We talk a lot about our dance in the United States, but the community has rapidly expanded around the globe in recent years. To talk about how the dance has grown in different countries, we invited a man who spends his time building dance communities in a plethora of countries, Chuck Brown. Joining us from a café while he takes a brief break from his travels, Chuck spoke to us about his experience advising community leaders and event directors in all parts of the world. We asked him about his views of the dance in different regions, why he believes West Coast Swing catches on differently in different places, and how he helps to promote the benefits of coming together around competitive events. He shared his advice for event directors, his beliefs about what it takes to build community, and what he’s learned about dancing from his years of experience. Take a listen and deepen your understanding of our dance with a more global perspective.
In the second part of our conversation with Hieu Le, Jesse Lopez, and Kyle LaPatin, we discuss the challenges in our communities around getting people to dance with each other – and some of the different ways we have tried to tackle them. We talk about our experiences with the physical space and how that can encourage people to mix and mingle – or divide them. Hieu shared his (now not-so-covert) operation in his community to help create an inclusive environment. Jesse and Kyle talked about how they teach people to make the most of dancing with a variety of skill levels. And we brainstormed ways to reach the people in our communities who choose not to dance with people outside their circle of friends. It’s a rich discussion full of great ideas for any community member!
For most of us, our entry into the dance world – and the place where we spend the most time dancing, learning, and connecting with others – is in our local dance community. To discuss some of the issues around local dance communities and what it takes to build, grow, and run a community, we sat down with three community organizers – Hieu Le of Swingesota, Jesse Lopez of Evolve Your Dance, and Kyle LaPatin of Dancing Feats. In the first part of this two-part conversation, they tell us about how their communities got started, how they became community leaders, and how they approach running their venues. We also discussed some of the things that work well for them in building their communities and some of the challenges they face. It’s a great discussion for anyone and everyone who is involved in a local dance community!
After six months of doing the show, we wanted to thank you all for listening by answering some questions you’ve sent us. In this mailbag episode, we share how we met, became friends, and started this show. Then we discuss leading and following during phrase changes, how to reconcile when teachers say different things, and how to get the most out of classes and private lessons. We were asked what we think of “Modern Swing,” what we think is missing from the West Coast Swing community, and how we cope with the challenging parts of our dance journeys. And, just for fun, we end with a discussion of which superheroes our top champions would be. (Who do you think Deborah would be?)
There’s nothing like a good conversation between friends. That’s how this whole show got started, after all. And in this episode, we go back to that idea and share with you one of our own conversations about all things swing. We talk about being adaptive to our partners, having better social dances, and learning to communicate better in our dancing. We discuss the dancer’s journey, the importance of the essential skills of partner dancing, and how to be a better student in class. And we look at how to empower and enable followers by changing the way we teach the dance. It’s a grab bag of subjects, a potpourri of topics, and a pastiche of ideas for anyone and everyone to enjoy.