Lucas Weismann

Jolene – Why the original is still better than the remake

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqKAsVMmEWk]

This is a fun exercise, but I think the original shows awareness of the more obvious advantages (things you can tell by looking at someone- e.g. looks) as opposed to things you’d need to know someone to know about (e.g. – intelligence, wit, skill) that Jolene had over the singer or it show Dolly’s insecurities.

Rather than being a showcase of the literal things that a person “should” be looking for in a mate it shows what Dolly was insecure about and in doing so touches us wherever our own insecurities lie.

That’s part of what makes it real and not just a writing exercise.

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Getting to Cadansa

I left Copenhagen station last night on the night train to Amsterdam.  If you’ve never taken a night train you have two main options.  I sitting car or a sleeper car (couchette), Don’t even get me started on the commuter car option (basically it’s not one, you don’t want it).  For the first few stops, I had the room to myself and thought I was a pretty lucky guy.  Somewhere in rural Denmark, I was joined by a young almost-college aged kid who was going to his first trip to Amsterdam.  His english was just good enough for me to realize that he wasn’t there to see the canals.  He was an amiable guy and after awhile I went to the shower room to charge my devices.

When you take the German trains on an overnight trip, sometimes you have modern trains and sometimes you don’t.  If you’re lucky enough to be on an old-style train, don’t be surprised if the conductors are a bit grumpy when you ask where you can find an outlet.  They’re just as tired of people asking as people are of asking the question.

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The Blues Dance Project – Unit 1 – Week 4 – Featured Artists: The Three Kings

Albert King, Freddie King and BB KIng
Albert King, Freddie King and BB King

“The Three Kings of the Blues Guitar” are Albert, Freddie and BB King.  Each had an enormous impact on the way we think about blues today.
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The Blues Dance Project – Unit 1 – Week 3 – Featured Artists: Ethel Waters, Alberta Hunter, Ruth Brown

Three women who had a huge impact on the world of Jazz, Blues and R&B.  Defenitely worth a listen!

Ethel Waters

Ethel waters started her career in 1920 as a Blues singer- she was, in fact, the 5th woman to record a blues album.  In her career, she also performed on Broadway, sang Jazz, blues, pop and show tunes.
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The Blues Dance Project – Unit 1 – Week 2 – Featured Artist: Howlin’ Wolf

Chester Arthur Burnett (Howlin’ Wolf) grew up the son of divorced share croppers.  He was kicked out of his mother’s home at a young age when he refused to work for 18 cents per day.  He was sent to live with his mother’s brother who treated him badly and then around age 14, he ran away and found his father’s family; supposedly walking 85 miles barefoot to reach him. His father loved him and they were happy together.

He learned to play guitar from a popular musician of the day, Charley Patton, who taught him how to use the guitar and “might” have given him his nickname.
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The Blues Dance Project – Unit 1 – Week 1 – Featured Artist: Muddy Waters

Right now I’m traveling the world teaching Blues Dancing and have to good fortune to be staying in the Malmö, Kobenhavn, Helsingborg region of Sweden and Denmark.  This luxury is allowing me to offer blues dance classes in three cities simultaneously and to focus more deeply on material than I would otherwise be able to do while on tour.
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Being a Good Conversationalist on the Dance Floor

A Student’s Question

1234563_10151804089575376_1567122219_nThrowing this in an email because Facebook will manage to lose it. I don’t know if it’s a class thought, a “help me sort this out for myself by talking about it” thought or something to look at in a lesson but…I’m hoping maybe you can at least help me stop making my brain spin every time I think about it.

So, when I was watching you and Ruby dance, the topic of matching your lead vs being given space to stylize came about, and Ruby commented that the less her lead gives, the more she matches/less flashy her movements are because she has little to respond to from her lead.

Is there ever a point in a class to address that sort of topic? Especially as follows are developing their own styles, we definitely get conflicting messages about styling vs matching. Plenty of times we hear “match your lead” and then in solo classes “move with the music” but at least with a number of MN leads, there’s an assumption that if they place a follow in open position, she is not supposed to match the lead except in pulse.

Personally I agree with Ruby that, sure I can make stuff up and solo, but I’d like to have something to react to from my lead. As dancers, I think we get a lot of “match your partner” and then also “leads, listen to your follow/let her do her own thing” (as far as I can figure out, those aren’t the same thing) and it gets super confusing and frustrating when you think one thing will happen when you place a follow in open and that thing you want, but didn’t explicitly lead, doesn’t happen.

I suppose the gist of this is: how does a lead successfully communicate that he wants a follow to do her own thing, and how does a follow explain, short of having a conversation prior to dancing, that maybe she wants or needs her lead to give her feedback?
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