My 2013 “Swing” Resolutions


My 2013 Resolution Blog Posts:
-> My 2013 “Geek” Resolutions
-> My 2013 “Swing” Resolutions <-
-> My 2013 “Empowerment and Success” Resolutions
-> My 2013 “Family and Life” Resolutions


2012 was a rather interesting year for me, a lot of new goals, a lot of ups, a lot of downs, a lot of swithceroos during the year. With 2013 coming on, I have found that quite a few of my priorities remain the same, while some are quite new.

True to the name of my blog “GeekSwing”, I find I have a few important main areas in my life, namely being a “Geek” (sysadmin), a “Swing” dancer (Lindy Hopper), as well as one to pursue Wealth, Health, and Happiness when it comes to family, friends, and life.

As such, I decided to write…nay ..DECLARE some 2013 plans and goals in the various aspects of my life. Whether this gets read or not, who knows, but a lot of the fun in blogging and writing and declaring is simply to put things out into the universe.

Without further ado…

I LOVE LINDY HOP

My two “Swing” resolutions/goals:

  • GOAL 1: Get Back To Enjoying Dancing.. Don’t Take Lindy Hop For Granted
  • GOAL 2: Nurturing and Developing Lindy Academy to Grow Dancers

The Swing Dancing Resolution Details? Read on!


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Lindy Hop has been in my life since 1998. That’s about 14 years here. (You can find out more about how I got started here).

Whenever I think about that, the first thing that comes to my mind is:

“Wow, this is the longest I’ve ever had a hobby”

True enough.. .maybe you’re like me and you jumped from interest to interest: playing guitar, playing bongos, roller blading, etc. That was me. Eventually I found a “hobby” that..well, I just never quit. And I don’t mean a hobby I revisit every few months. This is one that is part of my life daily.

Over the years, there have been many awesome and wonderful adventures. I don’t think I can even list them all. Besides meeting many of my closest friends, getting to travel, staying active, i.e. the normal benefits anyone would get from getting into swing dancing, the bigger picture things that have really changed my life:

Gaining a lot of confidence in myself
(I was a bit of a socially inept, lost, insecure person)

Learning to love and admire others
(I was a bit more self-centered than I would have liked)

Getting to be part of a much bigger community
The dancing, teaching, learning, camaraderie … loved it.

Meeting my future family
Yes I met Sheri swing dancing. She’s now my best friend and wife and mother of my two kids!

That being said …to understand my resolution, it might serve me well to take you down memory lane

And talk about what our swing journey has been like…

Onward!

Swing Timeline: 1999-2005

a.k.a. Let’s Travel The World

So Sheri and I met in 1999. We really enjoyed dancing with each other and so we started dancing a lot together and then practicing “just for the heck of it”. Well, I also really wanted to practice aerials because they looked like a lot of fun!

We never saw ourselves as teachers initially. It was finally repeated bugging from friends for private lessons that gave us the “private lesson instructor” label back in 2001. Add to that repeated recommendations to promoters by friends (big thanks to Jason!) and we soon got their “workshop instructor” label. Add to that dance studio owner friends asking us to sub (and later to teach regularly) and we were now “group lesson” instructors.

After that, pretty much being ambitious and competitive kindred spirits, we just continued to push ourselves. We loved social dancing, but we were also about getting better and competing and seeing how far that could take us.

We did quite well, and wanted to keep doing better. And we wanted to travel. And we wanted to teach. And sure enough, during these years we were doing a lot of social dancing, teaching, traveling, and more.

Social Dance Impact: We were loving it! Getting to meet so many people around the world and dance! Even those we could not converse with in spoken language, we could dance with!

It was really quite an adventure!

World Lindy Hop Championships in Munich, Germany 2000
World Lindy Hop Championships in Munich, Germany 2000

Swing Timeline: 2005-2008

a.k.a. Trying To Get Pregnant a.k.a. Constant State Of “Flux”

We married in 2003, decided to be “married” for maybe two years, then start trying to have kids.

We ended up starting to try sometime around late 2004 and early 2005. With no luck.

This will be for a later post, but it was about a six year journey of a lot of heavy emotional drain until we were able to have a child.

During that time, it was definitely hard to try to compete and teach – the trying to have a baby really took over our lives. On one hand, as each month we were unsuccessful, we would try to figure out what we did “wrong” … often times thinking we were taking too physical a toll on our body with the competitive dancing. Which meant in an effort to get pregnant, we would decide to stop competitive dancing and practice. It even got down to we should stop traveling out of our time zone because the jet lag was taking a toll on our bodies.

