a follow up question. Hashtag it, re-tweet it, or put a link to it on your community’s or studio’s website for more people to take advantage. For those of you who have done this already – thank you for your support and helping us contribute to the worldwide WCS community!

We are always open! With that, here are a few of your favourites from 2016! Send us your requests for 2017!


Anchoring for the Westie Soul

Hey. You look a little stressed…a little adrift. Maybe it’s time we sat down and had a chat. Pull up a comfy chair, order your favourite hot beverage, and get cozy. Let’s get you feeling anchored.

This time of year can be emotionally draining, even pulverizing for some. While we don’t proclaim to be experts in psychology or mental health, we do have a lifetime of experience in navigating the complexities of the dance community. We have done our fair share of personal growth work, and mentorship and coaching often extends beyond the body and into the mind and soul. We’d like to pass on some brotherly/sisterly words of wisdom to bolster your confidence and keep things in a healthy perspective. Some of these lessons are personal ones we have learned along the way. Some are inspired by students or friends we have observed or mentored. Hopefully some things will be useful to you, as revelations or reminders. In any case, pass it on to spread the love and support….Read full article

How to Use You Tube to Learn WCS

YouTube is a great source of inspiration, but for the most part, a horrible teaching tool. It requires too much conversion, and there is no substitute for hands-on learning. But since many of you insist on it, let’s offer some observation strategies to get what you can out of it… Read full article


Drills Gone Wild

It’s nice to see students all over the world taking the initiative to practice on their own. Practice of personal movement skills is part of a balanced diet of partner dance learning and skill development, regardless of your ambition level.  We are strong advocates of “homework”: once you learn your skills in your lesson, you need hours of repetition time in order to automate it into your body. BUT:  Practice does not make perfect; practice makes permanent, which means that your dance practice homework is only worth it if it is authentic, meaningful, and appropriate for you. Around the world, when it comes to drills, we’ve seen (and heard about) the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Here’s how to think critically about the drills you are considering . Be sure to read to the end for a juicy treat!… Read full article


Dancing With a Growth Mindset

If you haven’t heard about this psychological concept, you need to. Understanding it can have a profound effect on your dancing, but also other areas of your life you may be self-sabotaging.

Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck’s research results and application are summarized in her book, Mindset: the New Psychology of Success. Her theory is that everyone falls somewhere on a continuum based on their understandings about where ability comes from… Read full article


The Ultimate Rookie FAQ Bank

We all solicit, teach, encourage, and promote WCS to newbies all the time in an effort to grow our community. But the first rule of marketing is “know your customer”. How can we hope to attract and retain new Westies unless we step into their shoes and figure out what concerns they have, what orientation they need, and what “If only somebody had told me” tidbits of information might make the difference between them finding Westie Heaven or Westie Wasteland?…Read full article


Tough Love Parts 1 & 2

Most of the students we coach privately are already ready to hear what they need to do to achieve their goals. Most of them are interested in being true to the dance and learning culturally and mechanically authentic techniques. But some dancers need a bit more persuasion, a bit more guidance. This might appear as having an attitude of “Meh, I doubt I really need that”, or “Thanks but I’m ok figuring it out on my own”, or “I’m not interested in being that serious”, or “ That’s great for some people but not for me”. This article is for you. See part 2 for the Competitors’ version! …Read full article


25 Myths & Misunderstandings About WCS

I am simultaneously appalled and entertained by some of the things my students say in lessons.  I don’t blame them for ignorance and I’m not disappointed in them in any way. But sometimes they report “facts” about the WCS scene that they have heard from their peers (and sometimes unfortunately from a teacher) that are beyond dubious – they’re freaking hysterical. The tragic thing is that they wholehearted believe these myths, which have in effect been restricting or even derailing their dance progress and enjoyment. There are loads of technical myths I could bring up, but those are best reserved for private lessons or in the SLDM Teacher Development Program. Here I present instead a collection of not-so-technical myths, debunked…Read full article


The Ultimate WCS Etiquette Checklist

Etiquette is a part of the culture of social dancing that is often taken for granted. We all assume that since we feel like we are doing fine, that others will perceive us the same. Everyone assumes the advice applies to everyone but themselves. You may have heard some of these tips before, but some are rare gems that no one speaks aloud but are implicit in the Westie scene. Use this as a checklist to make sure you are covering all your bases…Read full article


Budgeting for Dance

Yep, you have fallen in love with West Coast Swing, but she’s an expensive addiction, isn’t she? I laugh when people ask if I ski…I say, “No, I dance”. West Coast Swing, like skiing/snowboarding, is one of those recreation addictions that compels even the most cash-strapped of us to find and allocate any and all funds to its consumption. From the outside, it might appear to friends and family to be an obsession and a financial drain. But Westies get it – we know that dance is life and to you it’s all worth if it provides you with the kind of intrinsic rewards and satisfaction that most of your cubicle friends could only dream of.

But realistically, how can you afford it? How can you survive, be an adult, and take care of the important things in life and still have money left over for your weekly/monthly dance fuel-up? Whether you are a starving student or just fund-conscious, here are some practical tips for making your moolah stretch as much as your connection should… (LOL see what I did there? )…Read full article


What not to Wear: Costume Malfunctions and Fashion Faux-Pas

Dancing taught me to look like a lady, but it was learned through trial and error. I was a quick study, because just as in dancing, I paid attention. I watched what the other followers wore and noted what worked and what didn’t. I formed my own personal style using the culture of WCS as a baseline. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not preaching conformity, but you want to look ready for the game you’re playing.  You can’t show up to the pool for a swim wearing a fleece onesie and claim you are expressing your “personal style”. Form follows function, and you want to dress the part, especially for a cultural activity like this. I only wish there were some guidelines like this way back when I entered the scene, so I’m hoping to pass on some hard-earned wisdom to both the men and the women…Read full article

Check out these other great articles:

And in case you haven’t discovered it yet, be sure to browse through the immense WCS resource section of our website and share links with your communities and studios!

One Response to “Coach’s Corner 2016 Year-In-Review”

  1. Thanks Tessa! You are such an inspiration to the dance community! Much appreciation, Tish Rosevear

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