WEST COAST SWINGYippee It's Skippy

by Joanie Fuller

Yep, we did it again. Another weekend Intensive for those of us in San Diego who soak up dance info as fast as we gulp down chips & salsa. These Intensives aren’t only for West Coast Swinger dancers. We touched on other dance rhythms too. I enjoy the way Skippy shows us the differences in how each rhythm pattern can be improved upon simply by rearranging those little black dots. What’s interesting is that each Intensive is different and Skippy will tailor it to the needs of those attending. Ha! I used to think that my obsession with this dance was an illness. If that were so then I spent the weekend with seventy other people who need mega doses of anti-triple step serum.

Of course I, with my many dance questions, couldn’t stand to let Skippy off easy. So, for the specific needs of a few like me she gave the class a 30-minute dissertation on contra body styling. Talk about muscle memory. Can you picture fifty or so California dudes slithering across the studio floor behaving like latent Barishnikov look-alikes? What a sight to behold.

Naturally, we worked on our bodies and let Skippy put each one of them in the proper motion using her Motion Study exercises which, by the way, looks like a "line" dance (bite my tongue) designed to train you to move your center and various other body parts connected to it. You’d be surprised how a couple of these workouts really gets you thinking of a more dance-able approach to stepping. Instead of plodding along . . . we learned how to perform each dance move with feeling, just like Gene Kelly sans the umbrella.

We gained enough ammo to settle arguments, too. We loaded and reloaded tons of discussion material on who’s fault this or that is and, hate to say this guys, most women in the know agree: it’s usually yours. What a burden. We, little frilly women dressed in pink, and smelling of foo foo never do anything but follow those moves you create in your "basement labs." Now, don’t get mad, Igor! I’m just teasin’! Come on guys, you know that most of us women have tongues that slice and dice and never need sharpening. Just accept it!

At the Intensive participation is the name of the game. If you’re shy, then don’t ask any questions because Skippy will pull you right off of your chair and get you up there to explain it to you in front of God and the world. Remember her words, "You don’t have to decide who is right once you learn how to decipher what is right. But you do need to participate and appreciate."