Another year has come and gone. A year filled with so much traveling, dancing, learning, and above all, teaching. A year enriched with friends and community all around the world, all in the name and love of Blues. But as much fun there is to be had in my travels, there were also some challenges that needed addressing in the communities I’ve worked with: the rift between Swing and Blues dance communities, the negative perception of Blues and biases against it, approaches to the intimate connection in dance and its social implications, the appeal and trends in teaching Blues that may be harmful to and detracting from its history and culture, the misrepresentation and appropriation of Blues at events and in other dances. In the face of all these challenges, the one valuable tool that I use the most is EDUCATION. But educating someone or a group of people must not come from a place of condescension, but rather from a modest and respectful desire to shed light on an issue, to educate and bring people to a common (if not similar) understanding, while also impressing upon accountability to those in the position to inform. Education, while it shapes people’s minds and thinking, also takes time. People must be open to listening to what you have to say and have enough time to reflect on their held beliefs. So, I continue to teach wherever I can. What matters is the planting of that seed and nurturing its growth.
Thank you to the following cities for making me a part of your community and for providing me with the opportunity to do what I love doing: teaching this meaningful and historic dance. Gracias/Merci/Kamsahamnida/Thank you, Barcelona, Rennes, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Albany, Austin, Lansing, Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, San Francisco, Houston, Seoul, Irvine, and Redwood City.