Edwin Li

Workshop Topics: Foundations and tools for WCS art

While I may teach different workshops or classes at any parcticular teaching engagement, there are a few topics that I feel are absolutely foundational to the way I dance. Consequently, there are a few workshops that I consider my "core competencies". These are also the topics that will be hit hardest and earliest for any private students who come to me for general improvement. If you've taken these classes, the write-ups below (and review videos mentioned below) may help remind you of what was covered. If you're wondering what I teach, there are no topics that are closer to my heart.

Foundations: Perennial Topics

Last updated: Thursday, May 10, 2007

Moving Smoothly Across The Floor

Dance is movement to music, and partner dancing is moving your body in coordination and concert with another person's body.  Before you can move well *with* someone, you must be able to move yourself well.  In this class, I'll provide principles of movement, ways to control and move your body, and then we'll bring it all within the context of West Coast Swing.  Accompanied and illustrated by exercises, drills, and applications to basics, we'll get at the hows and whys that allow us to think about our beloved WCS in a new light.

All Connection, All the Time

Once we've learned how to move ourselves well, we can learn how to better move *with* someone else. Connection is how we converse with each other as we dance in West Coast Swing. What is that conversation, and what are the rules of how it is spoken? What does it mean to move with someone in West Coast Swing, and how do we make that happen? This class will examine those questions and offer interpretations, possible answers, and how-tos. Through principles, exercises, and careful attention to our basics, we'll tune our bodies to connect with, feel, and use the energy we each have during the dance. Then...we juggle that energy and each other. :-)

Interpreting Music's Layers: Marrying movement to music

What differentiates "just" movement from movement to music? What is musicality? We'll break these questions down and offer a panoply of tools--ways of listening and moving--to allow ourselves to answer these questions. Drawing from both the Movement and Connection classes, this class will bring those tools and concepts to bear on musical interpretation. We will use them not only in exercises and patterns, but will examine how to break out of the pattern-box while staying true to the movement and connection that define WCS.

And in Conclusion: Jugglers, Springs, and Patterns, Oh My!! (title may vary)

Movement, Connection, and Music. Taken together, the previous classes have broken down WCS into some pretty small fragments, with hints about how they might fit together into a particular interpretation, dialect, or framework of WCS. This is the class where we put Humpty Dumpty back together and see what the egghead looks like. This class shows how it all fits together.

Always the last class in a series of classes, this class draws the concepts from the classes that precede it and teaches a piece of WCS choreographed to a particular piece of music. This approach provides attendees with the opportunity to apply the concepts from the other classes to more advanced patterns and to feel those concepts working in your body and your dancing.

Specialty Topics

Foundations for Advanced Footwork

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