Friday, September 14, 2012

HSC musica!

I got to interview Hotlanta Salsa Congress music headliner Luisito Rosario. He was really nice and very gracious. I'm really stoked because dancing to live music is a whole different dynamic than dancing to a DJ.

Even his speaking voice is smooth and velvety. :D

BTW, you can read all about it here.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Welcome, oh, welcome... my little blog
I've begun this whole thing to clear up some fog
About dancing and etiquette and unspoken rules
to those who violate them and act like big fools

Sometimes it's just me ranting and raving
Sometimes it's dance pros on how we're behaving
There are also events and articles too
To bring the dance info closer to you

Dance professionals, if you have something to say
Even if it's blunt, I'll quote you anyway
I love every subject, no topic's taboo
If you're a dance pro with an opinion, I'll interview you

I'm based in Atlanta, but don't ever fear
We can talk on the phone or whenever you're here
Dancers really need to know what you think
So their footwork and manners won't start to stink

Dancers, give comments, opinions, and thoughts
Get the dialogue going to work out those knots
Of feelings unexpressed and words left unsaid
So the morale of the dance scene won't end up dead

If there's something you want perspectives about
List it below or give me a shout
I'm available on twitter, Facebook, and also G+
Tracking me down is really no fuss

This is a project for us all to explore
Be patient, I've never done this before
I hope to expand this idea even more 
With all that said, see ya on the floor!

Written exclusively for Dance Infotainment and Dancing4Fun

Image stolen from Jimmy Rumba. I guess I'm never running for public office.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Etiquette Series: Nasty Comments about Performances

There is an unspoken problem in the dance world that really needs to be breached. Anyone who is a regular in the social dance scene knows that there are several performance teams out there that perform at dance socials, parties, congresses, etc. Sadly, anyone who is a regular in the dance scene also knows that there is an unfortunately large crop of haters out there that can't wait to insult said performance teams.

I've personally been on dance teams twice. Both times, I overheard nasty gossip about myself, heard nasty comments made about my team when the haters thought we were out of earshot, or worse, when we had changed clothes and they couldn't recognize us and went right on flappin' their jaws. I've also heard myriads of nasty comments made about other dance teams, particularly about the physical condition of some women on certain dance teams.

“I can't believe SHE is wearing THAT!”
“Couldn't they have found a costume to fit HER?”
“I sure as hell wouldn't wear THAT costume if I looked like HER!”
“OMG! What does SHE think she's doing on a performance team?”

We've probably all heard these or similar things said at least once, if not several times. A few of us may have said similar things a few times. Well, knock it off. If you've done it before, admit your mistake and vow not to do it again. Attitudes like that are toxic. You are polluting the dance scene with your discouraging attitude. You are stunting the growth of more dancers than you realize.

Just think, the very girl you were criticizing may have been really inspired another girl, perhaps one who is built similarly, but is afraid to join a dance team. She saw the same girl you did, but she saw the positive, she saw her own potential mirrored in that girl.

Then she overhears your nasty comment about the girl she thought was inspiring. In a second, you've dashed her confidence to the floor. So, she stays home, doesn't join a dance team even though she really wants to, and doesn't grow as a dancer. Ask me how I know that can happen. Go ahead, ask me. I dare you.

With that said, do you see how damaging your negativity is? If you REALLY can't say something nice SHUT UP, at least wait til you're at home with someone who isn't in the dance scene at all because you also never know how loose somebody's lips are. Not to mention, when people hear you say things like that, they never quite look at you the same way again.

So, actually, it's preferable for you to just shut up.

“A friend told me about a girl who made a rude comment about our dance team,” says Tess Khan, a performer with Stiletto Dance Company, “The next day, she ran up to me smiling and hugged me, not knowing that I knew she had laughed at our routine, and she never even acknowledged anything about the performance, good or bad.”

How unfortunate! Even if a dance team completely bombs, the people on it are still worthy of some recognition for bravery and hard work. Perhaps people watch “Dancing with the Stars” or “So You Think You Can Dance” and think that it's normal to learn a whole routine in a day or a week and if somebody can't do it, there's something wrong with her. Perhaps people think that only a few body types are “allowed” to dance (or even allowed out of the house). Perhaps they don't know the difficult, painstaking, emotional work it takes to perform a dance number, particularly if you're a beginner or if you're trying to downsize your shyness.

