Katherine Halloween Dance Word
Weekly Note
#4 -  October 31st  2011
This Week's Note
Trick or Treat!
Ding Dong! Hey there... I have a question for you... 
          WHO IS YOUR
He Who Must Not Be Named
"He Who Must Not Be Named"?

Remember what the wizarding community was like when "He Who Must Not Be Named" was on the loose in all the movies and books? How people changed their behavior, their activities, their lives out of fear, worship and protection? So today's Trick or Treat question is... 

Who do you worship? Who are you too scared to question? Who are you too scared to place low? To fire? To not hire? To complain to? To be honest with? To change your music on?

Who is YOUR 
"He Who Must Not Be Named"?

It can be a person, it can be a couple, it can be a group, it can be an age range...

Who is it... for YOU? 

Bet a lot of your lists look the same.

So here's the Trick AND the Treat: If we all cross them off the list, then we'll all see the benefits... immediately. And the world won't get worse... it'll get much much better.

Hey, I've crossed all my names off the list... can't you tell? And aren't you so very very happy about that? Imagine if all of us did the same!

That's the Trick...
And there's your Treat!

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PO Box 61555
Santa Barbara, CA 93160

Halloooooooo there!
It's literally October 31st! I'm not a huge Halloween fan (I don't do spiders, blood or horror flicks at all), but this year I just couldn't help it once I saw Halloween landed on a Monday! How could I possibly pass up such an opportunity? 
I haven't had so much fun "dressing up" this Weekly Note for Halloween since... well, since winning the award for best costume as Lil' Bo Beep years ago! Hey Grace? Remember those sheep? Who's got the video?  
So let's start with some Scary Facts together, shall we? Woooooooooohooooooooooo....

                                             Happy Haunting! -KKE
Scary Scary Scary!
5 Scary Facts to Make Your Bones Shiver!
Scary Facts!
Scary Fact #1
We have had the same people in the Top 10 of our dance... for 10 years. Hasn't changed. Name me one sport, pretty please, where this is happening? I've got all the reasons for this Scary Fact in my back pocket, (see The Past, Present and Future SwingIN! Topic) but I can guarantee you that it IS NOT because we haven't had amazing talent or great potentials come into our dance. 
Fishy? You bet! Scary? YES!
Scary Fact #2

West Coast Swing is going global! Yay! Wait... let's check on what they think WCS is... One overseas website described our dance as... the perfect dance for the "lazy newcomer" who just wants to get on the floor for the first time... a slow dance that has always been danced to the Top 40 of the day and... WCS morphs accordingly to fit the new music... WHAT? Wow. I think I can definitively say that they are talking about Abstract Improvisation, not West Coast Swing. Oh, and I've found a few other overseas sites like this too. BOO! 


Scary Fact #3

The most popular teachers are now teaching that dancing split weight is a higher form of movement! Split weight? A higher form of movement??? Truth is, the vocabulary of a dancer decreases 90% when dancing split weight, and it's nearly impossible to body lead or follow. Not only that, but the concepts of "sending and receiving," as well as "pulsing" are suddenly impossible. One of the biggest complaints I'm getting about the Classic Division is that it "all looks the same." One of the reasons is because 99% of the dancers are dancing both split weight and with continuous motion (no pulsing). My partner took a poll at our last NASDE event- and NO ONE said they were looking forward to seeing the routine divisions. NO. ONE. Split weight + No Training + No Swing = Scrrreeeeam!


Scary Fact #4

Who rules the rules? When Abstract Improvisation was in it's embryonic form, NASDE considered changing the rules of Classic to eliminate all forms of weight supported moves. That meant tricks & dips would stay in the Showcase Division. That meant FOOTWORK would live on... that meant dancing would live on... but WAIT! The rule changes were leaked and the upper competitors of the division 'complained' (I'm being nice here) and... POOF! Like magic! not only were weight supported moves added to Classic, but MULTIPLE weight supported moves were allowed.  Think that's a thing of the past? Sorry! In 2009 seven out of ten couples were violated for swing content in Classic Finals. Oh No! POOF! The scrutineer was replaced with a new one, a whole new panel of judges were used and they were told "everything is swing." Eeeeeeek!


Scary Fact #5

I have been asked: "Do you check your car for explosive devices before starting it?" and "Do you have your mail x-rayed before opening it?" and "Do you check over your shoulder when walking out in the open???" I'm a DANCE teacher! We are a DANCE community. We were once full of joy. We were once passionate. We once believed in good dancing, no matter what the cost.  And now we're worried about car bombs??? Dancers in FEAR??? Now THAT'S a SCARY FACT! 


The Scary Bottom Line


FEAR has played a big part in all five Scary Facts. 


This FEAR keeps us from questioning the authorities, no matter how often they ignore and/or fail 99.9% us or say things that make no sense at all. Swing dancers... or any dancer... should NEVER be afraid... Dance is about JOY!!! and jubilee!  So, yippee!!! Go out and DANCE!


(And the answer is NO, by the way. I do NOT check my car for explosive devices. My mail hasn't contained any mysterious white powder. And, as far as I know, I'm not being followed. They probably couldn't afford the gas anyway! 


