Weekly Note  #75
Back to School
September 30th 2013
This Week's Note
Quote of the Week
A revolution is an idea which has found its bayonets.

-Napoleon Bonaparte

No Swing at BBB
Since I used to live in the Bay Area and used to work on and for Boogie by the Bay, I thought I should give my students and followers up there a heads up.
The Lindy side of BBB has been deleted this year. I know a lot of you had started going to their workshops instead of the WCS ones, which was a really smart bet - I loved hearing what you learned.
But Sylvia Sykes is all that is left of the Lindy track anymore (so sorry Lindy-babies!!!). She'll be teaching workshops designed for WCS, and as you already know, I respect her tremendously. She's go the info - and identified Abstract as a non-rhythm dance before anyone else I know.
Also, they added A TON of local instructors, which, as you know, might be an interesting new twist on the event. The Bay Area was the birthplace of Abstract Improvisation after all, so if it were up to me, I'd probably re-name it Beat by the Bay, don'tcha think?
Anyhow, just a heads up - have fun, stay safe and by all means, make sure you see that Golden Gate Bridge!!! (My offer still stands - a free book for video proof of one entire Drinking Chocolate feat at Ghiradelli Square!)

Dear Reader,  

It's been a rough week. But probably not in the way that you're thinking. Since only a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of you were brave enough to jump off the rude fence, I'll have to do the work myself. Fun. Don't get too cozy on my list. In the meantime, you'll just have to deal with what I have to say this week. 

So if you don't think I'm politic, please don't bother emailing me. I'm NOT politic. I'm unashamed, unabashed and completely confident.

For every one person you think I'm hurting, there's a thousand that I'm saving. 
And I know it. Here's to the revolution.

PS - seek and you shall find, this week - seek and you shall find - golden nuggets here, so read between the lines... seek... and you shall find.
The Power to Crack Their Foundation
The New "Rock" Upon Which We Can Stand


In Weekly Note #70, I urged you to, once again, introduce the Rock Step back into our dance. I said it would put the "swing" back in swing. How right I was.
I re-introduced The Tandem, also known as "Four Play," because it uses four dancers. I said it would help grind real West Coast Swing into your bones, soul and mind. Again, how right I was.
Since then the brave, the few and the smartest of men and women re-introduced the Rock Step into their workshops at events. Into their dances at their studios. Into their late night, side hall, first floor, private lesson room follies. Tandems here, Rock Steps there and a spin, spin, triple triple here, there and everywhere.


And you remembered, or discovered, just how much MORE fun, energizing, clever and exhilarating the Rock Step was, is and could be.


But I've got a secret to share. 


Here's what you also discovered, 
even if you don't know it yet:


You CANNOT do the Rock Step
and be 
Split Weight.


You can't. The Rock Step is literally defined as a person rocking their weight from one foot to another and then back again. The Rock Step is ALL about balancing from one foot to another - not straddling a pony with "40% of your weight on this foot and 60% percent on that foot." Abstract trained dancers are gonna die - they're gonna sweat, struggle and weep - totally BALK at the idea of Rocking ANY kind of step!


At my very first SwingIN there was a guy who had been taking with all the "young" kids here in Southern California (all of them untrained by the way) and quite a number of the leading Church members who USED to have training and then purposefully ditched it - boy, do we have so many of those! He was definitely a handful that day, but I wasn't too surprised by it, and I was most definitely equipped for it.
Anyhow, during the session labeled "The Cure" I taught everyone how to switch their weight from one foot to another. I didn't go into the Rock Step then... just switching weight.


And you know what? People had a HARD TIME!!! I couldn't believe it. My mother taught kindergarden and I filled in for her a number of times while I was a teacher. And guess what? One of their "skills" they had to learn was


Changing their weight (walking)
to the BEAT of a song!!!


That's right! Kindergardeners have to learn how to switch their weight to the beat of the song and I have to say... I don't remember any of them struggling with it!


