TOWestCoast Blog

26JUL16 – BluesyTuesday

The hard part (learning the International WCS Flash Mob choreography) is almost over, and the FUN (dancing it!) begins. YAY! I urge anyone who’s been learning it on their own to start joining us in rehearsing for the September 3rd International West Coast Swing Flash Mob.

Remaining Rehearsal Dates and Times:
Tuesday, July 26 – 6:30-8:00 p.m.
Tuesday, August 2 – 6:30-8:00 p.m.
Tuesday, August 9 – 6:30-8:00 p.m.
Tuesday, August 16 – JUST DANCE (NO rehearsal, social dancing only from 9:00 p.m. until midnight)
*Tuesday, August 23 – 7:15-8:00 p.m. (note later start time; not included in Prep Class series)
*Tuesday, August 30 – 7:15-8:00 p.m. (note later start time; not included in Prep Class series)
Facebook Event

WCS*Fundamentals classes continue 8:00-9:00 p.m.
No drop-ins for new students; *returning students* are invited to “Rinse and Repeat” for FREE (pay only $5 for the social)

It’s last-Tuesday-of-the-month BluesyTuesday!  So the playlist will be Blues-heavy with a selection of Pop and R&B – only $5 – 9:00 p.m. until midnight
Facebook Event  Thanks for sharing 🙂

There was a post last week on the Wandering Westies Facebook page:  “Hello, Westies! With so much negativity and hurt going on right now, I was thinking of using the lovely platform of WCS to send a message of positivity.  I’m thinking of making a dance video of different swing dance groups around the world, all dancing in the name of love. We’d string together these clips of various groups, and the thread holding them together would be each swing dance clubs, studios, groups etc. holding up signs that say #(insert group name here)westiesForLove kind of like a‪#‎SpreadDanceNotHate message.”

We’re doing this!!  Please add your messages of positivity to the  #TOWestiesForLove banner; we’ll get some video and pictures to submit.

Next Wednesday, August 3rd I’ll be teaching an introductory West Coast Swing lesson between sets of the weekly Midtown Blues Jam that takes place at Alleycatz, on Yonge Street just north of Eglinton.  Invite your friends for dinner or drinks, and get them up dancing  🙂 Air-conditioned, beautiful recently-refinished floor.  Facebook Event

It’s a tour, a blog, a line of merch, a Facebook Group – and for some of us, a huge part of our dance life: travelling to West Coast Swing events.  These are just a few to consider:

Summer Hummer –  August 25-29
(In)famous Pool Party 🙂
Summer Hummer, eh? (Canadian tables Facebook Page)

Upstate Dance Challenge (formerly the Vermont Dance Challenge) – September 8-11
Please let Joanna or Xavier know if you’re attending – a few spots left at the Toronto table.
Toronto ROCKS Upstate Dance Challenge Facebook Page

Montreal Westie Fest – October 14-16
More than Poutine 🙂
Toronto ROCKS Westie Fest Facebook Page

Westie-Con – November 17-20
Brand new concept/event in Orlando, Florida with an incredible line-up of Pros – low, low price!
Facebook Event

C.A.S.H. Bash – November 24-27
Canada invades Cleveland. I’m not kidding.
Toronto ROCKS C.A.S.H. Bash

US Open Swing Dance Championships – November 24-27
That other event taking place over US Thanksgiving weekend 🙂

Spotlight Dance Celebration – December 30, 2016-January 2, 2017
Get in the car and dance in the new year with your Westie family!!
Facebook Event

I’m currently participating in the 22-day challenge to bring awareness to suicide (and PTSD) in the military, so I’ve been thinking a lot about the strategies and habits I embrace to safeguard my own mental health.  In one of my business publications this week I read a piece by Richard Davidson, Ph.D., founder of the Center for Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin. It outlined four keys to wellbeing from a presentation he delivered at the “Mindfulness & Wellbeing at Work” conference. Added – below – are my suggested “dance applications”; you may have your own 🙂

“Resilience is the rapidity with which we recover from adversity; some people recover slowly and other people recover more quickly. We know that individuals who show a more rapid recovery in certain key neural circuits have higher levels of wellbeing. They are protected in many ways from the adverse consequences of life’s slings and arrows.”

Dance application: We always talk about how quickly the Pros recover from a missed connection or some kind of mistake. Whether it’s recovery from a “bobble” on the dance floor, a disappointing placement (DFL club, anyone?),  or having an “off” night – being able to move on will serve you well.  It seems simple, but most us dance for fun. Keep that in mind/perspective by reminding yourself of the great dances you’ve had or the compliments from partners who enjoy dancing with you.

“The second key to wellbeing — outlook — is in many ways the flipside of the first one. I use “outlook” to refer to the ability to see the positive in others, the ability to savor positive experiences, the ability to see another human being as a human being who has innate basic goodness.”

Dance application: I’m one of these people who asks complete strangers to dance without even seeing them dance, purely on the assumption that we “speak the same language” so dancing together is going to be awesome. If not awesome, then certainly not terrible.  I once had a dance teacher say to me: “I learn something from everyone I dance with”.  Think about that the next time you’re dancing with someone for the first time, and may-be think of one genuine compliment you can give.

“Across a large group of adults in America, researchers found that people spend an average of 47 percent of their waking life not paying attention to what they’re doing. Forty-seven percent of the time! Can you envision a world where that number goes down a little, by even 5 percent? Imagine what impact that might have on productivity, on showing up, on being present with another person and deeply listening.”

Dance application:  Oh boy…here’s where dancing can be really great, or really, really awful.  Imagine if Leaders would base their choices on their Followers’ abilities, not just plow through patterns for the sake of patterns.  Imagine if Followers would, well, follow – or at least take their Leader with them when they want to add an embellishment that’s not led.  Imagine if both partners were more aware of their space and danced their slot without crashing into other dancers. Bliss 🙂  Ever see those dancers who seem to lead and follow telepathically?  It’s all about attention: to each other, and to the music. That’s when the magic happens.

“There is now a plethora of data showing that when individuals engage in generous and altruistic behavior, they actually activate circuits in the brain that are key to fostering wellbeing. These circuits get activated in a way that is more enduring than the way we respond to other positive incentives, such as winning a game or earning a prize.”

Dance application: You never know when you’re going to be someone’s BDON (Best Dance of the Night) – or best draw in a Jack & Jill – so how ‘bout making that a goal?  Do you know how great it feels when someone tells you that dancing with you was the highlight of their night or weekend?  It’ll feed your soul more than a medal ever can. <3

See you tonight!


Ancaster Dance Camp – July 29-August 2
Swingtacular – August 5-7
International West Coast Swing Flash Mob – September 3rd
Montreal Westie Fest – October 14-16
Westie-Con – November 17-20
Spotlight Dance Celebration – December 30, 2016-January 2, 2017
Check the calendar for more!