WHAT IS HOA AND FUSION PARTNER DANCING?
1. HoA is a school of dance for anybody and everybody. We teach the Fusion of many different styles of partner dance and solo dancing according to the rhythms, tempo and vibe of whatever music is currently being played. Dances we teach to a variety of music include:
West Coast Swing, Salsa, Tango, Blues, Cha Cha, Rumba, Bachata, Lindy Hop, Fusion Swing, Country Two Step and more! Learning more than one style at a time is easier than you think and way more fun!
2. Exercise in disguise. An important element of learning any style of partner dancing is repetition and constant movement. Build stamina, strength and cardio through repetition and energizing music.
3. Learn a universal language and skill that keeps your brain and body active while listening to music you love. You don't even have to speak a common tongue to dance with someone! Students will learn styles of dancing that are danced enthusiastically all over the world to a wide variety of music.
4. A "companion" class. We love it when students tell us they are taking classes elsewhere as well. We encourage you to hear other voices as many teachers often specialize in one style of dance. That can be of enormous value to you and others as a student of partner dancing. If you are interested in taking a class for the first time with one dance as its focus, our fusion classes will prepare you to feel more confident and have tons of fun.
5. Music! Music! Music! We want you to move to music that moves you! If you love many kinds of music like we do, you can enjoy learning how to dance to almost anything that strikes your fancy. You will learn a bit of music theory from a dancer's perspective, how to dance better to live music and have opportunities for social dancing to an eclectic mixture of tunes. Dancing just isn't meaningful without the music!
6. Meet new people and be a part of a unified dance community in Southern Oregon. We often hear social dancers refer to themselves as a "Just a Tango dancer" or say "I only know how to dance West Coast Swing". While dances like those are some of our absolute favorites, we dream of a dance community being able to dance to whatever music inspires them to do with any partner and by themselves. Let's expand together and learn a foundation that will allow you to speak many dance languages and only have to sit out a dance because you need a break!
7. Live music and dance opportunities. In addition to our weekly and monthly social dances, we will periodically have live music for dancing and social outings to local venues that are great for music and dance. Meet other dancers that enjoy dancing to live music and learn to dance better at concerts and music festivals.
FUSION PARTNER DANCING IN ACTION
Partner dancing itself is an umbrella term referring to dancing executed with a partner. These types of dances fall into a handful of common categories such as Ballroom dances, Latin dances, Swing dances, Tango dances and Country dances. But with Fusion, the possibilities are endless!
There are 3 main parts to our concept of Fusion partner dancing:
1. Learning different styles of partner dances to dance to a variety of music based on the tempo, rhythms and mood of a song.
2. Combining 2 or more dance styles to be danced in the same song.
3. Dancing a particular style of partner dancing to a song not considered traditionally associated with that particular style of dancing such as Salsa dancing to Country music or Tango dancing to Rock music.
Here are some examples of Fusion partner dancing in action:
Do you want to know the secret to becoming a fun and skilled partner dancer?
The secret is solo dancingI!
Learning to dance with yourself is a lifetime investment, especially since you take yourself to every dance partnership you encounter. Getting comfortable with certain movements and rhythms first by yourself to a piece of music is truly the secret of partner dancing. Whether you prefer one dance role (leader or follower) over the other when you hit the floor, solo dancing is critical. It is the ultimate test of your skills such as hearing the music, maintaining your own balance and rhythm, putting style and personality into your dance and so much more. There truly is no substitute for knowing how to dance it all by yourself.
This isn't to say that the most fun part isn't dancing with a partner, because that's why we are learning to dance with partners in the first place. It's the absolute best feeling! I would just like you to consider this...no matter how good you get as a leader or a follower, you can not make someone lead or follow you. The reality is, dancing with a partner can be amazing or very frustrating. When someone you are dancing with doesn't know how to maintain their own timing, balance or rhythm, it becomes less of a fun dance conversation and more of a non verbal argument! However there are few things in life that compare to the absolutely amazing and confident feeling of having a really good dance with someone to a great song that you both enjoy!
Here are a few examples of solo dancing from the perspective of a partner dancer...
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LIVE MUSIC AND DANCING WITH THE GIANTESS
The Giantess is an all original musical duo. Husband and wife team; Rob and Tess Gunderson describe their music as Dream Rock Blues and Jazz with hints of Country, Rockabilly and Southern Rock. They have also been described as "Pat Benetar meets Patsy Cline".
Tess Gunderson is the artist behind the Giantess character, the band's gig posters and merchandise. You can sign up for their newsletter on the website below and receive weekly updates on shows, their upcoming album and more...
MEET TESS & THE HOUSE OF ART TEAM
~ Tess ~
Tess (Minnick) Gunderson is a professional partner dancer, musician and digital artist.
Tess is a West Coast Swing, Ballroom and Country dance champion, professional instructor and performer in multiple styles of partner dances such as Ballroom, West Coast Swing, Salsa, Lindy Hop, Tango and more.
However, Tess has hung up her competition shoes for now to focus on teaching the ultimate expression of this art form...social dancing with fun people and great music!
Tess's main philosophy of partner dances is to think of it as learning many dialects of a foreign language. Which dialect to speak depends on the music you are hearing in the moment, just as you would match the language you speak to the country you're visiting. Every dance dialect has useful rhythms, fun movements and unbelievable health benefits for the body, mind and soul! Tess loves to dive deep into music theory for social dancers, play fun dance games as well as host social dances and events featuring a wide and eclectic variety of great music to dance to.
Tess also believes the future of partner dancing is "Fusion Dancing." In Tess's definition of Fusion, the aim is to be able to move smoothly between 2 or more styles of dance to one song, dance a style to a piece of music not considered traditional to that style as well as having an understanding and appreciation of solo movement...in other words...dancing by yourself as if you were dancing with a partner!
To see a full list of accomplishments, videos and credentials, please visit Tess's personal website at www.TessMinnick.com
~ Rob ~
Rob Gunderson is a professional musician, sound engineer, dance studio handyman for House Of Art and The Giantess Band. Rob and Tess have been making music and art together since they met in 2017. They play their original music all around the Rogue Valley and soon beyond. You can find Rob on the dance floor at Wine and Dancing events, but he is usually behind the scenes making the sound equipment work so the dancers can have the best social dance experience wherever HoA may be dancing!
~ Lindy & Heidi ~
Lindy and Heidi are the official studio cats. They prefer to call themselves assistants, but all they really do is just stare and judge you while you are dancing in the studio. Please don't take it personally...Tess's dancing puts them to sleep too.