As per the request of one of the DanceNet readers, here are copies of the past ramblings of the DanceNet Webmaster.
With all of the bad news that you read in the paper or hear in the news, it become easy to numb yourself to bad news. "These 'terrible things' only happen to other people and can't possibly touch me or my loved ones." It's easy to just stop caring and worrying.
Until it happens to someone you've known well.
By now you've heard of the Egyptian Air catastrophe. Another airplane, another crash. A weird attitude from someone who gets on a plane regularly for work. Unfortunately, I knew some of those people on that plane. Two of my friends and former co-workers from my last company, people I've known well, people I've partied with and worked with, are now missing and presumed dead. I remember them well and could see a bright future for them. Fate decided to prove me wrong.
Tragedy like this comes without warning and could happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere. In light of this, one has to put things in the proper perspective. The next time that you're upset at someone you're suppose to care about, remember that fate can make that problem go away very easily. Instead, give them a hug and give thanks that they're around to bug you.
For you dancers who like to "dip" the followers, remember that the neck is one of the most fragile parts of the body. It takes very little effort to break or injury the vertebrae. If you (assuming a leader) are going to dip your partner, take your time telegraphing the move so your partner can prepare for it. Don't just drop her into the position. And on the way up, DO NOT just yank her up! If you pull her up suddenly, that will put a severe strain on her neck, possibly giving her a whiplash effect. Done correctly, the follower will be supporting her own weight and won't need much help getting back up.
One of my friends complained yesterday that some guy hurt her (unintentionally) by dropping her into the dip position and then quickly pulling her back up so her neck is very sore right now (I wasn't sure if she said that she was going to see a doctor about it).
Guess which method is the most effective?
The most effective method is email, since I check it several times a day, including while on business trips. Flyers are also good if mailed earlier enough. I can just stuff the whole pile into my briefcase and type it all in during my flight.
The least effective method, and the one that annoys me, is a pointer to a URL. Some people (who make money on dancing) expect me to read their website and try to figure out what information is important. If I'm entering all the dance information while flying to my next customer, I will probably put this form of communication at the bottom of the pile. Who knows? I might not even get to it.
An window of opportunity has opened for the West Coast Swing venues at this year's Swingin' New England event on the cape. The talk of the town these days is how much the WCS performances and competitions at that event blew away the Lindy crowd. These people probably saw their first WCS show and were amazed at the level of dancing. However, these Lindy people saw competition level dancing. West Coast'ers need to bring the dancing down from competitions and into the social setting where regular people can try out the dance. The comments I heard included "Now I know why they're professionals and I'm not". This dividing wall keeps newer dancers from trying out the dance.
Word on the street also has the WCS dj's playing funkier music to attract the younger crowd and moving away from the slow R&B that is the heart and soul of West Coast Swing. This is unfortunate, I think, because the older dancers (older, as in dancing for a while) started out with R&B and might not like dancing to this newer music.
There is a chance to turn around WCS in Boston. Let's see who decides to pick up the ball and run.
Is it my imagination or does the Acme Big Band not swing? I showed up late at Ken's Place on Tuesday. I saw Jarod leaving and he said that the band didn't swing. I went inside and Marie told me that the band didn't "swing". I managed to dance to one song but I can't say it was really swing. The music that was played was more big band show tunes, but it didn't "swing". The dancers there obviously didn't care since they danced to all the music, but it seemed weird that several band members also play in Dom V's Swing Out Big Band and that band swings, so it's obvious that the musicians know how to play swing music. I can see how much impact the band leader and the musical arrangements have on the danceability of the music.
I got a note from a local dancer who's been around as long as I have. He's out of action for a few weeks because of a "first degree A-C separation of the shoulder". He said that a dancer was tugging on his arms too tightly during moves and injured his arm. He went through three weeks of pain before realizing he wasn't healing and that he should go to a doctor.
Apparently not enough instructors are telling their students that arms
should be like telephone lines. They should be loose so that one can
feel the compression and slightest tension of the move.
Never again will I be a victim to this tug of war. Where's the fun in
Never again will I be a victim to this tug of war. Where's the fun in that?
One thing that I'd like to add to that: someone who teaches dancing should be ready to explain a dance move beat-by-beat. If a teacher says, "Do this.", the student should say, "Explain how.". Don't settle for someone who's just demonstrates a move. Demand that they show you where all the footfalls are, how much pressure or tension should be in your arms, and where your weight should be at all times. Don't let them get away with taking your hard-earned money without giving you a real lesson.
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