If you’re really getting into Swing dancing, why not attend a West Coast Swing convention? Sometimes it’s called a camp or congress, but whatever it’s called, it’ll be a great experience. In the first place, you’ll enjoy total WCS immersion with workshops, performances, and competitions. Additionally, there’s social dancing until the wee hours of the morning. With this in mind, enjoy these videos of some of the professionals you might run into at a convention. To be sure, they’re all recent West Coast Swing performance standouts.
But first, some information about what you’ll see being danced at a convention. To begin, WCS demonstrations and competitions are danced in the following divisions:
- Choreography – bring your music, your partner, and a choreographed routine.
- Strictly Swing – bring your partner and we’ll pick the music.
- Jack & Jill – sign up without a partner and we’ll randomly pair you up.
- Pro-Am – Amateur dancing with a professional.
- Amateur – Non-professional couple dancing together.
As you can see, there are quite a few opportunities to improve your dancing by competing. That’s good news for both professionals and amateurs.
Here we have three Jack & Jill Champion-level dance demonstrations.
Robert Royston & Sarah Vann Drake
Jack & Jill Champions division, MADjam 2019
Robert Royston began his dance career in 1989 as a competitor dancing Swing, Country, Hustle, Salsa, and Cabaret. Eventually, Robert narrowed his focus to West Coast Swing. He has since been recognized by and inducted into the California Swing Dance Hall of Fame, the UCWDC Country Dance Hall of Fame, the National Boppers Hall of Fame, the World Swing Dance Hall of Fame, and the Living Legends of Dance Society. ‘Nuff said.
According to the California Swing Dance Hall of Fame, inductee Sarah Vann Drake is a “West Coast Swing Champion Dancer, a teacher, promoter, and judge as well as having danced in movies. She continues to play a major role in the growth of West Coast Swing, internationally.” All I can say is, she’s an unreal follower who never missed a beat in this dance performance. Wow!
Glenn Ball & Victoria Henk
Invitational Jack & Jill Show, BudaFest 2019
Glenn Ball began his dance training in the U.K. at an early age. As a child, Glenn trained in a variety of styles and even won World Titles in Latin, Ballroom, as well as, Country and Western dancing. As a result, he was able to successfully expand his offerings to include choreography, fitness, and modeling. Obviously, he’s very comfortable in front of an audience. So much so that his charm will have you smiling throughout his performance.
“I Have a Favorite West Coast Swing Dancer” is a post by Rachana Kolli that describes her feelings about the talented performer, Victoria Henk. Furthermore, she has included a number of videos that show why Victoria is a female dancer to admire. I believe she is definitely the queen of highjacking the lead. Watch and admire her skills.
Ben Morris & Karla Anita Catana
Invitational Jack & Jill Show, Swing Dracula 2019
This quote is from Ben’s bio, “Both a Champion Lindy Hopper and a Champion West Coast Swing Dancer, Ben Morris began swing dancing at the age of 12 and is now a 2 time World Swing Dance Champion, 3 time U.S. Open Swing Dance Champion, Spirit of Lindy Hop award winner, a California Swing Dance Hall of Fame award winner, and a featured dancer in…” movies and music videos.
Karla Anita Catana is a mystery to me. Although she is a lovely, fluid, and expressive follower, I was unable to find out much about her background. However, I can tell you this, she follows everything that’s led and never misses a chance to hit the breaks. Because of this, she’s a pleasure to watch.
The next West Coast Swing performance was part of the professional show at the 2019 Swing Fling.
Accordingly, their dance demonstration was fully choreographed and rehearsed. This is in contrast to Jack & Jill contests which consist of lead and follow.
Markus Smith & Trendlyon Veal
Superstar Show, Swing Fling 2019
Marcus Smith and his partner Trendlyon “Tren” Veal are lovers of all things ‘Swing’. To prove it, even their website is called Stuck on Swing. In fact, their unique style is a blend of Hand Dance, Hip Hop, and West Coast Swing. Consequently, they’re sought-after competitors, choreographers, and coaches. Much of the time they’re traveling the world competing and teaching at workshops and conventions. When not on the road, they dedicate themselves to spreading their love of Swing to both youth and adults.
Hoping you get a chance to watch all the great videos included in this post. They never get old. Besides, maybe you’ll pick up a thing or two. You never know.
By the way, here’s Dance Safari’s answer to the age-old question, “Nightclub Two Step – Why Do You Need it in Your Life?“.
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