50 episodes

Weekly podcast where host Eric Jacobson has honest discussions about West Coast Swing, our dance community, and the impact they both have on all of us personally.

The Naked Truth: Real Talk about West Coast Swing Eric Jacobson

    • Performing Arts

Weekly podcast where host Eric Jacobson has honest discussions about West Coast Swing, our dance community, and the impact they both have on all of us personally.

    Kelly Casanova (Part 1)

    Kelly Casanova (Part 1)

    We are so fortunate to have people in our dance community who have not only have accomplished so much but continue to give of themselves to better our dance and our community. Kelly Casanova is one of those generous souls, and Eric was fortunate enough to sit down to learn from her years of experience as a competitor, teacher, and judge. In the first part of this conversation, Eric asked her about her beginnings in the swing world and what the scene was like at that time. They chatted about the Bay Area community and how it changed over time. Kelly also shared her experiences winning the Classic division and Jack & Jill division at the Open, and she revealed why she stopped competing. Then they discussed the event she created, Swing Break, and why it didn't last long, which led to a deeper discussion of what this dance is really about. Kelly is knowledgeable, insightful, and very authentic, and she offers a lot of wisdom and food for thought.

    footnotesKelly Casanova

    • 1 hr 10 min
    Learning and Teaching with Kris Swearingen

    Learning and Teaching with Kris Swearingen

    Everyone of us who dances West Coast Swing had to learn how to do this dance at some point. To get good at the dance, we need to continue to learn and develop new skills. And along the way, we need teachers who impart knowledge and nurture our abilities. Learning and teaching are such an essential part of what we do as dancers, and they can shape both our understanding of the dance and how we do it. To learn more about learning, Eric sat down with Kris Swearingen, Champion-level dancer and middle school English teacher, to talk about how people learn and how to teach. They chatted about Kris's background and experience as an educator. They discussed a framework for understanding how people learn as well as how people differ in their learning abilities. Kris shared how he develops his students in the classroom and how he applies similar techniques to teaching dance. Eric asked Kris what he would like to see from teachers in our West Coast Swing community, and they ended with a conversation about how people can be better students of the dance. Whether you're a student of the dance, a teacher, or just curious about how humans work, this conversation will enlighten and give you a new perspective.

    footnotesBloom's Taxonomy - Vanderbilt University Center for TeachingMindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck (Amazon.com)"Mind Over Matter: Attitude and Mindset" on nakedbasics.com (blog)A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra) by Barbara Oakley (Amazon.com)The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance by W. Timothy Gallwey (Amazon.com)Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath (Amazon.com)

    • 1 hr 33 min
    Annie Hirsch

    Annie Hirsch

    On February 7, 2015, The Next Generation Swing Dance Club hosted a fireside chat with the First Lady of Swing, Annie Hirsch. Taking place at Allegro Ballroom in Emeryville, California, the one-hour conversation was moderated by our friend, Tom Paderna, and featured special guest Kelly Casanova. Five years later, Eric is thrilled to share this rare interview with Annie, where she discussed her own experiences in swing. She talked about learning from her brother, her time as a contestant liaison, and why she created the points system. She shared stories about her partner Jack Carey, how they met, and some of their experiences dancing together. And she talked about what, in her view, makes swing dancing swing. Annie shared her experience with humor, wisdom, and lots of heart. So take a listen and learn more about the dance and this legend of swing!

    footnotesThe Next Generation Swing Dance ClubInside the WCS Studio: A Day with AnniePhotos from the event

    • 56 min
    Larisa Tingle

    Larisa Tingle

    Champion dancer, DJ, dance studio owner, architect, musician, vocalist, and all-around awesome person - there are lots of ways to describe Larisa Tingle. So it's no wonder that Eric was thrilled to finally sit down with her to talk about a whole bunch of topics. They talked about her start in West Coast Swing, her background in music, and her experience preparing to compete at the Open. Larisa told her story of moving up through the ranks to become a Champion-level dancer, and what she believes it takes to earn your spot at the top. She also shared her thoughts on the new WSDC pathway from All Star to Champion, and why she thinks it may not be a good idea. They also discussed her start as a DJ, and how she approaches DJing for both social dancing and competition. Larisa was open, thoughtful, and humble and shared lots of her own reflections and insights. Take a listen and learn from one of the best!

