When Susanne and I first started hosting dances in the Annapolis area, we would always get a few midshipmen from the Naval Academy at our events. They would always go in to the jams, and I would hold my breath (and sometimes my tongue). The guys at the academy are all pretty muscular, and the girls are very athletic as well. Without any sense of technique, the guys would throw the girls through some aerials and lifts, set her down, and then continue with some awful basic six-count, arms flailing.
That was then, and this is now. About a year ago, I started working with the midshipmen, mentoring Max Desens who taught beginner classes at the academy this past fall. Since January, I’ve been working with the mids on a routine for the International Ball which was this past Saturday. When I think back to the dearth of knowledge and skill a year ago, I am astounded by how far these kids have come. Continue reading