Another dancer for Stiletto Dance Company, Kimberly "BachataGata" concurs, “If someone is brave enough to perform for any sized crowd, in my eyes, that person is a fabulous dancer. It takes months of physical and mental preparation and commitment to put together a routine. There is always growth occurring, which is an intense process at any level.”

Provided some dance teams or some individual dancers totally mess up a performance. It's an inevitability, but it's also a part of the growth process and the positive should be nurtured, rather than the negative being emphasized.

Kimberly continues, “I have deep respect for anyone who gets on stage to share their personal growth. They deserve our most exuberant applause."

Of course, some people will be apologists for the poisonous behavior, saying, “Well, it's up to you to have confidence in yourself and to not let those comments get you down. The people who say that just have issues themselves so you can't take it personally.”

…but it is personal and it is hurtful. The “be confident in yourself” attitude does have some truth to it, but it can breed a toxicity of its own. Yes, you should join a dance team for YOU and not so you can earn praise from others. Yes, you should continue dancing if YOU enjoy it and it makes YOU grow. Nonetheless, nonconstructive, cruel criticism is an unpleasant, difficult thing to have to deal with and telling people they need to “be confident” is, frankly, insulting. It asserts that they're to blame for having bruises where their hearts were kicked. It asserts that they're weak and just don't know how to handle their emotions. It asserts that their emotions are wrong and that they aren't allowed to have them. Worst of all, it lets the jerkwads get off scot-free!

Don't make nasty comments and don't excuse nasty comments. Next time you hear someone saying something negative about ANY dance team (because you WILL hear it), correct them. Stand up for those that are brave enough to put themselves out there to be judged, scrutinized and possibly ridiculed. Let people know that their venomous attitudes are not welcome in the dance world. Most importantly, always congratulate the performers if you have the chance, even if they messed up, even if they don't look great in their costumes, even if you didn't like the choreography. You are nurturing their confidence and growth and they will thank you for it.

If you happen to be one of the people who criticizes dance teams, I have two words for you: Join one.

Image stolen from who likely stole it from someone else.

Monday, July 30, 2012's frickin' hard!

I had a blast at Dancing4Fun's Latin Dance Classic. I took several classes that I think will help me as a dancer overall. I also got interviews with all of the instructors about technique, etiquette, lead/follow, etc.

The one thing I couldn't seem to nail down, which was a brand new dance for me, was kizomba. It's not that I'm a slow learner, but that kizomba is a frickin' hard dance!

If you're curious about what kizomba is, I honestly wouldn't tell you to look it up on Youtube, at least not without explaining a few things. First and foremost, kizomba is not a presentational dance. By that, I mean it's absolutely NOT meant to be performed or judged or critiqued in the way that other dancer are (though I'm sure it doesn't stop people from doing so). You can't really do very elaborate styling and tricks that you could in other dances. Secondly, if you're a dancer and you watch it, you will probably think, "Oh, that's easy...what's the big deal? These people aren't even really doing anything. Why do people even want to learn this? I bet I can learn it in five minutes."

Good luck with that because I've gotten to a point where I pick up dances pretty quickly and after a *THREE HOUR* workshop, I'm still clueless and so is everyone else that was in the very same workshop.

The point of kizomba seems to be more about being close with someone and feeling the music. Because you're so close with someone, it's actually hard to do the dance because it's tough not to step on each other.

So, we shall see what kizomba looks like in the US. I really hope it doesn't get hijacked by overzealous performers that want to make a show out of everything....but we'll see.

Keep checking out my blog because I'm going to have some really cool pieces very soon that feature various dance instructors' advice and opinions and you won't want to miss that.  

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

OH EM GEE! 2nd Annual Atlanta Latin Dance Classic July 27-29

I know, I already posted an article I wrote about the LDC, but I wanted to share my personal excitement about it!

So....there are a bunch of really talented couples coming from all over the US to teach really cool stuff, but the two most interesting things happening, in my opinion, are:

Jorge Elizondo's Bachata Choreography Class
Ivan & Isa....period.

I've taken classes from Jorge Elizondo before. He's pretty strict to be honest, but he gets down to the nuts and bolts, which is good. Too many salseros are actually...well...shitty dancers. There, I said it. They might know interesting tricks and they might be able to find people that can lead/follow them, but most of them have no real fundamental basis of dance in general. My personal opinion is that it's because many of them don't take actual lessons and kind of learn on the street/in the club where they're only dancing with other people who learned on the street/in the club. It can be hard for the blind to lead or follow the blind....unfortunately, this is the status of salsa.

