Details for Instructors

Updated February 12, 2014

Who will I be teaching?

Teaching at the Hoedown

Music for the Lessons

 GLBTQ Dancers

In general, GLBTQ (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and queer) dancers are just like any other dancers you have taught: eager to learn and fun to teach.  Many GLBTQ attendees dance both parts, so if you are teaching couples workshops, you will probably have men and women as both follows and leads.

GLBTQ people tend to be more physically active than the average in their age group, and dancing keeps you young, so you may not even be able to easily tell the age of your students.  We expect to have attendees from their early 20s into their 60s and beyond.

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 Transgendered Dancers

The Seattle community includes a number of transgendered dancers, both male-to-female and female-to-male, and also “genderqueer” dancers who project as both or neither gender.  If you can’t be sure what pronoun to use for any of our dancers, use your best guess (but you might get corrected), or it may be easiest to just use the name on their badge.

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 Skill Levels

We expect a wide range of skill levels among our attendees, from those who have only been dancing a few months (or even only a few weeks) up to those with decades of dance experience.

Rain Country is very much a social dance crowd (as opposed to dance studio students or competition dancers), so the workshop levels are intended to reflect social or bar skill levels.  Attendees will expect “bar intermediate” level from an “Intermediate” workshop.  A guideline key we use may be found at the bottom of the event schedule page.

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 Line Dances

Most of the workshops are scheduled for a full hour for a single dance, so don’t feel the need to rush through a dance.  If you have extra time after finishing the lesson, feel free to use it for skill building or reviews of other dances as appropriate.

We will have a small number of step sheets for each line dance available in the line dance workshop room.  If there is a particular source for the step sheet that you prefer we use, let us know.

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 Couples Dances

If you have not taught for a GLBTQ audience before, remember that you will probably have men and women as both follows and leads in your class, so gender-specific terms for lead/follow roles (like “ladies” or “the man”) may not apply well.  We suggest using generic terms like “lead” and “follow”.

Some GLBTQ dancers have concerns about maintaining personal space and minimizing body contact, especially when dancing with the opposite gender.  If you will be teaching intimate or flirtatious moves, please let the dancers know ahead of time.

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 Tips for teaching

Here are some ideas for teaching which Rain Country instructors have found useful that we want to share with you.  (Got a tip we can add?  E-mail us.)

Line Dancing Workshops

  • “New wall = new dance” — walk through the steps facing each wall
  • If there are a lot of students in the class, rotate the lines so everyone gets the chance to be at the front for part of the lesson
  • Be sure to go over the transition from the end of the pattern to the beginning
  • For longer and more advanced dances, you may want to give the students the chance to practice to the music as you go along: teach 8 counts, dance that part a few times, teach another 8 counts, dance the 16 counts a few times, etc.
  • Encourage dancers to ask questions

Couples Workshops

  • Rotate partners every few minutes, to prevent anyone from getting stuck with a problem dancer for very long.  (But if a couple wants to stay together, let them.)
  • If there is an imbalance of leads or follows, distribute the extra dancers around the room to avoid a dancer being without a partner for multiple rotations
  • Avoid teaching to the least skilled dancer.  We want everyone to get it, but don’t disengage the rest of the class
  • Encourage dancers to ask questions

 What is different in Rain Country’s dances?

Every region and dance community has its share of dance specialties and uniquenesses, and our Seattle GLBTQ dance community is no exception.  Here are some of the dances we do which may be different from what you know in other areas:

  • Two-Step in Seattle is done “San Francisco-style”, slow slow quick quick with a swing influence.  We will be featuring Country Couples workshops in both San Francisco-style and Progressive (QQSS) Two-Step
  • East Coast Swing is typically done double or single rhythm (rather than triple rhythm), due to the speed of music our dancers are used to
  • Night Club is taught slow quick quick, matching the rhythm of the music we typically play for it
  • Shadow is done slow slow quick quick, to slow West Coast Swing music
  • To help guide our attendees, we will have up to three tracks of dance lessons, including Country Couples (Two-Step, Waltz, West Coast Swing, East Coast Swing, Night Club, and Shadow), Taste & Technique (including dances less often done in the country scene, like Tango, Cha Cha, and Fox Trot), and Line Dance.

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 What music will Rain Country provide?  What should I bring?

In our experience, many instructors have their own favorite sets of music to use for teaching.  We encourage you to bring the music you are most comfortable using.  However, we will also have available CDs of country music (10–15 songs each, ordered by BPM) suitable for lessons and practice dancing for each of our core couples dances: Two-Step, Waltz, East Coast Swing, West Coast Swing, Night Club, and Shadow, plus some other dance styles where we can provide it.

We will also have lesson CDs with the songs used for each of this year’s line dances.  Again, feel free to bring your own music as well.  (That’s probably a good idea as a backup, regardless!)

Each workshop room will have a CD setup including pitch (speed) control for CDs and hookups to connect a laptop, iPod, or other music player if you prefer that.

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 Music speed used for social dancing

These are the typical speed ranges used by Rain Country DJs for various couples dances.  The lesson CDs will reflect the low-to-middle of these ranges.  (Note that we almost never dance Waltz or West Coast under 100 bpm or East Coast under 150 bpm, although those speeds are common in other dance communities.)

  • Two-Step: 160–200 bpm (and some polka songs faster than that are used for social dancing)
  • Waltz: 105–125 bpm
  • West Coast Swing: 95–125 bpm
  • East Coast Swing: 155–175 bpm
  • Night Club: 66–74 bpm
  • Shadow: 90–100 bpm

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 DJing during the lessons

Each room will have a CD setup including pitch control and hookups for laptops, smartphones, and music players, but the equipment will be slightly different in each room.  We probably will not have volunteers assigned to each room to DJ for the lessons, but if you definitely need an assistant to DJ for your workshop, contact volunteer@emeraldcityhoedown.com so we can arrange one, especially if you are teaching in Madison B, the larger workshop room.  If you are comfortable self-DJing, please plan to do so and familiarize yourself with the equipment before your workshop.  (If you need a quick training, please ask at Hoedown Registration at least two hours before your workshop and we will try to provide someone to help.)

Got Questions?  E-mail info@emeraldcityhoedown.com