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I have been taking a class in differentiation at University of Bridgeport this semester for my master's degree in Education and teaching certification. Differentiation is "the efforts of teachers to respond to variance among learners in the classroom." The following video was done as a class project to exemplify a creative way to demonstrate my understanding of differentiation. I demonstrate how West Coast Swing can be understood and taught using rhythm, spacial (body), spacial (directional), temporal, and visual methods. I hope seeing this video will help dancers find their way to understand the dance while also helping teachers explore the various ways to connect with their students. 

West Coast Swing dance class in Norwalk, CT on March 18, 2021

Last Thursday, we had a "full house" at our West Coast Swing beginner dance class in Norwalk, CT. That means that we had 20 people total, 19 students and me. This represented the capacity limit specified by the State of Connecticut for Dance Dimensions imposed in June 2020 (SwingShoes resumed classes in September 2020). 

Last year, on March 12, we experienced our last class before COVID-19 shut down businesses around world. Workshops, dance events, and social dances came to an immediate halt. For months, most people stayed at home except for an occasional walk near their homes or for grocery shopping. During this time, I heard of people who had experienced the disease firsthand, either getting it and recovering or who had passed away.

Banner from CT.gov's article indicating Governor Lamont Announces Plans To Ease Some COVID-19 Restrictions in Connecticut

I am very excited to hear that Governor Lamont is eliminating its capacity limitations for various businesses on March 19.

New Years 2021

Congratulations on making it past 2020! Just like for you, 2020 was a completely different type of year for me. In the first three months of the year, we had large classes with many newcomers. In the intermediate class, we had just started learning easy transitional moves—bringing former beginners to a higher level. And, on March 12, we had our last class before closing for 6 months. 

This month (October), we started partner dancing West Coast Swing with multiple COVID-19 safety measures in place. Prior to students arriving, the studio is sanitized by wiping down all doorknobs, chairs, benches, light switches, and bathroom fixtures. Student temperatures are taken upon arrival, followed by a health questionnaire. The studio has 20-foot high ceilings and the dance floor has been marked with 6x6 foot quadrants for social distancing. Lastly, all students must wear masks for the entire time that they are in the building. Classes limited to 20 people in the dance studio also insures a high level of social distancing.

It's been 2 months and 11 days since our last West Coast Swing class in Norwalk, CT. I have great compassion for friends who have lost their jobs or lost loved ones. For some, these past months have been traumatic. I feel very fortunate to have known a few people who recovered from COVID-19, and I feel lucky to have avoided any major possibilities for infection. I am looking forward to the day that we can all dance together again. 

SwingShoes Video Social Bingo on April 30, 2020

On Thursday, April 30, 2020, we added a new element to our video social, a game of West Coast Swing Bingo. I have to give credit to Janice Frank, who suggested the idea and created the bingo boards. Janice called me to ask about the names of different West Coast Swing moves. I suggested moves like the lariat, progressive tuck turn, head loop, and basket. Once Janice had 24 moves, she was able to print randomized cards. 

On Thursday, April 16, 2020, instead of having our regular West Coast Swing class at Dance Dimensions in Norwalk, CT, we gathered together virtually. We used Zoom to have our third SwingShoes Video Social. This social was open to all dancers who attend our classes. It has been a fun way for our community to keep in touch with each other and create some fun memories. 

As of today, it has been 32 days since our last West Coast Swing class on Thursday, March 12 in Norwalk, CT. It has taken me a long time to write this post, mostly out of avoidance. I thought I'd share some of my story with you. 

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