Sunday, December 18, 2016

The starter step is a myth...

I don't know who came up with the starter step, I have a theory it was from some other dance style and they felt west coast needed something.  But whatever the origin, it's crap.
It doesn't work
No one does it.
It's a myth.

At a recent event my friend said "Hey I can't figure out the starter step in this country, I keep making a fool of myself at the start of every dance, then I have to build back some trust after making the follow think I'm incompetent, what am I doing wrong..."... and I said "oops, sorry, I forgot to tell you, it's not real, don't do it, just start dancing"...

I felt bad, because I'd gone through the same thing,  first big event in america, I'm bravely asking strangers to dance, hoping they will be impressed with my dancing, and oh shit... The very first move of every dance doesn't work, the girls keep falling over their own feet and then looking at me like I'm some kind of nasty smelling thing the dog dragged in....

Jeeze I must be doing it wrong!!

So I get a private lesson, and another, and another.  I think I had 3 full private lessons with 3 different international pro's trying to fix it.  I learned variations, I learned how to breath and lift my frame, to give a bunch of subtle and obvious clues that I was about to start the dance.

And the girls kept falling over sideways. What???

So then I watched the other guys on the dance floor, and guess what, none of them are freak'n doing starter steps, they just connect and lead a left side pass, well holly banana pant's batman, that's so easy I don't even need to learn it, I can just do it... And it works every time!.

What the freak'n hell is this triple sideways business, why should a slotted dance, that involves the follow moving up and down the slot consistently, start with a triple sideways?  Which pretty much forces the follow to trip over her own feet, because hey, there's a foot in the way of moving sideways!

What is this, why are we still teaching this nonsense :-)

Lets just teach what we really do, not what we were taught.

Friday, December 16, 2016

What I learned on my trip to the U.S. Open...

  1. It's not the place to go for social dancing! 
  2. Most competitive level dancers (novice and above) seem to avoid the social floor most of the time.  Every time a competition started 200 amazing dancers would appear that I'd never seen all night on the dance floor. 
  3. Pro's don't social dance at the open, (not even on the last night, also not even at the after party). They are busy and tired, and have better things to be doing, and don't like being mobbed, so get that out of your head, you might get to chat with a pro, but you won't get to dance with one. If that's your goal, then go to a smaller event :-).   
  4. Watching the competition/classic/showcase live is awesome, do this once in your life.
  5. The judges are from another era, that really pre-dates the dance in it's current form and appear somewhat biased in favor of existing champions.  It would be fantastic to see existing/recent professionals judging, and people from other countries, and from other dance styles. 
  6. The All Stars are amazing to see dancing! And to dance with. They are often friendly.
  7. TAP The After Party is pretty cool, with very entertaining competitions, and a nice atmosphere, and it's well run.  The social dancing is better, but still not as good as most normal events. 
  8. Private lessons at the after party are amazing, so many options to choose from!