Married because of Music & Dance - Bruce & Laura

Bruce & Laura Couillard WeddingOn Saturday, September 24, 2012, Anna and I were invited to a wedding. It wasn't just any wedding. It was the wedding of Bruce, one of my most long-term students, and Laura, the woman that he met while attending MidSummer Night Swing, a dance event in New York City.

As much as I would like to take full or even partial credit for both of them meeting, I will allow fate to be responsible for this amazing occurrence. Here's how they met:

Dancing in CT in Autumn 2011

Fall changing leaves - changing activitiesAs the weather starts to cool off and the leaves begin to change, people are beginning to consider their fall and winter activities. During the summer, many people got to enjoy the beach, boating, going to local parks, picnics with friends and outside events. In the next few weeks that all changes.

In our preparation for the fall weather, many of us need to change our activities to keep a fun and healthy social life. If you live in Norwalk, Stamford or Fairfield area of Connecticut, you may want to consider partner dancing. Dances like West Coast Swing and Hustle are weather-proof, they make you feel good no matter what season it is.

September 11, 2001 - A decade later

world-trade-center-lightsFrom the day that it happened, I have always wondered what it would be like a decade later. I was 28. I lived and worked in New York City. I grew up in New York City. September 11, 2001 was the craziest day of my life.

At that time, I was working at Cushman & Wakefield, the largest and most prominent commercial real estate company in the world. I had been dancing West Coast Swing about 3 years and Hustle 1 year. My partner Tami and I were at the top of our dance game with our classic routine "Fly Me To The Moon" (we had recently placed top 5 at SOS Grand Nationals in Atlanta, GA) and we were about to debut our first Hustle routine to a remix of "Oops, I did it again".

Erik Novoa makes West Coast Swing the final thought on WNPR's Colin McEnroe Show (guest hosted by Mark Oppenheimer).

Your Public Media (WNPR)On Thursday, April 28, one of my students (thanks Doug) texted me to tell me about a radio program about dance on 88.5. Since I was home, I tried to tune in on the internet but could not find the program about dance. It wasn't until I brought my wife to our local train station when I was able to tune into the car radio and heard the radio broadcast.

WNPR's Colin McEnroe Show was being guest hosted by Mark Oppenheimer. The show entitled "The Elegance (And Pleasure) Of Dancing" was a full range discussion about dance in America. It was so interesting an poignant that I raced back home to hear the final moments at home. Simultaneously, my student had texted the phone number of the radio station to me, perhaps as a subtle suggestion to call in.

Counting out-loud while learning to dance

Counting-while-dancingThere are many ways to help a person achieve a new motor skill such as dancing (especially partner dances like West Coast Swing, Hustle or Salsa). Discussion of rhythm, spatial movement and arithmetic methods are usually combined to create a complete package for someone to understand the new skill. As a teacher, I call it, "picking the lock" of the dance student's brain. I have found out-loud vocalization to be highly effective to get people dancing as quickly as possible.

The act of expressing your physical action through a vocal process is a sophisticated mental game. If it is done, it actually accelerates the learning process and prevents the body from memorizing incorrect movement during the early stages.

In January of 2010, the Norwalk Advocate wrote an article about our free Hustle and West Coast Swing lessons and party for people who are unemployed at Dance Dimensions in Norwalk, CT.

The article illustrates that owner, Erik Novoa, values his dancers even when they have an economic downturn like unemployment.

Your Brain on Dance

AMNH - Brain the inside story - related to dance

One of the joys of being a teacher is figuring out how a student’s mind works. If I can understand how a student learns both generally and specifically, I can become a more effective teacher. The exhibit called The Brain at the American Museum of Natural History is an indispensible tool for both teachers and students alike. For me it was a game-changer.

Saying "Hello" to the Host

say-helloI've been professionally teaching dance classes and hosting dances in both West Coast Swing & Hustle for the last decade. I have started to notice a trend that many people go to a party or class and do not say, "hello" to the host. I have seen this both at my own dances and at others.

I'm just wondering if people have fallen off the "my mother taught me good manners" wagon? So let's review the appropriate way to enter a party or class:

Pre-Payment for Dances

PrePaymentMany events, both national and local, offer pre-payment discounts for their functions. In the days of yore, people would send in a registration form and a check to hold their places. In the 21st Century, events use online payment methods such as PayPal to over significant discounts from the "at-the-door" rates.

What astounds me is that most people don't use the pre-payment offers, especially the "early bird" rates, and wait until the last possible moment to sign up, even though they are 99.9% certain that they will be attending a function.

The best part (sarcastically said), is that many people will pay significantly more just to have the "option" not to go - just so that they are not financially bound.

Top Dumbest Opening Lines of a Song

Are you dumb?Have any of you actually listened to the music that is played on the radio? Some of the most popular songs have some of the dumbest lyrics. But when the opening verse of the song is so ridiculous or lowbrow, it might say more about us as a listener than the uncreative songwriter.

Here are some of my favorites:

Do you ever feel like a plastic bag? - Fireworks (Katy Perry)

Do you have a first aid kit handy? - Damanged (Danity Kane)

Wake up in the morning feeling like P-Diddy - Tick Tock (Kesha)

Email me some of your favorites