January 8th & 9th Workshop in Orange County

Sarah and I are teaching two workshops this weekend on January 8th and 9th.

Saturday: Atomic Ballroom – Intermediate Workshop

Time: 12:00pm – 4:00pm

Location: ATOMIC Ballroom Irvine – 17961 Skypark Circle, Suite C Irvine, CA 92614

Workshop Information:

Dax Hock & Sarah Breck deliver a unique method of instruction that revolves around authentic swing music, natural body movement, and variations that work with minimal effort, and fun over frustration. Emphasis is placed on Rhythm–not steps; Body-Movement–not footwork; Singing–not counting, and dancing as one versus isolating and holding hands with your partner. During lessons you will discover that just footwork is more like Foot-’Dont’-Work and that Body-Movement is the key to great dancing. Students will be taught movements versus single variations and how to string them together so you can dance fast and make killer social dancing combinations.

Class Schedule

12:00pm Registration / Check-in
12:15pm Boogie Back to Basics
1:00pm Bouncin’ ain’t Rhythm
1:45pm Practice / Pizza Party
2:30pm Stompoff-ology
3:15pm Fast Technique

The whole workshop is $48 if you pre-register by 1/07/11. Or $60 at the door. *Virtual Punch Cards are not valid for workshops. Register in person or online now! http://atomicballroom.com/calendar/special-events/lindy-hop-workshop.php

Sunday – Advanced  Plus Workshop

Visit Our Facebook Page for More Info!

Time: 1:00 -5:00

Location: Beehive Ballroom- 9627 Chapman Ave. Garden Grove, CA

Workshop Information:

Last workshop was such a success that we thought I would throw together another one :) Like last year, we are trying to use a invitation system but we are flexible so if you think you would like to give it a shot please contact us.  We would say anyone ranging from intermediate/advance to pro level will benefit greatly from this class. We encourage you tell the people you like to dance with and bring them along!

Cost: 60$ for pre-registration. 70$ at the door.
RSVP by using our contact form. We will get back to you with details on how to prepay for the workshop. We will be taking registration up until Saturday Evening!

A Previous Interview – How to turn a passion into a career

I recently was interviewed for an article about making a living out of a passion. Here were some of the questions I was asked.

How did you get started in your current career?

I feel fortunate because my career sucked me in without much thought. Six months after I started dancing I was asked by our local teacher to start assisting her and it took off from there. Once the ball was rolling it was easy to maintain momentum. From the age of 16 to 18, after teaching and performing as a professional dancer, I quit. I returned to my original ambition to go to college get a degree in business. I wanted to head down a path where I thought I could find financial security. In the beginning I didn’t believe dancing would make that possible. However, after one year of college, dancing kept drawing me back in. I had too many opportunities and couldn’t ignore it. I was lucky, the doors opened  easily, however I had to work  hard to succeed once I took the plunge.  I spent most of my energy defining what made me unique and honed ability as a dancer and especially as a teacher.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to turn a hobby or a passion into a living? What is a smart first step?

Turning a hobby into a career can be tricky, but if you are successful at your hobby you have a much higher chance of making a living with it. If you are lucky, the opportunity will probably call upon you and you will see the doors open. This will get you started, but only hard work, training and refinement of your artistic and business skills will lead to success.  If doors of opportunity aren’t opening for you, it is still possible to make it happen, it just takes more work and dedication in the beginning.

There are a few paths to follow when turning a passion or hobby into a career.  Teach it, perform it, or create some product out of it and sell it.  There are also other ways to stay directly connected to the hobby without being a master at it. You can create an event or facility to host either the production or instruction of the craft, art, or hobby. If you have the business skills, it is easy to take your awareness of the niche market and figure out a way to monetize it and bring value to the community. (This is the secret, you must find a way to add value to your niche community/market. If you create something of real value, people will support you and your projects. )

The first step is to define what it is you are going to offer and whether or not you have a potential market. Will people actually pay for it? Can you do a show, sell a product or teach others how to do it?  The second step is try it. You have to test this before you fully commit. Don’t jump assuming that everything will just work out. After a real trail, you will know exactly how to transition from your current situation and whether it will be possible. Balance working your current job, and work your hobby on the side to see if you actually like it when it becomes business.  From there it is pretty easy to know when and if you can go full time and make a living.

What mistakes do you see people making when they try to become self-employed?

