All Things Swing with Tom Paderna

In this week’s episode, we sit down with our good friend Tom Paderna and talk about a wide range of topics. We discussed the origins of NASDE and how it’s changed over time. We discussed WSDC and how it’s impacted the scene. We chatted about Masters-level dancers and why they don’t get the same kind of respect they used to. We touched upon the growing perceptions of entitlement in our scene and how that has eroded our sense of community. And we talked quite a bit about how to foster more cohesion within our community – and the value of doing so. Listen for a very real, very rich conversation with a very knowledgeable, very insightful guy.

National Association of Swing Dance Events (NASDE)
World Swing Dance Council (WSDC)


  1. So much of what was revealed in your statements is what I have observed over the years. This podcast should be assigned by all instructors to their students for homework and should be followed up with a discussion.

  2. Great discussion (it’s hard to call these “interviews” with as much back and forth as there is).

    I do not have many regrets from my days competing…but one regret I do have is that I did not try harder to find time and space to work with Brandi one on one. I knew she was amazing in group classes…but hearing her talk about her approach and philosophy for students — if I knew then what I know now. C’est la vie.

  3. I especially appreciated this discussion seeing as I’m way past the Master gateway and been dancing WCS for over 25 years. The older I get, the harder it is to get asked to dance, even though I’m told I’m fun to dance with. I don’t complain or criticize anyone for all the reasons Erik mentions. But I will admit, it is discouraging at times. So my approach to this is practice more, study harder, take more lessons. If it’s going to take me getting twice as good as others to attract the same level of partner as someone half my age, so be it. That’s what I’ll do. And if the only ones who ask me to dance are Masters, that’s absolutely fine too. There are a lot of really fun Masters out there, but Tom is right, most in the Bay Area don’t work on keeping up, so they are getting fewer and fewer. (Of course I’m a little worried when I hear the Champions like Deborah and MaryAnn are sitting it out. Yipes! Deborah, if I ever see you sitting out, I’ll ask you, if you’ll have me. We’ll show them. 😉

    Big shout out to you Erik and others who are building all-inclusive dance communities. I was only able to attend one of your MCS workshops and dances, and it was quite clear that the young leaders there who asked me to dance were part of an all-inclusive community and they embodied it.

    Thank you again for this. I may be old, but I’m not done yet.

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