Thursday, April 27, 2017

Some Self-Praise

I'm pretty happy with this WCS. Its not where I want it to be, but its getting there. I'm looking forward to competing. But I'm happy with the relaxed style of my body, which is something I've been trying to master.  But it's that tendency that hurt my hustle, which I posted before. Getting as good as you can at this dance while maintaining the other dances is tough. Very tough. But I think I'm doing alright.

Some Self-Criticism

This is a vid of Lauren & I doing a hustle. She looks great. I don't think this is my best, I've done the hustle better than this. It's not terrible, by any means, but not nearly my best. I need to be more straight in the hustle, and keep my head up more. I need to be more 'ballroom' if you will. I also need to make my back-rocks smaller. I'm going to try to post another vid soon with me improving on the problems I see here. I video to self-critique, get pointers from Lauren, and improve. It's an important part of the process, videoing, though it can be painful.

A caveat: some of the problems in this video are because I'm prepping for a west coast swing dance competition. WCS is very different from other dances, and a lot of what 'works' for WCS hurts in other dances like the hustle. The next post will be my WCS and I'll show what I mean.

Sunday's Group Class

We meet as per usual this Sunday 3:45-4:30 PM and finish up our Waltz & Country Waltz class. We will be focusing on country waltz as we didn't have any time for it last week. We will review what we've learned, and add cradles, neck cradles, and if we have time, cuddles. We will try to review ballroom waltz as well.

In May we will be doing the Hustle and Triple-Step Swing.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Two Articles About Dancing

From my old blog

On Theology, Dancing & Teaching

My wife and I once performed a waltz to the theme song from THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST.

It is such a powerful song, it was impossible to do this dance without thinking about the meaning behind it all: Christ's death, the sadness it represented but the joy it brought for all believers. I also gave my dance instructor Karina a note to give to her mother (who was visiting from Denmark) regarding all she has meant to my wife and I. Teaching is almost a spiritual communion isn't it? Not almost, it is a spiritual communion. You are giving someone else a part of yourself. Great teachers truly elevate their students. You have to love what you are teaching, love your students and have a very rare and powerful skill, which is the act of teaching itself. Great teachers are rare. You are lucky if you can count the number of truly great teachers you have on one hand. Karina is one of those for me.

It was all so perfect. The fact that I was doing this with my wife, who is so beautiful and means so much to me. Angelic is truly evidence of God's love for me. There was this moment when we were dancing together, with all I had been taught coming together, her next to me and the music touching my soul and it was like time stopped, and I stood on a mountain in the heights of eternity. I could literally stop that moment on the video and show you where it was, it is that clear to me. That is really what it was: a moment of clarity.

Transcendence, man, transcendence. Those 'signals' that Peter Berger talks about and that I wrote about in my apologetics project. It really is miraculous. A miracle is, in the end, simply a moment that brings you to faith.

I commend dancing to all my Christian brothers and sisters. It has a lot to commend it. I've certainly deepened my relationship with Jesus Christ through it. And it has helped my marriage, and it just is amazing.

On Dancing, Mind & The Universe

There is something truly significant about dancing. There is a cosmic lesson in it. For one thing, when you dance it is all about moving negative space, about moving the nothingness that exists between the two partners. The follower's main job is to 'get out of the way' to create space within which the leader can move. There is something very Taoist about that, but very Christian, too. Anyone who knows me or my theology well, or who has read the book MYSTERY WITHOUT MAGIC by Russell Pregeant knows about the overlaps between the two. I believe that Christianity is best understood through a Taoist philosophical framework, rather than the Greek philosophical lens through which it is usually refracted.

I've said before that God is the Everything that makes of itself nothing, whereas satan is the nothing that pretends it is everything. In dance, domination and control is a quick way to fail. Overpowering by either leader or follower ends in total disaster. There is also the vitality of vulnerability. Dancing with someone is to truly make yourself vulnerable to them. The creation of beauty through the manipulation of emptiness and the power of vulnerability...yea there is something truly cosmic in all of that.

