Showing posts with label west coast swing dance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label west coast swing dance. Show all posts

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Reflections: Unfamiliarity breeds consternation

While I should be embracing new faces for a dance scene that is expanding quickly, namely West Coast Swing, I found myself quite terrified of the exploded class size due to the upcoming Swingvitation event happening in April this year. I know I should be embracing change, but this is still quite a shock from the previous familiar faces that I'm used to seeing every Wednesday for my WCS dance class.

There's the phrase that goes like this, "familiarity breeds contempt." This is true only to a certain extent. It's actually comforting to be around familiar faces and doing familiar patterns. The contemptuous feeling comes from repeating the same stuff over and over, but I trust my teachers and classmates enough to know that this is a suitable speed of progression for their and my dance ability. For one, I still have many bad habits to get rid of, and one of the major ones are the way I walk, and another is the way I anchor: it still feels too heavy for the lead, but I managed to find the root in which this bad habit stems. It's mainly because I fear losing the connection that I feel the need to pull tightly on the lead's hand. Hence my teacher subtly teases and said that people like me anchor to make a statement like, "I'm here, I'm anchoring goddamnit!"

Anyways, having new people in the classroom threw me off guard, and the range of skill between classmates varied greatly, perhaps they had different schools of thought and thus their lead felt really different from normal. I'm also talking about people I don't see on the social dance floor too. I only recognised one out of the strangers whom I have danced on socials, and the rest were completely unfamiliar to me. It is also in dancing with people that I find out a few traits that I get particularly pedantic about with a partner: respect for proximity, and sense of tempo. These two things I look out for is mainly because of how I was nurtured dance wise and lifestyle wise. I am thankful of the presence of the regular goers that I've formed great friendships with, and knowing how we grew together eased my anxiety in the classroom.

I feel that my shyness is creeping in face of the strangers I see in class, but I hope that I can resolve my fears soon so that I can enjoy my west coast swing classes again.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Video Vault: Benji & Torri's new showcase routine

My mind is officially blown. Did I just see an illusion turn at 0:37? A high fan kick at 1:04? What was that crazy trick around 2:35? Did I also just see them make dubstep look good? 

I'm fangirling from behind this screen, guys. I really enjoy their sharp movements, their projection, and just that oozing chemistry from their routine. I also respect Torri as she's also able to be the base for Benji for one of the tricks they did, it's different from the traditional role where the guys always have to be the ones lifting the girl. Credits where it's due, Benji's done a really good job at hitting the stunts at the right time and whatnot. 

It didn't really matter that they didn't employ as much swing technique in this routine, but everything about this choreography is just astonishing!

Friday, 26 October 2012

Video Vault: Double Split Slide in WCS

Interesting move I came across on the web while browsing. This isn't something that I've been taught in class, but it's great if one could grab a partner and figure out the feel, lead and follow for the moves in this video.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Tips: Connection in WCS

A few days ago, I stumbled across this dance tip by Two Step Tidewater. Since I also had the opportunity to go for one workshop with Melissa and Chuck about the connection, I want to share a few tips from that class as well.

What's important to note when having the connection is that the lead should not overlead and drag the follower along, and the followers should know how to control their movement. The basic rules still apply that the lead must step out and give a visual signal at count 2, and the follow must keep moving in the direction that they're lead until the lead stops them or redirects them. From the article, the follow has been likened to a car, and the lead is the driver; there should be only one lead at the first count ie: counts 1 & 3 only, and done with only one gentle push. This is an intermediate/advanced concept that I think shouldn't be applied to people who have yet to know how to travel back and fourth properly, so stick to the no autopiloting rules first.

In a previous blog post, I have talked about tension. The neutral position in the connection is when a tension is established, and that there's still enough rope to lead moves. Also, one should always feel like they're being pulled both upwards from the torso onwards and downwards to the legs as they dance, so the opposing movements will help place emphasis on your feet pressing to the floor. This connection helps establish the flowing movements in West Coast Swing.

For the more experienced dancers, a natural tendency for my classmates - perhaps to other dancers as well - who follows is to take the statement of "stay away from the lead to create tension" literally. This habit can help prevent injuries during social dancing with newer leads, as they too have a tendency to lead too strong. However, it gives a very heavy feeling that more experienced leads will have trouble adjusting to. I have experimented with leading, and when I dealt with "heavy" ladies, I found that my stamina would dwindle quickly. I'm sure the leads would have the same complains. So the followers should adjust themselves such that they post at a lighter tension before swinging back at counts & a 1.

Mastering the connection will help you learn the other elements of West Coast Swing a lot faster, but it still doesn't make the dance any less difficult. Don't be demotivated, though. Sometimes the concepts are introduced at a later stage so that you can still have fun dancing without worrying too much about how you should move around.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Fashion Fiesta: A dress to fly for!

I want this dress badly ;_; It's so vintage, slim fitting, and would look good on a regular day out in Singapore. You won't look overdressed, but it's still good enough for a party if you dress it up, and would especially look good on a West Coast Swing and Lindy Hop dance floor. Dresses that are versatile for day and evening events are the best.

The reviews of the product are pretty good, and it is even stated that the dress has pockets! How practical is that? The dress comes in 6 different patterns, but I'm vying for the red with black polkadots :) I won't hesitate to buy this again since I like shopping online, but I should start saving up again so that I can afford this. Anyway, the picture links to the shopping page on Amazon, if anyone is as interested as I am in buying the dress, you can go ahead and take a look. I've updated the aStore to include this dress under dance apparel.