#shapeofyou #lovetodance #shapehowyoulikeit
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Shape of You is just one of those songs that I like loud. Whether it's in the car, on the radio at work or in the pub when it starts to play I want to get up and dance. So every now and again I find myself falling down the YouTube rabbit hole and having discovered another fabulous Shape of You dance thought I would share some of my favourites.
#shapeofyou #lovetodance #shapehowyoulikeit
I've just finished the teaching last of the summer beginner classes at WestCo's in Petts Woods and it has been an absolutely blast.
Since I discovered west coast swing at a Jive Addiction Event four or five years ago now, I've been bitten by the bug and I've wanted to do more and more and more - learn, dance, explore, get better, dance longer. Dancing is something for everyone and if you fancy learning or doing then you should just come along and try the classes at Daylight Inn, Petts Wood.
My good friend Pauline Dickson said that we can't all be Tatianna's and Jordan's and it's true but heck we can take a leaf out of their book and enjoy the dance as much as they do.
It's also Pauline that talked me into learning to teach. I'm a new dancer and even newer to teaching but she is persuasive and has set me on the path this summer and I love it. The new dancers who have joined and have stuck with me through the last weeks have been a superb group of dancers. They've asked difficult questions, concentrated hard in class and practiced with lots of difference people in the social dancing at the end of the evening. I don't have the words to say how much I have enjoyed watching and dancing with them all.
I don't always have the answers to the difficult questions (of which there are a few) but that's ok. Every question makes me work harder and they are all making me a more thoughtful dancer and hopefully teacher. I love a good question that you can take away and have a wee think about, a wee Google and a mull everything over. The more you ask of me, the harder I will work for you and hopefully we will both become better dancers at the end.
Thank you to all the new dancers at WestCo's who started the journey with me this summer. It's been so much fun, I look forward to dancing with you all every single week. xx
#westcos #pettswood #daylightinn #westcoastswing #wcs #learntodance
Sharing Pauline Dickson's post about the new Beginner Course starting at WestCo's in PettsWood this month. Hope to see you there xx
Fiona Gardiner will be teaching our new six week beginners course starting on Thursday 31st August at 7.30pm.
Fiona will teach the first 45 minute class each week and take you through all your fundamentals for WCS in a fun and encouraging way.
The second 45 minute lesson starts immediately after and will be taught by one of our regular teachers. This class will look at improving your Basics and show how they are used as the building blocks of our dance
This is a PERFECT opportunity to give West Coast Swing a try and learn in a friendly environment where you will be encouraged and supported by our members. There is a 15 minute social practice after your classes finish and we encourage you to get up and try out what you have been learning...please ask each other to dance too.
Whether you have never tried it before or are perhaps returning after trying it previously and may be a little rusty...this course will teach you all you need to know and help you feel comfortable dancing your basics on that social dance floor.
The course will run for six consecutive weeks from 31st August.
This will be our Level 1 Beginners Course.
We will then have a weeks break and return with a further six week course which will be our Level 2 Beginners.
WHAT WILL IT COST?
You can rock up and pay class per class on the door £10
(There is a loyalty card scheme which applies to class nights)
You can PREPAY for the six week course on Week One - £40
(This is a saving of £20, loyalty card scheme does not apply to courses)
If you prepay for both six week beginners courses on week one, you get both courses for £70
RECOMMEND FRIEND SCHEME
If you bring a friend who signs up for the 6 week course and completes it, you will be eligible for a FREE entry to a class night plus a surprise ;) We all need to help our community grow and I feel it is only fair to reward you for recommending us.
Lessons are held at
The Daylight Inn
There is street parking all around the pub and in surrounding streets too. The pub serves food till 9pm (Wetherspoons style) and drinks are available at the bar. You are welcome to bring your own water but any soft drinks or alcohol should be purchased at the bar.
Text 07824 828510 if you want to chat about the course and whether it will suit you
#learntodance #westcoastswing #pettswood #socialdancing
WOTP 2017, my first time dancing in France and I was a little nervous. I'm only just starting to travel for dancing and have been to the US and Germany where everyone was so welcoming and friendly that I was a little anxious how we would get on. Especially as it was a big event and we were a little late booking and missed out on the workshop passes as they were sold out.
Having navigated train and bus with our limited French in roaring heat and the bluest skies I'd seen in ages we arrived at the Mimosa Resort and right from the beginning everyone was helpful and welcoming I was chomping at the bit to get out and dancing in the evening. Obviously post-dinner, beer and wine, did I mention it was very, very hot and we walked what felt like a marathon to both get to the train and from the bus stop in Mandelieu to the beautiful Mimosa Resort.
The Expo Centre was just as you'd imagine a nice big conference centre with huge halls. But what a treat, we had theatre style seating with plush red velvety seats and the best air conditioning of any event I've been to so far. A lovely temperature for dancing and also chilling out in the seats, watching the dancing. From Saturday night I knew we were in for a treat the whole week and WOTP event staff and DJ's in particular did not disappoint. The music was a real mix of styles, tempo, challenging and just plain fun and I had a fabulous week of dancing.
