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. 

Dancers,

I am very thankful for all of the virtual personal interaction this week. While our dance community has been distanced by the coronavirus, I have been learning new skills to help bring us back together. I have started using video conferencing software, Skype and Zoom. These two programs are available for desktop, smartphones, and tablets.

As your teacher, I would like to ask if you could download one or both of these softwares. Using these apps, we may be able to do virtual private lessons and mini-classes while we are unable to use the dance studio. More importantly, Skype and Zoom allow us to stay more closely connected socially. I am planning on creating a Zoom video chat with some of our dancers in the coming days.

If you need help with installation of these softwares or want to test out if/how they work, I would be glad to help you. I am learning it right along with you.

Download links:
Skype
Zoom

Zoom Installation Example Video

I look forward to dancing with everyone again,
Erik

 

I had a great time teaching West Coast Swing at Vitti's Ballroom in Danbury, CT on Saturday, November 2, 2019. The workshops started at 3:30pm with two beginner classes of West Coast Swing. These two workshops were followed by a break to eat, which was followed by an intermediate class. 

International Rally West Coast Swing in Norwalk, CT

On Saturday, September 7, 2019, our dancers performed the choreography for the "International Rally West Coast Swing" in four locations. The 2019 Rally, choreographed by Virginie & Olivier Massart from France, was intended to bring international awareness to West Coast Swing as a version of swing dancing that can be done to many forms of music, including popular music. This year's song was "Hands Up" by Merk & Kremont (feat. DNCE). These demonstrations started at our home studio, Dance Dimensions, and continued at public locations in Norwalk, CT: Mathews Park, the Maritime Aquarium, and Harlan Publick. At each location, the dancing became more confident. We filmed the routines, and the dancers performed it multiple times with various partners. This insured that we would have many different perspectives and opportunities for the best footage to put up alongside many other international performances. 

On Thursday, August 15, I had the pleasure of bringing my daughter to my West Coast Swing night. Although I always thought that my daughter would be a frequent guest at my dance nights, she only gets to come about twice a year. She looks forward to it so much that she specifically requests to wear her white patent leather "dance" shoes. 

On Saturday, August 10, some of the members of our dance community went out dancing in New York City. While this has happened many times before, this time was special because it would be Collin's first New York City West Coast Swing adventure. While dancing with people you know is comforting, going to a new environment to dance can a little daunting. Just going to New York can be a challenge: how am I getting there; where am I going; will I know anyone there; how do I get home safely? These are many of the questions that go through one's mind when venturing out of one's comfort zone. That's why it was so important when dancers, who had already gone dancing in New York City, asked Collin if he would join them. When I heard that Collin had accepted the invitation to venture into the "urban jungle," I couldn't help but want to go, too. 

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