Hi, Tessa here. Since 2002, I've been writing advice articles for West Coast Swing from my perspective as a WCS Champion and 30 years as a professional teacher and coach. My mission is to help teachers #teachWCSsmarter and dancers #trainWCSsmarter, which we do thoroughly in our Swing Literacy training programs.
But these articles are my way of contributing some free, bite-sized education to the community to help inspire and motivate with practical, actionable advice. Be sure to scroll down to load more (pause to allow more to load)
Are you winning yet? “Winning” is not only about the final placement. You don’t even have to be competitive to be “winning”. In our WCS competition scene, while many dancers ambitiously chase points, others are kicking their butts in other aspects – winning games that have no trophies or prize money, but are invaluable nonetheless. The word
Are you curious about what it takes to do a Rising Star routine? Are you an event director interested in supporting and promoting the next generation of routine competitors? You probably have a lot of questions. This article is aimed at answering them:Who should compete?What is the purpose of the tour?How should I budget for a
The West Coast Swing world is a strong supporter of social dancing: the improvisation side of the dance. The idea of speaking a language in order to carry on a conversation with anyone in the world without planning, is of the highest value. However, almost all dance forms have a facet to them that involves a
Ah, the eternal competitor question… “What are the judges looking for?” Consider that judges are not necessarily “looking for” positive elements of your dance as much as they are “looking to eliminate” negative elements. We call these “red flags”: bad habits or errors that prevent judges from giving you a callback to the next round. Judges
Our Lessons in Partnership: 15th Anniversary Edition
April (Seattle’s Easter Swing) marks the 15-year anniversary of our dance partnership! As a rare breed of Champion couple who has been able to make a dance partnership AND romantic partnership work, I thought it might be nice to honour it by sharing the lessons we have learned along the way. Every couple has
It’s US Open season! This means many competitors are hard at work preparing their choreography, and are turning their attention (if they haven’t already) to planning their costumes. There are dozens of factors to consider when choosing/creating a costume, it’s easy to miss some. But the reality is that little details make a BIG
For social WCS dancing, you can wear whatever you want – no one is judging your 3T’s here. So be yourself. Be comfortable. But for competitions, it’s a different story. I wish there were some guidelines like this way back when I entered the scene, so I’m hoping to pass on some hard-earned wisdom.
Dear Routine Competitors, The month leading up to the US Open is always fraught with emotions. The intense preparation causes us to reflect on why we are putting ourselves through this. It is almost impossible to explain to outsiders who genuinely just want to wish us well. How can they possibly understand? This can be
I’m a bit of an overachiever. This is no surprise. I don’t see much point in “just doing enough”. But overachievers tend to overachieve in both quality and quantity, which have different advantages and…not disadvantages, but consequences. (obsessive pursuit of quality has the potential of leading to paralysis by analysis). Experts in any field have
It seems kinda elite, at first glance. You see it on the schedule, but it only involves certain people, but there seems to be no rhyme or reason to who gets to do this mysterious contest. When I first started dancing I had all kinds of hypotheses about what “ProAm” was. Coming from the west