Quick access to the best 2017 articles you may have missed – SHARE SHARE SHARE!
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.
How to never miss an article:
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, which never maxes out.
How to share the Coach’s Corner wisdom:
The Facebook gods don’t display the Coach’s Corner posts on all 5,000+ of my “friend’s” news feeds. Which means a thousands of 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!
Best Articles of 2017
We are always open! Send us your requests for 2018!
“What should you do if…”, “What happens when…”, “How can I handle…”, “How do I deal with…” These are all questions that students of all levels batter their teachers with. They are tactical questions – they ask for circumstantial advice, or recommendations for particular situations that have to do with not just the physical side of the dance, but also the social/mental side. You’ve probably got your own list burning a hole in your pocket, so this is the article series you’ve been waiting for!… Start with Part 1
Evolving Event Standards & Trends
Necessity was the mother of invention, and events have been working hard to bring something special to their dancers regardless of the size of the space or the attendance. It might be easy to assume that event directors make bank from their events, but most will choke on their beer laughing at this prospect. Everyone is working with a limited budget and restrictions placed on them by the venue, but there are ways that events can upgrade the user experience and stand out on the calendar without (much) financial investment…Read full article
Interview with a Dance Photographer
Dance event photographer, Brad Whelan (famous for his signature BW watermark) gives us the inside scoop on his photography and some hints for dancers to get their best moments captured….Read full article
What Do You WANT?
And now for a little practical philosophy.
Ask yourself: What do you really want in West Coast Swing? Take a moment before answering: your readily available answer might be keeping you from being honest with yourself, which might be sabotaging your ability to have your needs met.
Many dancers approach us seeking advice, from all corners of the WCS scene: students, event directors, teachers, competitors, non-dancing spectators, social dancers. Our responses vary, depending not only on who’s asking, but on what their purpose is….Read full article
Are You Teaching/Learning WCS the Hard Way?
“What’s the harm? What’s wrong with traditional methods if dancers learn something and have fun doing it? They’ll improve organically.” I know it seems easier to teach the way you learned, but this has clear drawbacks in terms of introducing people to the dance. Consider this if you want to do the dance, which you love so much, justice. I learned via traditional methods from some great teachers, but I had the advantage of applying my coaching and teacher training to accelerate the process. I’ve lost count of students who, after working with us, exclaim passionately, “I wish I had learned this way from the beginning!”…Read full article
Guy-guidance and Dude-diligence: Q&A for the Westie Men
Champion leader Myles Munroe answers 21 probing questions from men who dance West Coast Swing…Read full article
Our Lessons in Partnership
April (Seattle’s Easter Swing) marks the 15-year anniversary of our dance partnership! As a rare breed of Champion couple who has been able to make a dance partnership AND romantic partnership work, I thought it might be nice to honour it by sharing the lessons we have learned along the way….Read full article
Fostering Newcomer Dancers
I sat down with Kay Newhouse, affectionately referred to as “Community Mama” of the NorthEastern US, and co-director of Swing Fling, DCSX and MADJam, some of the biggest and most-successful events on the WSDC circuit. We were particularly curious about the awesome initiatives she is taking with the Newcomer demographic, and her ideas on catering to this group and retaining them to build the Westie community at the grassroots level….Read full article
Enrich Your Spectating Experience
It’s easy to get hypnotized by all the sparkly rhinestones, the splashy tricks, and the sick combinations. But after your Newcomer honeymoon phase, your senses are no longer overwhelmed and your brain has the bandwidth to appreciate different elements of the improv competitions and routines you enjoy watching.
Some spectators like to analyze the technical elements. Some like to just be open and drink it all in as an artistic experience. However you engage in a performance, there are so many layers available to explore. Here’s how to recognize effective and admirable elements as a spectator….Read full article
Balancing Social Dancing and Socializing
How do you manage your social wellness with your dance wellness? It’s easy these days to get wrapped up too much in your own training and/or competitive capital – have you paused to take inventory lately of your social/emotional capital? What about the reverse – have you been focusing so much on the party aspect of our dance that your skills are suffering? Regardless of your reasons and goals for dancing, it’s important to try to find balance between your social dancing and your socializing…Read full article
What Swing Euphoria Looks Like
There are so many of these weekend experiences that have been personally moving or meaningful to us for different reasons: relationships built, magic moments in performance, hysterical spotlights or all-skates, powerful learning transformations, teaching breakthroughs, etc. But this past weekend we were privileged to experience a new degree of “epic”: the most intense, electric, unifying, soul-exploding scene we have ever witnessed in our careers. And we are honoured that it happened at our own event: The Canadian Swing Championships…Read full article
Lessons that Backfire
Every teacher has their preferred teaching methods, and all have good intentions in using them. Unfortunately, many methods and pieces of advice get blindly passed on through the generations without being properly audited for effectiveness. The reasoning most teachers use is, “well it worked for me, so it should work for my students.” Even the best teachers with the best intentions have moments of unintentional subliminal teaching: when their teaching habits or advice accidentally impart on their students a completely different, counterproductive, undesirable lesson…Read full article
Private Lesson Pains
No matter your level, when it comes to dance instruction, nothing gives you more bang-for-your-buck than private lessons. Private lessons are a part of a balanced dance diet. The one-on-one feedback fills your bucket with encouragement and homework to last you a few weeks to a few months of social dance practice.
BUT, there are some ways you can unknowingly sabotage your own private lesson effectiveness. By committing these “errors”, not only are you not maximizing your value of the lesson, you might also be disrespecting the teacher, which may cause them to avoid you in the future…Read full article
The “Not-Good-Enough” Myth
As long as you meet those minimum standards, you qualify for all the benefits of membership that come with becoming a social dancer. But a common myth that newer dancers catch and have a hard time letting go of is the idea that they are “not good enough” for certain aspects of the WCS world. A small minority might actually suffer from atelophobia, but I would propose that the concern of overstepping one’s role due to overestimation of one’s own abilities is pretty common, and not a permanent condition. Newer dancers often observe the “better dancers” taking advantage of these social dancer membership benefits, and they invent a story that precludes themselves from these same benefits. Here are some words of truth, to set the record straight about what you are allowed/ get access to (as long as you meet the minimum standards)…Read full article
Check out these other great articles:
- Routine Costumes: Decisions & Strategies
- What Dancers Need to Know About Facebook
- How to Dig for Gold: The Untapped Value of Workshops
- How to Run a Peer Practica
- It’s Not Like Wine
- Interview with a Hotel Event Specialist
- The Mystery of Private Lessons
- Interview with a Physiotherapist Westie
- Musical Self-Sabotage: What NOT to Play
- The Lesson of “Less”
- How Does Pro-Am Work?
- Guidance for College-Aged Westies
- The Conversation Game: The Evolution of Play
- 20 Things I Learned from Role Reversal
- Taking Leadership to Grow Your Dance Community
- How to Take Advantage of Dance Events
- Create Your Dance Progress Plan
- How to Practice
- How/When to Ask Pros to Dance
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!