August 16, 2017

Where Did I Go? Plus Another Full Song Drops: LAYLA

New video is here! After the jump!
It's already here! Another full song footwork video has dropped, and this time, it's to one of my favorite WCS songs of all time: Eric Clapton's acoustic version of Layla.

For you folks who have been around a while, you'll remember that when this song dropped on MTV's Unplugged, it went viral, and we danced to it like crazy. I never stopped loving it, and still used it my arsenal up until my illness in 2011.

That's when I had to quit doing Walk Like an Egyptian and created Secret instead. But I was fighting fate. And so I wrote instead.

Some of you have asked why I've been gone for so long, and the short answer is the one, if you've been reading my Notes from the beginning, is... exactly what I've said: my health. But here's what I didn't say:

August 14, 2017

WCS Freestyle Footwork 4 - First FULL Song Release in 5 Years!

Why I'm Dancing Again - And It's Good
(Video after the jump!)

When I created the Freestyle Footwork concept more than a year ago, I had no idea how poor my health was at the time - or how much worse it was about it get.

Shortly after taping those three short videos, I learned just how bad my knee really was - a full root tear of the right meniscus. Snapped right off in the middle of a Salsa dance.

So I stopped dancing and started rehabbing. In fact, my time spent rehabbing, up until three months ago, lead me to believe I was done dancing... FOR GOOD. So I said goodbye to that part of my life, and was grateful for the time I had been given. It was hard and it took a long time, but I did it.

Then-- suddenly, new doctors, new treatments and most of all - new medicines. I rarely get to dance now... but... I. GET. TO. DANCE!!!

So, in honor of that, I've pledged to film as much of it as I can for you, so that you can learn from a real Champion, with real technique, doing real WCS, just like

#104: Welcome to WCS!

New Series Just for You:
Welcome to West Coast Swing!
From the end...
Spring new beginnings. 
-Pliny the Elder
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From Weekly Note #104: Welcome to WCS! (Click to view original Note.)

Last summer I mentioned a new series of videos I was working on. I'd finished taping them but they never quite made it online. The timing just didn't work.

But that's all in the past! I'm happy to announce that Part One of this four part series is up online on my GetSwingIN YouTube Channel. If you are already subscribed, then you've probably seen the announcement already!

But if you're not subscribed, let me fill you in...

December 14, 2015

Jordan and Tatiana's Last Routine

Taking their "Final Bow:
Jordan and Tatiana at the 2015 US Open
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. -Thomas Jefferson
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From Weekly Note #111; JORDAN AND TATIANA'S LAST ROUTINE

Before you read the article I wrote today, I want to clear away some cobwebs first so that you can see it clearly.

Look. Talking about Jordan and Tatiana is a very difficult thing to do.

It's like talking about gun control. People lose their minds and talk nonsense no matter what side of the matter they fall on.

But here I am, trying to voice my feelings and an opinion about - basically - Tom Cruise to a crowd that either defected from or most decidedly belongs to Scientology.

But I caught things in the routine you most likely missed. I did grow up with them. They were my "childhood friends" so to speak. And though what they've done to the dance of swing may crush me...

November 02, 2015

Parris Goebel: Brilliant Choreographer Sets World on Fire

Parris & her crew in the record-breaking "Sorry" video
Over the weekend, Billboard 200 announced that history was written last week. Adele's new Hello video broke YouTube viewing records, nearly doubling the number of views Taylor Swift snatched when she broke YouTube viewing records earlier this year with her ridiculously amazing Bad Blood video.

And as much as I love Adele, the video I was replaying all week, both online and in my head, was not her Hello video, but the other video Billboard wrote about in their announcement: Justin Beiber's Sorry video.

That's right. I said Justin Bieber. I'm kind of mad about that. I can't stand the guy. Ever since he wrote those awful things in the Anne Frank Museum guestbook, I've crossed him off as worse than a Nissy. Something much worse. But he's not in the video. Nope.

So how did it break records anyway?

October 26, 2015

A Tear Like No Other: Dancer's Knee Surgery Journey P4

MRI of the Knee
I've been shot!

And though it finally happened, though they finally stuck a massive needle into my right knee for an injection, it was not their idea this time: it was mine. And after the last journal entry, you might think you know exactly what an injection meant for me... but you'd be wrong.

Everything has changed. Again.

It turns out that all seven medical professionals who viewed my knee MRI, from the radiologist who took the images to the top rated orthopedic surgeon I wrote about last week... it turns out that they all read my MRI incorrectly. 

Big time.

October 19, 2015

Shock and Repair: This Dancer's Knee Surgery Journey 3

I am still in shock. This journey to knee surgery has not been a roller coaster. It has been a cyclone. 

I'm barely holding my bearings right now, standing right between two huge and important appointments, and am snatching both my breath and the moment to write a brazen update so you don't get lost without me.

Here's what's happened since Part 2:

  • I had an MRI taken on the right knee, which is damaged the most of the two.
  • I met with my primary doctor who had ordered the MRI, who then, upon reviewing the results, referred me to an orthopedic surgeon.
  • I met with my "top 10 in the field" orthoscopic surgeon.

And then my world fell apart.

September 28, 2015

Freestyle Footwork 3: Lil' Mama - Sausage

A New Footwork Video is Here:
The Story Behind It
If you were like the rest of the nation - scratch that - world, you were rockin' out to Lil' Mama's summer breakout hit "Sausage." Not only was it incredibly tight, catchy and well done, but the music video she released it with blew the last few years of MTV video awards out of the water.

She was, in short, hot this summer. And I was so, so glad to have her back.

Unlike most artists that top the charts these days, she doesn't rely on explicit lyrics to send a message. Not only that, but her message is always a positive one. It builds community rather than breaks it down. Bullying has become so rampant we become hostile when someone doesn't do it in their music, and Lil' Mama took some of that heat this summer.

