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Two Step Tidewater Sunday Dance News  

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 [Dance Tips - Menu]  

  (01/16/2009 wh)

What is a dance event?

Since our membership is very diverse in dance experience, the remainder of this note is intended to describe the Atlantic Seashore Dance Faire and dance event weekends in general. If you're familiar with dance events you'll probably want to skip this, but if you're not, this will give you an idea of what to expect. If you have any questions let us know.

What is a dance event?

They go by different names: "dance competition", "dance convention" and (my favorite) "dance event", but what they amount to are weekends full of dancing fun that move throughout the country. Typically an event will take over a large first class hotel and most or all of its largest ballrooms. Portable dance floors are installed on Thursday or Friday, the dancing begins and doesn't end till sometime Sunday night. Events will draw from 400 to well over 1000 dancers. There are essentially four reasons to come to a dance event (in my order of preference) social dancing, workshops, socializing with friends, and competition (both watching and competing). The order isn't important though since everyone comes for their own reasons. Oh, I forgot shopping! This is a great time to buy dance shoes since vendors bring in a large inventory and you'll get to try the shoes on.

Since we're approaching this from a west coast swing dance perspective there are only two styles of dance events to talk about - swing and country. These dance forms are represented by independent organizations that attempt to plan their events throughout the country to share the calendar and the pros. At a country event, like the Atlantic Seashore, you can line dance, pattern partner dance, or a variety of couple dances including country two step, night club two step, east coast swing (jitterbug), cha cha, polka, waltz, and west coast swing. In recent years, west coast swing and line dance have grown considerably at country events and are usually accommodated by providing separate rooms/DJ's for uninterrupted music suitable for their dance. The main ballroom remains focused on country couple dancing and competition. A country event interested in encouraging swing will also provide several nationally recognized swing pros to teach workshops. When taking a west coast swing workshop, it's preferable to learn from one of the top swing pros or someone who has learned directly from them. There is definitely a difference.

West Coast Swing Events

West Coast Swing events typically focus on west coast swing exclusively - only occasionally adding something different - hustle is a common supplement especially in the Northeast. West coast swing is blessed with some of the most pleasant, talented, and approachable dance pros you'll find anywhere. Plus they genuinely like each other and it comes across in how they dance together, cheer for each other during competition, and thereby create a friendly atmosphere that we all benefit from. The most common complaint by people new to west coast swing is "I can't do one dance all night." West coast swing is very musically interpretive and social. Each new song and each new partner provides an opportunity to interpret the song as a couple and try to find expressive and playful ways to accent the music within the context of the dance. When you listen to a song it evokes emotion. West coast swing challenges you to convert that emotion into physical movement with your partner. It's also one of the only dance forms that allow the follower to express her feelings about the music during the dance. When the new west coast swing dancer "gets it" they'll find the night just flies by. At a typical west coast swing event, dancing goes on till 4am or later. In fact the best social dancing is usually after 2am! So take a nap in the evening, if you need to, but be ready to stay up late!

Workshops

During the day workshops are offered in several rooms with a different lesson taught in each room every hour. This can equate to over a hundred possible workshops during the weekend. A workshop schedule shows your choices. In the Atlantic Seashore tentative schedule, only the instructor's name is shown. The dance they are teaching is not currently available. So, how do you choose?? It's best to talk with someone experienced with workshops and who knows the instructors. Some of the instructors are such a treat that they should not be missed regardless of what they are teaching. You do not need a partner for workshops since almost all classes will rotate (unless you specifically do not want to rotate). I don't suggest you jump into an advanced class if you're not ready, but don't hesitate to take a workshop otherwise. At only $6 or $7 apiece they are a good value and a great way to meet fellow dancers. But don't forget, if you don't know the instructor, ask someone for advice.

Social Dancing

The level of dancing at these events is usually pretty high. But, willingness for these dancers to happily dance with someone new is also very high. Almost everyone is there to dance and have fun and most remember what it was like to start out. Don't hesitate to ask someone to dance. That's what they are there for. If you come across someone who is unpleasant, make a mental note of them and move on, realizing they are the exception, not the rule! Politely ask someone if they would like to dance, introduce yourself, be courteous, be gentle, and most of all protect your partner on the dance floor. Don't try anything too difficult and be conscious of other dancers on the floor. The objective is for your partner (and you) to have FUN!

