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A Note from Lisa  
October 2003

My weekend was starting off a little rough, but the ending couldn't have been better. Sunday evening at this year's Labor Day Weekend Boogie and Blues Dance Competition in Torrance was both nerve-wracking and thrilling for me. As names were drawn one by one in the Finals Advanced/All Stars Jack and Jill competition, the last two names were Eric Myers and Lisa Narita. So not only did I get to dance with Eric and have a great dance, we won 1st place! And in the Team Division, we danced along with teammates Craig & Tina and Johnny & Amber and won 1st place too. It was GREAT! Really an exciting evening!

For me, there was this boost of confidence, a feeling of finally being an accomplished dancer. In all my years of dancing and teaching, this was the first 1st place in West Coast Swing I have ever received at a 3-day competition. Yes I know, some of you may be saying to yourselves, "Just doing it and having fun is an accomplishment", I tell my students that too. Yet facing the challenges of the style of this dance changing quickly over the last few years and learning how to blend it with what I know and adapting to what is being danced in the competitions today is a struggle. Today's competitive dancer has come with new training, a new school of thought about West Coast Swing. Those of us with training or teaching from years ago, we stressed basics, technique, more basics, timing and more basics. Yes?

Six months ago, I had spoke with Annie and Jackie, the frustrations of not even making finals was starting to convince me to just quit competing. For years I kept smiling and telling myself, "Well, I'll do better next time." In conversations with Eric and Wayne & Sharlot, they suggested dancing more and to put aside the "classic look" of West Coast Swing for now. I've attended workshops with different instructors, taken lessons from them (yes, I'm always learning too) to see how my thoughts and teaching differ from theirs. Interestingly, the basics are still taught strong. Still, as many of you know, it's difficult to change something when it's done "this way" or "my way only" for a long time (hmmmm, true elsewhere?). Without getting into the many components of this dance or controversy, the bottom line of course is if you enjoy and have fun dancing, seeing friends and meeting others, keep doing it. Try to lighten your spirit, loosen up your control a bit (what control?), le! t the child inside of you hear that beat and let it move your body, and gosh, don't be so hard on yourself… :)

"DANCE NIGHT OUT"! Speaking of dancing and teaching, Eric and I will be teaching every other Tuesday at Tia Juana's in Irvine, (South Orange County, California). The West Coast Swing lesson begins at 8:00 p.m. with general dancing at 8:30. Come on down, dance and get ready for our dance party on Saturday night, November 8th. Tell your friends, let's make it another great turnout! The cover is $7.00 ($2.00 discount if you're a student of ours let Daryl know at the door). Located at Sand Canyon Road and the 5 Fwy. For more information you can go to my web site: http://www.Dance-Today.com or call me at (714) 330-3689.

"Swingin' at Sea" September had lapping waves around the room, colorful fishes, blue fruit punch, and I wore an authentic sea cap, my nephew Anthony's Navy hat. My sister, Pia brought it down and even though she doesn't dance stayed for the party to visit. Thanks Anthony and Pia. For our raffle, John Wheaton donated two tickets to his Swingthing Thursday night dance including a workshop with Jordan & Tatiana. They danced at our first anniversary party, remember? We'll raffle off the second ticket at this party. "Get It On" sunglasses were donated by David and Jack donated 3 pairs of tickets to his OCWCSDC dance Sunday nights at the "Clubhouse." Thank you everyone who came and supported our dance party for without you there'd be no party and for your donations to our raffle. Jackie & John came from the OCWCSDC, Jim & Lara came (baby stayed home), Jasmin and Dale had birthdays and thanks Jamie for your great brownes. Without all the help from Eric, Aaron & Lynda, Jessica, Josh! ua, Matthew & Rachel, Jer, JoAnn, Carolyn, Bev, Nikki, Jasmin & Tim, Jack and Andre the parties wouldn't be as successful as they are, so a HUGE thank you to all of you. Thanks Leah and Susan for your help too.

Last month's "Note" I mentioned how friends showed up at the "All Aboard" August dance who hadn't seen each other for a while. Max, who made my Dance Videos was one of them and he even mentioned how good it was to see them. He was just getting out dancing more when suddenly and very unexpectedly he passed away two weeks later. I was stunned when I was told. He had even called me the day he died and left me a message, "We'll get together later…" We had begun dancing about the same time, he had made my previous videos with my former partner, and we were working on our next level of videos. Not only did I lose a friend but one of my "Team." If you'd like to send a card to his family, I have their address and phone number.

I have also since learned of my friend Billie losing her husband Alty to cancer. It's such a sensitive time, what do you do, what do you say? Do you share with family and friends, do you want it known or not? I don't know. With loss, there is a huge void, and tons of "stuff" to take care of. Some are prepared, others not. Just knowing family and close friends are there is reassuring. My Uncle Johnny who has cancer, always said to me, "If you want something, you have to ask for it." Sometimes it's hard to ask for help. But I pray every day for my uncle, my Step-dad Paul and Jack that their cancers be released. Perhaps offering help, a phone call to touch base, spending time with family all helps fill the void, sadness and pain. I'm thankful to be alive, for my family and everything I have. I keep reminding myself when things aren't going the way I'd like, "Life could be worse…"

I've been trying to keep in contact with my family & friends. It's difficult with all our busy lives and schedules. Aaron & Lynda had Jessica and Matthew's birthday party, Jane and Stephen's housewarming was great fun along with her birthday brunch. I went to Louise & Woody's charity dance for Easter Seals. It was a long drive, but a lot fun, and I wanted to support them. Love those important in your life, spend time with them, take care of yourself and keep in touch if you can. My email is Lisa@Dance-Today.com". ~Lisa

See you at our next party…
November Nirvana party & dance
Saturday, November 8, 2003

Thanks and take care, Lisa at Dance Today

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