But then the next few months, as we still didn’t get pregnant, we would be frustrated at trying to put our lives on hold and would then return back to competitive dancing. And teaching. And going out to get gigs for teaching. Yes in different timezones.

Lather, rinse, repeat…

It was a tough roller coaster, having to “sit on the fence” knowing that we could do so much more with swing dancing, and yet not knowing what kind of risk we were taking and how we might be lowering our chances of starting a family.

Sitting on the fence wasn’t too painful when it came to teaching. We still did quite a bit of traveling and teaching (thankfully getting gigs from our previous years’ investment in competition). However when it came to the competition circuit, it was really frustrating because we could never spend time to adequately prepaer.

After winning 2005 Showcase (and winning the Golden Budgie, one of our proudest achievements!!), we basically resigned ourselves to not preparing for another competition again for fear of the toll it would take on trying to get pregnant. (For those with sharp memories, the competitions that I *did* prepare for were with different partners: in 2006 with Debbie Gitt (Shwocase) and in 2007 with Adrienne Weidert (Shag)).

This was tough, because our “sacrifice” never paid off and we didn’t get pregnant.

This would end up in us entering the “improvised” competitions last minute. We would end up competing without preparation saying “To heck with it! This infertility business cannot put such a hold on our lives”. But then that got us anxious because when we competed unprepared, we never did as well as we know we could have if we did prepare. And so it became a frustrating cycle.

Yes fertility challenges can be a vicious and frustrating cycle.

Social dance impact? This translated to: yes we still went out social dancing, but the fertility issues were taking its toll and our enjoyment of social dancing was waning.

Swing Timeline: 2008-2010

a.k.a. Team a.k.a. One2Swing Jitterbugs a.k.a. Our “surrogate” Kids

Finally, in 2008, we started a team (that is yet another great story how we got started). The idea was to still get to do ambitious and competitive things, but without the physical stress on our bodies.

The short version of team: very intense, very gratifying, but very intense. And brought us even more adventures in our lives, unforgettable times.

We practiced three to five times a week, which left very little time for social dancing. However, on our lives themselves: spending three to five nights a week with such positive and uplifting people was an amazing experience for our spirits.

I think it really uplifted us, gave us a lot of happiness (and stress sure, but happiness too). While we started to fall out of touch with the main Lindy community, it was some of the most amazing times in our lives.

And at a time where we were really getting stressed about the starting a family, we ended up with a bunch of “surrogate” kids (20+ of them) who functioned as our loving support group.

Social Dance Impact: Well, we pretty much did not go out dancing any more, having switched our time to dedicating ourselves to our new “kids” the One2Swing team. I honestly can say that we didn’t really miss it during these years.

Swing Timeline: 2010-2012

a.k.a. We are blessed!

Kayla born on June 30, 2010
Kayla’s birthday: born on June 30, 2010

Finally, after multiple fertility procedures, we were blessed with a baby girl Kayla. And believe you me ..after everything we went through there was absolutely no way I would be taking my duties as a husband and father for granted. Every day was and is a joy with my two kids. I love them to death! The same holds true now after we successfully (after multiple fertility procedures) gave birth to Emmitt. No matter what I say I want to do in life, the unspoken absolute is that the kids always come first.

Emmitt born November 18 2012
Emmitt’s Birthday: born November 18 2012

An adorable family yes?

Social dance impact? Well, as you can guess… we took the team on a “hiatus” to spend with our family. And as far as dancing, we pretty much got limited to one night a week which was dedicated to our classes. And once a month for TSS.

And it was an amazing time getting to be a dad.

But wait…this is about “Swing” right?

Well, once in awhile .. the focus would be on swing. Like at TSS. Or at Camp Hollywood, and when thinking about swing, it got kind of depressing.

With all the things that go with being so happy to have the perfect family from a beautiful awesome wife to two intelligent and adorable kiddoes, yes, there was still that bit of withdrawal when it came to thinking about Lindy Hop

With social dancing, we definitely began to fall out of the swing scene even more. Choosing family and daughter Kayla (and now Emmitt) above all else, I was limited to maybe one night out a week which ended up being our Wednesday teaching.

Which meant really no social dancing except for our monthly TSS dance (which is why I always looked forward to it!)

Swing Timeline: 2013

a.k.a. My Resolution

And that brings us today.

My resolutions closely tie into our launching of Lindy Academy at LindyGroove…but you might have already known that. But here it is:

GOAL 1. Get Back To Enjoying Dancing.. Don’t Take Lindy Hop For Granted

This is the more important goal to me …and needs to come first.