Competition

Country competitions can be mind numbingly long. There are countless divisions and levels within each division and, unless you know the people involved, an hour or two of this is more than most mortals can stand. Swing events have fewer divisions and the top level pros compete with their own partner to choreographed routines and with various partners to more spontaneous dances interpreting music selected by the DJ/event director. Jack and Jill competitions randomly pair leaders and followers to dance to music selected by the DJ. This is usually offered for both country 2 step and west coast swing (and sometimes hustle) and there are sometimes two or more levels available.

What does it cost to attend an event?

You gain access to an event by purchasing an "event pass". This pass can be for the day, night, of full weekend. The type of pass may also include unlimited workshops and/or a dinner show. Prices can range from around $10 for a night dance to $60-$80 for a weekend pass (without workshops), to $100-$120 for a weekend pass with workshops included. A Saturday night dinner show will add $35-$45. Workshop passes purchased individually cost $6-$10 each depending on the event. The "event hotel" typically offers a special rate for rooms, but they must be reserved before specified cut-off dates. Also, the event passes are typically discounted at one or more timed stages as you approach the event. Volunteers are usually needed to help with a variety of tasks and in return they receive free or discounted event passes. This is a great way to reduce your costs and help the event. Contact the event director for details.

Other Information on Dance Events

The web site for country events is www.ucwdc.com. Once there you select the month and then the specific event. Preliminary schedules are sometimes available several weeks before the event. In fact the Atlantic Seashore preliminary schedule is currently provided at their website www.atlanticdancefaire.com. Swing events do not come under one umbrella, but the National Association of Swing Dance Events (NASDE) is a good resource for info on the major swing events. Their web site is www.nasde.com. There are many other swing events and we'll be providing more information later.

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OUR POLICY:   Webmasters; You are granted permission to copy any content from our web site, provided that you provide a link to http://www.twosteptidewater.com (Contact us by email if you would like a reciprocal link). We are always looking for ways to make Two Step Tidewater Virginia THE PLACE for dance information in the Tidewater area (Norfolk VA, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake VA, Suffolk VA, Portsmouth VA, Newport News VA, Hampton va, Hampton Roads VA, Yorktown VA, Gloucester VA, Jamestown VA, and Williamsburg VA) - and for other dance events or dance locations which are of interest to Tidewater (Southside and Peninsula) area Hampton Roads dancers.  We prefer to exchange links with other dance-information sites.  To add a dance link, or exchange links with your web pages, email Will Harper or Walter Schultz.  Worthy dance events, may post to our web site by emailing a cut-and-paste ready announcement.  Your announcement can be just a text announcement or even a full web page.  We will host an ongoing web page, at no cost, for Tidewater Area dance-related activities, without their own web page.  Be sure to include date, time, cost, contact and location information for your event.  In exchange, we ask that anyone posting to our site, include a reference to www.twosteptidewater.com on your site and/or in your intra-group's mailing list emails.  (Not just C&W. We'll  include Ballroom, Swing, WCS, Disco, Folk, or just churches or other clubs with dances.)  We will attempt to post/remove events within a couple of days - but we cannot accept responsibility for missing an event or any other reason.  We will attempt to verify ALL links, to prevent any offensive or off-topic links, but, again, cannot be responsible for other's.

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(www.twosteptidewater.com The Best smoke free Country & Western two step (2-step, Texas two-step), Ballroom, Latin, Disco (Hustle), West Coast Swing (WCS), Night Club two-step, Swing Dancing for all of South East Virginia (VA) or North East North Carolina beaches areas  (Norfolk VA, Virginia Beach VA, Chesapeake VA, Suffolk VA, Portsmouth VA, Newport News VA, Hampton va, Hampton Roads VA, Yorktown VA, Gloucester VA, Jamestown VA, Williamsburg VA, Hickory NC, and the beaches and outer banks of North Carolina (NC)