Practice and then some

For some reason, the last half of the year has been like a mad house.

This year, I've just wrapped up an event in Thailand, dealt with a client who wants a miracle to happen, am taking on a six sub-region rollout and will be closing out the work year with a big computer graphics event. All in the span of four months. Yes, life is exciting *rolls eyes*

But on to more exciting things... progress in West Coast Swing (WCS) has been a little slow, but is getting there. The last weekend of August was spent with Melissa Rutz and Chuck Brown, two WCS champion dancers who were in town to whip the WCS community here in to shape.

As long as there's a camera, dancers are hams
I booked my first WCS private class with Melissa. Had to work on my basics just so that I can get it right. With the hectic work schedule, it's tough to get into the swing (no pun intended) of things sometimes because oftimes I'm too tired. Let me just say that if you really want to learn, booking a private class with one of the champion dancers is good way to progress. Why? Because you get one on one time with the instructor and she/he will be able to asses your level and help you work on the areas that you are having difficulty in. That said, taking privates does not instantly qualify you as a champion dancer yourself. You still need regular practice at socials and also in taking classes. 

But what the heck do you do in private class? Here's some tips for anyone considering taking privates:
  • Know what you want to work on. Do you want to brush up on your basics, or work on your lead/follow technique? It's pretty important that you walk into the class knowing what you want. Or having questions about your technique and what you think should be improved. This will help you maximize your time with the instructor and you will talk away with a few things to work on.
  • Be realistic. You won't learn everything at once. Don't walk into the class expecting to just get a full download on everything from the instructor. These guys are professionals who teach for a living and there is no way you can learn everything from them in the span of an hour. 
  • Pick the right teacher for you. Prior to booking your session, do a little research. Ask friends, your current instructors or even Google the instructor that is coming to town. Learn a bit more about their teaching style. For me, I chose to work with Melissa because I know that she places a lot of emphasis on technique. She was really patient with me and picked up on some of my body movement that even my current instructors didn't latch on to.
  • Be open to critique. I am a salsa dancer who's trying to learn WCS, but the basics in lead and follow are different and sometimes I struggle with it still. Where should my weight be? How long should I wait before stepping On1. There is a lot to take in and as a learner, and sometimes being shown the right thing to do is the best way to learn. It'll stop those bad habits for sure!
  • There is no such thing as one style of teaching. Sure, your instructors may have their dance heroes and teach like them but that doesn't mean you cannot learn technique from other teachers. Sometimes students and even teachers are so set in their ways that they can't break out from it. Don't be rigid about learning. Have an open mind to learn as you go.
  • Practice. Whatever you learn in class won't be perfected unless you take the time to practice and dance. Once you get the moves right, you can relax more into the dance and have a ton of fun
Melissa Rutz and me...Ms Potato Head LOL
That said, it's still an uphill battle for me but it seems to be coming along. Will somehow have to ease back into the dance/workout schedule so that I don't turn into Jabba the Hut when I think no one's watching,  

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Ever prodded a sleeping dragon, only to have it whip up and bite you in the ass? Well, neither have I. But I advocate that you should try everything...once ;P
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