Then there is the music. The sense of the music moving through you. Great dancing is about the step, but is also about the feeling. When you dance the music moves around you and through you. And if you get off time, you can really feel the whole reality of the thing fall apart around you. Dancing is the creation of an entire reality, inclusive of the physical, athletic act of the movement of the body and of the music itself, but beyond both.

Man, my friends, the older I get the more of the whole I seem to be experiencing and the more I both do and don't understand. I know that makes no sense, my philosopher friends should have a big problem with it, but it is the truth. Or at least I think it is. I see in the Cross and the Resurrection, the key to absolutely everything, and those reality are refracted back through various parts of my life, through art and beauty and nature and on and on.

There are times when so many questions weigh me down I can barely breathe. Determinism verses indeterminism, atheism vs theism, relativism vs objectivity and it all weighs me down. And then I get over it all and it is all so clear. It's like the song CARRY ON MY WAYWARD SON or something. I just have faith, I just trust the immediate fact of my own soul and God's presence within it. And it all makes so much sense. It won't last forever, it never does. But it becomes more and more dominant over time. Maybe that is the road to freedom.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Set List for Hump Day Dance @ Hometow Heroes Park 4-19-2017

Hump Day Dance 4-19-2017 Set List & Suggested Dances

(As Neva says, dance the beat you hear, not necessarily what is suggested Here)

1.      “Can’t Feel My Face” by the Weeknd- WCS

2.      “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes- Tango

3.      “Pennsylvania Polka”- Polka

4.      “The Way We Move” by Longhorn Slim- East Coast Swing (TS)

5.      “Somebody That I Used To Know” by Gotye- Rumba

6.      “All About That Bass” by Postmodern Jukebox- Foxtrot

7.      “Roar” by Postmodern Jukebox- EC Swing

8.      “Back It Up” by Caro Emerald- Cha-Cha or WCS       

9.      “Canned Heat” by Jamuriquai- Hustle

10. “Play That Funky Music White Boy” by Wild Cherry- WCS

11. “Come Thou Font” by Jesse Campbell- Waltz

12. “I Don’t Feel Like Dancing” by Scissor- Cha-Cha

13. “Telephone” by Martynas- Tango

14. “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off” by Joe Nichols- Country Polka or Two-Step

15. “Everybody Likes To Cha-Cha” by James Taylor- SLOW Cha-Cha or Rumba

16. “Bad Penny” by Mipso- Country Polka

17. “Spider-Man Theme” by Michael Buble- Quickstep Or East Coast Swing

18. “Why Don’t You And I” by Santana- WCS

19. “La La La” by Shakira- Cha-Cha

20. “Everything” by Michael Buble- Rumba

21. “Bloodstream” by Ed Sheeran- Slow WCS

22. “King of the Road” by Roger Miller- Foxtrot

23. “One Call Away” by Charlie Puth- Rumba or WCS

24. “So Long” by Leon Bridges- Waltz

25. “You Spin Me Right Round” by Dead or Alive- Hustle

26. “Elementary Theme” by Pitch Hawk- Tango

27. “Can’t Stop The Feeling” by Justin Timberlake- Cha-Cha or WCS

28. “Daughters” by John Mayer- SLOW Viennese Waltz or FAST Slow Waltz, CW also an option

29. “It Don’t Mean A Thing” by Tony Bennet and Lady Ga-Ga- Quickstep

30. “Stayin Alive” by the Bee Gees- Hustle

31. “Redneck Woman” by Gretchen Wilson- Two-Step

32. “Uptown Funk” by Burno Mars Et Al- Cha-Cha

33. “Kokomo” by the Beach Boys- Rumba

34. “Swinging On A Star” by Bing Crosby- Foxtrot

35. “Bad To The Bone” by George Thorogood- WCS

36. “Come With Me Know” by the Kongos- Polka

37. “Hit The Road Jack” by Ray Charles- East Coast Swing

38. “Marvin Gaye” by Charlie Puth- Rumba or WCS

39. “Word Crimes” by ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic- Cha-Cha

