Dance Notes

Private Class with Deborah (26 Oct 2013)

1. Sugar Push / Tuck Turn
Make sure full weight transfer on 3. Back leg bends as front leg straightens.

2. Turns
During triple step turn, do a small small big, i.e. turning right, last left step will be big step and remember to drag in right foot.

3. Differentiate Tone and Frame
Frame moves the whole body. Tone is firm arms that allows the lead to move you.

4. At All Times!
Do not split weight.
Always have weight in straight leg while dragging in bent leg.

Dance Notes

Private with Chuck on 24 Oct 2013

1) Foot Position

  • Don’t open feet outwards so much. Small V.

2) Sugar Push

  • Count 3 – should feel like a “check”. Weight should push into the floor. Do not pitch forward. Breathe in to expand frame.
  • Count 4 – push/ glide back, marginally diagonally right. Make sure to post on 4.
  • So not rush the 5 & 6.
  • Hold the 5-and. Make sure nose over toes. The “and” should be at the base of right heel.
  • Step 6 slowly.¬†Make sure not to land on heel till last moment.
  • The 5 & 6 should feel like walking backwards. Don’t think too much.
  • If there’s a need to adjust distance on the ”and”, make sure to collect right foot b4 moving forward for 1.

3) Underarm & Left-side Pass

  • Do not bend knees / plie on count 3-and.
  • Step right foot slightly out on 4 so left foot doesn’t detour around right foot.
  • Make sure to post on 4.

Asian West Coast Swing Open 2013

The Asian WCS Open, aka Swingvitation has come and gone. Great fun. I took the choreo class by world champs Jordan and Tatiana and we performed the routine on the Saturday night of Swingvitation. It was really challenging and my takeaway from it is, in performing any choreo, it’s vital to have the right partner.

I also took part in the Jack & Jill. Newcomer category so no points awarded the world swing dance council. Came in third, which was more than what I expected so that’s really happy news.

Here’s a pic of the partner, Matthew, I drew in the finals.

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I’ll still be continuing lessons at Mosaic. Hopefully, I’ll be good enough for novice level next year. ūüôā

Jack & Jill

Took part in my first Jack & Jill on Sun (7 Apr 2013) at China One’s Viva La Fiesta event! ¬†Well, it was just for fun, no WSDC points awarded but was a good experience. ¬†I was in Heat 1. ¬†First partner was Daelus, then Philbert and last partner was Paul. ¬†All cool.

The whole event did make me acutely aware that I need to be less gan cheong and hold my count for fast songs, even if the guy tugs me forward.  Gotta roll roll roll that foot into the floor.

Here’re some pics captured by China One. ¬†(Daelus is no. 211 and Philbert’s on his left).

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Although we rotated partners randomly based on numbers chose by the audience, I ended up partnering 3 guys who were standing next to one another when we started off the line up.

 

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Paul and me!

 

Group shot of all competitors
Group shot of all competitors

 

Pity I didn’t get any pics with Daelus or Philbert. ¬†Someone from the dance studio did take a video but I need to see how I can get hold of it. ¬†Heh.

As for results?  Er, none.  Hahahahaha.  Now onto the next J&J at Swingvitation 2013!

Exams and Auditions

There’s been talk in WCS recently about the merits of having “leveled workshops” at WCS events (i.e. having workshops that are marked out for different levels such as beginner/ intermediate/ advance, and the merits of going to the extent of having to audition before you can take the workshop).

I think some form of “leveling” is definitely necessary. ¬†As it is, I am irritated when I go for an intermediate class and some guy turns up and doesn’t even know the basics like how to anchor! ¬†It’s a waste of my time in class whenever I am rotated to that guy and I think I will be equally annoyed if I were to attend a workshop and the same happens.

That said, I can understand that from a commercial perspective, if all workshops need auditions, you may scare away students and that would make your event not viable (from an revenue generation point of view).  Perhaps the balance would be to have workshops marked with different levels and implementing auditions for the most advance workshops only.

From my personal rookie point of view, that way, I know that if I flunk an audition and hence could not take the advance workshop, everyone else who doesn’t qualify would flunk with me. ¬†Not like the L4 class now (L4 being the highest level at the studio where I’m ¬†learning from)… out of respect for the system and the teacher, I do not participate in the main class because I’m not of the required standard yet. ¬†I stand in a corner and observe the class and practise the moves with a classmate who also goes to observe the class (so we won’t slow the class down). ¬†However, when I look at the main group¬†in the class, I realise half of them shouldn’t be there too.

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I am a Rookie!

Tired. ¬†Was playing the silly game Plants vs. Zombies on my iPad till close to 3am last night. ¬†Was super tired but couldn’t sleep after that! ¬†Brain must have still been thinking about how to crush them zombies. ¬†Hahaha.

It was a real chore waking up and staying awake during a presentation on claims that I had to attend this morning. ¬†Now I’m super unmotivated at work. ¬†Setting myself hourly goals so that I can finish my tasks quickly. ¬†(Well, I’m 20min ahead on my current goal hence I can blog!)

