Swingsation 2016

I used to say I wouldn’t want to go for an Australian WCS event cos I would rather save my leave for events in the US. So it was really on a whim that I signed up quite last minute to go for Swingsation. The primary factor was that I really wanted to make it out of Novice and felt I needed one more competition after Asia West Coast Swing Open to do it.

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And so I did! The 4th place finish means I’m now in Intermediate. Yay! I didn’t jump for joy during awards but I did have a sense of satisfaction. Goal in attending Swingsation met!

Dance side, I also realised that because I don’t socialise much in Singapore in my attempt to balance family, bunnies, work and dance – Asia Open was pretty much spent getting to know the other local dancers in the scene – overseas events then is the opportunity to know some of the overseas dancers who often visit our shores but whom I didn’t get the chance to talk before.

The greatest take away from Swingsation was this to know some of the Malaysian WCS dancers. I found some very genuine, sincere and helpful people.

Anyway, I already know what I want to work on so time to further develop myself! 🙂

Private with Larisa Tingle (22 Apr 2016)

• Basics as a follower:

1. Good posture.

2. Take a deep breath and breathe out. Think of 4 tracks – left arm, left leg, right arm, right leg. 

3. Pitch – shoulders over front of heel, tits over toes.

4. The above constitutes our frame which should be maintained at all times.

5. Rope will be shorter – need to take a smaller 4.

• Shorter rope = more styling options. Play with angles and shape but always remember to maintain basic footwork – walk walk, triple step. Do not reset!

• Settling – always take either the back or a side away from the lead. Same whether in close hold or open position.

• Head should look for the lead. Focus on chin and chest so as to be aware of the angle he’s giving. 

• Grip – use first knuckle instead of second to avoid fingers slipping, which results in pockets of no connection. 

Running Dance Notes

14 Feb 2015
1. Pull yourself in, not pull the lead towards you. The pull should be over the entire count of 1, not at the start only.

2. Do not tense forearm. Grip comes from shoulders.

3. Sugar push – compression is over 3 + and. Not just count 3.

4. For turns, be led from the shoulder. Don’t go ahead of the lead nor use arm tension to create connection.

16 Dec 2014
Remember the release.

30 Nov 2014
Always stay grounded. Gotta work on it especially while doing triples. Try not lifting toes from ground.

21 Sep 2014
Must be careful of arms – drop the ballroom frame!

16 Sep 2014
1. Remember the stretch on the anchor.

2. Remember to end turns under-rotated.

31 Aug 2014
Need to clean up basics. Triple steps need to be more purposeful.

Engage core by lengthening ribcage.

Rotate more to cut distance and post earlier.

26 Aug 2014
So it occurred to me that since improving in a partner dance basically comprises of making a series of adjustments, I should keep a “running dance notes” to track the little lessons and take-aways I glean with every practice session and social I go for.

So… During practice last night, TM pointed out to me that I need to “lock” my lower back so that my legs don’t lag when the guy leads an accelerated move.

During social tonight, I was quite happy when someone I usually find it difficult to connect consistently with told me that he likes the stretch in my dancing.

Good ol’ Zee also told me that I should take my time for counts 1 & 2 but be quicker on my triples when moving past the lead as it will help me re-establish connection better.

I also need to pay attention to when the lead wants gives me a short anchor vs a long one instead of always moving to the ideal anchor I have in my head.

Dance

My colleagues sometimes ask why do I always go for dance lessons. Last week my boss specifically asked why is there a need to dance every week if I’m not preparing for any competitions?

I couldn’t verbalise it on the spot but having considered the question, I think my answer would be that dancing is a learned reaction. Because different guys will lead differently, because songs have different breaks and feel, because different partnerships will result in different patterns and moves, the only way to widen one’s dance horizon / dance arsenal is to dance more.

In addition, we all have different bad habits to change and the only way to break a bad habit is to reinforce the correct or good habit. And reinforcement means lots and lots of repetition. As
I’ve always said, practice makes permanent. Hence, one needs to repeat classes to pick up the correct technique. And in order to internalise what was learnt, repetition is needed.

Coming back from the US, I was curious what has changed in my dancing and I found out today that the main difference was that my upper and lower body was well engaged. Sadly, it seems that I’m starting to revert to my pre-US level and I’ve been “leaving my legs behind”, especially when I’m tired.

I think I need to learn how to self-diagnose my various dancing problems on a daily basis. For starters, this is a note to self not to leave my legs behind when I’m tired.

On a brighter note, I’m starting to get the hand of doing skaters! Yippee! Very grateful to EW for teaching me and to Kono for practising with me for 15-20 min last night! Managed to do 6 turns within a dance tonight and it was great!