Lindy Hop started out as a way for me to meet people, to dance with people, and to be part of a bigger social community. That was something I really enjoyed and is what made me fall in love with Lindy Hop in the first place.

Over the years, that got lost.

The launching of Lindy Academy is the key to this resolution. While for the students, having progressive lessons as a part of LindyGroove is a convenient opportunity, I never realized until recently how it afforded me a fantastic opportunity as well.

There is still no way I would take my duties as a father and husband for granted (why would I? Have you MET my wife and kids yet?!! :) ) . But still, moving my one night out from teaching on Wednesdays (teaching only, no social dancing) to now teaching on Thursday as a part of LindyGroove gives me a great opportunity to do two things I really enjoyed before that I had lost a bit of: teaching, and dancing.

Taking a look back at our swing “careers”, it was very early on that we really enjoyed being a part of something so big, and nurturing it, and just enjoying the social aspect of it. But pretty much after 2005, we slowly started falling out of touch.

Curiously….

I didn’t quite realize that I was out-of-touch with Lindy Hop. I had actually started feeling a bit of sadness in general, I wasn’t sure why for awhile.

Eventually I did realize… during New Year’s, when we went to Santa Swing 2012 Lindy event. It was a laid back event with a few classes, and a lot of social time. And I realized that was what Lindy Hop had given me prior to 2005, and what has been missing since then. Some opportunities to teach and develop, but most of all.. opportunities to be social.

I realized that my sadness was possibly just being out of touch with the one “hobby” in my life that has actually brought me so much and given me so much.

After realizing that, the idea that I could get back in touch with social dancing one night a week ..well, I couldn’t be happier. And in fact I think Sheri feels it too… Not only have we gotten an opportunity to start dancing together again (which has been FANTASTIC) but Sheri even made it out on her own to LindyGroove, something I think she hasn’t done for a year! And I even had a blast just watching her dance!

In short: I think both Sheri and I can feel it: it’s that excitement to be part of Lindy Hop as a whole again.

FEELS GREAT!

So my goal? Well, not a hard one… just to really be grateful for the opportunity that I have now to get back in touch with dancing, and to make the most of each night I am given to go and dance!

Lindy Hop, I miss you … and I’m glad to be back.

I Love Lindy Hop

GOAL 2. Nurturing and Developing Lindy Academy to Grow Dancers

Guess what? Lindy Academy to the rescue again!

I have always loved teaching, and now am super excited for this opportunity to teach at LindyGroove and move our regular weekly lessons from Wednesday at the studio to Thursday as a part of one of the largest social dance venues in the nation.

I mentioned the great Santa Swing event … for me it was great to have a committment of part-teaching, and part-social dancing, and not overwhelmingly one or the other.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized Lindy Academy brings me the same: part-teaching, part-social dancing, and not overwhelmingly one or the other.

PERFECT!

My goal? In the same way I want to maximize the opportunity given to me to get back into social dancing, I want to maximize the opportunity to teach as well.

The goal: To really take time to develop and nurture Lindy Academy. I recognize this for the fantastic opportunity it is and want to take full advantage of this by spending time to make a fantastic program for anyone wanting to come take lessons from us.

And I’m really enjoying it so far! I have actually spent time planning these lessons much farther in advance than I have before. I am focused on providing quality materials via the Lindy Academy site and Lindy Academy Facebook page. And I am looking forward to continuing to do the same with the same amount of enthusiasm and gusto that I feel right now :)

(STUDENTS BE WARNED!!! CHOREOGRAPHY AND PERFORMANCES MAY FOLLOW! )

Wheeee!

Want to hear something funny?

Over the years, I’ve come up with a favorite little saying. I use it when I plug swing dance venues like TSS and LindyGroove, when I talk swing dancing in general, and especially when I talk to people who have not been out dancing for some time.

My favorite little saying I’ve come up with is this:

“Hey, the really neat thing about swing dancing… it’s always there for you when you’re ready to come back.”

Little did I know that it would apply to me :)

That’s it…

Thanks for reading!

And universe thanks for letting me declare!

Coming Next (but maybe not for a week or so) … My 2013 “Wealth, Health, and Happiness” Resolutions!

, , I Love Lindy Hop!, Swing

2 thoughts on “My 2013 “Swing” Resolutions

  1. Ben, so happy to read this. I know you posted this a while back and I have been saving it to read later. Happy that you have found the right balance for you. Being able to juggle all of those important elements in your life requires artful skill…which I know you possess. I wish you health, wealth, happiness in 2013 and beyond. I look forward to hearing how you’re doing with your goals! Cheers!
    Yon

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