Next year I will definitely be quicker off the mark and get myself some workshop passes booked too!
So with our nights planning we had many a day in the Cote D'Azur footloose and fancy free and Mandelieu is a lovely part of the world. I had my first experience of renting sun loungers, well that is a treat! "Would you like a beer madam....why yes please, that would be lovely thank you" and as if by magic a nice cool beer arrives with a nice French man who also thoughtfully adjusted my brolly so this peely-wally Scots girls didn't become a lobster. We explored some of the beaches around Mandelieu and made it into Cannes for a mini train tour (sorry I really didn't take enough pictures). It was a nice balance of late night dancing, beaches, beer, fabulous French dancers, wicked music, sunshine all in all a lovely week away and I can not wait to do it again next year.
I try and tackle at least one of my "trying to fix" things at every event and there was definitely a portion of the week when I did think I had broken my dancing. But gratefully I made it through to the otherside and am very grateful for all the lovely Leaders who persevered with the trial-error-experiment-frustration through that early part of the week and were nice enough to ask me to dance again towards the end. Sadly I'm not sure that I managed to dance with even half of the dancers through the week, I'm not sure how this is possible but next year I promise to try harder.
What did I learn. Well, 1) where ever you go to dance in the world, people are always happy to see you and share your common passion. 2) French bakeries are the best in the world. 3) Balance the learning with fun and don't beat yourself up if you don't "get" something the first time, it will "click" in its own time.
For ease of transport, facilities and shops there is no city that comes close to Dusseldorf for me this year. I've been twice now and it is so easy to navigate, instructions for everything. Only downside is no uber but I can live with that when the bus pickup is from immediately outside of Arrivals at the airport to just round the corner from your Airbnb. It doesn't get easier.
D-TownSwing was my second German event of the year and having had so much fun in Hamburg I was looking forward to seeing all the nice German dancers and to be doing lots of learning with some of my favourite teachers in the world. I wasn't expecting the huge turn out for classes though and I was seriously impressed with the dedication and enthusiasm that everyone brought to each class. This was a huge event with people who travelled from all over Germany and internationally to come and participate, it was really fun to be part of.
It is always a real mix of excitement and a lot of nerves when I go to a new dance venue for the first time. Last night was my first time at WestCo's in Petts Wood was a double helping of nerves because it was also my first time teaching in a wee while.
The beginner class (my class!) was a nice mix of people fairly new to west coast swing and some very experienced dancers all of whom persevered with me through some of my nervous narrative, experimental connection practicals and all the way to a dancing successful left side pass to Usher's Bad Girl by the end of the session.
In the coming weeks we will be talking about the basic structure of west coast swing and introducing one foundation element each week which I hope will help people new to the dance understand "the how" and get you all dancing, enjoying and having fun as quickly as possible.
I needed myself a moment to collect myself after class and enjoyed watching Ekow's first class. Thank you for inviting me to demo for you in the second. It was great to dance and learn with you, it might take me a bit of time before I get the hang of the "little scoop" but I'll get there!
Before I knew it class was finished and we're into social dancing. Thank you to everyone to asked me to dance and to everyone who said yes when I asked. It was a really super night. I can't wait for next week.
#westcos #pettswoodwestco #westcoastswing #learningtodance
Terrible personal admin nearly got the better of me but at the 11th hour John Armstrong Holmes found me a man to gender balance with and I was off to the UK Champs 2017. This was my 4th Champs and the first one I've not stayed at the Radisson Blu in Heathrow.
We didn't stay for any other reason than a curious experiment. Always a nice hotel to stay in and we were painfully reminded of this at 3am on Saturday morning when Jo and I were sore feet and not too many dances left in our tired bodies. The experiment seemed at that point a somewhat dubious idea.
Luck however was on our side. The Champs this year coincided with a weekend of the most beautiful London weather, 25degrees is definitely a treat in April, as is being able to take our breakfasts and coffee out on to a pontoon in the river. A happy start to Saturday.
Back to the Radisson for competitions, stealing dances in between heats, MacDonalds for dinner (truly naughty I know) and a fabulous Saturday night of dancing. Thank you Peter Flood and Youcef Bettam for my last dances of he evening xx
Sleep - eat - repeat. Well, you'd think Sunday couldn't be beat Saturday. Yep, breakfast on the river, a spot of sunbathing and then Jo remarks that she can smell diesel and sure enough just at that moment my neighbour pulls up alongside and asks if we fancy a run on the river up to Kew and back. It would be rude not to so off we went. Happy Days! And I think I might have fallen back in love with living on the river, more than just a smidgen.
Congratulations to all who placed in competition and all who made finals. I was inspired watching all you beautiful dancers.
