LeAnn & Michael Norris (Part 1)

Sure, this is a podcast about West Coast Swing, but our dance has been greatly influenced by our sister swing dances. So we sat down with LeAnn and Michael Norris – several-time Carolina Shag champions, the Event Directors of USA Grand Nationals Dance Championship, and two of the nicest people around – to learn more about another swing dance community and its crossover with our own. In the first of two episodes with LeAnn and Michael, we ask them about Carolina Shag, what it is as a dance, and who the most influential people have been in their dance community. We chatted with them about their own beginnings as (very) young dancers, how they met, and how they became partners – both on the dance floor and off. And they shared their views of the US Open, what it was like to be successful at such a young age, and why they decided to pursue careers outside of dance. Listen to their heartwarming stories and discover a different world of swing dancing!

LeAnn & Michael Norris
Michael Norris & Ginger Pickerel – US Open 1998
Michael Norris & Ginger Pickerel – US Open 1999

Mailbag #2

We love opportunities to engage with our audience, so we figured it was time to answer more of your questions – and reply to the conversations on social media. So we begin this episode with our initial reactions to the latest news from the US Open (announced the morning we recorded) about judging swing content. Then we dive into your questions about how to become a champion, developing different skills, and even wearing orthotics. We also answered questions about enforcing the point system, judging leaders in competitions, and finding a partner for routines and practice. We end by discussing the importance of holistic training for improving your dance, and knowing the essence of the dance to allow it to evolve in response to regional variations. We hope you enjoy listening as much as we enjoyed getting your questions!

US Open Swing Content Judges Role description
Brandi Guild on defining West Coast Swing
Sharlot Bott on defining West Coast Swing
Update: US Open’s response to feedback on social media

Sharlot Bott

With over three decades of experience in West Coast Swing, Sharlot Bott is a fount of knowledge and wisdom. Not only has she successfully competed with some of the best leaders in the history of the dance, but she has shaped the dance in her own right, and she has been an inspiration for so many of our top professionals today. We were privileged enough to chat with this icon of swing about her origins in the dance, the people who influenced her most, and how she developed her timeless style. She talked with us about her partnerships with Lance Shermoen and her late husband Wayne Bott, and how these two great men have influenced our dance. We asked about her opinion of the dance today, the role of WSDC, swing content, and how she approaches judging. She also shared her thoughts on her changing role in our community and what she hopes her legacy will be. Get to know this living legend and learn from her wealth of experience!

Sharlot’s Statement of West Coast Swing

Ups and downs

We’ve talked before about the joys and challenges we face along our dance journeys. From the struggles of learning to dance to navigating the social structures of our community to disappointment in competitions, we often experience a range of highs and lows. And sometimes, for a whole host of reasons, we just lose our passion for dancing. In this episode, we talk about our current feelings towards dance. Eric, fresh off a two-week vacation, shares his feelings of apathy and ennui towards dance, and Deborah shares her own frustrations and experiences with the dance world. We discuss our observations about the ups and downs in dancing, the importance of our lives outside of dance, and the different ways we recharge and rejuvenate so we can continue to enjoy dancing. It’s a personal and introspective episode that hopefully helps some others facing similar experiences.

Daniel Goleman – Emotional Intelligence
The American President – Leadership

All Stars

What’s in a name? The All Star division is the top division below our champions, and it is continually growing and evolving. In this episode, we chat about what it means to be an All Star Level dancer. We discuss how the division has progressed over the years, what we expect and want to see, and what we like and don’t like in the current cohort of competitors. Whether you’re an All Star, an aspiring All Star, or just someone curious about different levels of dancing, take a listen and see if you agree.