Swing Discussion Boards > West Coast Newbie

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by Mawmaw, Jan 20, 2008.

  1. Mawmaw

    Mawmaw New Member

    I just wanted to post how excited I am about taking WC Swing lessons! I am having a blast. I have taken Ballroom for over a year and now that I have found WC, I am having a hard time stayng interested in Ballroom. I still love Ballroom, but I have been "captured" by swing. The big question..... should I follow my heart and stop Ballroom and concentrate on WC? Thoughts anyone?
  2. Stagekat

    Stagekat Member

    Hey I feel ya, I definately prefer latin and swing (EC and WC) over smooth... although I love it all... if you're not interested in ballroom anymore than I say follow your heart!
  3. Spitfire

    Spitfire Well-Known Member

    Exactly how I felt when I took up WCS four years ago. I had dismissed it for a long time before deciding to give it another whirl and now only Cha Cha rates with WCS as a fave.
  4. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

    Ditto, and sometimes, when the moon is right, Hustle and Salsa!
  5. dancin/dj

    dancin/dj Member

    i luv west coast, sometimes we sort of drop other dances and rush headlong into another(sometimes to really get good at a new dance) enjoy, you'll go back to ballroom or even out , in due time,old saying but true(its all good) ballroom is wonderfull when done right(like waltz & foxtrot) but CAN be stiff if you always just follow premade patterns. when you see a dance like west coast, with the freedom of expression, WOW, so enjoy, i started in my formal training in ballroom, then went to hustle, then salsa, then west coast, & some c2step, i luv them all, wc is one of the best for freedom of expression & WIDE range of music,salsa can only be danced to salsa music, waltz to waltz music etc.. , not so with wc, its range is by far the most wide in the sense that im writing of.
  6. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    I love WCS too! Is there a reason you feel conflicted about this? I mean, if you love WCS, then go for it. If you really don't enjoy ballroom, no one's holding a gun to your head to keep doing it.

    However, I do think it's valuable to know some ballroom, especially depending on the kind of WCS dances in your area. All my local dances are not solely WCS; they're "California Mix" which means many of the songs/dances are hustle, cha cha, country two step, waltz, etc. In the regions where WCS is bigger, you're more likely to find dance events where 100 percent of the songs are WCS.

    Have fun dancing! :D

  7. Mawmaw

    Mawmaw New Member

    I guess a lot of my feelings have to do with the time and money issue. I take ballroom at an AM studio. I started taking WCS there but quickly realized it was not the same as I was seeing on the youtube videos - which I liked so much better. So I sought out an independent insturctor for WCS and she is amazing! To continue with both is going to be very expensive and time consuming. I hate to give up ballroom after putting so much time in it, but really, all I want to learn is WCS! Maybe this will wain over time, which is why I wanted to know if anyone else had gone through this.

    Thank you all for your responses!
  8. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    Mawmaw, sounds like you're on the right track. You don't have to give up ballroom, since you've already learned some of it. I would suggest going out social dancing for ballroom on a regular basis, just so you don't forget what you've learned. Then if you have the time and money to resume ballroom classes, you can pick up where you left off. I've never been to an AM studio but I've heard they're expensive. You might want to try seeking out an independent ballroom studio which is likely cheaper and you can pay per lesson, or per course.

    p.s. who's your WCS instructor? Do you mind naming her? I'm going to MadJam, so if she's teaching a workshop there, I'll look for her.
  9. Gypsy Wishing

    Gypsy Wishing New Member

    You're not giving up ballroom, you'll be back -definitely follow the enthusiasm -ballroom will wait for you.
  10. Dancelf

    Dancelf Member

    That's a fairly common occurrence: wcs is a street dance, and chain studios like AM serve a different purpose.

    My question would be, how much social/fun dancing is enough, and can you get it from wcs alone, given your location? If there's enough to keep you happy, then you can set the ballroom stuff aside for a time (my personal view is that there isn't a lot of synergy between ballroom and wcs; neither is going to give you a large advantage in the other). If not, then you had best continue to do enough ballroom to keep it fresh in your feet.

    A second consideration would be the dancers in your area. Westies have a reputation for being unfriendly, and while that attitude isn't universal by any means, it is common enough that the reputation is deserved. You may find yourself in a position where you love the dance, but don't like "the scene".

    That said, I made the same transition you are considering, and haven't been tempted to go back the other way. (At New Years, I saw a bunch of dancers that I remembered from my ballroom youth, and good for them that they have continued and enjoy it; but I made a better choice for me).
  11. Ithink

    Ithink Active Member

    Given that MawMaw is in FL, I would guess Jen DeLuca? Who is indeed VERY awesome! One lesson with her changed my dancing a LOT!

