Each week, Hugo Miguez and Stacy Kay post Tuesday Tips, advice from the pros to the larger Westie community about everything from dance etiquette to great ways to learn in workshops. We at This Is West Coast Swing are looking to expand upon these with stories from Westie’s like yourself each week – proof of these tips in action!

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A point that I’ll raise time and time again is that Westie culture has far fewer people entering competitions to win first than to meet people and have fun. Especially at higher levels (because everyone wants to get out of Novice Hell), I’m told by many people that they enter competitions to meet people and have fun dances. Connections on the dance floor become friendships off the dance floor, and great dances at one event lead to great dances at seventeen more.

Much like on the social floor, where it’s common courtesy to end with a hug and a smile and a “thank you,” it’s common on the competitive floor to walk on (if possible – like, if they drew partnerships backstage) and off (almost always) with your partner. This creates a sense of care and camaraderie between the partnership that extends beyond the competition floor’s dancing. Nobody wants to be the partner who gets abandoned right after finals — it can leave the wrong impression no matter how good the dances may have felt.

Plus, as a relative newcomer in the WCS scene, I’m often drawing people I don’t know yet. Just the fact that this is a courtesy ingrained in our system means it’s a really easy way to initiate post-dance conversation. I got a future strictly partner out of my third partner in JnJ Prelims once, just because we ended up walking off the floor and chatting together. It’s a good way to remember the dance if you have a friendly face to go alongside it, and – even if they weren’t the best dances – it helps to separate the dance from the individual. And sometimes, even if you or your partner have somewhere to be, it’s worthwhile to throw in some kindness. Always thank your partner for the dance, and I like to ask if they will save me a dance later that night. It’s the same concept – you may have great dances later, and they’ll remember you because you took an interest outside of the competition floor.

Sometimes, it’s too easy to be in your own head during a competition. This is one of the little things that puts you back in the real world, connecting with others — which is the reason we’re here, after all.

It’s sort of what comes across throughout all of how we want to conduct ourselves in the WCS scene. The more positive, friendly, respectful and inviting we can be, the more it will be reciprocated our way. The more connections we will make, the better connection we will probably have, and the better chemistry we will have with those around us, of both the dance and real-world variety. It doesn’t take grand gestures of kindness to make others feel more comfortable. It can just take being simple and aware of your partner – the little things that make the bigger things possible. Sounds a bit like dance, doesn’t it?

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Hugo Miguez and Stacy Kay are renowned for their precision, variety, and teaching methods within West Coast Swing. Since 2011, they have taken the circuit by storm with their Classic routines and are re-defining the learning process of the dance world. They will lead you through energetic dances while sharing their advice on all things dance. Hugo and Stacy reside in sunny Clearwater, Florida and travel as competitors, judges, and choreographers for numerous events in different dance styles. Both continue to share their passion for dance and enjoy working with all levels of experiences. They work with top professionals in many different dance styles distinctly furthering their education and experience. Their philosophy is to introduce and foster fresh, comprehensive dance knowledge for their students by giving more of themselves within every experience. They can be reached at www.hugoandstacy.dance.

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