But at that first SwingIN? With the "adults" trained by The Ten and their groupies.... oh Lord! It was a challenge!!! Some really liked working at it though - and loved this "new" feeling. Others, who were there back in the day of Rock Steps were like, "oh! right! I remember this!" and finally had that super joyous/dance-y face on again.
But others? Others thought I was crazy.


This one guy that only came to be ahead of the gossip trail? He kept asking me during the anchor section of the workshop, "so how much weight goes on my left foot here?" I didn't understand the question. He asked again, "Give me a percentage - are we talking 80%? 85? 60? How much my weight should be on my left foot?"


So I finally answered him - 




Until then I'd never had to explain what changing weight meant. But I'll NEVER forget his answer... never, never, never, never! 


That's impossible.
I don't buy it."


And he gave up, right then and there, just because I suggested that a person, a human being, a homosapian on this planet of ours, could ever, EVER be expected to put 100% of their weight on one single foot.


So strange, isn't it? That it's a requirement of all of our nation's children in Kindergarden? 
Perhaps I should've sent him there.


So I'm glad you're learning the Rock Step. I'm glad you're dancing at a level higher than The Ten. And just to give you another leg-up in the game, here are some moves I found in my Archives. I love being lead through them. I love leading them! And the SECOND one is my absolute favorite of the two. Here you are - the Rock of our new Revolution: the Rock Step. Our revolution, as Napoleon says in this week's quote, has found its bayonet.
Those subscribed to my YouTube Channel received notices when these videos were posted, so it's been shared a little bit out there already. One champion of "real swing" had a great question for me, which I'd like to share with you, as well as my answer to him. It's just great for future reference:
Question: "Although the pattern is cool the leader barely moved his feet though both demos. Was this the start of triple free dancing as well?"
Answer: "Yes, I caught that too - half of it was the syncopations he taught in class. It was an Advanced class - which, because things were being done correctly back then, a side pass with so little footwork WAS advanced - you had to know how to stay exactly on time without footwork - keeping the timing internally instead of externally. It was very advanced, and the men rarely executed it without a lot of effort.
They other half is Phil just being relaxed Phil after a hard three day weekend - he's assuming (it was 97 after all - SoCal was at it's very peak of widespread excellence) everyone knows the footwork, and he's focusing on the preps in the hands and sides of the slots.  When I'm tired, I do the exact same thing - but only in private now. I emphasize my footwork now (well, when I was able to dance), because no one was doing it. It's no longer a "given" - no one even realized I'm keeping time with my center.
Back then, he didn't have to emphasize it because everyone WAS doing it... the entire notebook is two whole hours! And I suspect others will have better footwork - it just takes forever to put them together... if you have any tapes with great workshops PLEASE post them and let me know so I can share them as well."
Let me add a little here too - NO - this was NOT the beginning of Triple free swing. The very first person to start that was here in Northern California with the initials CB around 2000. It grew from there and finally, the heads of the Church decided to "refine" and "revolutionize" swing in the Z kind of way, and that made the community change rapidly - starting around 2009/2010.
So there you go. Be ready to get your sweat on.
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The WCS Revolution
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About Katherine

A Champion dancer who fell in love with West Coast Swing in

the early 1990's, Katherine Eastvold has the real WCS preserved within her bones.


She has been inducted into the California Swing Dance Hall of Fame Board of Directors and is a Champion dancer and choreographer. She opened her own highly successful studio, has finaled consistently in the Classic, Strictly and Team divisions at the US Open, has written articles for numerous magazines in the community across the States, has choreographed top 5 routines, been on the board for Boogie by the Bay and traveled to over 42 states. 


She is not afraid. She loves beauty. She loves truth. And she believes it's knowledge that can bring a dancer more joy than they can imagine on the floor.


She is called "the voice of the people" and has, and always will, listen.

Katherine Krok Eastvold | PO Box 61555 | Santa Barbara | CA | 93160