It is 11pm on Saturday night at your favorite West Coast Swing dance convention.  The energy in the room is high with anticipation and excitement.  It is time for the West Coast Swing Champions J...

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Types of swing dance

April 14, 2019

Swing Dance is an umbrella term for a group of dance styles that originated in the 1920’s. Taking its inspiration from the Jazz era of music, it all started with the grandfather of all swing danc...

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We're available for Workshops (West Coast Swing & Country) as well as performances & Private Lessons Contact us at: Brian@WestCoastSwingOnline.com Private Lessons Available - Contact our hosts at t...

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Birthday Donation

August 27, 2018

It was my Bday Aug 22 so in celebration we donated 50% of our sales from Aug 12-22, 2018. We were able to raise $957 for Family & Children's Place Charity to help end child abuse. Read more about F...

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2nd Anniversary Giveaway

January 22, 2018

Do you know what the significance of February 1st 2016 was? It was the date we launched West Coast Swing Online! 2 years, 4 website redesigns, 400 blog post and almost 500 videos later we now help ...

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December 5, 2017

WOW….hat a year was!!! It’s staggering to think, but I’m proud to report that over 20,000 people learned online from us in 2017. That is just an amazing stat. It has us inspired to create more awes...

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Last April I came across a post from Shaun Wall. He is an audio engineer and dancer from Denver, Colorado. He wrote a facebook post concerning the level of music being played at dance conventions a...

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A time to give thanks

November 16, 2016

This week is the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States — Its a time for us all to give thanks. Keeping a dance community vibrant is hard work. Please take a moment give thanks to the people who...

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How to be a better dancer? Its a question all of us have at some point. The day before I wrote this blog post, I offhandedly mentioned to one of my long term students that she should write a blog ...

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West Coast Swing Events Looking for the perfect west coast swing events? We have complied a great list of resources that will allow you to find just what you are looking for. The list of resources ...

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Why Practice Works

March 20, 2016

Have you ever wondered why practice works? For complex skills like hitting a baseball, analyzing a chess board, or dancing, your brain needs to coordinate a lot of activity between the areas of the...

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Smile At Your Partner

January 14, 2016

Dancing is supposed to be fun! When you smile at your partner, not only does it look like you are having a good time, but it also makes your partner feel better. However, many people struggle with ...

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Every now and then, you need to watch some beautiful dancing for inspiration. The following video has been circulating on Facebook, but it’s gorgeous enough to save for later viewings. Please enjoy...

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The speed that you practice movements matters. In this post, you’ll learn about how to choose the tempo for your practice to best build your skills. Most of us practice at a comfortable tempo of sl...

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As dancers develop their skills, they naturally gravitate towards their strengths. This tendency is natural, but it also can limit your growth. In today’s exercise, you’re going to deliberately cou...

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Keep a Practice Log

February 4, 2015

There’s a famous business adage that “what gets measured, gets managed.” If you really want to take your practice to the next level, keeping a log of what you did will help you make your sessions m...

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Good Enough to Practice

October 15, 2014

Most of us think about practice as something we do in order to get good. We practice skills that we don’t have, with the end goal of being able to perform the skill. The truth is, this is only half...

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Do you ever arrive at a dance eager to do what you learned at your last lesson—only to discover that you can’t remember what you did? All of us, at one time or another, forget things. We even for...

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Cough to Engage Your Core

September 10, 2014

How do you engage your core when dancing? If you are like most people, it’s easy to forget about your core and let your center flop around. And, even when you do remember to engage your core, it fe...

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One of the easiest ways to show musicality within your basics is adding level changes to your dance. In this exercise, we’re going to practice adding level changes during spins. Being able to chang...

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After the Workshop

July 2, 2014

You just got home from a great workshop! Right now, you are inspired. You don’t want this workshop to be just like all the others, when in a week you go to social dance and can barely remember what...

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If you want to get serious about evaluating how your dancing looks, then you should check out Ubersense. It’s a free iOS application that lets you take video and break down your movement all on you...

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Find Your Checkpoints

April 30, 2014

There are some habits that creep out while dancing. It might be your posture—your shoulders eventually roll forward no matter how tall you stood at the start of the dance. Or it might be that you...

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West Coast Swing Youtube – Keeping things in perspective.   Are you a west coast swing youtube junkie? Have you seen this video? Take a minute to watch Robert Royston and Trendylon Veal’s J&J final...

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Practice the Hard Stuff

October 30, 2013

Have you ever danced at an event and seen someone do something that they couldn’t do just a month or two ago? Our community is full of dancers who seem to improve every chance you seen them out on ...