    As for the main topic: I am a ballroom competitor of 8.5 years (I dance pre-champ and champ standard). When I met my husband I tried to get him into ballroom. He hated it so I tried salsa and WCS and WCS stuck. It stuck so well, that he is now totally obsessed with it, much like you seem to be;) I love it too as it is so different from ballroom with its almost free-form expression and varied musical influences. The thing is, with so much time, money and energy invested in ballroom, besides the fact that love it just as much, I could never quit ballroom for WCS. I also will never stop WCS because it is something I share with my husband. Right now I choose to concentrate most of my dance energy on ballroom because I want to try to achieve the best results in that discipline that I can. For now, WCS is pure fun and a social pasttime... Maybe in the future, I will get more into it in terms of taking regular lessons and trying to achieve the pinnacle of that world as well but for now, I enjoy both and choose to give most of my resources to ballroom.

    Just my story:)
  12. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    ITA Jen DeLuca is fantastic! I took a workshop with her and her partner Michael at Summer Hummer. She taught this one move where, when the lady does a turn, she can bend her knees to bring herself down lower during the turn, then straighten the knees at the end when she stops. It looks really cool and I've seen her and other ladies do it in competitions.
  13. chandra

    chandra New Member

    My guess was going to go to Jen too.

    Hey, if your choice is between WCS from Jen, and Ballroom for an AM studio...

    Id uh, go for the WCS...

    But, y'know, Im only obsessed with WCS and all, so take my advice with a grain of salt!
  14. Mawmaw

    Mawmaw New Member

    Well you are right. I am blessed enough to live in Florida and be able to take lessons from Jen DeLuca! Wow is she wonderful! My husband and I are taking together and he loves it too! Next week Deborah Szekely will be in town to see Jennifer so I have two lessons with her. I can't wait! I just wish I was further along so I could work on more advanced moves and not still on the basics... oh well.... I'll just glean as much as I can.

    I still haven't made up my mind if I am going to continue ballroom or not. But I am definitely going full force into WCS! Interesting comments Dancelf about the "scene" in WC. I wonder if anyone else has noticed a difference in the friendliness of the Ballroomers vs the Westies"?
  15. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    First of all, you will love Deborah! I took some workshops with her and her partner Robert, and they are incredible. They have a great sense of humor, too. Deborah is spunky, fearless and has fantastic technique. I am sure you will learn a lot. You're learning from the best, so I say go for it!

    As for friendliness, that may depend on your area. In my region, ballroomers and Westies aren't too different in friendliness levels overall. There is the occasional less-friendly venue here or there in each kind of dance, but most places are okay. I have found the Westie scene in DC very, very friendly though, even for newcomers. Other friends in ATL & NYC have told me good things also.

    I'm not familiar with the FL dance scene. Best thing to do, I think, is to ask Jen to recommend good places to dance.
  16. RickRS

    RickRS Member

    Being a beginner in WCS and not being part of an scene, as of yet, how is it that Westies have that reputation?
  17. Ithink

    Ithink Active Member

    Yup, the DC scene is AWESOME;)

    As for the supposed Westie unfriendliness, I think it's more clique-iness which is very true of ballroom too. WCS is VERY social, much more so than ballroom, so if you don't go to all the events and hang out in the ballroom until wee hours of the morning you might feel a little out of the scene. WCS dancers are much more party oriented than ballroomers as well, so there is light drinking going on, lots of flirting and touching so if you're not comfortable with that, you might feel like more of an outsider... It is a very small scene compared to ballroom so you see the same people all the time, over and over even when you go to events across the country. It's a big clique, especially with the CA/West Coast dancers!:) But, if you plan on getting into WCS very seriously, chances are you'll be in the clique soon enough.

    You have the best instructor - Jen is phenomenal and she also teaches some ballroom so she'll be a good teacher for you, to give comparisons/contrast ballroom from WCS.
  18. Mawmaw

    Mawmaw New Member

    Jennifer's comments to me were that the WCS events were very friendly. I guess I will just have to see for myself. I think a lot depends on how well you make friends and how open you are to others. Just like anything else. Don't think I'll get much flirting (thank goodness) - Grandma's are a little past that stuff you know!:)
  19. Ithink

    Ithink Active Member

    Oh, they ARE very friendly, she is right. But if it's your first few events, you will have to be pretty aggressive to ask the better dancers to dance as they aren't likely to ask people they haven't seen at events before...
  20. kayak

    kayak Active Member

    I would tend to agree that the Westie crowd is a snobbish. As a crew, I would say they are much tighter than the ballroom crowd in my area. So one tends to have to be pretty good to be accepted and there are a lot of good Westie dancers around here. Perhaps other areas are easier to just join?

    Still, it is a great dance. I kind of like the learn all the rules and then learn how and when to break them attitude :)

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