My absolutely favourite part of the weekend was the Sunday night Pro Show. Love the concept and I've never laughed so much at a dance event. The challenge was to dance for the first minute ONLY using one basic pattern...sound easy? Nope.
Nb. Not sure Ill be adding a one handed cartwheel to my left side pass variation repertoire anytime soon and my Leaders will I think be very grateful for that!
Thank you to John, Marianne and team for hosting another stonking UK Champs. Can't wait for 2018 and hope to see you all on a dance floor soon for more delicious dancing.
As for the experiment. I think we were surprisingly lucky this year and everything was more than we could have hoped for. Next time I think Ill be availing myself of the luxuries of hotel sheet, limitless hot water and access to the dance floor that doesn't involve inflicting my driving on anyone.
#ukchamps #wcsweekenders #lovetodance #wcs #leftsidepassvariations
Well. Where to start. What a weekend.
I missed the chance to attend the Benji Schwimmer Intensive over Christmas and having spotted that he would be in Hamburg in March I couldn't miss a second opportunity to learn and what a five hour treat was in store for me.
But first, AirBnB. If you've ever wondered if you would, could or should I can only recommend it. I booked a nice wee room in central Hamburg in the Lange Reihe with my host Paula. Great photography and our friendly correspondence had meant that I was looking forward to staying in their apartment. On arrival I had a delicious glass of fresh mint tea waiting for me in one of the smallest rooms I've seen in a while and so begins a weekend of giggles. When my 6'2" weekend room mate arrived the following day to find he had to scale over 6'6" of ladder to reach his top bunk there was more even more hilarity.
Friday was the Intensive with Benji. Five hours of learning laden with technique, musicality, demonstrations of other dancers style and a light approach to wcs that made the concepts accessible to all. Already I can feel the change in my dancing and am happy with the three priorities groups of "stuff to work on" for me - looking for the special moments in the music that I want to draw attention to in my dancing, tripling-tripling-tripling and figuring out those darn anchors, who knew there were so many options!
For me west coast swing is turning into a bit of an onion. The closer I get, the more layers there are to peel back, but yet more layers are hidden underneath. I don't think I'll ever stop learning and loving the learning.
The rest of the weekend was a fabulous blend of social dancing, competitions, the most stunning Pro Show I've ever seen, you've a little taster below... I hope Amber and Michael Cross are back in Europe soon because I would LOVE to do their Blues Intensive next.
Oh and if you are wondering what The Benji Schwimmer Challenge is all about you'll have to get yourself along to an Intensive to find out! (or if come find me for a dance and see if you can figure out what's changed in my dancing ;-) )
#loveforwcs #thebenjischwimmerchallenge #westcoastswing #anchorfestival #danceforfun #learntodance
Wow, VIBE has been in my diary for many months I can not believe I've not made it to this fabulous freestyle below.
Hosted by Susan Christmas the VIBE Freestyle will definitely be a regular feature in my dancing diary from now on. Firstly the RBL in Surbiton is easy to find, has plenty of on street parking and is one of the nicest social clubs I've been to in a while. The venue looks almost brand new and has lovely a relaxed atmosphere which immediately transport you away from the working week.
Susan was on The Door and warmly welcomed me. It's always a little nerve racking going to a new venue for the first time and friendly face on The Door is always appreciated. The beautiful wooden dance floor is a treat to dance on and was not to daunting being one of the first on the floor and neither too squished when the night was in full flow. Paul Abbott played a night of great tunes for us all and I was sad when the last dance was called.
All in all a great way to finish the week and kick off the weekend. Thanks to Susan and her team for having us all to dance, see you again soon.
#westcoastswing #VIBEFreestyle #RBLSurbiton #Surbiton #greattunes
Three power naps, two loads of washing and one very healthy vegetable dinner and I am back from Westie Bootcamp South.
Yet again the Jive Addiction team delivered a superb weekend. From lovely ladies on check-in, djs playing into the wee small hours and instructors who taught all day and danced all night the first annual Bootcamp South has definitely set the bar.
The Beaumont Estate in Windsor is a beautiful location. The grounds are nothing short of magnificent and the limitless buffet dinners too tasty to be good for my waistline.
We arrived Friday early evening with enough time to check-in, wander the corridors and find our way to classes. Greg & Lemery kicked off the learning with a 6-count whip and from there every workshop was a feast for the brain (I hope my body will be able to catch up and implement sometime in the near future).
Learn - Dance - Eat - Dance - Sleep - repeat repeat repeat
My first weekender since Budafest and I hadn't realised how much Id missed the immersive learning and dancing experience. It was great to meet and dance with so many new people from the UK. Im excited about dancing with you all in the near future and also that so many more people are finding and loving west coast swing.
Thank you Jive Addiction team for hosting us this weekend. Hope to see you again soon, xx
#westiebootcampsouth #jiveaddiction #dancejunkie #havedanceshoeswilltravel #westcoastswing #lovetodance #dancefamily