Liberty & Phoenix Swing 2014

Gosh!  June has gone by in a flash.  Was probably one of the busiest month at work and the 2-week trip to the US meant I was extra busy before (to clear as much work as I could before I went on leave) and even busier after (as I sought to go through 1000 unread e-mails).

 

The US trip was great though.  This being my first overseas West Coast Swing (WCS) trip, I was pretty thankful that I was travelling with a group of easygoing folks.  Having my longtime friend and instructor, Zee, also helped!

 

Here’re the highlights of the trip!

Liberty Swing (New Jersey)

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Sleepy-eyed, 5 of us set off from Changi Airport on 26 Jun 2014.

 

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I got an entire row of seats to myself on Delta! Heehee.

 

Singapore had a table to ourselves!
Singapore had a table to ourselves!

 

I got into the semi-finals of the Novice J&J... was quite happy with the result... though when I viewed the video.. I was quite appalled!  So many things to correct!
I got into the semi-finals of the Novice J&J… was quite happy with the result… though when I viewed the video.. I was quite appalled! So many things to correct!

 

Food portion in the US is bigggg.  And one wonders why the people there are so obese...
Food portions in the US is bigggg. And one wonders why the people there are so obese…

 

Elements @ Camelback Mountain (Phoenix)

Joyce, one of the ladies I was travelling with, did good research and found this restaurant called Elements.  It scores on both the food as well as the views!  (I think it’s one some travel list’s Top 35 Restaurants with a View or something).  It’s DEFINITELY worth going!

Beautiful view of the pool framed by mountains!
Beautiful view of the pool framed by mountains!

 

More views!
More views!

 

I love the light of setting sun against the mountain!
I love the light of setting sun against the mountain!

 

Honeydew Cucumber Sour - super refreshing!
Honeydew Cucumber Sour – super refreshing!

 

Tuna tantare - this was really delish!  The fresh tuna with the different herbs - there was an assault of taste!
Tuna tantare – this was really delish! The fresh tuna with the different herbs – there was an assault of taste!

 

My diver scallops main - the succulent scallops combined with the flavourful couscous was heavenly!
My main – the succulent diver scallops combined with the flavourful couscous was heavenly!

 

This was my favourite of the desserts we ordered to share.  I think this was the salted caramel ice-cream & laval chocolate cake.
This was my favourite of the desserts we ordered to share. I think this was the salted caramel ice-cream & laval chocolate cake.

 

Nightfall at Elements.  I really like the pic of the crescent moon (taken with my Nokia 808).
Nightfall at Elements. I really like the pic of the crescent moon (taken with my Nokia 808).

 

Phoenix 4th of July Convention

JW Marriott Camelback Resort & Spa - really beautiful hotel.
JW Marriott Camelback Resort & Spa – really beautiful hotel.

 

My wonderful roomies at Phoenix!
My wonderful roomies at Phoenix!

 

The balcony offered fabulous views!
The balcony offered fabulous views!

 

Such pretty clouds!
Such pretty clouds!

 

My first experience with a dust storm!  The thundering wind was quite an experience.
My first experience with a dust storm! The thundering wind was quite an experience.

 

The representatives from Singapore!  Cheers to everyone!
The representatives from Singapore (and 1 Korean – haha)! Cheers to everyone!

 

Will I go on another dance trip again?  Yes I would!  But first, I really need to brush up on my dancing.  Felt quite inadequate at the socials though at least I take comfort that my following was good!

Chuck’s Workshop (11 May 2014)

Things to remember:

1. When anchoring:
– Try to post at 4.
– Take 5 and 5& to be anchored.
– 6 should step down directly → don’t wait till 6 to anchor!

2. Underarm pass:
– Step 3 → body should be parallel to slot, right foot turned slightly out.
– Step 4 → should be slightly diagonal so you don’t trip over your own feet when dragging left foot in on 5.

3. Walking back:
– Place foot then roll down.

4. Focus on 1, 2, 4, 6. The triples in-between should just be about landing the feet under the body.

Choreography

So I agreed to sign up for a choreography / performance class with Champion, on the basis that we would not eventually perform. Missed the first class cos I was in Korea but went for the second class last night. It was a struggle, which was to be expected, cos I didn’t review the videos before going. But that’s not the point of this post.

The class format requires us to rotate partners and there was a point in time when I had to partner Old Man. That, was the most disastrous pairing of the night. I was reflecting why was that so and realised it’s cos I don’t trust him hence I would auto-pilot whenever I feel he’s late, which would then screw up the connection.

Hence, I think I need to put aside my grievances from last year and try to trust him. Hahaha.