A weekly podcast where host Eric Jacobson discusses West Coast Swing, our dance community, and the impact they both have on all of us personally.
COVID-19: Event Directors Respond
1:17:59The current public health crisis has caused the cancellation of weekend dance events, but it is also causing changes to the way event directors plan for and design their events. To better understand the thinking and decision-making of event directors, Eric sat down with three of them. First, Eric chatted with Lauren Wood, Event Director of All Star SwingJam, which was one of the first events to cancel in March. They talked about Lauren's decision to cancel and her thoughts about changes for the future. Next, Eric spoke with Dirk Haage, Event Director for the Bavarian Open, Berlin Swing Revolution, and Municorn Swing, about how he's planning for his events in the future. And finally, Eric sat down with Andy Bouman, co-Event Director for Boogie by the Bay, which attracts dancers from around the world. They discussed Andy's current thoughts about this year's event and his considerations for the event in the future. Take a look inside the planning and the considerations that event directors are undertaking in this time of crisis. footnotesAll Star Swing JamThe Bavarian OpenBerlin Swing RevolutionMunicorn SwingBoogie by the Bay
COVID-19: More Professionals Respond
1:14:11At a time when dance professionals are unable to do in person what they do best - dance, perform, and teach others - our champions have been forced to think about how to sustain their livelihoods. Eric spoke with two professionals who are using Patreon to share their art and their wisdom and stay connected to our community. First, Eric spoke with Alyssa Glanville, who shared her emotional response to the outbreak as well as her approach to providing her followers with an inside look at her process. She also discussed how she's spending her time and how she's pursuing another line of work to survive this pandemic. Then he spoke with Christopher Dumond about how the outbreak has impacted his personal life and his academic life, and how Chris is using Patreon to take an inside look at his own dancing and share his love of sound editing. Both of them are taking creative, thoughtful approaches to their involvement in our dance community, so take a listen and learn more! footnotesAlyssa Marie GlanvilleAlyssa's PatreonChristopher DumondChris's Patreon
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COVID-19: Emotional Well-Being with Dr. Divy Ravindranath
46:12The current public health crisis has left many of us with a whole mix of emotions, sometimes all in one day. We are experiencing a global shift in our day-to-day lives, our understanding of the world, and our thoughts about the future - not to mention the uncertainty of both what is happening now and what is yet to come. To help us grapple with our thoughts and feelings during this stressful time, Eric invited Dr. Divy Ravindranath back to the show. They talked about Divy's experience during this time, and how people are responding to the pandemic. Divy described this event as one of many different stresses but also of loss, and he explained how people may be going through the various stages of grief. He mentioned how this is an unprecedented time with a great deal of uncertainty, and he shared some strategies for dealing with the anxiety that comes with that. And they discussed how people can take care of themselves, what society can do to support people who are having a difficult time, and how dancers can manage their relationship with dance during this time. To leave you on a positive note, they end with a reflection of some of the good that is happening now and some optimism for the future. footnotesThat Discomfort You're Feeling Is Grief (Harvard Business Review)On Grief & Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss (Amazon.com)Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change (Amazon.com)Transitions: Making Sense of Life's Changes (Amazon.com)
COVID-19: Update from Dr. John Blaska
58:34When the outbreak first took off in the United States, Eric sat down with Dr. John Blaska to discuss what we knew then about the virus and its spread. Several weeks later, Eric and Dr. Blaska chat again about the public health crisis and what we have learned since then. In this discussion, Eric asks John about his own experience during the crisis, and what he is seeing in the populations he treats through his clinic. They also talk about the issue of testing - the extent of testing, the importance of testing, and the need for more. They chatted about the different information coming out of the news, where more information is needed, and how people can be smart consumers of the news. And they explored what it will take - and how long it might take - for dancing to resume. Finally, John offered some hope and an opportunity for all of you listeners. So listen to this interview and stay informed and safe.
