Music and DJing with Ruby Lair

Let’s face it: good music is essential for a good night of dancing and a good dance in competition. To discuss the power of music – and the role of DJs in providing that music – we sat down with one of the best DJs around (and one of our personal favorites), Ms. Ruby Lair. We asked her how she got started, how she got so good, and how she thinks about playing music for both social dancing and competitions. We talked about the influence of DJs, current trends in our music, and how DJs can grow and improve. If you have opinions about the music we dance to, if you are a DJ or an aspiring DJ, or if you are just curious to learn more about music and DJing, this episode is for you.

Ruby Lair on Spotify
Mike (not Danny) Zito – Little Red Corvette (on Spotify)
JJ Grey & Mofro – Lochloosa (on Spotify)

Brandi Guild

Grab yourself a beautiful glass of wine and find a cozy spot to sit for this special interview with one of the classiest people we know, the lovely Ms. Brandi Guild. We sat down with her to talk about how she got started in West Coast Swing, who has influenced her most, and her thoughts on women professionals in our dance world. She shared her worries about the current state of our dance, her opinions about judging, and her reflections on teaching. Listen to how she faces the challenges of balancing her career and her family, and learn why peach pie shouldn’t deter us from loving apple pie. This episode is rich, full-bodied, and refreshing, with lots of wisdom and notes of humor that will both engage and delight the senses. Enjoy!

Maxime Zzaoui & Torri Zzaoui – Nice ‘n Easy
Sean McKeever & Torri Zzaoui – Boogie by the Bay 2018
Shonda Rhimes delivers Dartmouth’s Commencement Address

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)


With the US Open fast approaching, we talk about what it takes to put together a routine – from picking a song and getting choreography to working with coaches and practicing. Deborah talks about how she’s working on her routine with PJ Turner, and Eric reflects on what he’s learned from his past experiences. We discuss the Rising Star division, what we like about good routines, and the trends we’re seeing in routines today. Whether you’re doing a routine, thinking about a routine, or just enjoy watching them, we hope you find something interesting to take away from our conversation.

Correction: At BbB this year, there were 11 Rising Star couples, 7 Showcase couples, and 7 Classic couples.
Gary McIntyre & Susan Kirklin – US Open 2017 (Tennessee Whiskey)
Jordan Frisbee & Tatiana Mollman – SwingDiego 2007 (Pump It)
Jordan Frisbee & Tatiana Mollman – US Open 2013 (Mind Heist)
Angel & Debbie Figueroa – Boogie by the Bay 2002 (Sometimes)
Angel & Debbie Figueroa – Grand Nationals 2001 (Le Ballet)
Michael Norris & Kellese Key – US Open 2007 (The Continental Stroll)
Brent & Kellese Key – US Open 2003 (Blues Power)
Kyle Redd & Sarah Vann Drake – US Open 2002 (Jonny B. Goode)
Kyle Redd & Sarah Vann Drake – Grand Nationals 2002 (How Long Can A Fool Go Wrong?)
Jason Colacino & Katie Boyle – Boogie by the Bay 2004 (Soul Serenade)


Whether you’re a competitor, a professional, an event director, or someone who just enjoys watching dance videos online, judging has a big impact on you – and the dance we all love. In this episode, we discuss the skills it takes to judge, what judging looks like in practice, and how judging influences what constitutes “good” dancing. Listen to how we each go about judging, what we think about the quality of judging these days, and what we think is needed to raise the standard and provide greater accountability for judging. (Also, Eric has an encounter of the eight-legged kind…)

Reinventing Performance Management
(Eric misspoke when he said 80% of variance in managers’ ratings was due to the managers’ perception; the study found it was only 62%. Read more about the study and performance ratings in the article above.)