Why we choose to do things we do should not surprise us, especially if it gives us so much joy doing them!
As you all know, dancing is emotionally, mentally, and physically healthy for anyone. It is proven you will have fun & laughter, obtain exercise, meet new people, nurture friendships, stay active, and break the monotony in your life.
Here are some facts about west coast swing dance:
West coast swing dance is a highly technical dance. It requires that every step and moves in every pattern are allocated a “count.” There are many principles to remember. Let’s take for example, the principle of “musicality.” Musicality dictates that a dancer dances following the correct rhythm of the music being played. Otherwise, the west coast swing dancer will not look appealing to the eye of any observer. “Awkward” will be the correct adjective to describe someone not dancing to the rhythm of the music.
During the last two decades, champion dancers and instructors have migrated to modern techniques in this type of dance. They created new, modern and eclectic patterns. We see these new styles during a dance competition, and mostly on a higher advance and champion level. Just like in any other dance arena, most competitors and social dancers looked-up to champion dancers, thus, their styles are being copied and imitated.
The basic patterns for the beginning level are learnable. If you learn with full attention and follow the basic principles, you will for sure adapt to the muscle memory of the patterns. I also admonish for beginners to concentrate and slow down the learning process. There are so many principles and patterns to know and memorize, plus the actual applying them to the dance itself requires patience and concentration.
I believe learning the “old school” ways or traditional techniques is a must for anyone new in this dance. They are an excellent foundation to know and to use them as the bridge to intermediate and advanced levels.
How Can You Have Fun With West Coast Swing Dance?
Well, the answer lies on how far you want to go forward and further up the ladder in this dance.
Do you want to compete?
If you want to unleash your competitive fascination, then compete!
- You have to attend a lot of west coast swing dance conventions. Competitions of all levels are held during dance conventions. World Swing Dance Council is in charge of maintaining the competitors’ registry points, implement rules and regulations, and other swing data. To get more information click here> https://www.worldsdc.com/ Also, west coast swing dance conventions are now being held around the world. In the United States, there are dance conventions just about every weekend in every big city in the country.
- It takes a dedicated dancer to invest in physical energy. Are you healthy enough and physically fit to dance long hours?
- The financial commitment is necessary to be a full pledge competitor. Are you willing to invest financially in all aspects of competing? Travels, hotels, dance shoes, costumes, flights, food costs, and private lessons? Expenses will add up!
- There is a political aspect of competing. This subject is best left for another conversation.
- There are so many competitors that it takes years for someone to advance to the level they aspire. Are you ready for the long haul? Are you patient?
- Will you commit to packing bags, drive long distances or fly to another state, and sleep in a hotel for 3-5 days? Are you free to get out of town every weekend or every other weekend?
- You will need to take private lessons with most champions who charge different rates and who most of the time are the same people who act as judges during a competition.
- Are you emotionally fit to take on all the emotions in a competition? I mean honestly, you will not win all the time. How do you feel when you lose? Of course, winning makes anyone happy!
- Surely, you will make new friends and will have so much fun dancing!
Do you want to become a Social Dancer?
If you decide to become a social dancer, then your route is much easier. Most social dancers who opted this route will tell you that it is so much fun to be a social dancer.
As a social dancer:
- You learn the basics from a local instructor.
- Practice when you can.
- Stay for the dance after your weekly one or two-hour lesson/workshop.
- Attend the west coast swing dance in the local area where you live. Most often there are west coast swing club in most cities these days.
- The more you dance, the quicker you develop the muscle memory of the patterns you are taught.
- After several months, you can endeavor to learn some “beyond the basics” patterns. For ladies follower, I call them “ladies styling.”
- Then dance more! You can venture to attend a dance convention or two in a year, or attend as much as you want but do not compete. A lot of dancers do this.
- After a few months, you can now move on to learning the intermediate level.
- Learn to style, so you look “stylish” on the dance floor. Add a new repertoire to your basic patterns.
- Best of all, you make new friends, increase your connection and friendships.
What have I done to make me feel the joy of this dance?
- I have attended beginning west coast swing lessons many times.
- As a beginner, I practiced on my kitchen floor a lot of times.
- I danced at our local organization’s monthly dance.
- I became a board member in our local non-profit dance organization.
- I attended their monthly workshop religiously.
- I took weekly beginning lessons for months with our local instructor who was the owner of the ballroom.
- I have attended west coast swing dance conventions since 1998.
- I participated in many workshops in all conventions I attended.
- I paid dance champions instructors for private lessons to solidify my dancing skills.
- I bought the dance instructions/lessons on CDs. I actually watched them, and practice the lessons on my own.
- I competed in some categories and won awards in a few of them.
- I have made many friends and acquaintances all over the USA.
- Yes, I have danced with champions dancers. What a thrilling experience!
- When I am at a dance convention, I danced till I drop.
- I met my husband through this dance. We have been married for almost getting close to two decades now!
- and, I now am teaching ladies’ styling!
My west coast swing journey has been a pleasant and exhilarating hobby for me. It came in a time when I needed to be distracted from my rather challenging working single mother of two growing young adults. Discovering west coast swing dance was a godsend to me. For sure, the west coast swing dance captivated and flourished my life!
What do you think? Does west coast swing dance captivates you?
Care to share with me your thoughts?
1. How do you feel about this dance?
2. What are your goals going forward learning more about this dance?