    footnotesTony Schubert & Larisa Tingle - Classic Division, US Open 2019

    • 1 hr 19 min
    Aging and Ageism

    Aging and Ageism

    As our community has grown in recent years, it has attracted many younger dancers - a demographic shift that has altered the dynamic of our scene. The previous generation of dancers is getting older in an increasingly younger scene, and in addition to facing changes in their own bodies, they often find themselves facing changes in their relationship with the dance. To better understand what it's like to age and mature in our dance community, Eric sat down with two good friends - Tom Paderna (a previous guest of the show) and Gail Jacobson (not related to Eric) - to chat about their stories and experiences. They shared some of their physical limitations and how those affect their social dancing and competitive experiences. They talked about how the community has changed over the years and how their own roles have changed as a result. They chatted about ageism in both social dancing and competition, and they discussed the Masters division and some proposed changes to that division. And finally they shared some thoughts on how we all can create a community that is more welcoming and inclusive of older dancers. Take a listen and broaden your own understanding of what your fellow dancers are experiencing.

    footnotesMastery of SwingImplicit Assessment Test

    • 1 hr 27 min
    Torri & Maxime Zzaoui

    Torri & Maxime Zzaoui

    In the last couple of years, there has been a renewed interest in dancing to classic swing music, in large part due to two dancers whose improvisational demos have gone viral on social media. Torri and Maxime Zzaoui embody grace, elegance, and the beauty of swing, and their videos capture their musicality, their playfulness, and their love of the dance. Eric sat down with these two talented, kind, funny, and down-to-earth champions to discuss their backgrounds, their success, and their personal stories. Torri shared her experiences working with Brennar and Benji, and winning Classic and Showcase at the Open in the same year. Maxime talked about his training, why France has some incredible dancing, and his own teaching philosophy. They shared the story behind the now-famous dance at WOTP (where they danced to "Nice 'N' Easy" by Frank Sinatra) and what they think about how popular it was. They also spoke candidly about how they develop themselves, the brand they've created, and how their brand sets others' expectations. And of course, they told the story of how they met, became a couple, and formed their partnership. Listen to this heartwarming conversation with two of the most beloved, charming, and amazing dancers and people.

    footnotesMaxime and TorriTorri Smith & Brennar Goree - Classic Division, US Open 2010Torri Smith & Benji Schwimmer - Showcase Division, US Open 2010Maxime Zzaoui & Virginie Perga - Classic Division, US Open 2012Maxime & Torri Zzaoui - WOTP 2018Maxime & Torri Zzaoui - Norway Westie Fest 2017Maxime & Torri Zzaoui - Budafest 2019Maxime & Torri Zzaoui - Budafest 2020

    • 1 hr 22 min

Customer Reviews

Lee K. Candiotti ,

West Coast Swing Dancer

I got bit by the West Coast Swing bug in 2000 and have been addicted ever since. Can't tell you how great it is to hear from all the greats I've had the opportunity to learn from, take privates and classes from and most importantly dance with people like Deborah, Sharlot, Kyle & Sarah, Jordan & Tatiana, Myles & Tessa, Robert Royston, Mario Robau and many others. This podcast is long over due because it serves as a tangible reference to the history and development of the dance, it provides great perspective, and a strong foundation for future growth and development by people who have dedicated their lives and careers to the dance, by people who genuinely care about the dance and want to share it with the world. Well Done !!!

podcastlover45 ,


I have greatly appreciated, listening to this podcast. I adore all the insider scoop on the history of west coast swing dance through so many legendary perspectives, etc. John festa to Brandi.
You ask the questions I would never be extroverted enough to ask, as well as have opened the door to get to know these folks so much better, outside of the dance floor during an event.

I also like that this is a safe space to discuss hot button issues, as well as validating some of the wcs culture in the community. It’s been a gift to hear the Eric and Deborah bring their unique voices to the conversation and include us all along the way

divaonthedancefloor ,

My guilty pleasure!

Calm, soothing waters (Eric) meet crashing waves (Deborah) in this “babbling” podcast about all things swing. I’ve loved every episode I’ve listened too and can’t wait to find time to “sit in” on another honest discussion about the good, bad and ugly of our swing community. A must for every triple stepper on the planet!

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