1) Taking the plunge to soon. Being over confident and going for it without a trail or a true calling.
2) Not being professional. Hobbies are where most people do it for fun. So when the calling comes, they don’t get professional. This often creates burnt bridges, and bad relationships can easily harm your career.
3) Don’t Be Lazy! Especially for people who are naturally more talented. Always remember there are probably hundreds of other people who will work harder and eventually surpass you if you don’t progress. Even if competition didn’t exist, avoid mediocre success and be exceptional. Never stop developing your craft and your business will never die.
4) Failing to find support. You career literally begins once you engage early adopters or fans. People who really believe in your product and abilities. These people will sell you better then you ever will alone. Engage a few and the rest will follow. If you fail to find this early support, then it will be a very rough ride.

How has the web helped your career?

The web has helped immensely with publicity. Video and word of mouth spreads almost instantaneously on the web. The web is an amazing marketing resource and one that happens naturally if you attract the interest of heavy web users and fans. Having a personal website is also another way to allow people to get to know you and your product without having to be there in person all the time.

The web is also a great source of inspiration. You can easily find people around the world in seconds who can inspire you in your craft. This is something that was previously extremely hard to come by for people unable to travel and meet other talented people who study their craft. The key is to be inspired but not to copy.

Surfing Fun Leads to Busted Ribs

Part 1: The Incident(s)

Every year we take a vacation in December with one rule– NO DANCING. The truth is, our everyday life is more like a typical vacation. We spend most of our time dancing and traveling the world so our idea of a “vacation” is hence demoted to, NO traveling, one location, and a place with NO swing dancing in existence. This year we chose Costa Rica. Riding high on imagination that I would be surfing everyday reliving my childhood memories, this was destined to be one of the best vacations yet…

Crack! One week in,  I bust my rib. Surfing non the less, and how unfortunate considering I had just enjoyed 5 solid days of warming up and was ready to rip it up.

What started as a minor injury only worsened. I can probably attribute that to underrating the injury and about 2 other incidents.

  1. We went to the Gym because my our friend Doug wanted to take this “class”. Turns out this crazy Spanish speaking, French, Thai Kickboxer was running it. He had us jumping around, doing plyometrics and ab workouts at chipmunk speeds. Of course this didn’t help my rib situation, not to mention my ego kept me going extra strong even though I knew I should have quit the second I took one good look at the Van Damme wannabe.
  2. The day I started feeling better, Sarah and I decide to practice. Everything was going well and we were working on some lifts. In the heat of the feel good, we decided to try a new lift where in the first stage, Sarah does a jumping bear hug wraping her legs around my rib cage…Exactly, that didn’t end well. I was brought to me knees in a split second of excruciating pain. Whoops.

Part 2: Liberia Hospitals & The X-Ray

There is nothing more awkward then going to the Hospital in a foreign country. I would actually recommend wearing a helmet while traveling but it isn’t very practical for sleeping on planes. Anyway, we rock up to the hospital in our rental car on the way to Tabacon. Honestly it looked like the DMV in downtown Los Angeles. Lines of people were pouring out of every entry to this 1 story complex. Vendors were selling tacos, back braces and Bengay. It was a happening place and had me awfully confused.

Contrary to not speaking Spanish, and hardly anyone speaking English, I somehow managed to get an X-ray, and have it examined by a doctor who insured me that my ribs were not broken. Turns out they were “bruised”, which can take almost as long to heal and can result in just as much pain.

Looking back now, how I managed to get through the whole system is astonishing. I think there were about 29 stages to the whole process. I would explain in detail but this is a blog post, not a novel. I will, however, share one highlight.  I handed my X-Ray to the doctor, after which he placed it on the “light-board-thingy” for closer examination, and to his surprise, the thing was busted. The back light didn’t work, go figure, since it was practically rusting right off the wall. He left the room cursing in Spanish. Two minutes later he comes back and while holding the X-Ray up to the overhead light, as if it could actually illuminate some possible crack in my rib, and says “See, no broken!”. That was funny.

Big Audition Coming Up! – Paula Abdul’s Live to Dance

Sarah and I are going to New York to Audition for Paula Abdul’s new Show “Live to Dance”. It is a new CBS dance show with details yet to be totally revealed. Hopefully they will be ready for some good ol’ Lindy Hop, swing and some of America’s home cooking! Of course we won’t forget to eat some of our favorite cooking at Momo Fuku, do some social dancing, and actually teach a little workshop! Going to New York City always gives me this curious energy and creative spirit. Hopefully it will allow for good things at the Audition.

Wish us Luck!

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