Thursday, 29 August 2013

Dreamers Interview Series – Turlough Myers: Answers and Giveaway winner

Today I have the pleasure to announce the winner of dreamer Turlough Myers's giveaway.  If you missed the interview, you can read it here.  But first, let's see the answers to your questions!

Mike asked

Is dancing ability nature or nurture?

Good question, It’s both. As well as dedication. Certainly it takes some natural talent to ever be really good at dancing, but talent without the proper instruction and mentorship can lead to two horrible things, the first is simply terrible dancing, people will teach themselves to move in ways that could be really bad for their own body as well without the proper instruction. The second, it can lead to a terrible attitude, a good mentor should be able to turn a naturally talented dancer into a great dancer and not allow their head to get too big about it.

Sarah Kate asked

What did teaching others to dance teach you about yourself? Have you made any surprising discoveries about yourself as a result of teaching others and what were they?

I’ve made a lot of discoveries about myself through teaching, both about life and about my dancing. Recently I had to completely re-think the way I lead tuck turns because the way I had gotten used to teaching them was not working for a particular group. Also as I started teaching, I realized that being a good dancer and a good teacher are two very different skill sets. The more I teach, the more I dance, the more I feel like I want to keep improving at both. 

Cara asked

There have been great efforts taken to revive Lindy hop as a style of dance. How would you think explains its popularity today? and is preservation more important than innovation?

Great question! This is a pretty hot debate in the Lindy Hop world. I do believe all good art grows and changes. That said, Lindy Hop is a fairly formed art. As far as preservation goes, it is more about the joyful spirit of Lindy Hop, we are doing a great injustice to the people who gave us this art form (Frankie Manning, Al Minns, Norma Miller….) by not working hard to preserve the spirit of Lindy Hop. Style is where innovation is more important. I always say to my students, it is up to them to take classes from many different stylistic voices, and develop their own style over time. 

Here’s what I want you all to do, go to Youtube, and watch some Lindy Hop, watch how different the styles are from dancer to dancer, but then watch their faces, and watch the sort of steps they do. The spirit of the best dancers is the same across the board, but the styles are all unique. 

Lastly, there’s the music, to the music, all us dancers owe our lives.  If the dance is not set to a swinging rhythm, it ceases to be Lindy Hop. So I would say there, that the preservation is important. But however it is as an individual dancer you interpret the music within the Lindy Hop spirit should always be open to innovation. I could talk about this subject all day! 

Victoria H asked

Is there a style of dance you've always wanted to try, but haven't had the chance yet?

When I was little, I wanted to be a break dancer...But I was the whitest and nerdiest Irish/Canadian kid ever. I don’t like to think about what I could have done, and I am very happy being good at a few things and do them with great love.  I have a background in Irish dance, and I love Irish dance, that will never leave me. But for now, Lindy Hop is enough for me.

Anonymous asked

Hi Turlough, I started East Coast Swing Dancing when I was twelve, I have been back at it for four years now. At Swing L'ete a follow (possibly a dance teacher) I danced with guessed from my dancing, that I probably learnt to dance in the fifties to Elvis Presley records. She was right as far as the era but the artists were Theresa Brewer; Four Lads; Glen Miller. My question is do you think I was being complimented on my dancing? She did tell me I was a good dancer at the end of the dance but I felt putdown, any comments, from your experience as a teacher.

I think you are greatly overthinking the situation. I think this person was just making a comment on the sort of connection she felt from you.  Negative comments are always unwarranted at a social dance, so if she meant to put you down, then she has some serious attitude problems to work out.  That said, if she’s a dance teacher, I would give her benefit of the doubt that she was probably just making an observation and was interested in the sort of background you had. It is not personal. Just like how it is not personal when someone says no to a dance, you always have the right to say no, for ANY reason.


Hi Turlough ! Can you give me a trick to help people to discover their ability to follow the beat?

Lindy Hop is a dance where we keep the rhythm of the music in our bodies by bouncing our bodies to the music. My advice is the listen carefully to the music and maintain the bounce all the time! :) Then, give yourself time, it takes a lot of people a very long time to learn how to do that, you can do it if you are patient!

Alexander asked

Analog, and the digital video and the Web played a tremendous role in the spread of Lindy Hop since the eighties. Now, be it motion capture, advanced video playback controls, video annotations, media indexing or other technologies, do you think that IT could make it easier to teach and learn the moves, the technique and the styling of social dancing?

It certainly can, with caution. When advanced dancers are looking for inspiration we often turn to the vintage clips, like Hellzapoppin, Day at the Races, or the Spirit Moves (look all of those up on youtube). Also, instructional video is available online for free and not for free. That said, there is a lot of terrible instruction out there in video form. Nothing will ever replace good proper instruction in a class room or private lesson. and PRACTICE.

Thank you Turlough for all your hard work!


And the winner is Cara!  Turlough will get in touch with you directly.  Congratulations!

You know a dreamer or an author that inspires you and would like me to interview them?  Contact me at scbecauseican(at)gmail(dot).  I love to meet new sources of inspiration and I love to hear from you!


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