You – The Dance Rock Star by Zo Carroll

Happy October everyone. I absolutely love October, especially October in Tucson. No more one hundred degree days, no more  hot, humid days and too warm nights. Cool nights and comfortable days now are the norm. Being a huge fan of horror movies, October is my month! Scary movies are a must this time of year. Yes sir, I love October.

I’m posting this column much later than I had anticipated. My bad! I’m hoping to have it done before TSDC’s Halloween Party on Thursday, Oct 30th. Please, please make every effort to wear some kind of costume. The more dancers in costume, the more festive and special our party will be. Besides, you might win a prize, which will be awarded for most original/creative, scariest and funniest costumes. Here’s your opportunity to be someone/something different for one night. Members in costume will get in free. That’s a bonus!

Thanks go out to everyone who attended our workshops on Oct 16th, featuring West Coast Swing All-Star, John Piper. Speaking for myself (and I know for many others in attendance), I had a fantastic time. John was such a treat! His love of WCS was evident. He was well-organized, clear in his teaching and managed to keep everyone moving (standing around was kept to a minimum).  His humor and warm personality helped him connect quickly with everyone.

One thing I love about workshops is that anyone, no matter what level of dancer he/sblackboardhe is, can gain at least one nugget of knowledge or advice  that can make a huge difference on the dance floor. John Piper threw out more than a few nuggets. In our workshops there are typically many level of dancers. Some brand spanking new – some have been dancing for years. At times, more experienced dancers can become bored or listless at workshops. Remember when you first learned to drive a car? Remember how much attention you paid to doing everything just right? How’s your driving these days? John reminded more experienced dancers that working on their basic movements is something they should do from time to time, especially when learning new moves or patterns. Workshops are a perfect time to polish up on the basics. So whether new or old, all levels of dancers can find something to perfect.

He had us play with mirroring each other’s movements. This was a way for us to be more engaged/connected with our partners. When this concept is applied while dancing, it can make for a really cool and interesting dance. I loved when he asked us to say out loud what we needed/wanted as a leader/follower from our partners. Overwhelmingly we heard things like, “smiles..acknowledgement of something done well…encouragement, and appreciation.” All of us want to feel good when we dance. Our partners can play a huge role in making this happen. Remember this!!!

John spoke about being a Dance Rock Star!! This concept will make more sense to those of us who compete in West Coast Swing. West Coast Swing is a social dance but competing in WCS is very popular, and for some dancers, competing is their primary focus. But for just about all of us, most of our time will be spent social dancing. So, doesn’t it make sense to be the best social dancer you can be?? Do you want people lined up to ask you for a dance because you’re so awesome and all?? Who cares if you compete or not, YOU’RE A DANCE ROCK STAR!!!!! That’s what I want to be (alright, a trophy now and then is ok by me as well, I’m just sayin’). How about you?



Lastly, Mr. Piper talked about looking like you came ready to dance. That’s a huge part of becoming a dance rock star, by the way. This means hanging out close to the dance floor and letting folks know you came to get down. Let your body show it. Bop to the music, smile, make eye contact and don’t be afraid to ask someone to dance. We’re all attracted to positive, energetic and fun people. These are the dancers we want to be with on the dance floor. Right?! ‘Nuff said, I’m ready to get down.

If any of you dance rock stars have any comments you’d like to leave in response, I’d love hearing from you. Until next time…….