March 28, 2014

#59: The War on West Coast Swing

The Hate Group That Is
Demolishing WCS
People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war or before an election. -Otto Van Bismark

I don't have a problem with Abstract Improvisation as a dance form. I think it's a new type of Modern dance with it's own rules, music and demographic. I don't think it should be called WCS... But I think anyone that loves Abstract Improvisation, should feel free to dance it. 

But Abstract Improvisation dancers don't feel that way about us. They don't think we should have our own places to dance. They don't think we should have our own conventions, our own music and our own heroes.

They want Pure West Coast Swing to die. 

Shortly after The Nissy and The Time Has Come were released, many Pure WCS dancers started separating out. They started sticking with their own locations, their own dance nights with their own DJ's and their own music.

I couldn't have been happier. They were doing what they loved. It should have ended there.

But it didn't.

The Abstract dancers attacked them. Changed their nights to be on top of them, lied about them and advertised against them. I cannot believe how many stories I've heard about aggressive actions by the Abstract Improvisation dancers against the Pure WCS dancers. And I'm about to share a whole bunch of them with you...

You know what I haven't heard? I haven't heard a single story about a Pure WCS dancer trying to drive out an Abstract Improv night. I hope I never do.

The Attacks

We didn't start The War. We were too busy dancing. But they did, a long time ago. Now it's ranging full tilt. Homes are burning. People are running. The rampage is on. "How?" you might ask. "How can this war be so big?" Because there isn't a single area of our community or our dance that ISN'T being attacked. 

Example 1

An educational site has instructional videos of the basics of WCS - the Basic Push Break, the Basic Left Side Pass, etc, etc, etc. The videos are quite standard and informative. But underneath it are scathing comments: "This isn't WCS!!!" "This isn't how you dance it at all!" "You have to watch J&T instead!" 

Angry, angry comments slashing the very basics of WCS. Rude, rude and more rude the comments get... but why? to what end?

Example 2

A group of students hire a couple that used to do Pure WCS to teach them a private lesson. They specifically request WCS and even show them videos of the couple dancing real WCS. The couple, however, refuses to teach them Pure WCS, despite having the skill and the understanding it would take to teach it.

Students are asking for real WCS and paying hundreds of dollars, but the teachers refuse to teach anything but Abstract Improv...

Why? What in the world is the harm?

Example 3

A DJ at an event starts to play Swing music, including a lot of blues, funk, etc. The Abstract Improvisation dancers remove themselves from ballroom and literally send the DJ the following note, "We refuse to enter the ballroom unless you play our music and only our music."

A boycott? For playing a mix? For playing anything other than boom boom music? Why? Why a boycott? Why such drama?

Example 4

An event director offers a "blues" room at their event. The DJ's play real swing music the whole weekend in there, and the floor is so packed that it spills over to the carpet and surrounding areas. At the end of the event, the Abstract Improv teachers say they won't return unless the room is eliminated from the event.

Why? Why demand a blues room to be removed, especially since it's popular? Even though people love it? Why?

Example 5

A dancer visits a new city. They call some numbers on the website and the Abstract Improvisation group only tells them about the Abstract Improvisation dances. When the dancer asks about the other WCS dances they found online, the Abstract Improv dancer says, "Oh don't go there. That is REALLY terrible dancing over there." Later the dancer learns that the other dance was a 20 year old club with excellent WCS champions and some of the best dancers in the US.

Why the dishonesty? Why the trash talking? Why call real WCS dancers horrible and terrible dancers? Why?

Example 6 

A woman clicks "share" on a pure WCS video on Facebook because she loves the real WCS. She says, "This is awesome! wanna dance now!" Within 24 hrs, she has five emails from Abstract Improvisation dancers from around the US and overseas slamming her for promoting good West Coast Swing. She's so shocked, hurt and wounded that she never clicks "like" or "share" on any WCS video from then on.

Again, why? Why the slander? Over a dancers' love and excitement? Why can't anyone be happy or enjoy WCS dancing?

Example 7

A video on YouTube has a video of a winning West Coast Swing routine from years ago. Below it are the comments made by Abstract Improvisation dancers: "thank god we don't dance like that anymore!" and "that's not wcs."

(Btw, when I posted Ramiro & Sylvia's fantastic winning Strictly Swing awhile back, I also received comments, "this isn't wcs." Um. Yes. It very much is.)

Why in the world would they post so many comments saying it isn't wcs? Why say nasty things - thanking the stars no one dances that way anymore?

Example 8

A studio that teaches WCS for beginners but Abstract for "advanced" has a divided room during their parties. The Abstract Improv dancers will not look, acknowledge or smile at the WCS dancers. When they dance, they knock the WCS dancers out of their way. One reader described it, "as if we weren't human."

Who in the world would want to dance WCS with horrid behavior like this as a punishment? Why is WCS a punishable offense? A sin?

Example 9

When a dancer complains that the winning couples aren't dancing WCS, they complain to the World Swing Dance Council. Some of their members respond, "When they reach a certain level, they should be able to dance whatever they want."

Why? Isn't that for Cabaret? No other dance or sport on the planet, no other competition in the entire world tells the audience that's watching the competition "You see that guy over there? He's won a lot in the past, so he'd going to do something else now."

Be it Waltz, Archery or Swimming - no competitive sport on the planet changes the rules for winners.

But the WSDC does. Why? 

Example 10

A WCS leader enters a competition and really stands out among the competition. The women he draws grin ear to ear. All of the judges have him ranked high. One judge has them in 10th. When the judge is asked what he, the leader, could work on, the judge responds, "You weren't doing what the men do now. I don't know what they do, but I know you weren't doing it."An All-Star that was dancing Abstract Improvisation starts to get in

Again, this is punishment. Punishment! Why?

Example 11

The Ten start taking over WSDC events. They "drop" every judge that was around for real WCS, even if that judge consistently put The Ten in first place. Judges who have been judging for 30 years... suddenly gone.

Why? Why is every judged that was established before The Ten came to power... dropped from their events?

Example 12

An All-Star that was dancing Abstract Improvisation starts to get into real West Coast Swing. The more they study it, the more the All-Star Abstract Improvisation people complain. They write emails, send texts and tell the former Abstract dancer to get in line. When they stay with WCS, they start ignoring the dancer.

Again, this is punishment. Punishment! Why?

Example 13

The punishments occur on the social dance floors... everywhere. If a women tries to dance WCS - the Abstract guys gets angry or gives her a look of disgust. If a man tries to lead WCS, the women does drops on him without warning, tells him, "we don't do that anymore" with a look of disgust and disappointment. An Abstract dancer watches from the sidelines as a leader tries to do WCS and says, "wow, you clearly don't know what we do now." 

Disgust, anger, refusal and bitterness confronts real WCS on the social floors across the world.

There is only one answer.
They want swing to die.

I have soooo many more stories about women and men being insulted, shamed, tossed and torn because they were either taught real WCS, enjoyed WCS or danced WCS. It's beyond disturbing.

I don't know why they hate swing so much or find it so utterly disgusting to the point of beating up people who do it... I just know they are. I know they are encouraged to do so by The Ten. I know they love doing it. We are in serious trouble.

Long ago I wrote the following in The Time Has Come...

"If we insist on calling Abstract Improvisation "Swing"... 
then we will lose the dance."

The War against Pure West Coast Swing is being fought hard and fast across the Earth...

But I don't have many stories 
about anyone fighting back.

Wishing you the strength to fight,

From Weekly WCS Note #59: The War. Released April 2013.