COVID-19: Personal and Community Impacts
1:17:24With the coronavirus pandemic continuing to spread around the world, we are getting more information and perspective about the severity of the problem and what it will take to resolve it. In this episode, Eric shares his own experience - his situation, his feelings about the outbreak, his relationship with dance - and he shares his own reflections on how this may affect our dance community. He talks about a timeline for a return to social dancing and to weekend events (warning: it isn't optimistic), and he discusses the changes he hopes we will see in our community moving forward. Then he sits down with friend of the show Tom Paderna to hear his feelings and experience, and his thoughts on how this will affect local and regional dancing in the short- and long-term. He discusses the risks and personal considerations of social dancing, and reflects on how our community has dealt with situations like 9/11 and the economic recession of 2008. Tom brings his perspective as a dancer and as a psychologist, looking at how this situation will affect us all as fellow human beings and as a community. And he leaves us all with a message of hope while we continue to live through this public health crisis. footnotesThe 4 plans to end social distancing, explained (Vox)
COVID-19: Professionals Respond
1:34:46The current public health crisis has transformed our way of life, from our daily lives and work to our dancing and dance community. In this first special episode on the outbreak and how it is transforming our community, Eric speaks with some dance professionals about how they are feeling, how they are adapting to the current circumstances, and what they think the future might hold for our dance world. First, he spoke with Chantelle Pianetta about her reaction when things started shutting down in the San Francisco Bay Area, and how she started online beginner ballet classes. Next, he spoke with Cameo Cross McHenry and Tashina Beckmann King about they put together Global Westie Connection, a weekend of online workshops with the best of the best. And finally, Eric sat down with Courtney Adair and Sean McKeever to discuss how they are reacting to the outbreak and leveraging online media platforms to stay connected with their students around the globe. Hear more about the experiences of these champions - and be sure to check out the footnotes to take advantage of the great learning opportunities they are offering! footnotesSubmit your own story for an upcoming episodeChantelle Pianetta on WestieProGlobal Westie Connection - A Virtual SummitMovement+Lab on InstagramMovement+Lab on PatreonOnline West Coast Swing OpportunitiesVirtual Westie
1:06:51We all go through ups and downs in our dance journeys, but sometimes the right thing for someone to do is to step away from the dance. At the start of this year, Catriona Wiles - champion dancer, teacher, event director, and emcee - decided to end her career in West Coast Swing. To better understand her decision, and the arc of her journey, Eric sat down with her for an honest, heartfelt, and forthcoming discussion. She talked about her start in West Coast Swing, how the dance started in the United Kingdom, and how she became a community leader in England. She shared the story of how she and Paul Warden started their partnership, how they choreographed routines, and why their partnership ended. She also shared her thoughts on the scene in Europe and what she hopes for the community. Finally, she explained why she's decided to retire from West Coast Swing, how she's feeling now that she's made the announcement, and what she hopes to do with her free time. It's a very authentic, revealing conversation that highlights some of the challenges of being immersed in our community. footnotesWest Coast Swing UKCatriona's announcement on FacebookPaul Warden & Catriona Wiles - US Open Classic Division 2008
Special Report: Coronavirus
48:36With a new disease, COVID-19, spreading rapidly around the globe, social and physically interactive activities like partner dancing become higher risk for transmission of the illness. More people are being infected, and more are likely to get sick in the months ahead, so it is important that we as dancers do our best to minimize our risk of exposure - and to minimize the risk of transmission to others. To better understand the virus and what we can do to protect ourselves, Eric sat down with Dr. John Blaska, a heath care professional based in Minneapolis. John explained the science of the disease, how it spreads, and how to protect ourselves from it. Since John is also a dancer, he was able to talk about how dancers and event directors can respond to the situation and minimize the risks of exposure and transmission. Then Eric chatted with Brandi Guild, who shared her own concerns about attending a major dance event before going on a family vacation, working as a dance instructor, and potentially exposing those who may be more vulnerable in our community. Her perspective provides some considerations for casual dancers and professionals alike, so we can make better decisions for ourselves and those around us. Hopefully this episode provides some good information and perspectives so we can all protect ourselves and our community from a rapidly spreading illness. footnotesWorld Health Organization (WHO) Advice for the PublicWorld Health Organization (WHO) Q&A on CoronavirusCenters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - Coronavirus Disease 2019Dr. John Blaska's Hygiene Tips for DancersCDC Interim Guidance for Large Community Events Coronavirus 2019 Outbreak Map from Johns Hopkins UniversityLast Week Tonight with John Oliver: Coronavirus (YouTube)
Kelly Casanova (Part 2)
1:20:04In the second part of this conversation with Kelly, the conversation first shifts to a discussion of degendering competitions. Eric and Kelly share their own experiences competing in Novice in their non-traditional roles, and their views on the limitations in the current WSDC rules. Eric then asked Kelly about judging swing content at the Open this year, and she shared how she came up with the swing content app and worked to prepare for the Open. She also talked about the dancing at the Open, why she's hopeful for the future, and how people can and should get involved in providing feedback. Throughout it all, Kelly is thoughtful, kind, and balanced. Regardless of where you stand on the issues, this conversation provides some good perspective and insights. footnotesKelly CasanovaUS Open Swing Content Judges Process & Procedures (PDF)US Open Swing Content Definitions (PDF)Perspectives on degendering competitions: Kelly Casanova (blog)Perspectives on degendering competitions: Editorial (blog)
Kelly Casanova (Part 1)
1:10:39We are so fortunate to have people in our dance community who have not only have accomplished so much but continue to give of themselves to better our dance and our community. Kelly Casanova is one of those generous souls, and Eric was fortunate enough to sit down to learn from her years of experience as a competitor, teacher, and judge. In the first part of this conversation, Eric asked her about her beginnings in the swing world and what the scene was like at that time. They chatted about the Bay Area community and how it changed over time. Kelly also shared her experiences winning the Classic division and Jack & Jill division at the Open, and she revealed why she stopped competing. Then they discussed the event she created, Swing Break, and why it didn't last long, which led to a deeper discussion of what this dance is really about. Kelly is knowledgeable, insightful, and very authentic, and she offers a lot of wisdom and food for thought. footnotesKelly Casanova