Jorge Elizondo does get to those very basic things that even some "advanced" salsa dancers are lacking. He talks really specifically about leading, following, connection, rhythm, isolations, and what seem like minute details about movement, but are really quite important. To have this guy teaching an actual number is pretty great! I'm admittedly a bit intimidated, but I think it will be awesome....or if it's not I can go take something else.

The other thing this Ivan and Isa. They're coming all the way from Spain to tiny little Gwinnett County, GA. That is pretty dang cool by itself. The other thing that will be awesome is that they will be teaching a lot of kizomba. Just my personal opinion, but I think kizomba is going to be the next big standard addition to social Latin dance. It used to just be salsa and merengue. Then, bachata kind of came out of nowhere and now it's salsa, bachata, merengue. Well, kizomba keeps creeping in, but it's not that popular in the US...YET!

According to the guy who runs this event, whose name is Sean Christopher, kizomba is BIG in Europe, which is why he brought a couple from Europe in to teach it. Currently, it seems like  a footnote in Latin dance gatherings and congresses...there might be two classes for a whole weekend-long event...but it's going to be pretty heavily featured at the LDC. There will be *FIVE* FRIGGIN HOURS of kizomba classes at the LDC and it's going to be a part of the daily dance socials as well.

...which could be very embarrassing for me, but I'm going to try anyway!

Honestly, anything that expands salseros' minds is a good thing. Not to get anybody's panties in a wad, but salseros are pretty narrow minded when it comes to dancing. They only like their own little dance world. They're not really interested in learning other dances. The only way to get them to open their minds is to sneak other dances in to events that are majority salsa.The same might be true of other dance types, but every other dance type I've tried to learn, it seemed the people were much more diversified (and better leaders).

So, I'm super-stoked to see kizomba being thrown in to the mix and I wonder what the next thing will be. I'll be posting a totally informal, opinionated review here and will, of course, do a professional article for

BTW, here's the link to the LDC site where you can get tix, schedule, instructor bios, blablabla:

Lead me on the dance floor, but follow me on twitter @danceinfotainme.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Dance travesties

These happened....and we all stood by idly and let them happen! We are all guilty:

The Roger Rabbit
The Macarena
The Achy Brakey Heart
The Sprinkler
The Electric Slide
Cotton Eye Joe
The ChaCha Slide
The Cupid Shuffle
The Robot

And the mother of all terrible dances.....


How sad is it that after what, 40 years, people still screw up the letter formations every time?!

Yes, I understand the necessities of these dances. People who are shy and afraid of looking like asses on the dance floor are guaranteed to be surrounded by other people looking like asses on the dance floor. Assery in numbers reduces the individual risk of ego damage by 77.3%.

Whatever it takes to get people on the dance floor should be seen as a positive thing. However, these dances are merely self-fulfilling prophecies. People who dance these dances are usually not going to learn other dances. What is the likelihood that, even if you are super awesome dancer #1, that someone will approach you and say, "Wow! You are so amazing at The Macarena. Where did you learn to dance like that? You must be a dance teacher. Where can I take lessons?"

In other words, as much as we wish these were gateway substances that lead folks to the highly addictive drug of dance, they're just gateways to Facebook-tagged party footage that will prevent you from running for office within the next 100 years.

....all that said, if I ever get married, I'll probably play every damn one of 'em at my wedding. -sigh- On a brighter note, if I ever get married, THERE WILL BE AN OPEN BAR, as there should be at every wedding.

We should all be so cute when making asses of ourselves. 

This image stolen from, who likely definitely stole it from someone else.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

2nd Annual Latin Dance Classic July 27-29

The Gwinnett based Dancing4Fun is gearing up for it's 11th anniversary and its second annual Latin Dance Classic, which will take place July 27 – 29, and will feature nine instructors and over 20 hours of workshops and 15 hours of social dancing and showcases.

“The Latin Dance Classic came about because I looked at the calendar and I thought, 'Dude, we've been in business for 10 years already!' It was a pretty big milestone, so I wanted to do something bigger than what I normally do,” explains Dancing4Fun owner Sean Christopher.


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Atlanta dance events (3/2 - 3/8)

Part of my dance passion is promoting dance. Here is a list of dance events in ATL for the week. You can dance every day!

Atlanta Latin dance events (3/2 - 3/8)

Part of my dance passion is promoting dance. Here is a link to my list of Latin dance events in ATL for the week. I separate Latin because there are so many Latin events and Latin is my first love, so it gets its own spot. You can dance every day!

