Westie Side Chat

Our Story

It all started when…

A man walked into a workshop room at a Westie event. It was a Sunday afternoon and everybody was filling into the room in a tired, yet eager manner. The mark of any good event.

Looking around, there was the usual hustle and bustle of sounds preceding the start of that workshop, much like any other. You’ve been there. I’ve been there. But this workshop was not like any other. He had arrived to a WCS panel discussion, where top WCS experts would share their knowledge and opinions about what they thought was important to West Coast Swing.

Excited, he sits down on a chair off to the side and watches as the discussion begins.

The panel starts off with the usual introductions. Who, where, when & how. Where’s the “what” you might ask? Today’s discussion is generalized, much like 90% of these discussions and is open to all topics. Therefore, there’s no focus.

The panel starts off with a thought provoking statement. Each expert weighing in with their rationale on the piece. Discussion between them ensues as the audience listens with rapt attention. He enjoys hearing how these experts think about WCS and it expands his own personal understanding. The discussion is becoming great.

The panel opens up for questions from the audience and this is where the narrative begins to change. At first the questions are related to the topic that had begun the conversation and serve as a useful way to move the conversation forward. Slowly, but surely though, they begin to veer to irrelevant subjects like:

“Where do you think the future of West Coast Swing is heading?”

“This person told me to triple step like this, but I can clearly see you triple differently *this way*, how should I triple step?”

“You talk about doing a whip this way, but at *insert random westie event*, you clearly did something different. Why is that?”

“Why do you have different arm styling than *this other person*. What should I do?”

As each questions becomes less and less relevant, his eyes begin to glaze like many others, until the discussion devolves into what 90% of these discussions become, a wasted opportunity to disseminate knowledge.

The panel discussion ends and everybody leaves the room. Disappointed, he thinks about how he’s experienced this premise in a different format. A format which most of the Westie population is not privy to. He’s thinking of workshops that suddenly change once you reach the AllStar level, as they become lectures or were lectures to begin with. It is here, where top experts use personal experience to fill knowledge gaps, that could have been addressed at a far earlier time in a dancers career.

Unfortunately, most people don’t get to experience this way of learning because there is an expectation on dance classes, whether at home in your local community or at an event, to only teach attendees physical skills. It is inappropriate to delve deeply into WCS theory because most people are there to learn skills or don’t understand how valuable this knowledge is until after they’ve experienced lots of failure, which inadvertently causes them to learn that knowledge.

The result? You are left with many dancers who feel like they’ve only begun to start learning about this dance once they’ve reached the AllStar level.

At every stage, it is just as important to gain knowledge about theoretical application as it to learn practical application. Learning *how* to do something is just as important as learning *why* you should do something. Unfortunately, most of these workshops are blocked by high WSDC point requirements or auditions. How can people access the knowledge they don’t know they need, if they’re barred entry from even walking in? There is a better way and this is why you’re here today.

Since you’ve read this far, you now have an understanding of what Westie Side Chat aims to teach you. How to think about WCS in a way which will make your physical actions become much more impactful. It is the *why* behind the *how*, which enables you to succeed. Westie Side Chat does this by bringing weekly live online lectures to you, on very focused topics, where experts share the knowledge they’ve accumulated over years of trial and error without barriers. Our goal is make you become a better thinker so that you will become a better dancer.


Alpha Vo

As the Founder of Westie Side Chat, Alpha Vo personally knows the value of mentorship and dance education, due to how it has impacted his own dance journey. He has been mentored by Showcase Champions, Myles Munroe & Tessa Cunningham-Munroe and has also been deeply influenced by the lectures of Champions such as Robert Royston, Deborah Székely, Brandi Guild & Michael Kielbasa. Hearing these industry thought leaders discuss WCS has been just as instrumental in his growth as taking dance workshops. Alpha aims to share this experience with the rest of the WCS world through making the wisdom of these figures, and many others, accessible to you on a global scale.

Alpha Vo is a West Coast Swing AllStar known for his precision and athleticism. He has been competing and dancing for eight years and has accrued several achievements. In 2016 Alpha & his dance partner, Jen Malcolm, won the international amateur title of "US Open Rising Star Champions", becoming the first international couple to ever win in a US Open routine division. They graduated to compete in the Showcase Division the following year where they took notable accomplishments such as receiving 2nd place at NASDE Seattle’s Easter Swing, 3rd place at NASDE Boogie by the Bay & 7th place at NASDE US Open in 2017.