Last Friday was a good WCS day. ¬†Had a productive time at social as I was able to follow well (not well as in “good” but well as in to the best of my current abilities). ¬†Dance is a process of time. ¬†Not only must you get the timing right, you also need time to improve. ¬†Sometimes, when I look around the dance floor, I feel that I am lousier than some of the girls only because they have been dancing WCS for the past 1-2 years whereas I only started this year. ¬†I thus wanted to quickly catch up with them… and that means squeezing what took them many months to achieve into the 2 months that I’ve been doing WCS.

Then I read what one of the instructors posted in the group chat I am in:

“People… you will get there when you get there. Don’t be too preoccupied that you’re not progressing as quickly as you’d like or as fast as X or Y.

While I can understand the natural inclination to improve as fast as possible, I think the best part of it all is always the journey. How much fulfillment would you get if I told you you could progress to All-Star tomorrow just by eating some magic chicken rice or something… vs someone who has to work through the hours refining his/her craft, struggling but persisting to get better to where he is/was at that point in time.”

And I agree. ¬†While my competitive nature means I will never be satisfied with where I’m at, I am also acutely reminded that I need to allow enough time for getting better. ¬†Most importantly, I must enjoy the process. ¬†Instead of applying everything that was taught in class on the dance floor, I am now going by the rule, “if you don’t feel it, don’t use it”. ¬†I’m sure I will eventually get the moves that elude me – at a later stage.

I was very heartened last Fri when one of the more advanced leads asked me if I have other dance background because I have improved very fast (yeah, the poor chap danced with me at my very first WCS social after having attended only 2 lessons.  Lol.  2 months compared to 2 lessons would definitely have been a big contrast).  I also asked another friend for feedback since I have not danced with him for 2 weeks and he said he was pleasantly surprised because there was a marked difference from before he went on holiday.  In his words, I am the most improved rookie recently and am now better than some who have been dancing for almost a year.  That was gratifying because I am a rookie.  No pressure on me to compete with the better girls!

And I believe I will catch up.  Someday.

Nailing the Basics

I’ve been quite obsessed with nailing the basic footwork for West Coast Swing. It’s not difficult per se – almost everyone I’ve seen has no problems doing it on the correct count. But doing it with the right style & groove is quite a different story. Having observed people on the dance floor, I’ve concluded that as long as you don’t perfect the basic step, no matter how well you lead/ follow, it still won’t look good.

I think I like WCS a lot more than salsa… at least I really enjoy watching the pros on youtube whereas I’ve never actually bothered to watch a salsa video at all.

While salsa is fun, I think I enjoyed the partner interaction more than the dance itself. WCS, on the other hand, has a very captivating dance form. I wished I could learn more and learn faster but classes are short (1h only) and it’s not always easy to get enough practice.

Anyway, there’s still 3 more months till Swingvitation 2013. Hope I improve drastically by then!

West Coast Swing

Started the new year by learning a new dance – West Coast Swing (WCS). It’s the official state dance of California and has its roots in Lindy Hop. Thank goodness it looks very different (i don’t like Lindy. Heh.) My interest in WCS was 1st piqued when i saw videos of my friend (and salsa instructor), Zee, dance it with his gf, Dalena. WCS can be danced to contemporary music – anything that has a 2-beat rhythm. Which appeals more to me than salsa cos while salsa music can be catchy, i can’t fully appreciate songs which i don’t understand the words of.

After checking out videos of Jessica Cox, Jordan Frisbee and Tatiana Mollman on youtube, i was hooked. What a great dance form! I love how musical interpretation is so tightly intertwined and accented in WCS. I’ve gone for 4 lessons and 2 social dances so far and i love it. Can’t wait to learn more steps! Hope i can fully internalise the basics soon so that i can move on to styling.

Custom made dance shoes for WCS today. Super looking forward to them!!

Salsa

After 8 long years, I’m taking salsa lessons again. It all started when I saw this notice for a performance course and decided on a last min whim to go for the audition for the course. Thankfully, I cleared it and so I joined the 8-week class.

Two Weds ago, I also saw a new 4-week advance class opening and so I signed up for that too.

To date, I think the performance course is really interesting. I’m only able to satisfactorily do 80-90% of the moves… Which I’m rather disappointed at myself but I console myself in that if I could do everything, then the course would be a waste of money.

The advance class, unfortunately, was below my expectations. I think the problem is that some guys who are obviously not ready for the class are taking it and being a “lead-follow” dance, I’m limited in what I can do cos of this. The good thing is that social night at the studio falls on the same day as the advance class so I get lots of good practice there.

I still need to drill the on-2 count into my system. I can handle on-2 for most songs but when it comes to very fast songs, I still have a tendency to revert to on-1. Hopefully, with more practice, I’ll slowly rid myself of this “bad habit”.

Anyway, it’s been a super tiring week but I’m looking forward to salsa tomorrow. Being able to just focus on getting the count and dancing is quite therapeutic. ūüôā

If u’re interested in salsa too, check out www.mosaicdance.com.sg.

Cheers!