September 21, 2015

New Video Series! Freestyle Footwork

Introducing a new series of
free footwork videos.
Lately I've begun recording a new series of videos for you to check out on my YouTube Channel (GetSwingIN). Now that I am able to dance again, albeit in a very limited capacity, I've been looking for ways to share it with you once more.

The new series, called Freestyle Footwork, is very much what the title implies. I pick a song I feel like dancing to, hit record on the camera and then I try to forget about it. I love the motto "dance like no one's watching." And that's the motto I keep in my head while I boogie on down.

I never dance to a song twice. I never choreograph beforehand. I just let my feet carry me where they will. Just like I used to.

September 14, 2015

This Dancer's Knee Journey, P2

My Knee Surgery Blog, Part 2
Tomorrow I head into the MRI for my right knee. I'm so ready.

I've had a lot of time to reflect since hearing the news that yes, it's time to operate on my knees. More importantly, I've had a lot of time to take notice of that one single knee that's being imaged tomorrow. 

That's new for me. My attention, for almost five years now, has been on some mysterious disease that's attacking every system in my body. As a result, I'm used to looking at my body as a whole, attaching everything wrong with the disease.

But now that the spotlight has been shifted to my right knee, my attention to it as an individual problem has unearthed startling results.

September 08, 2015

Video of the Week: Boogie by the Bay Podcast, P2

Part 2 of my Boogie by the Bay
Insider Podcast is here!
Boogie by the Bay is right around the corner, so it's time to check out the last half of my BBB Audio Expose Podcast

Confession time. Though I spill a lot of info in this podcast series, its not reflective of my other work. This is a much more personal podcast, because I personally worked with this team and it didn't end well. At all. 

If I recorded it today, it would sound very different. I know about the cult now. And in that light, all of the drama I experienced goes right out the window. All of these crazy stories you will hear will suddenly make sense. They don't sound so crazy anymore. They sound like textbook cult behavior.

August 31, 2015

This Dancer's Knee Surgery Story, P1: Going In

Knowing Our Knees in WCS
As my doctor was examining both of my knees, I thought back to when I first entered the world of WCS. I'll never forget the ladies at the US Open and at a few Tom Mattox events in Southern California who showed me their knees proudly: "See? I only have these three little round scars. That's it!" 

They were, of course, showing off the new kind of knee surgery available: Orthoscopic surgery. Instead of massive scars down the middle of the leg, which ruined the reason we wore skirts back then, knees were being taken care of with just three little knicks that could easily be covered up with a bit of concealer. Oh, how excited and proud they all were!

Of course, back then I was just a teenager. I knew nothing about knee surgeries. I didn't know about the huge scar down the middle of one's leg. I didn't know what a torn meniscus was, or the importance of healthy cartilage in my knees or how to protect them. I just saw three little holes, heard about a microscopic tube and thought - That's cool! 

Three little holes didn't scare me. It didn't make me understand what I was really seeing:

August 26, 2015

Passive-Aggressive Behavior in Dancing and Beyond

"Passive-agressive people are also known as 'the underminers.' They will smile to your face, but then stab you in the back. They will tell you they stood up for you, but they really helped sink you. They will give you a compliment, then follow it up with a negative notation. ("Nice skirt! On sale?") You try to help them get better, change, or understand what they've done, but do not bother. Passive-aggresives 'would rather be right than successful.'"
___

I took down these notes and more at a medical seminar recently. I found it interesting that even the medical profession recognizes that this pattern of behavior is so prevalent in society that the general public needs to be trained, not just psychiatrists or sociologists. What about you? Who is passive-aggressive in your life? I find that women are much more passive-aggressive then men. We can be our worst enemies, whether on the dance floor or in the work place. Think of a woman you know in dancing who has been nice to your face, but cuts you off on the dance floor? Critiques your clothing choices, partner choices - any choices at all - right after complimenting you?

June 26, 2015

#109b: What is a Cult? The Five Things They All Have

Cults: Get in Line or Get Out
From Weekly Note #109-B: What is a Cult?

What exactly is a cult? I hear that question all the time. There are 5 signs that I'll break down for you in a moment, but the bottom line is - cults are hella scary! 

They are pits of quicksand that operate waaaay more like black holes; they don't just suck you in and suffocate you, filling your lungs, ears, mouth and tears with tiny granules of glass - they pull you inside out too, scattering every molecule of you across space and time... and your family too.

Cults aren't cancer. They are much more deadly than that.

Those who are powerless - or oblivious - make the best prey, so this article is specifically designed to empower you - empower you with the skills to see, smell and feel a cult coming before it envelopes you or one of your loved ones. Here we go:

#109A: The Five Stages of Grief for WCS (Knowing is Everything)

Five Stages of Grief:
How they Apply to WCS
The five stages - denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance - are a part of the framework that makes up our learning to live with the one we lost. They are tools to help us frame and identify what we may be feeling. -Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

I want to take a moment to talk to you specifically about this week's Quote of the Week.

When it comes to the five stages of grief and loss, we usually attribute them to people who have lost a loved one or a job, etc. But I think we can all relate to these stages in terms of losing WCS as well.

In fact, I think it's vital that we understand just how many of us are going through - or have gone through - these five stages.

Video of the Week: The Choreography Tricks Behind Walk Like an Egyptian

For the first time in the history of WCS, see how a real high-level Classic WCS Routine is made - not for students, but for the professionals themselves. 

Go behind the scenes and see how the best of the best champions choreograph. Includes never-before-seen footage, secret tricks no one teaches and much, much more! It's a rare look behind high-level WCS routines, and for the first time in history - we're breaking it down - just for you.

The Making of Walk Like an Egyptian:
Never Before Seen Footage & More