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One2Swing Daily
Monday, May 03, 2004

Staying Inspired
Are you currently (or have you ever been) in a dancing rut? Most of you probably know what I'm talking about ... when you feel like your dancing has stagnated and you're stuck at plateau ?

This topic has come up from time to time with us. We both definitely go through these stages. A few of our friends are going through this stage right now . So how does one get through this period of stagnation?

To borrow from weightlifting vernacular, I think this is similar to when your body simply has settled into a routine. What you need to do is "shock it"! (Not literally). With weightlifting, get your body into a new routine!

For swing dancing, here are some things that have worked for Sheri and me:

Watch inspiring dancers (on video or live)
Before our first major competition, we often went out of our way to watch Justin and Jenn (of OC) dance on the social dance floor. At the time they were the ones who always got us the most inspired to dance (and they still inspire us!). Today, we still have our list of folks that inspire us.

Watching Competitions (live or on video)
Similar to the first one but now in a competition setting. This is where dancers really pull out all the stops! Seeing our first US Open Competition was mind blowing for us. West Coast Swing Showcase and Classic routines have so much sharpness and musicality that it can't help but inspire.

Taking more classes
It really doesn't matter much what kind of classes. Just getting out there and rotating in lessons itself helps.

Taking more non-swing classes
Tap, Hip-Hop, Tango, etc... getting your body into something new will wake it up! (And it will add to your styling too!).

Go to new swing venues
Put yourself in a new place with new people!

Kind of like "Go to new swing venues" really, but now it's out of state and you'll see how dancers outside of your area dance and what their swing scene is like. We just returned from Raleigh, NC (Chris and Holly were amazing hosts for us!). Sure the scene is smaller than So.Cal, but meeting new people and immersing in a new scene really is a treat!

Finally, attend a camp (esp. out of the area!)
THIS IS THE BIGGIE!!! Because it puts all the other ones together! A local camp will do if it's a big one because a lot of dancers from out of the area will come in. For So.Cal folks this would be Camp Hollywood. But also getting out of your timezone does wonders!!

For Sheri and myself our first out-of-area camp was The American Lindy Hop Championships, and seeing how a lot of the folks on the east coast dance (particularly New York, particularly Minnie's Moochers) was itself inspiring and a huge step!!

To conclude:

Here is a list of great events coming up:
Beantown Mini-Camp
July 2-4, Rhode Island
This is an ALHC qualifier event as well. So you will have great contests, great teachers, and a great experience!

Beantown Summer Camp
July 5-11, Rhode Island
For the serious dancer, this is going to be awesome! This is the kind of camp where the teaching and learning is the best! Sheri and I had gone to SwingOut Northwest (weeklong camp with separate tracks) and had an amazing time! From all looks of it Beantown will be the same if not better! You will intense tracks with separate dancing levels and fantastic teachers! If you're looking for a serious breakthrough, serious learning, and lots of fun, go here!

Camp Hollywood
July 29- Aug 1, Southern California
Lots of great contests (the National Jitterbug Championships) and well attended by a lot of folks out of the area, this is one fun camp packed into a weekend!

July 3-31, Sweden
This is a four-week camp (usually campers attend one week only, so the schedule is give non a week-by-week basis). This is considered by many to the biggest and best camp worldwide. Check out the teaching schedule to confirm for yourself!

American Lindy Hop Championships
Oct 21-24, Connecticut
A four day camp. This is one of the longest running lindy hop competitions nationwide and is considered by many one of the most prestigious. You will get great dancers from both coasts and everywhere in between showing up as well as some great workshops. This one is always great for me and Sheri.

SwingOut Northwest
Dec 26-Jan1
This is a weeklong camp (similar to Beantown) with multiple tracks. Lots of great teaching and fun here. It happens every other year so make sure you catch it when it comes. A great camp!

See you out there on the dance floor!

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