More is Less is More – thoughts from Zurich

The familiar adage begins “less is more”. My recent Zurich west coast swing teaching experience speaks differently – more is less then is more. Confusing? Allow me to explain.

I taught west coast swing workshops with Elissa Gutterman from Tel Aviv this past weekend. We were both excited to teach with a partner because we mainly teach alone. She teaches 4 different west coast swing level classes for Dance Tel Aviv. I specialize in teaching workshops and classes with local instructors and am often hired to be the principle teacher. It’s tough explaining both roles with, oftentimes, limited resources.

When you get two teachers that intimately understand both roles, leader and follower, two things can happen. One, you can get the never ending talkers. I witnessed this once at a Denver Intermediate workshop. At one point, the instructors had talked for at least 10 minutes, most students were sitting down. Fibonacci sequencers. This is more is more. Two, is where the two teachers complement each other and are content with the other teacher’s explanation. As each is a capable leader, they take turns leading. This is more is less.

As we were complimented on our ability to rarely talk while giving concise instructions and technique hints, you can guess we were the latter. This allowed the students more repetition and practice to music. We were able to focus on individual needs after giving group instructions. Then we could return to the center and remark on what we saw without always consulting the other. More solo teaching experience equaled less time talking equaled more students’ doing. More is less is more.

I would like to thank Nicola Fiaschi for organizing this workshop, Nadja Gross for hosting me and organizing the Bluesli workshops, Elissa for teaching with me, and the many others that made this weekend successful, including all the students and Saturday night’s social dancers.

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