Monday, January 23, 2012

DANCE NO-NO: Unsolicited Advice

As in other realms of life, on the dance floor, free advice is worth roughly what you pay for it (just like this, har har har). The only difference is on the floor, even if the advice is worth gold, the adviser usually ends up looking like a jerk. You might think you're doing a good thing, helping someone learn, showing them a fascinating new trick, bringing out their potential. You're not. You're making yourself look like an ass.

Giving people dance advice they didn't ask for is beyond rude for a variety of reasons. First of all, you're implying they don't know what they're doing. It may be true that they don't know what they're doing, but of course, that's what being a beginner means. Everyone has their own learning process and chances are, someone who doesn't know how to dance but wants to is probably paying good money to take classes from professionals. Tis best to let the professionals be in charge of the lesson plan. In fact, even if someone asks, it might be better to direct him/her in a professional's direction.

Second, you're implying that you do know what you're doing. Unless someone has asked your advice or has paid you for dance lessons because you're a professional dance teacher, then what you have to say is best kept to yourself. You're likely not perfect and it would be in both your best interests not to act as if you are. It's especially bothersome when someone willingly acknowledges, "I'm just a beginner," or, "I'm just learning this dance," and some wannabe-Maksim-Chemerkovskiy takes that as an opportunity to flatter himself by acting like he's some kind of mentor to this poor, unfortunate, inexperienced dancer. Could the picture of arrogance be any more precisely painted?

And let's face it, I can personally issue you a 100% money-back guarantee that you are not as talented, knowledgeable or good looking as Maksim Chmerkovskiy, because if you were, you'd be doing what he does....but you're not, you're hanging out in bars, clubs, and dance studios backhandedly criticizing people. Maybe you have a bright future with TMZ, but certainly not as a dance instructor. Keep it to yourself.

Third, as many learned folks have said, "It takes a wise man to admit he's a fool." Beginners are well aware that they don't know what they're doing. It takes a lot of guts to learn anything new, least of all dancing, that some people are just too afraid to even try. They end up parked on the couch, hand in the Cheetos bag, eyes glued to Dancing with the Stars, all the while wishing they had the huevos to get up and dance. If someone is brave enough to get off that couch and learn, you should be proud of them, even if they're not dancing like a star. Don't forget, bravery isn't about not being scared. Bravery is about being terrified, but continuing anyway. Most beginners already feel like scared, shy, awkward, uncomfortable virgins. Just like in the bedroom, they don't need you reminding them how severely lacking their skills are. They won't have fun, they won't gain confidence, and they won't want to be with you again.Worse, they'll go tell all their friends what an asshat you are.

Last, I'm not sure what your parents taught you, but generally, in life, if you don't have something nice to say to somebody, STFU! People take up dance for various reasons. Some of them do it to get more exercise, some want to come out of their shells, some want to gain a better body image, and still some just want to go out and have fun. Since you never know someone's past, its best not to try to dictate their future. You're probably doing more harm than good. Even if you think it's valuable, life-altering information, there is no need to take the chance that you might hurt or discourage someone.

On the reverse side of the coin, if you happen to be the unfortunate recipient of this unsolicited "advice," don't put up with it! For whatever reason, you started dancing with a purpose and it took a lot of courage to start, and even more to continue. Don't let people take that from you. If someone tries to <s>insult</s> advise you when you didn't ask, politely, but sternly remind them, "I know I'm just a beginner, and I don't know a lot, and I appreciate that you want to help me learn, but I didn't ask."

If they put up a fight over it, tell them you'll ask the instructor later. If they still insist on "instructing you," though it might seem like you're stepping on toes, walk away. At that point, you've clearly communicated how you feel and they've clearly communicated they have no interest in listening.

Never be afraid to stand up for yourself! No one worth dancing with will blame you....then again, no one worth dancing with will say rude things like that to you either, but we all make mistakes. It's important, not only for your confidence to stand up for yourself, but also for your technique, to only take dance advice from professionals. If you take advice from every wannabe Maksim out there, you might spare their egos, but you'll end up confused because, as mentioned, if any of them were as good as he is, they'd be doing what he does, but they're not; and there are a LOT of wannabe Maksims out there. Trust me, their egos aren't worth sparing, especially at the expense of inhibiting your education.

Don't be rude.
Don't accept rudeness.