December 12, 2011

Never Before Seen Footage...

Ever once in a while I like to post something from my private weekly notes to the public right away. This is one of those days.  People have been asking me for videos like these for so long, it's not even funny. None of them have ever been released on the internet before, so it's time for everyone to enjoy. Hopefully I'll get some more uploaded soon, but for now... enjoy this single article from my Holiday History Note: Best Gift Ever!

"Best Gift EVER!"

Earlier this year I shared a link to a Classic Finals routine from 1998. It was an amazing and memorable routine that's still a favorite of mine, but many people online had never seen it before. They LOVED the dancing, but were shocked to see the couple's placement at the end.... Fourth. People's response? "Who the heck beat THAT?"

Yeah, we had some crazy routines hit the floor during our Rennaissance Era. And most of them aren't online. It's tragic.

Like these, for example. They've never been available online before. Get ready.

Now before you watch, here's a few things to look out for once you get over the initial shock.

1. These routines do an exceptional job of illustrating the unique versatility of WCS.

Every couple dances to a different genre of music. Every couple has their own personality and style. Every couple dances differently. So get ready for a variety of costumes like you've never seen before. I love it. But EVERY couple does real WCS. Every single one. You'll see it.

You'll see how it brings out the creativity and individuality of these incredibly talented dancers. Heck- at least three of the people you're about to see ended up on Broadway soon afterwards. But you'll also see how defined the dance is. It is, in no way, a free form dance. It's very much lead and follow and it requires a ton of training. As one of these dancers once said, "natural talent is only the beginning in this dance... and then the work really begins." And you'll see why in these videos.

2. These routines are all PATTERN based.

I've been hearing grumblings from the Abstract dancers that WCS dancers never "get better" because they just want to learn patterns. Patterns aren't easy. Patterns are hard. Especially these. You'll see that these patterns are based off of basic WCS moves, but I've been lead through a lot of them socially... and that takes SKILL. Serious skill. My husband can't get an Abstract dancer to follow a push-break. I hope you can see how real WCS, though extremely versatile, is a totally different dance than the random "freestyling" that is being done today. And it's certainly not, as I've said before, an "evolved" form of the dance.

3. And finally (just for me) notice the difference in the women.

If you remember, I sent you my Thanksgiving Beauty Note on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I wrote about learning to become Valiant, Vulnerable and Scandalous and about finally getting there.

Do you know what it was like for me, watching these videos the very next night, after more than 10 years?

Can you imagine how stunned I was to realize that, one by one... as these ladies crossed the screen... they were all... ALL... valiant, vulnerable and scandalous???

I'll be honest. I stopped the video tape and had a good cry. (Sorry to the men out there... I AM a girl after all.) It was overwhelming for me to realize that I... I who was so young, wounded and scared back then... I gave up all other forms of dance because I wanted to be these women- I wanted to be valiant, vulnerable and scandalous.. before I had ever even known about the concept.

I wanted their freedom. I wanted their joy. I wanted their skill. And I worked freakin' hard to get it. No wonder so many young women watch my dancing so closely... they see the mystery and the astounding attraction of the dance. Oh! and how truly sad that they cannot find that training (or even men who value that training) in so many areas of our world. But in the end... it was West Coast Swing that allowed women to be these three things more than any other dance. Amazing. I wonder what dance I would've chosen today?

But there is hope. Enjoy these videos everyone. They include five couples in all. Watch Clip 1 first and then Clip 2. YouTube required I split them up. As I said, none of these have been online before... ENJOY!

Watch 'em all? In order? Can you believe some of the placings? Heck, some of them are still controversial today. But dang... it was all amazing WCS... who'd want to be a judge? I hope you're watching these on the biggest screens possible. TV's are the best. You can see so much more.

Now, as with all dances, real WCS attracts a certain kind of person. Most of my readers are going to want to learn this stuff... and NOW! But a few will want their slow grinding, "check out" not "check in" dancing and their boom boom or strum strum music.

And you know what? That's okay. I don't mind if people prefer to do Salsa, or Tango or Zouk or Abstract... just don't call it WCS.

Because if you do... then this dancing you just saw... which is already dying because almost no one... the authorities, the judges, the directors, the DJ's... almost no one is fighting for this dance... this dancing will die forever. It will remain on VHS tapes alone. And our grandkids will ask where it went. And no one will know.

Our "leaders," rule makers, scoregivers... they talk... they talk a lot, but when their signature is required, it's a no go. We saw it at the Open. We'll probably see it again...

But I'm willing to fight for THIS dance.
I think people deserve to be able to learn it if they want to.
I think they should be allowed to dance it if they want to.
I think this dance is worth fighting for.

Don't you?

Truly, Madly, Deeply,
Katherine Krok Eastvold