Next WCS CSA Dance:

Friday, June 7, 2024 • 6 PM – 10 PM

Next WCS Chautauqua Hall Dance:

Saturday, June 1, 2024 • 6 PM – 10 PM

Bringing Back Dance and Connection

Q1 Dance Event Joanna Meinl
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In May of 2023, myself (Rene) and my wife Jennifer were asked to teach the monthly dance lesson for the Santa Cruz Swing Dance Club. We were quite honored. You see, we have been attending that dance since we first started dancing together. My memory is a little fuzzy, but I’m going to guess it’s been since around 2008 or 2009 since we’ve been going to that dance. It’s honestly one of my favorites dances.

Teaching there in June was our first time ever teaching there and we had a great time! To add, we also taught a West Coast Swing dance lesson at Chautauqua Hall in Pacific Grove, CA the following week after the Santa Cruz dance. This was equally as much fun. Both of these teaching opportunities came to us after it had been well over two years of us teaching any large group lessons. We have since taught at the Chautauqua Hall Dance Club event in July as well.

Before the Covid-19 lockdown, we had been running our own West Coast Swing dances and lessons. In fact, as far back as around 2010 we’ve been doing some kind of West Coast Swing dance-related workshops, private lessons, and dance events. We’ve worked with and hired West Coast Swing Champion and All-Star Level teachers and competitors.

How We Began Our Dance Journey

When we first started in 2010 in Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA, we called ourselves “The Tuesday Night West Coast Swing Dance Company”. At the time, we helped one of very first mentors start that business with him. We would eventually take over the business after a hot minute, being thrust into the limelight as teachers/business owners. Exciting, fun, and terrifying all at the same time.

During that time, we’ve been in several locations across the Monterey Peninsula: a woman’s club, a youth center, a burger restaurant, a large dance hall in Pacific Grove, and a non-denominational church. There are maybe one or two I’m possibly forgetting.

Dance and The Pandemic

In 2020, California shut down due to Covid-19. We weren’t even at the very last class and dance we put on. We were traveling out of state for work. We all know what happened due to closures/lockdowns and the like. Many businesses were affected by the closures. Those especially hit hard were those where large groups of people gathered indoors for activities. So, Jennifer and I stopped teaching and holding dance classes altogether.

Jennifer and I are fortunate to have each other to dance with. We did a lot of that during Covid-19. We managed to record ourselves for the very first time dancing West Coast Swing together in our home garage studio. We put up some of these videos online for our friends to watch. The comments we received were always positive and encouraging. I think this spurred us on for a while. But for the most part, we stopped our West Coast Swing Dance Company business.

Rene and Jennifer dancing at home.

We started to focus more on our business of online digital marketing. We’ve been super busy in that respect. But little by little, things started opening up for dance and West Coast Swing. West Coast Swing dance conventions came back. Local dancing at ballroom studios and local bars with live music were all on again.

I’ve been teaching a few privates since things opened up again. But it wasn’t until the Santa Cruz Swing Dance Club invited us to teach again that a spark was ignited again. A spark to come back and dance, teach, and be social again!

Learning to Dance and Connect Again

In a world where personal connections have been strained and human touch has become a scarce commodity, the art of dance holds a special place. West Coast Swing, a popular partner dance style known for its versatility and ability to adapt to various musical genres, has played a significant role in fostering social interactions, forging deep friendships, and providing an outlet for self-expression. After a long hiatus due to the recent pandemic, the time has come to revive the joy of West Coast Swing and rediscover the magic of dance.

Dance is More than Just Movement

The love for West Coast Swing goes beyond the physical movements and steps. It encompasses the exhilaration of gliding across the floor with a partner, effortlessly flowing from one pattern to another, and interpreting the music with grace and style. This dance form allows individuals to express their emotions, release stress, and lose themselves in the moment. Whether you are a seasoned dancer or a beginner taking your first steps, the beauty of West Coast Swing lies in its accessibility and ability to create moments of pure joy.

Social Dancing and Beyond

One of the most significant aspects of West Coast Swing is the vibrant social environment it fosters. The dance floor becomes a meeting point, where diverse individuals from all walks of life come together to share their love for dance. These social interactions are not confined to the dance floor alone; they spill over into conversations, laughter, and the forging of lifelong friendships.

Picture the scene as dancers arrive, excitement radiating from their faces. Friends who haven’t seen each other in months exchange warm hugs, their eyes lighting up with genuine happiness. As the music starts and the dancers move in harmony, the connection between partners transcends words. Each dance becomes an opportunity to reconnect with old friends and make new ones, as the joy of West Coast Swing bonds everyone together.

Dance and Human Connection

The recent pandemic has shown us the true value and need for human connection. We have yearned for those simple yet profound moments of joy, the company of like-minded people who share our passions, and the carefree abandon of dancing the night away. West Coast Swing offers a sanctuary where we can temporarily forget our worries, release our inhibitions, and immerse ourselves in the joy of movement and connection.

As we embark on the journey of bringing West Coast Swing back to the forefront of our lives, we realize that it is not just the dance itself we are reclaiming but also the many intangible rewards it brings. The resounding applause, the encouraging smiles, and the exhilarating feeling of belonging to a community filled with love and acceptance are all part of the rich tapestry of West Coast Swing.

The time has come to embrace the return of West Coast Swing, to dust off our dance shoes, and to once again experience the euphoria of hearing the music that makes our hearts skip a beat. Let us reunite on the dance floor, creating memories that will last a lifetime, celebrating the power of connection and the sheer joy that dance brings to our lives. ■

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