West Coat Swing workshops with Anne Fleming

The Connecticut dance community had an amazing experience during the West Coast Swing workshops with guest instructor Anne Fleming. These workshops embraced beginner and experienced dancers alike. Anne's positive attitude helped dancers grow from simple augmented basics to Anne's favorite moves. We had a good turnout of 30 dancers for our first guest instructor in over a year. I'm so thankful that Anne met our dance community, and I'm even more thankful that our dance community got to meet Anne. 

The Workshops

West Coast Swing workshop with Anne Fleming in Norwalk, CT

During Anne's first workshop "Having Fun with Basics," she guided students through a brief warmup, relaxed the energy in the room with some light-hearted left-side passes, and began to teach an easy way to upgrade an anchor step by changing its level and energy. As the first workshop progressed, Anne modeled how the followers could bend the shape of the slot, allowing the partnership to stay connected either through the followers realignment, the leaders adjustment, or a combination of both. It was a simple way for all of the students to look more accomplished and musical, while also expanding their overall understanding of the dance. 

During the second workshop, "One Move, Four Ways," Anne guided the students through some tuck-turn variations. Anne challenged the students with a creative "fake out" moment. This workshop was excellent at improving the students basic understanding of a very common move and gave them the ability to make that move musical and more interesting even for the beginner dancer. 

The third workshop, "Anne’s Favorite Moves," was exceptional. This workshop combined moves and concepts that Anne had used in her first two workshops. Anne taught a scrolling tuck turn—a move that starts simply but required advanced execution. She also taught a variation on a whip that is frequently used in the advanced and all-star divisions. This class surely pushed the envelope of many of the dancers who attended, and it made them realize how basic moves could easily be used to create more complicated patterns. 

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Our community dinner was very special. We had so many people that we had to open tables directly on the dance floor so that the dancers could sit together. This time together, getting to know some of the new dancers, was one of the most interesting of the day. After the dinner, we cleared away that tables for the last workshop. The dancers felt closer together—more emotionally connected and invested in each other. 

The Dance

West Coast Swing dance with Anne Fleming in Norwalk, CT

The dance began at the end of the last workshop. With modern-day tunes playing, the dancers connected with the music easily. Anne and I danced a couple of times and immediately remembered why we loved dancing with each other. It was great watching the dancers try some of the new concepts and moves they had learned in the workshops. During the course of the evening, I shifted the music back and forth between contemporary songs, blues, and R&B of various tempos. This helped dancers get a true feel for a West Coast Swing night of dancing—something that we're just starting to enjoy in the southern Connecticut area. I'm so thankful that Anne Fleming was a part our learning and dancing experience in Connecticut. She is a wonderful ambassador of how fun West Coast Swing can be. 

The Video of a Story

During the introduction of the workshop, I told a story of a time when Anne and I were randomly paired together during the All-Star Jack & Jill at Swingin' New England in 2014. Our dance received first place. I like to think it placed so well because it retained the integrity of West Coast Swing while having a high level of musicality and creativity.  Here is the video of that dance. 

Dancing Together Again

This video is of Anne and me social dancing after her workshops. I feel lucky that we got to dance together a few times.