Boulder Swing Dance sat down with Anthony Carusiello to find out how he got started with dancing and teaching.
How/when did you get started dancing?
I started dancing my junior year in college. My roommate at the time was a dancer and kept asking me to come out. I never wanted to, but once I finally did I really started to enjoy myself.
New dancers are often discouraged after their first couple of lessons. Do you remember how long it took you to feel like you were really dancing?
I remember feeling that way. For the first 6 weeks while I was taking classes I was constantly uncomfortable and I would only ask people from my classes to dance. It was around then that I was invited to go to my first workshop. I was terrified the first night and only danced to 2 songs the whole 5 hours I was there. The next day, however, I was introduced to some new simple moves and the idea that anything was leadable, as long as you can lead it. After that I felt like I had the tools I needed to be creative and started to have a lot more fun.
When did you start teaching?
I started teaching about 6 months after I started dancing. I had been practicing a lot and by the time the spring semester came around the leaders of my college club decided I was ready to begin teaching beginner classes. I was originally paired up with an experienced teacher and I feel like that helped me a great deal to learn and improve upon my teaching.
Dance weekends, private lessons, special dance workshops --- what’s most helpful for a beginning and/or intermediate dancer?
Like anything else it’s all about the hours you put into it. Whatever you decide to do the more deliberate practice you put into it, the more you will get out of it so do whatever it is that you feel will make you want to practice the most. Personally, besides weekly classes, I would suggest taking dance workshop weekends and the occasional private lesson from a dancer who you really like.
Do you have any other advice for new dancers?
Keep having fun and keep taking classes. Don’t forget why you come out dancing and keep making that a central part of how you approach the dance.
Do you have a regular dance partner? How important is that when you’re learning?
When I was starting I did, but here in Denver I work with a variety of partners (a lot of us do). If there is something specific that you need a lot of time to work on then it is nice to have a consistent partner to practice with. Always remember though, that just because you can do it with one partner doesn’t mean you can do it with everyone. Working with different people is a great way to generalize your technique. More important than who you’re practicing with is how you practice. Deliberate practice is king.
What do you do for fun when you’re not dancing?
My biggest past time outside of dancing is gaming. I play all types of video and board games, my favorite being a Chinese board game called Go. I also like to get out and do assorted outdoor activities with friends, especially with the mountains so close!