Judging with Gary Jobst (Part 1)

When it comes to competitions, the fate of contestants lies in the hands of the judges. And when it comes to judging, few are as experienced and qualified as Gary Jobst. In the first of this two-part episode, we sat down with Gary to discuss his own background and how he got started as a judge and chief judge. We asked him what he thinks makes for a good West Coast Swing judge and what the role of a chief judge is. He talked about how he works with event directors as a chief judge and how he likes to put together a judging panel. We then asked him about different competition formats, which ones he prefers, and how they can affect the outcomes of the competition. Take a listen and learn more from this knowledgable, experienced, and down-to-earth guy!

Gary Jobst

Sylvia Sykes (Part 2)

In the second part of our conversation with legendary swing dancer Sylvia Sykes, we chat with her about her influences, how Lindy and Balboa dancers honor their history, and how they view West Coast Swing. We asked her about the issues of cultural appropriation in the Lindy community and how the global expansion of West Coast Swing resembles that of Lindy Hop. She shared why she’s not in the West Coast Swing community anymore, her views of judging swing, and her thoughts on changing the name of Jack & Jill competitions. We also discussed the struggles of swing dances to “find their soul” and how other swing dances have resolved some of those issues. It’s a very real, very honest, and very educational conversation with one of the best!

Sylvia Sykes

Sylvia Sykes (Part 1)

If you want to get your facts straight, you go to the source. Well, in this episode, we spoke with living swing legend Sylvia Sykes to learn more about her experience, her perspective, and the history of swing. She chatted with us about how she got into swing dancing as a teenager, how she ended up on the television show Shebang, and how she met famous lindy hopper Dean Collins. She shared what if felt like to dance with Dean, what he taught her about swing and following, and what he was like as a person. We asked her about Balboa, SoCal Swing, and how West Coast Swing fits into the family of swing dances (or doesn’t). We discussed her partnership with Ramiro Gonzalez, their famous win at the US Open, and of course, we asked Sylvia what makes swing “swing.” There’s a lot to learn in this rich and informative discussion.

Sylvia Sykes
Dean Collins – Let’s Make Music (1941)
Maxie Dorf & Sylvia Sykes – Balboa
Willie Desatoff & Ann Mills – Balboa
Shirley Fietsem & Tom Boots
Ramiro Gonzalez & Sylvia Sykes – US Open 1995

Alyssa Glanville

It’s always amazing to see young talent skyrocket and flourish in our dance world, and in recent years, Alyssa Glanville has been one of those bright, shining stars. In this episode, we sat down with this charming, dynamic, and down-to-earth champion to talk about her background, her influences, and how she developed herself into a successful champion. She shared her thoughts on teaching and judging the dance, her partnership with John Kirkconnell, and becoming more of a solo professional. We asked her what it’s like to live the traveling professional lifestyle, and what her assessment is of dancing around the world. And we asked her lots of questions about how she uses social media to promote herself, her love of music, and her passion for movement. Take a listen and be inspired by this thoughtful, passionate, and positive champion!

Alyssa Glanville on Instagram
Alyssa’s DJ.Lyssten.Up on Instagram
Alyssa’s Spotify account
Urban Dance Camp on YouTube

Barry Jones

Known for his energy, flair, and big heart, Barry Jones has had a long and successful career in West Coast Swing. In this episode, we chat with this US Open champion about his origins in West Coast Swing, his time competing in Showcase with Judy Ford and Kellese Key, and what he likes to see in a swing routine. He talked with us about the impact of his own routines, competing at the US Open, and why he no longer judges. We asked him about his experience developing local dance communities, his views of WSDC and NASDE, and his opinion of current happenings in the swing dance community. He told us why he’s no longer on the circuit and imparted his own wisdom about competing and the importance of originality in our dance. This is a discussion with one of the greats that’s full of warmth and wisdom.

Barry Jones’s post about judging
Depeche Mode – People are People