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The Kobe Work Ethic Kobe Bryant is—without question—one of the best basketball players of all time. How did he get so good? And can his success teach us anything about become excellent in dance...

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At some point, you’ve had the experience of trying to practice something that you can’t do yet. Whether it’s a one-footed spin or a body roll, you watch someone demonstrate the move and then feel t...

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Choking under Pressure

September 4, 2013

Choking is one of the most universally feared experiences in any skill-based activity. The idea of your body or mind suddenly failing to execute tasks you’ve done a thousand times in your sleep is ...

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Have you ever watched your dancing and thought, “I didn’t think my [body part] was in such a weird place!”? It’s very common to find your hands, feet, head—and almost any other part of your body...

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Signals to End Play

July 31, 2013

In Getting Out of Play, we suggested ending play in an anchor as a safe way to signal that you’re ready to resume the dance. This post will build on that idea by looking at the signals that play is...

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Many dancers complain, “I don’t have a practice partner!” This complaint seems to make sense: shouldn’t you need a partner to get the most out of practicing a partner dance? Surprisingly, more ofte...

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Lots of dancers love learning patterns. It’s easy to see this on the leader side of the dance—there’s a reason some leaders are referred to as “pattern junkies”—but followers can also be addict...

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Research on practice strategies has revealed that the value of practice actually increases once a skill can be executed successfully. In other words, mastery is a new starting point for practice, n...

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We’ve all heard the adage, “Play to your strengths.” We understand that there are some things we do exceptionally well and it makes sense to work in a way that leverages those advantages. Yet, when...

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Fail Better

May 1, 2013

In a novella by Nobel Prize-winning author Samuel Beckett, one of the characters shares a thought on failure: Try again. Fail again. Fail better. When we practice, it is tempting to see failure as,...

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You can get into play and you can return to the normal dance. Now what? This is the part of the process that is different for everyone. In short, you need to develop your repertoire of movements th...

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Ben Hogan, one of the greatest golfers of all time, maintained that even the average golfer is readily able to shoot in the 70s if they are willing to work on some basic principles. The only catch ...

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Rock and Go

March 13, 2013

The rock and go is leadable syncopation for combining two patterns. Instead of ending the first pattern with an anchor and then starting the second pattern with a walk walk, the rock and go replace...

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The Cycle of Mastery

January 30, 2013

Learning a complicated ability like dancing west coast swing is not a linear process. Your learning will go through a cycle of mastery, in which you learn a concept and then repeatedly come back to...

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Back to Basics

December 12, 2012

It is no accident that expert performers spend hours practicing the fundamentals of their craft. Every day, NBA players shoot free throws, instrumentalists play their scales, and MLB players take b...

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Most skills require balancing between two extremes. A proper anchor involves keeping your unit foot behind the other foot without placing the unit foot way behind your body, body rolls require some...

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From Error to Bugs

November 21, 2012

Most of us have an error model for our mistakes: we erred, and thus the action did not achieve the intended result. An example of the error model would be a piano student who plays an incorrect not...

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Breaking bad habits

November 7, 2012

Kill your Darlings The phrase “kill your darlings” comes from William Faulkner, who used the saying to express his writing advice. This advice has been echoed by many world-class creative people. T...

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In an earlier post, we explored the difference between fixed and growth mindsets. Amazingly, the kind of praise provided to individuals can have a dramatic effect on which mindset they embrace. The...

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The Myth of the Natural

October 17, 2012

When your own dancing hits a plateau, it’s easy to become frustrated and jealous about the people who just “get it.” Every community seems to have someone who is a natural. This might be the person...

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Neil Gaiman, the award-winning British author, was invited to deliver the 2012 commencement speech at The University of the Arts. Although there are obvious differences between the creative endeavo...

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Do you think that your ability is relatively fixed, or do you believe that you can improve your ability no matter where it is currently? Is success about proving that you are skilled, or about lear...

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Although there is a ton of work that you can do to practice WCS on your own, there are some things that simply aren’t possible without a partner. Other elements of the dance can be practiced indepe...

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Ira Glass, long-time host and producer of This American Life, has a phenomenal lesson for beginners in any kind of creative work. If you’ve ever thought that your dancing wasn’t up to par but you a...

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This clip features Jason Colacino and Katie Boyle dancing to John Mayer’s “I Don’t Trust Myself (With Loving You).” There are lots of cool things happening in this dance, but what stands out most f...

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As a general rule: anything that you can do in one direction, you should be able to do in the other direction. However, each of us will have a natural side for most skills that is more comfortable....

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This post is the third entry of a three-part series on practice models. The first two entries looked at the music model and the chess model. In this post, we will turn our attention to the sports m...

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