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Lucas Weismann

On the Road Again

Wednesday, I’ll be heading on the road again for the first time since going to Newcastle, UK for Melissa Davy’s Brown Ale Blues.  A short trip to visit family and then off to… … Newcastle, UK for Melissa Davy’s Belta Blues.  Then I’m off to Sweden and Demark to visit Malmö, Copenhagen and Helsingborg.  I can’t wait!

There are a lot of dancers I’ve missed seeing and look forward to spending time with while I’m visiting.

I’ll also be making time for anyone who wants to get delicious food, play games, or work on their dance.  Feel free to get a hold of me via this form or on Facebook and we’ll find the time.

What is the Point of Teaching

Why the hell do I spend the effort teaching?  What do I hope my students will gain from it and what what do I gain from helping them to learn?

Why do I spend the effort teaching?

There are several reasons I suppose.  

1) I like people who are skilled and the confidence with which they can approach the world.

2) I like to share the experience of dance with someone who can understand music similarly to me.  After all, every class any teacher teaches on the subject of social dance for example, is how to dance with that particular teacher or teaching couple.

3) I like to see the inspiration in the student’s eyes as they realize they can do something that they couldn’t do before.  This is a big one.

What is it that my students are actually gaining from learning?  Well knowledge, for one thing.  Knowledge of a particular art.  This knowledge gained from disciplined practice for a long time is called Kung Fu in chinese.  Kung Fu isn’t necessarily anything to do with martial arts, though the most common way people think of the idea is a martial arts master.

One of my favorite philosophers and Kung Fu practitioners Bruce Lee said that “all knowledge is ultimately self-knowledge.”  If I follow that line of thinking, what we do when we teach, is to teach our students about themselves by taking them along the path of discipline we’ve used to discover who we are.  

As the student learns or doesn’t, we gain further insight into who we are and so, achieve greater self-knowledge as teachers.  

There is never a teacher who is not first a student, nor a student who is not a teacher.  The best teaching relationships are those with greatest discipline, though not necessarily those that are most serious or those that push the hardest.

The best teaching unlocks the potential of student and teacher and helps to discover and grow the joy of the art (no matter the specifics of the art) in both.  This means that the best students and teachers are combinations that are made based on the personalities of each as well as the art in question.

If you are teaching something like medicine or hang gliding, where lives may be lost, perhaps a more serious approach is warranted.  If you are teaching something that is difficult, but not life-threatening or inherently risky, perhaps a lighter touch can be used.

There are different ways to achieve the same end, and as with raising children, no approach works perfectly with everyone.

On Returning To Something You Once Loved

Sometimes coming back to something is like coming out of a hibernation.  Take anything, a sport you love, going back to school or even writing. If it’s been a long time, you’re probably feeling aches and pains.  You might feel like you’re moving through molasses or honey.  That’s no real surprise.  You haven’t used those muscles or those neurons in a long time and it takes a while to get back into the swing of things.

After awhile however, things warm up and you’re going to start feeling good.  Really good.  This is something you love after all!  It’s amazing to hit that ball, throw that opponent, or get those words on paper.   You now want to do the thing!  Great!  Don’t go nuts.

“What? But I haven’t been doing anything!  I haven’t gotten off my butt in so long!  How am I supposed to catch up?”

Short answer:  You’re not.  Lost time is lost.  Just accept it.  You had other things that were more important to you at the time.  Video Games, The Netflix Original Series Marco Polo, or some member of whatever sex/gender combination you are attracted to.  Congratulations.  You spent that time.  You’re not getting it back.

The worst thing you can do when re-introducing stuff back into your life is to overdo it right away.  Why?  There are a few reasons:

  1. You could pull something.  Yes, even metaphorically.  You need to warm up before you can be at your old strength.  Sorry, that’s just the penalty you pay.
  2. You might uncover old patterns that lead to your burnout (if that’s why you took a break).
  3. You’re likely to exhaust yourself without having built up a reserve.

Part of your goal now is to build up a habit and make it stick longer than it did before.  Your goal is consistency, not marathon power sessions.  So, here’s what you do:

  1. Limit your time.  Leave yourself wanting more.
  2. Tell people how excited you are to be doing the thing.  People knowing you’re doing something will make them ask you about it when they see you, so telling people you see often will not only make you more interesting than if you’re just gossiping about celebrity nonsense like the rest of the people at the watercooler, it will also make them have something to ask you specific to you.
  3. Set a goal.  Goals come later, but right know just know it needs to have a specific “win” state.  We’ll work more on setting goals in a future thing.

Okay, these are some basic guidelines I recommend as someone who has taken breaks from things I love and returned to them sometimes, years later.  What things in your life do you wish you hadn’t given up?  Which things would you rather do than watch movies?  Maybe try one of them for a bit and see what happens.

Another Winter Gone – 22

Upon entering the dance, Marcus was struck.  Both by how fancy they’d made everything and how plain the buildings were back in Saint Cloud.  He remembered some of the dance halls he’d seen in some of the smaller towns they’d occupied and how much grander they seemed, with no ornamentation added on.  Like a girl who was still pretty with no makeup and after a swim.  He smiled to himself and decided that wasn’t a bad criteria for determining if a girl was pretty.
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Things I’ve Noticed While Traveling pt. 1

I’m taking the months of  December and January to visit my hometown of Stillwater, MN.

Some of you know that I’ve been on the road as a traveling dance instructor for the last several years.  While traveling as a dance instructor, I get to take a look at the people around me and see into their lives; see what makes them tick (a bit) and see patterns arise between the way they approach dance and the way they approach the rest of their existence.

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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 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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