September was certainly an interesting month thanks to last month’s Newsletter. So much controversy and so many misconceptions filled the Carol Craven newsletter and the LDUK list where a few described my words as “sick and disgusting”. In hindsight, I suppose I should have expected some flack, but it’s disappointing to read a select few people’s statements that alluded to me being one to beg for others to teach my dances.
There are so many out there creating great dances, there really isn’t the need for me to worry about creating any more and there isn’t any bitterness about that. (It actually is a lot more fun to teach someone else’s dance – trust me!) So for those of you who don't know me, let me assure you that I’ve already experienced the “thrill” of seeing filled dance floors to my dances both here and elsewhere and am not now or any other time starving for attention with my dances. (See below if you really must be convinced)
Anyhow, simply put, none of this was supposed to be about me or my “jealousy” towards those choreographers who are currently riding the top of the charts. I know it makes for brilliant drama, but that’s just not the case. I don’t think hosting so much International Talent at Windy City would be something I’d do if it were. One of the comments I received said it best…
“I've known you for many years and know that you have written many satirical articles. It's just that people who don't know you personally and don't know that you have done that in the past just didn't understand.”
And truth be told, this was almost 100% the case where the lashing out was with people who didn’t know me. There was one exception with an instructor from the US, who actually does know me well and should know better than to tell the LDUK list that I’m “bitter and jealous”. You think you have enough of an association with certain people where they’d give you the benefit of the doubt before sending out these kinds of notes, but I guess there is bound to be a disappointment or two when you network with so many within the community.
So this month, let me explain my view by stripping away all of the joking and satire and stick to how I perceive things in the dance community based on the facts presented.
Truth be told, there is a bit of “bitter and jealousy” on my part, but not for the reasons this US instructor inferred. The bitter and jealousy transpires because there are people in the UK who have a great backing of support. Support in which once they create a dance, it is quickly reviewed by Big Dave, then immediately demoed by Graham Skinner and/or others in the UK and Canada. Following this, many instructors from US and Canada race to see who can teach the dance first. Some of these dances are good, some not so good in my opinion. Point being, these dances all are automatically given a great shot at success and most of these choreographers don't even have to bother to create their own videos since they have people to do that for them.
But how about the others from the US and Canada? OK, Scott and Guyton are certainly the exception. But when John Robinson creates a dance, where are the US instructors in reviewing the dance &/or creating videos and demoing each new dance for all of the dancers to see? Perhaps I’m missing the YouTube URL where these are all being done. When Judy McDonald, Junior Willis or Michele Burton creates a dance, how many of you honestly look at the dance right away and give it a shot with or without the benefit of a video? Or race to see who the first one to create a video before the choreographer gets around to it.
And when Carol Craven posts the new dances video list, how many of you take the time to look at the dances from what could be a hot new talent? If you answered yes to the last question, I’d love to hear from you. Tell me about your experience with these new dances and I’ll be glad to share this information with those who read this site. I’m afraid though that I’ll have little to report, but maybe that will change in the future.
So there you have it. My “bitterness and jealousy” all laid out for each of you to once again scrutinize. Please folks, it’s in everyone’s best interest to look at as much talent out there as you can and not ignore the unknowns or those not on Big Dave’s radar. Big Dave does a great job at promotion, so how about some more people in the US and Canada doing the same and looking in their own backyard or at least elsewhere on the internet. I’m not saying to ignore the UK talent or even what you read on Big Dave’s web page, but I am saying that you need to not just let the dances be fed to you by a few individuals. Perhaps have a personal goal to find one good dance each month that isn’t being heavily promoted and trust in your own ability to spot a good dance! Then do your own promotion. Start by telling your fellow dancers and instructors and see what they think and then let the list know. It means a heck of a lot to the new talent as I can attest to that based on notes I’ve gotten from folks thanking me for recognizing them. And just last week, I was happy to see Lawrence Allen’s Love, Sex & Magic start to climb the charts with 8 votes and Michigan area instructor Carol Daugherty will be teaching this at Windy City, so many of you will have a chance to check out her workshop. You see, there are some of you out there at least trying some different dances and that’s encouraging!
After the initial controversy regarding Little Mo, my co-instructor Glen asked me if I thought what was written in last month’s newsletter was worth it. I wish I could have immediately answered yes, but I definitely had to think about it. I guess I’d have to say that I do wish I had gone about it differently so that the loud minority didn’t automatically jump to the wrong conclusions as it only obscured the message I was trying to send and resulted with confusing messages interpreted by others. I sincerely hope I’ve now cleared things up for everyone.
But for those who still think I’m a bitter and jealous guy who is out to destroy all that is good in the dance world, my advice to you is the following:
Each day, when you wake up, go find your favorite mirror. Take a look into it and repeat after me. “I am guilty of being a sheep. I am guilty of being a sheep.” Feel free to repeat as often as you like or until you no longer harbor such resentment towards me. Oops, I said I wouldn’t joke. Excuse me while I slap my wrist.
PS - For those who really still need more convincing that this is not about my lack of success: