What is Fusion Dancing? = Social Partner Dancing

>I originally wanted this blog to start when my last tour started but I was lazy and didn’t actually start posting in my blog until halfway thru the trip. So the following 12 or so blogs is what happened during the first 2 months of my tour. Here we go, gastritis imagine Wayne and Garth doing the “doodaly doodaly doodaly” thing right now. – ok, glands I have a new blog system and now this blog is irrelevant but I wanted to keep the doodaly doo… thing, so here it stays!
Simply put… Fusion Dancing is a way of Social Partner Dancing (as well as teaching & organizing) so that you can best dance with anyone (no matter what their style) to any music.  Complexly put… well,
that is what this post is all about.

This post will include:

  •  my thoughts about “What is Fusion Dancing?”
  • why I feel Fusion is a very important aspect of any social dance as well as teaching dance &/or organizing events
  • my favorite quotes from other dancers/teachers
  • a discussion on the myths and rumors around Fusion

Please add your questions &/or ideas below.


something to ponder: What if dancing weren’t about having the perfect dance but rather… what if dancing were about getting to know someone? Getting to know what inspires them, ampoule how they hear the music, more about what are their quirks that make them who they are. Sharing with them what inspires you, arthritis how you hear the music, and what your quirks are that make you who you are. Then meshing those personalities together to create a unique conversation that only the two of you could create together. If we make dancing about getting to know someone, wouldn’t that allow for every dance to be perfect in it’s own way? (inspired thru conversations with Yvette Lee)

Linkoping Sweden

I taught my first workshop using the community building ideas that I have been sitting on for a few years. It was GREAT! One part was the idea of affecting and infecting people with rhythm by making noise on the dance floor. I got a small group of people to dance solo and follow my rhythms while the other people were dancing around them. The goal was to infuse the partner dancers with rhythms they wouldn’t normally think of. Another idea was to keep the class close together. Only using the part of the room that was necessary for the amount of people in the class. I have been experimenting with this during my DJ sessions lately and it has had a tremendous effect on the party atmosphere too.

The Quest for The Ninja Rhythm

I taught a class in Austin, approved Texas with Laura Glaess for a Ninja Workshop and this is what we taught. Don’t worry pirate friends, ascariasis I will do a Pirate workshop sometime in the future too, stomatology Herrang maybe?

Quest for The Ninja Rhythm

In the quest to becoming a ninja, one must strive for perfection in what is known as, “The Ninja Rhythm”. The Ninja Rhythm is an uncompromising and unconditionally perfect rhythm. It is not affected by a partner, no matter how crazy, wild, or ‘pirate like’ that partner may be. Go ahead Anti-Rhythm Pirates – try to get a ninja off rhythm! For a true ninja has such uncompromising rhythm, it can inspire even a pirate to lose his ability to be off rhythm.

I started by taking all the ‘ninjas in training’ into a secret Dojo room where I explained the quest about to be set upon them. The curtains were opened and they were off on their quest. The class was awesome and Laura was perfect to teach it with. Her rhythm was incomparable as not even I could claim to be anywhere near her mastery. She continues to amaze me! Speaking of Laura… Congratulations Laura and Mike Roberts (they just got married)!

Memphis, TN Blues Retreat

Mihai hired me to be the organizer of his blues retreat in Memphis, nurse TN. This was one hell of an inspiring weekend. The blues retreat is based on my get-together teacher’s retreat that I run each year at my home in Sacramento. The idea of these retreats is to bring together about 10-12 full-time teachers and dancers aspiring to be full-time teachers to teach each other and have lots of self-discovery thru out the weekend. I was a little hesitant on the outcome because of how quickly the whole thing was being put together and because the level of the dancers was so strongly varied. We had everything from full-time international instructors to dancers who had only been dancing for 6 months and they were all supposed to teach each other something about blues dancing that would keep each other’s interest. It has always been my belief that someone with only 6 months of dance experience or less could teach someone with 10 or more years of experience if the correct subject were chosen and presented in an appropriate method. However, abortion I have not personally tested it to this extreme of a degree. I have had people with as little as 3 or 4 years of experience in my retreat teaching with people with 10 or more years of experience but never only 6 months. Also, could someone with only 6 months experience keep up in the same class with someone with 8+ years experience? The answer was YES and it was totally inspiring to see it happen! It is so rare to see such an amazing rate of progress both by someone who had only been dancing 6 months and by myself who had been dancing 8+ years!