Real Bottom Line? There is nothing to fear... I'm proof of that. So just say "Poo!" to all the "Brew"-ha-ha!")


With hope and good cheer that our community's Witching Hour will soon come to a close...

                                                       -Katherine Krok Eastvold
Rearview Mirror
"Swing is Swing" was supposed to be the 'take a break' Weekly Note before hitting you with "Scary Scary Scary!" But boy, did I ever call it wrong! My inbox has been slammed! Thanks, questions, requests, guesses at the Tenets of Swing, praise and even videos have been sent... Wow!

But thank God for your responses. Because a large portion of them revealed some HUGE, and I mean HUGE misconceptions that are seriously widespread! To my readers who teach, travel, judge, make the rules, etc... this Rearview Mirror is for YOU!

(Okay, now for those of you who are new to the dance, and/or sent me the emails leading up to this... I'm GRATEFUL you emailed me, because I, as well as A LOT of others on this email list, needed to know you thought these things. So I thank you!)

Misconception #1:
Fast footwork means it's Shag.

What the? Since when did footwork become a Shag only thing? What happened to all the syncopations we learned? The taps and the heels and the flicks and the rondes... are you kidding? Footwork = Shag? When did that happen? 

Oh, that's right. The "placing" dancers don't do footwork. (Sorry, I don't consider stuttering, or as I call it, "twittering," in place to be "footwork.") But mostly they stand still and do tricks. 
Oh, and that's right. This new music doesn't have anything for us to do footwork TOO anymore. 
Oh, and that's right. Probably because of that "Split Weight" thing being taught up there in Scary Fact #3. 

Can you believe it? "Weren't Benji and Mary Ann doing Shag?" Good heavens... do you know how many people I got that question from???

I need a Xanax.

Misconception #2:
Head rolls, hair flips and back bends for the women are a major characteristic of WCS.

No. Head rolls and body rolls are a major characteristic of ZOUK. Yes, Zouk. I'll be getting to that next week.

Anyhow, in SWING the follower's head does indeed stay still. For so, so, sooooo many reasons. 

Her head mostly stays still. Kinda important. Not kidding. Guess I'd better start teaching that in classes. Never even occurred to me to do so before... but I definitely know better now!!!

Misconception #3:
Dancers that have begun WCS in the last five years know what Swing looks like.

They don't. Especially if they travel and/or compete. Boy, did I get a big lesson in that this last week.  And let me tell you... these dancers are STUNNED. They are simply STUNNED!

"Why haven't I seen this before?"... "This is cool... where can I find more videos like this?"... "Is there a website where I can find all these videos?"

Oh. Yes. It's that bad. 

I mean, it's good... it's very good that new dancers want to learn how to DANCE Swing... but it's bad that they just don't recognize Swing when they see it. AND they are not NOT happy that all of this is news to them. They are NOT happy they've been kept in the dark.


For all my fellow champions, event directors, judges and council members who DID NOT believe me when I said that people asked me "What dance are you doing?" every time I performed this year... performed a routine full of BASICS ONLY mind you...

...I wasn't making it up!


Man in the mirror. Time to make a change. 

Swingin' Out,
Katherine Krok Eastvold

PS- Oh yes, and this would be a good time to note that I get a flood of questions from All-Star dancers about my routine with Josh. They want to know how we placed... because they want to know if they should start learning "that dance."  
I approach my performances in Classic as just that, performances. They are "demos" to inspire and encourage the newcomers, the Pure WCS dancers and those who have training in other forms of dance and understand what good Timing, Technique, etc looks like. But I've never danced to compete. Not anymore - I already had my time at the podium and enjoyed it, loved it, and went on to build a studio empire upon it.

Having done all that - having completed my competition years so long ago, I only returned to the floor out of pure enjoyment. Josh IS at his prime. He is exactly where I was years ago. So he cares, and he loves how he's skyrocketed in his competitions due to our routines. But me - I don't even check the scores. I know it's not really a competition out there. I could tell you the Top 5 on the podium a year from now - even 5 years from now.
But this approach - of performing instead of competing - has added a whole new level of sadness and mourning for me... because the more these Advanced and All-Star dancers ask, the more I realize their willingness to learn, and the more I realize that they won't because it's simply not asked of them. It breaks my heart when they watch me social dance all night, with intense concentration and wonder... I can see it in their eyes... "what IS it that she's doing?" They want it, but they know that if they do it, they won't place.
You want to see more WCS? Then tell them in your scores. Because they'll do whatever it takes to win... and right now, they think it's something OTHER than SWING.
About Katherine
A Champion dancer who fell in love with West Coast Swing in the early 1990's, Katherine has owned her own highly successful ballroom & swing studio, has choreographed top 5 routines, is a finalist in both Classic and Strictly at the US Open, has been on the board for Boogie by the Bay, has traveled and taught dance scenes in over 38 states and has written articles for numerous magazines and newspapers for dance since 1997. 

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.

Copyright 2016
Katherine Krok-Eastvold