PLU Class Syllabus

Welcome to Fall 2018 PLU Dance Classes

First allow me to introduce myself…
My name is April Morrow. I am looking forward to being your professor for the next 15 weeks. I have been heading PLU’s ballroom and swing program for eight years.  I also own and operate Dance To Connect since 2006. My other profession involves life coaching those with past trauma to move from Hurting to Healing. I am currently writing a book called So help me Me.  I specialize in leading codependents to break free from their self-love deficiency disorder, to heal from narcissism and gas lighting abuse, and to learn how to reconnect to their true self and heal so they can begin to look within for their needed security, approval, and love. I also specialize in recovery for the overwhelmed and lost souls transitioning into living in the world after leaving the institution of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Last but not least, being an HSP, I am highly passionate about training caretakers, teachers, therapist, doctors, and families how to better equip themselves in working with highly sensitive children and adults.

HSP…
I was born with an over stimulated sensory system known as HSP (highly sensitive people). There are 20% of us in this world, with 50% female 50% male and 70% introvert and 30% extrovert.  We are not on the autism spectrum. We are polarity to Aspergers. We are born with an abundance of empathy and organically absorb the emotions of those around us.  All six of my senses are amplified with intensity and on high alert 24/7. I will be unable to get close enough to assist you if you are wearing a fragrance.  So please refrain from perfumes in my classroom. Also, you will notice the overhead lighting is off. There’s plenty light from the surrounding windows; however, sometimes I have to close the eastern exposed windows due to the effect of the glare on my sensitive eyes. There is still plenty of light from the southern windows.  Think of it as therapeutic dancing. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding!

Circle Time…
Each class starts with a circle to discuss your lesson plan and answer any questions.  I will demonstrate previous class material. Then we will run solo drills apart from partners, then connection drills together, and ultimately put it to the music.  Please excuse yourself for water or restroom during a time when your partner is running solo drills. Because we have two hour classes I like to take a short break and circle back up but this time for story time.  Please refrain from cell phones in my class unless it’s an emergency. This class is about learning the connection to the dance, the partner, the music, and with each classmate.

Name Tags…
You only have one name to remember.  I have forty per class and I make it a priority to know all your names.  That is why you are wearing name tag necklaces. This method accelerates my ability to memorize in a short period of time.  It is also my system of keeping track of who is here so I don’t have to use ten minutes doing roll every class. You will find your name tag in our first circle.  Please put the name tag on and sit where you found it. After class a designated lead will collect the leads name tags while a designated follow will collect the follows name tags.

Final and grade…
Your final will be held December 11 and will consist of a practical and written test.  Your grade will depend upon attendance and effort more than performance. All of you will learn at a different pace and rotation helps to even the playing field.  Your partner is relying upon you so please be here unless you are ill. Three or less absences and you can achieve an “A”. More than three absences and you will need to do a makeup project to pass the class.  Most importantly, be patient with yourself and have fun!

Ballroom

What my ballroom students will learn…

Three ballroom dances, including their characteristics, rhythms, staying on time to music, foot positions, dance positions, and the connection of frame between the partners including a lead and a follow.  You will learn the difference between the smooth progressive dance of waltz and the Latin box dance of rumba. I let you all vote on the third dance of choice being tango, foxtrot, cha-cha, nightclub two step, country two step, or east coast swing. I will post the syllabus for the third dance once it has been determined. 

Ballroom Leads: You are in charge of memorizing the syllabus and initiating each pattern, learning to lead from your solar and cervical plexus, holding your frame, keeping your rhythms, staying on time to the music, learning to overcome, adapt, and accommodate your follow, and navigating the partnership known as floor craft

Ballroom Follows: You are in charge of following the lead of your partner and not anticipating what they are going to do.  There is a map and legend and it is your job to learn the legend, wait, and then respond accordingly to what has been requested of you. You are responsible for keeping your rhythms, holding your frame, spotting through your turns, and staying on time to the music unless your lead is off time.  If your lead is off time, then so are you. It is more important to stay connected and keep in sync with your lead than it is to struggle with them in order to stay on time to the music.

Rumba Syllabus
1. Box Step
2. Turning Box
3. Follows Natural Turn
4. Parallel Breaks
5. Crossovers
6. Walk Around Turn
7. Cross Body Lead
8. Rumba Rocks

Waltz Syllabus
1. Box Step
2. Turning Box
3. Follows Natural Turn
4. Progressive Basic
5. Zigzags
6. Develop’
7. Reverse Turn
8. Promenade Twinkle

East Coast Swing
1. Basic Step
2. Follows Reverse Turn 
3. Leads Reverse Turn
4. Cuddle
5. Walks with Kicks
6. Head Loops
7. Shoulder Taps
8. Combo Turn

West Coast Swing & Salsa

What my West Coast Swing and Salsa students will learn…
The first 11 weeks we work on learning the four basic patterns in West Coast Swing, its characteristics of stretch and anchoring, its third foot dance position, compression and resistance connection, and its standard double and triple rhythms.  The last four weeks we will work on learning the characteristics, foot positions, and single and double rhythms of salsa.

WCS Leads: You are in charge of memorizing the four patterns, initiating and allowing the follow to stretch, keeping connected through resistance or compression, anchoring in place, holding your frame, keeping your rhythms, learning to lead from your solar and cervical plexus, always straight back on the a& landing on the down beat 1, staying on time to the music, and learning to overcome, adapt, and accommodate, your follow.

WCS Follows: You are in charge of memorizing the four patterns, creating the stretch, keeping connected through resistance or compression, anchoring in place, holding your frame, keeping your rhythms, and spotting though your rotational steps known as turning.  You are in charge of following the lead and not anticipating what’s next. There is a map and legend and it is your job to learn the legend, wait, and then respond accordingly to what has been requested of you. If your lead is off time, then so are you. It is more important to stay connected and keep in sync with your lead than it is to struggle with them in order to stay on time to the music.

West Coast Swing Syllabus
1. Left Side Pass
2. Right Side Pass
3. Push Break
4. Whip
Follows will learn how to turn to the right and to the left in all four patterns. Leads will learn the importance of clarity and timing within their request for their follow to turn.

Salsa Syllabus
1. Basic
2. Side Step
3. Inside & Outside Turns
4. Water Falls
5. Cross Body Lead

Universal Unit System

The UUS is a visual training tool for learning rhythms, upbeats and downbeats, and the space between the notes known as “&a”.  It teaches the dancer to break every movement into increments of two beats known as a unit of music to dancers. The dots represent weight changes, a slash represents the opposite (a non weight change), while the &a represents the space between the down and upbeat.  A slash could represent a hold, as in rumba, flight, as in foxtrot, brush work, as in tango, or a develop’ as in waltz. So although the slash may represent many things, the key is that it never makes a weight change. The large dots are for the up and down beats. The small dots are used when a dancer is syncopating.  Syncopating is when the dancer is making more weight changes then there are allotted beats. Observe my examples below.