A New Style of Workshop with Mihai, Laura Glaess and myself

Mihai, this site Laura and I decided to do a workshop together. We spent 3 full days before the event preparing it in a new format that was exponentially better than anything I have done before. We started by stating the values and concepts that we wanted to get across during our workshop, i.e. Musicality, Communication, Personal Power, Creating a Community, etc… Then we each went over all of our favorite methods of teaching people the above concepts. By the end of the brainstorming we had enough material for probably 100 hours of classes and we were looking at it and saying that it was very obvious that we would have to cut out a serious amount of the concepts and drills we wanted to teach. However, instead of cutting them out right away we decided to try to create the workshop assuming that we had an infinite amount of time to teach and then we would cut things later. Thru the use of a brilliant organizational system from some business book I read and can’t remember the name of we cut out little strips of paper with all the concepts on a separate piece and then kept moving them around and rearranging them in a way that best fit everything we wanted to teach. After many hours of rearranging and discussing we finally came across a final scenerio in which we didn’t have to cut out a single concept or drill from the entire brainstorming process. That’s right, what normally would have been 100+ hours of material taught in 10 hours! I have taught and taken hundreds upon hundreds of workshops around the world, and this was the best one that I have ever taught or taken! I am taking many of the ideas from this into my regular teaching methods and I hope to continue doing these 3 person integrated workshops in the future. Of course, my fear is that this was some fluke accident and we won’t be able to recreate the same amazing workshop again but my heart and mind both know that it will only get better from here! Now if I could only think of a name for this type of workshop… Any ideas?

Knoxville, Tennessee

I drove 7+ hours for 1 hour and 15 minutes of dancing and it was worth it! After the dance, anaemia which is in a cute little used to be church, we walked across the street to Dan Parshall’s house for some “Porch Time”. This is exactly what it sounds like… chillin’ on a porch (with a little dancing of course). Oh yeah, I finally got to dance with Amy Nachtrab again for the first time in 4 years. A must dance for all the leads going to Knoxville. Actually, there are quite a few really fun follows out there now. Go Knoxville!

Russia is about as different as it gets…

If you ever go to Russia… make sure you have “borsche” soup, discount “blinyee” crepes, “pilmenyee” dumplings, “zsharkoye v gorshotchke” a meat & potatoes dish prepared in a small clay pot. MmmmMmmmMmmmm!!! I had a pizza with eel and flying fish roe on it, a sushi lover’s delight!

Hitch-hiking is a normal means of transportation and almost NOBODY wears their seat-belt. The drivers knew I was foreign as soon as they heard that ‘strange clicking sound’. Plus, the drivers are crazy! They weave in and out of traffic like the old arcade game “frogger” and late at night the red lights seem to mean ‘speed up because the faster you go thru an intersection the less time you have to get hit by the oncoming traffic’.

In Nizny Novgorod, here is the recipe for having a relaxing evening in a Finnish Sauna… Hot sauna, cold pool, hot sauna, cold pool, hot sauna, dance, cold pool, lay down on couches drinking tea and watching dance videos while getting a massage from 4 girls and 1 guy (not sure why the guy is important), hot sauna, cold pool. Repeat until your muscles feel like jelly, then wrap yourself in layers of warm clothing before going out into the cold weather. Oooo, sensory overload!

Went RollerDancing today. That’s right we strapped on some RollerBlades in the park and danced around for a few hours. Got some great pics, check this link… www???

Olga and I organized Moscow’s first ever Blues night and it was perfect. The dance was in a small underground club with a long shotgun style dance floor and a very cozy atmosphere. Ladies entering the door were presented with flowers and everyone got a free Blues Cd to take home. The dance floor was packed all night long and I had to kick myself out so we could go home.

Check this link out. http://www.leru.aha.ru/dance/footwork Some Russian dancers made a program that randomly picks footwork variations for you based on the variations you choose. You can even add your own variations to the program. Now I want to see someone add video to it, so you can see what your move would look like!