40. “Santa Maria” by the Gotan Project- Tango

41. “Bad Romance” by Postmoder Jukebox- Quickstep

42. “Breathe” by Michelle Branch- East Coast Swing

43. “Mean” by Taylor Swift- Two-Step

44. “Quando, Quando, Quando” by Michael Buble- Rumba

45. “For Your Precious Love” by Otis Redding- Fast Waltz or Slow Viennese Great CW Beat

Studio Info & Events In May

May Info & Schedule

Lauren Simmons’ Dance Studio is a concept studio run by instructor Lauren Simmons & student teacher Joshua Orsak.

Group Classes– Wednesdays- 3:30-4:30 PM (kids' class), 4:30-5:30 PM (all ages) & Friday 6:00-7:00 PM (all ages) for $25/class & most Sundays 3:45-4:30 PM (all ages), $15/class. There will be NO CLASSES on Wednesday 5/31, or Friday 6/2

Private Lessons- By appointment, $60/45-minute session with Joshua and Lauren

Private Lesson Special– Monday May 15th, 2-6 PM, $25/30-minute lesson (spots limited). Time & date subject to change.

Outings- Lauren and I are running the dance at Hometown Heroes Park on Wednesday, May 3rd, 1-3:30 PM. There is a Saturday Hometown Heroes Dance that same week, Saturday May 6th, 7-10 PM, Lauren Simmons’ Studio students are invited and encouraged to attend both events.

Studio Hiatus- There will be NO group classes and NO private lessons 5/30-6/3 due to Josh and Lauren’s much-deserved vacations, group classes will resume Sunday June 4th.

Scholarships available. For more info contact Joshua at 832-477-4805 or

Monday, April 17, 2017

This Week's Waltz Class- Sunday, April 23rd, 3:45-4:30 PM

This Sunday group class is BACK! With both instructors (gasp)!!! We meet 3:45-4:30 PM and we will be doing the following:
Country Waltz- Review + Reverse Turns and Cuddle and perhaps Cradle
Ballroom Waltz- Review, Balance Steps and perhaps Cradle

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Joshua & Lauren Run The Hump Day Dance!

Ladies and Gents

If you're in town, and free during these times, we are running the Hump Day Dance at Hometown Heroes Park in League City 1-3:30 PM this coming Wednesday, April 19th. We would love to have you join us. The floor is good and the music is going to be dynamite. We will post the play list on this site in a few days.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Studio Info & Events In April (Reprise)

April Info & Schedule

Lauren Simmons’ Dance Studio is a concept studio run by instructor Lauren Simmons & student teacher Joshua Orsak.

Group Classes– Every Wednesday 4:30-5:30 PM & Friday 6:00-7:00 PM $25/Class, & most Sundays 3:45-4:30 PM, $15/class

Private Lessons-  By appointment, $60/45-minute session with Joshua and Lauren

Private Lesson Special– Monday April 17th, 3-7 PM, $25/30-minute private lessons (spots limited). Time & date subject to change.

Saturday Dance Outing-  Saturday, April 8th, to Hometown Heroes Park, led by Lauren. 8-9:30 PM

Friday Dance Outing- April 7th, Meet At St. Thomas at 7 PM, go to ballroom dance party in Clear Lake.

Scholarships available. For more info contact Joshua at     832-477-4805 or

Reminders & Updates For the Week

Thank you to everyone who came out to our first Sunday group class yesterday, it went very well. This week we have a lot going on:

We have our outing on Friday, we meet at the church at 7 PM and then head over to the Gilruth for a ballroom & country dance party.

The time Lauren is available on Saturday has changed. She invites everyone to join her for Hometown Heroes' second Saturday dance 8-9:30 PM.

Sunday April 8th we continue our group class focused on waltz & country waltz.

We hope to see many of you at these events.