MIKE and INGE
For us, Dancing is a 'LOVE' NOT a 'LIVELIHOOD'
Where to Dance
First (since we're often asked this question), our interest is dancing, NOT competing. Although we've now won 3 Carolina Shag contests in the US (each of which we entered to help event organizers field a viable slate of contestants), we'll never be interested in serious competition ...even if we did live closer to good coaching (which we don't!!). Indeed, we're very happy to forego that kind of stress... one career was enough!! Rather, we're quite content to enjoy the dancing itself... and to work at improving whenever we can.
Our tradition of getting away from Ontario during summer vacations ('twist of fate' #4) greatly facilitated our quest to learn the authentic, popular styles of Swing dancing after 1995. (Click here for the other 3 'twists of fate' that got us dancing in the first place.)
Since 1996, we've been 'affiliated' with non-profit Swing and Shag Clubs in Toronto, Detroit and throughout the Carolinas. Thanks to these contacts, to those we've made at weekend events around North America, and to still others made in our dance classes on cruise ships, we now enjoy dance-related friendships all over the continent. (Indeed, over the past 5 years, we've developed more good friendships in the Carolinas than we'd made here in London during the previous 25!!)
We have never taken a lesson from any dance studio in London, Ontario -- a point which we find many Londoners find attractive! Instead, we have made it a point of pride to learn from as many US champions as we can... so that what we learn is a style of dance and how to do it properly, not some local teacher's (or studio's) version of it.
Moreover, now that we've spent time with the best dancers on the continent, we see a distinction that we feel is important. The term "street dancer" is one usually applied to those who dance well naturally. Given what we're now used to seeing elsewhere, the term "street dancer" simply does not apply to the 'studio' dancers we see in this town... to us, they always look as if they've come straight from a lesson (i.e. all bouncy, jerky and serious) with almost a "dance-by-numbers" appearance). Rather, the styles we've encountered in our travels make dancers look smooth, cool and comfortable -- like you were born doing it.
So, regrettably, most of what we've learned about dancing generally, and Swing and 'Niteclub' dancing specifically, is not because we live in London, but in spite of it!
Click here for information about our LEARNING experiences since 1995 (...for those anally-inclined, these would be our "credentials").
Or you can go here to learn about our rather surprising list of TEACHING activities and accomplishments since 1997... not bad for two "latecomers", and from London, Ontario (read Mongolia!) no less!
In fairness, however, there are two groups in London which we've found beneficial for those truly interested in dancing and/or learning to dance ...as opposed to selling dance lessons or booze. Regrettably, neither involves Swing dancing per se.
We've been members of the London Ballroom Dance Club for about 4 years now, and we find it an excellent way to expand one's knowledge of international styles (although our schedule prevents us from much participation). Then, in 1999 after a couple of years of casual contact, we finally joined the 'SALSA Club' at the University of Western Ontario, and we always enjoy any time we can spend with these keen, gifted twentysomethings!
Our sincerest thanks and best wishes to both groups!!