We live on the West Coast. We like swing dancing. But my wife and I have had a tough time getting into the West Coast Swing style.
Over the years we've had several lessons. Even a four-week series. The dance just never "set in" with us.
Until recently we'd forgotten almost everything we'd learned about West Coast Swing. So when we'd go to a open social dance night at the RJ Dance Studio here in Salem, and the DJ would call out "west coast swing" as a new tune started, we'd sit down and watch other people dance what looked to be a cool, fun style.
Finally the sitting got excessively tiresome. Last week we had a private one-hour lesson with Kathy Carter, who teaches West Coast Swing along with Jason Carter. She got us doing some basic moves that had slipped from memory: sugar push, left side pass, right side pass/overhead turn.
After the lesson, when I asked her what instructional DVDs she'd recommend, Kathy mentioned Myles Munroe, a Canadian swing champion. Good tip.
As soon as I got home I fired up You Tube and found this highly engaging short video of Munroe dancing with Tessa Cunningham. Wow. Give me 50% of Myles' style, and I'll sell my soul to the devil. 100%, and I'll throw in my wife's and dog's souls.
Learning about Myles' and Tessa's "West Coast Swing: Starter Kit" video via their web site, I ordered it. Haven't mastered all the basic moves yet, but Laurel and I have made a decent start. With Kathy's help, of course.
Tonight we had another private lesson. Then Jason took over, guiding us through 40 minutes of beginner instruction prior to the RJ Dance Studio's monthly West Coast Swing night.
It's a challenging dance. Being basically a slot dance, where the woman travels back and forth while the man moves side to side, the partners usually are doing different steps -- not mirroring each other, as in other ballroom dances.
So we've just taken some baby steps toward becoming West Coast Swing dancers. Already though, I'm getting hooked on both the music and the moves. I found a web site that lists contemporary West Coast Swing music.
My iPhone now is loaded with Lady GaGa's "Just Dance," "Bad Romance," and "Poker Face." Plus Madonna's "Hollywood." I sugar push away on our kitchen floor, trying to get the walk, walk, triple step, triple step rhythm embedded into the swing dance part of my brain.
Here's another Myles Munroe video, dancing with a different partner. Way cool.