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Throwback Dance: Carmel Highlands Inn

West Coast Swing

Back in the day, one of the best places to dance on the Monterey Peninsula was at the Carmel Highlands Inn. Before COVID-19 was even a news headline, the dancing at this great spot ended, several years before.

It was a changing of the management at the inn, the retirement of an awesome duo band at the time, and perhaps people even moving on. But for Jennifer and myself, this was THE spot to go West Coast Swing dancing every Friday night. There was nothing else I quite enjoyed more than going through my workday on Friday with the anticipation of a great night out of dancing after dinner and work. This was always a great way to kick off the weekends!

The Carmel Highlands Inn was a place for the local West Coast Swing community in Monterey (as well as surrounding areas) to come together, be social, chat, and DANCE! There was never again another place like it ever since. And with COVID, there really isn’t any places to gather and dance like before.

In time, perhaps there will be another such place. For now, we’ll look back fondly at what an awesome place this was for dancing and enjoying the company of good friends. Until the next dance spot crops up, keep on dancing at home, your garage, or with your loved ones! Just KEEP ON DANCING!!!


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Left Over Birthday Cake Dance

Left Over Birthday Cake Dance - West Coast Swing

Left Over Birthday Cake Dance

We found some left over birthday cake! This is another dance from Jen’s 50th birthday. Here we are celebrating by dancing to Tongue Tied July by Michael Brun X Roy English.

It was Jen’s original plan to throw a large party over at the Haute Enchilada in Moss Landing, CA for her 50th birthday. Due to COVID, we obviously could not do that. We did have lunch there and, as you can see, we had fun dancing at home.

Check out our other post “Jen’s Birthday Dances!” to see more birthday dances.

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Jen’s Birthday Dances!

Jen's 2020 Birthday Dance

This one is a two-fer! Two dances for Jen’s 2020 Birthday Celebration. We call this “Nifty-Fifty”! Yep, this was Jen’s 50th birthday celebration!! We had fun celebrating and dancing.

The two songs we danced two were “Forever” by J Sutta and “The Creeper Returns” by Mississippi Blues Band. Note: nope, we don’t own the rights to these songs!

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Don’t Wait – Just Dance!

West Coast Swing - Don't Wait Just Dance - Rene and Jennifer

Don’t Wait – Just Dance!

Dancin' and ALMOST fallin'!

A new dance practice session, this time workin’ it to “Don’t Wait” by Mapei. Great song, we love dancing to it!

At one point in this dance, there is line in the song, “No one’s got your back like I do”, wherein I bring Jen into close and go into a drop/dip move. On the way up, I lose my balance but recover enough for it to not be a fall. Don’t try this at home, kids.

Or, if you do, make sure you and your partner have an understanding. Still, it’s never pleasant when a fall happens, but they do happen. Be safe out there, as we’ve had our share of slips and falls.

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West Coast Swing - Fallin' - Rene and Jennifer

Dancing and Practicing West Coast Swing

We’re trying to get in at least one dance a week…maybe two! Working from home (even before COVID) means we are slaves to our desks almost all day long and all night long. Getting up to dance is our way to relax, practice, and unwind.

The song we are dancing to is “Fallin'” by Brooke Hogan, featuring Stack$.

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“Low” Fast Car

West Coast Swing - "Low Fast Car

It seems like all we’re able to do these days is either walk or drive, with not a whole lot of anything else to do in between. Trying to enjoy a little more dancing here and there

This is one of my favorite songs to dance to, “Fast Car”. This rendition is by Boyce Avenue featuring Kina Grannis. I remember the first time I ever head this version of the song was back in 2011, at River City Swing in Jacksonville, Florida. I remember it fondly because we were at a dance convention and, for one night, we had the pleasure of having Jen’s parents watch us! Such great memories Note: we do not own the rights to this song.

Oh, and the best part of the dance is at very, very end;)

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Crushing It!

West Coast Swing - Crushing It

One of our very first dances where I started to add a little more with editing in Adobe After Affects. I was getting my toes wet after learning how to edit videos in 2018, and I wanted to see how creative I could get.

I am by no means a special effects technician, but in the spirit of our dances, I just had fun with it. And it was a fun dance as well, as you’ll see what is meant by “crushing it!”

The song featured in this practice dance video of ours is “Crush” by Campsite Dream.

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Dancing Under The Stars

West Coast Swing - Dancing Under The Stars

More dance practice fun from May 16, 2020. The song is “After Tonight” by Justin Nozuka.

We had fun working/practicing on our dance. And I had fun adding the stars over our heads.

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Slow Water and Please Admit One

West Coast Swing - Slow Water

Slow Water and Please Admit One

The date was April 9, 2020. We are still under shelter-in-place orders here in California, so Jen and I get ready to do some more dancing in our garage.

We dance to two songs:

  1. “Fluid” by Ames
  2. “Dilemma” by Rob Murat

In the “Please Admit One” song, our cat Princess Greya makes a quick appearance at the beginning of our dance. Once she sees what we’re about to do, she high-tails it outta there! We love our fur-baby 🙂




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You Better You Better Than This!

West Coast Swing You Better You Better Than This!

You Better You Better Than This!

Here is our dance practice session from May 7, 2020. I believe we posted another dance from this same date on Facebook. In fact, I’m sure we did, as these videos here are one of several we filmed that day. What you’ll see here are our honest recordings, no editing, just straight up hit the dance, and shooting from the hip. One take, baby!

Below are two more workout/practice dances from the same day. By the way, the songs we danced to in these clips are as follows:

“Better” by Khalid
“Still in Love” by Nivea
“Capricorn” by Elderbrook

Regarding the Capricorn song, we actually posted a previous dance to this same song, somewhere on Rene’s Facebook page. So, this version here is an alternate version.