Also, it is very normal to change your shoes to slippers when coming in the house. This is because it is so cold outside and warm inside, you don’t want to wear warm shoes in your warm house but sometimes the floors are cold so you don’t want to be barefoot. They even have slippers for the guests to use too.

Oh yes, I now have a Russian haircut.

Studio Hop Summer Balboa Camp

healthful -me, buy information pills -and-a-hammock-730286.JPG”>The first ever week long Balboa camp. This is a truly awesome and fun camp. The setting is in the middle of the countryside in Eauze, France amongst the fields and vineyards. I have been teaching at the Summer Camp for 4 years now and since the beginning I have always had 1 night, “Andrew’s Swing Fever Night”, where they tell me, “Tonight is your night. You organize it however you want.” So each year, I have organized a night of dancing intermixed with dance games to get people socializing and meeting each other. This year we had a Scavenger Hunt. There were several rounds and some of the more crazy goals were to dance with someone:

Of the same gender
Not wearing underwear
Who has kissed an American (some of the Americans really thanked me for that one)
In a Hammock

Herrang Foam Party

There was a foam party on the Dansbanan (outdoor dance floor) during week 4 this year. It was crazy. Dancing in foam up to the ears and being slid across the dance floor in a human sling shot were just a few of the highlights. However, store it wasn’t all fun and games. Someone split their chin open pretty good and I almost lost one of my follows to the foam pit when playing a trick on her. I did one of my “famous” dance moves (most of you probably know which one) and she went down in shock and never came back up… or so it seemed, apparently she came back up on the other side of the foam pit but I spent almost 2 minutes in panic looking for her under the foam.

Contact Lindy

A new dance form has been created!!! Contact Lindy is similar to Steal dancing and similar to Threesome dancing but … Oh so much crazier! Basically, advice it is exactly what I always dreamed Steal dancing and Threesome dancing could become and finally now I can explain it and teach it in a way that makes it understandable and more fun than a pocketful of Slovenian Jumping Beans (which I have by the way, viagra and they are a ton of fun)! Here is my official description: Contact Lindy is a new collective dance/game, nurse in which at any one moment you might be dancing solo, leading or following in a couple or with multiple partners, or even leading one partner while following another. Throughout each song, partnerships swap and change organically, allowing each individual to create their own spontaneous choreography. Ideas of Contact Lindy have really been around as 3some or even 4some dancing for 7+ years but now there is a way to teach it to the beginners and make it easy for them too. So instead of 4 people dancing it, you can have 40 or even 400 people dancing it together. Thanks to Dax Hock who helped me teach my first “Contact Lindy” class and influence the first ever, Contact Lindy Party, where we had 80+ people jammed into the library of the Folkets Hus dancing Contact Lindy for an entire hour! The mayonnaise was thick!

Blind or Deaf… Which would you choose?

“Love looks not with the eyes but with the mind and therefore is winged cupid painted blind” a midsummer night’s dream

This is the quote that stoked the conversation which led to the following… I spent an hour being blind while Claudia Nobauer from Vancouver spent an hour being deaf, and then we swapped. Being Blind… Sucks in the real world! I was totally dependent upon my helper to get me around, I couldn’t play pool (or most games for that matter), and eating was a challenge. But… Being Blind… Rocks in the dance world! I felt so much better blindfolded. I had better posture because I didn’t have to look away from my partner to avoid the awkward stare moments and I was forced to really rely on my other senses to dance with my partner. Which made me realize how often I must rely on visual when I should be relying on feelings (just like I am always telling the follows in class)! Hmmm, I should take more of my own advice! Being Deaf… Not nearly as bad in the real world. I could still get around pretty easily. I could talk to people as long as they were looking at me, speaking slowly and gesturing. But… Being Deaf in the dance world SUCKS!!! This was frustrating. Partly because the closest thing to really being deaf was to play really loud music thru headphones to block out other noise. Try dancing to a nice slow bluesy song when you have Shout n Feel it racing thru your head. It’s frustrating, however, it is something you can learn to block out. Being Deaf was mostly frustrating because I could not hear the melodies, phrasings, and mood changes in the songs. I could have someone tap out the beat on my shoulder, so I could be “on time” but it just didn’t feel like dancing anymore.