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Articles
“Dancing Do's and Dont's” (12/07/06)
By Nancy N. Tuzzolino
Do's...
  • Be polite and considerate to your partner.
  • Don’t criticize him/her on the social dance floor.
  • Choose a slot in the direction of dance—go with the flow!
  • Concentrate on one or two new things at a time and “drill” them.
  • Leaders watch where you’re going, especially when you are turning or spinning your partner—dancing is NOT a contact sport!
  • (Followers) Let the leader “lead.” Don’t anticipate moves.
  • (Leaders) LEAD!
  • Leaders, stay in your slot; don’t drift. Protect your partner; don’t lead her into a bad situation.
  • On a crowded dance floor, keep your moves tight; watch your arms and legs.
  • Apologize if you accidentally kick or hit someone on the dance floor.
  • Focus on getting your “basics” right. This will give you a good foundation to do more advanced moves later.
  • Do your footwork (don’t forget those triple steps).
  • Go out and social dance whenever possible—practice makes “better” (no one is perfect!).
  • Experiment—Creating your own “style” is part of dancing.
  • Take classes, workshops, private lessons—it’s a great way to improve and learn new steps, techniques, etc.
Dont's...
  • Don’t put your partner at risk for injury; avoid tugging, pulling, jerking, squeezing, dipping, etc. (This applies to Leaders and Followers)
  • Don’t look at the floor when you dance—keep your eyes on your partner and be mindful of what’s going on around you.
  • Don’t think you know it all—even the “big dogs” know there is always more to be learned.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask a more experienced dancer to dance—challenge yourself and you’ll improve your dancing.
  • Don’t give up—it takes a while for everything to sink in; be patient.
  • Don’t turn down an invitation to dance (unless you feel “at risk” with that partner).
  • Don’t take it too seriously. Keep it in perspective.
Most importantly….Have a great time-dancing is FUN!

“Education…The Key to Improving Your Dancing” (04/18/06)
By Nancy N. Tuzzolino

I have been doing social partner dancing for over 10 years. I started with West Coast Swing because I fell in love with the dance. During the early years, I took as many lessons as I could, first in workshops, then eventually private lessons.

After the first few years, I decided that I could not really gain much from going to group workshops, and, I only sought out private lessons when it was “convenient”. I rarely contacted Pros prior to a convention to get a private lesson time scheduled, and when the Rebels brought Pros into town, I rarely signed up for workshops, thinking that I could not gain anything from the experience.

But, about five years ago, I hit a “wall” with my dancing. I was entering competitions at national events, but I wasn’t making it past the first round of preliminaries. I became really frustrated, because I thought I knew “all there was to know about WCS” and that I was at the top of my game in terms of experience and knowledge of the dance.

Well, I couldn’t have been more WRONG. It occurred to me, that while my peers were progressing, I was not. It was then that I realized that the only way to improve my dancing was to become a STUDENT of the dance, …AGAIN.

My first step to improving my own dancing was to begin teaching. The Chicago Rebels offered me the opportunity to join the teaching staff and I welcomed it with open arms. Through teaching others, I began to see the dance in a whole new light. It also caused me to analyze and dissect my own dancing, because I really had to understand why certain things “worked” and why certain things didn’t; afterall, my students were looking to me as the “expert” and I couldn’t let them down.

The next step in my “education,” was to take Skippy Blair’s Intensive Class at her studio in California. This was an awesome experience…the various sessions and training materials gave me important “tools” I needed to understand WCS (and all dancing) from a new perspective.

After Skippy’s class, my batteries were recharged and my thirst for more education and training really kicked in. In 2002, I attended over 15 Swing and/or Hustle Conventions, took over 30 workshops (all of them as a Leader), and took over 25 private lessons with Pros such as, Tatiana Mollmann, Deborah Szekely, Robert Cordoba, Wayne & Sharlott Bott, Angel Figueroa (Hustle), Jordan Frisbee, Arte Phillips (Hustle), Kyle Redd and Sarah VanDrake.

I want to encourage ALL dancers in the Chicago WCS community to become more educated in WCS. Take workshops offered by the local area dance clubs, take workshops offered by the WCS Pros when they come to town, and take private lessons, not only from national Pros, but from your local Pros, as well. There is lots of talent and knowledge right in your own backyard…so take advantage of it!

If Chicago is going to keep improving the level of our WCS dancing, then we ALL need to continue to learn as much as we can about the dance. (You can bet that I will continue, as well!)

Please feel free to contact me with your comments, suggestions and feedback about Dance Education Programs. We want to offer programming that meets YOUR needs and inspires you to become a better dancer.

KEEP ON LEARNING!