katherines-dance-word
 
Weekly Note 
 October 10th 2011
In This Issue
Capital Re-Design
Did you know that I dabble in design? Not only do I do my own graphics, but I did the new banners and the new first-ever full sized programs at Boogie by the Bay this year, and now... the 20th Anniversary Re-Design of Capital Swing's Convention Logo and Artwork! They debuted this weekend. Take a look! Congratulations Capital!

Quick Links
Articles in .PDF
Katherine's Website
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Contact Katherine
Katherine Krok Eastvold
PO Box 61555
Santa Barbara, California 93160

Dear Reader,
Welcome to my very first 'Weekly Note!' Like the new look? I LOVE it! I've had this in my head ever since The Time Has Come in May and I'm thrilled it's finally out there! The website is next! 

It was hard to pick just one topic, especially following such a jam-packed month, but I know "Boogie" is on your mind... so here it goes! Enjoy! -KKE

'Boogie' Music?
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I know it's called Boogie by the Bay, but I'd hardly say we "boogied down" to anything this year. Yes, the music has changed over the years, but Boogie has been known to provide a mix that actually swings... but not this year. Once again we were attacked with that ever increasing trend to deliver BASS. Bass, bass and more bass. I know the DJ's were asked to turn it down a number of times, but honestly, if I had to ask that my soft slow song "Secret" have it's bass turned down 10 decibals for our performance, imagine what it felt like when the throbbing "boom boom" music was played at normal levels during social dancing...

As I sat outside the ballroom on Saturday night talking, waiting for a swing song to come on (which happened around 2 or 2:30 am I believe) I noticed that I could hear the bass right through the walls, non-stop, at the same pace, for hours. I felt like I was at SwingDiego again, where you can hear the bass all the way out in the parking lot morning, noon and night, and fellow pros have to take asprin to make it through the weekend headaches. This year they actually had an EARPLUG vendor at the event, and there was a line at it every time I passed by. A line. But not necessarily for the dance floor. Yes, it was crowded at peak times, but I didn't see much sweating going on, nor much movement from the dancer's feet.

Which brings me to the question: can we really "boogie" to "boom boom" music? 

No.

Boom boom is, well, for boom boom. It's for Vegas hotspots. It's for young city nightclubs. It's for the treadmill. It's DESIGNED to help you Check-OUT... NOT Check-IN. And in order to have a good WCS dance with someone, we both have to be very much Checked- IN. 

At my SwingIN!s, I'm often asked about Contemporary Music for swing dancing. And I always say the same thing. Music can be both Contemporary and Swingable. It can. Just look at my song "Secret"... it's by Maroon 5 and it's not a blues song. But it feels SOOOOO good to do a side pass, and sooooo good to do a push break to it. One of my absolute favorite parts of the routine is when we do a basic Throw-Out at the first major phrase change of the song. YUM!

And that brings me to a helpful test for you- How do you know if a song is "swingable"?  Put on the song, and try doing some really good basics to it, ON BEAT, full weight changes and everything... without any styling or any back bends or any syncopations. 

If it feels stupid, then it's not a swing song. 
If it feels good, it's swingable. 

This is partly why we are faced with Abstract Improvisation. Soft Abstract is done to Lyrical songs. They have no beat and therefore the dancers HAVE to improvise their movements. Hard Abstract is done to throbbing Contemporary Music that pounds every beat so hard that you just want to walk... and walk and walk and walk... or should I say, bounce and bounce and bounce... or march and march and march. (Yes, Hard and Soft Abstract are new terms... I created them this weekend... in the shower! So get ready to hear more about those later....)

So many Pure WCS dancers say they don't want to try their hand at DJ'ing because they "don't know how." But the fact of the matter is that we don't really have any "real" DJ's left. DJ's who can read a floor, cut down the songs, manipulate the bass, the tempo, the tracks to fit the dancers and the mood. Most of the DJ's today are simply "iTunes Top 40" DJ's, who play whatever the nearest Celebrity Pro tells them to... and not what makes everyone jump out of their seat and move their feet.

But it's not JUST the music that's the problem, as so many people tell us. People are told, "it's the music- if they played blues, then they'd dance swing." Well, this weekend proved otherwise. Blues WAS played at Boogie... during some of the competitions. And so that will be my topic next week!

Until then, whip out some of the music you've been hearing and test it with a friend or a partner or on your own. You will be really surprised at what you find... and excited too!

-Katherine Krok Eastvold

Abstract vs. Swing DVD
SwingIN! ButtonSeptember's LA SwingIN! was a huge success and I'm proud to say that everyone was kind enough to obey my No Names Rule. (When I discuss a topic or a problem, people tend to get excited and call out names of those they believe responsible, and I always ask everyone at the start of a SwingIN! to strictly adhere to a No Names Rule. We have enough Nissies doing that!)

Because of this, the recording went VERY well and I will be able to offer a DVD of the SwingIN! Topic "Abstract vs. WCS" very soon! It covers the differences between Old School, Pure WCS and Abstract Improvisation.  When you purchase one I will also include my NEW Abstract vs. Swing Chart which only SwingIN! attendees have been receiving. It's two pages of revolutionary info that will help you identify the two dances.

Keep an eye out for this exciting and GROUNDBREAKING DVD!

About Katherine
A Champion dancer who fell in love with West Coast Swing in the early 1990's, Katherine has owned her own studio, become a finalist in both Classic and Strictly at the US Open, written articles for the community, choreographed top 5 routines, been on the board for Boogie by the Bay and traveled to over 38 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.

Want to know more about Katherine? Read her biography here.
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Copyright  2016 Katherine Krok-Eastvold