Bobby Gonzalez Has a Simple Strategy for Showcase Success
Bobby Gonzalez is the chairman, the high council, the honorary doctoral candidate, and resident cool dude on the judging panel for the District Showcase.
Not just this one coming up on September 23rd... but all of them.
So we caught up with this dance judging fixture who will be joining, what seems like, his 50th consecutive showcase, to get some insightful tips on preparation, nerves, and any other random, yet beneficial, bits of wisdom.
AML: There are plenty of students who have the capability to participate in an event like this, but they just seem to lack the courage. If you could talk to them right now, what would your message be for them?
BG: When I competed at the Ohio Star Ball many years ago, the event trophies said, "participation is the first step to winning".
I think that even if someone's goal is not to win on the dance floor, sometimes it is about winning personal battles.
AML: For those that may not know, like three or four people, what is your connection to the District Showcase?
BG: I have participated in the District Showcase since 1986 - as an instructor and as a judge.
AML: These days, the Showcase is a two day mega event with 15 studios. What was it like before it got to that point?
BG: The first time I attended this event, it was in downtown San Francisco and three studios participated. Then, we moved to Pleasanton where we had, maybe, four studios participate and one judge.
The showcase would start at 10am and finish at 1am.
AML: Without giving away too many secrets, what are some of the first things you look for when you're watching a freestyle at an event like this?
1. Is the student dancing on time?
2. Posture and form
3. Is the couple expressing the style and personality of the dance?
AML: Okay, let's talk event preparation. Everyone wants to do whatever they can to improve their dancing in some way by the Showcase. What are some tips you'd recommend for people that want to prepare the best way possible?
BG: Practice dancing your freestyles at the studio parties with a variety of partners. Focus on different goals: Posture, Lead and Follow, Floorcraft, etc.
Do a demonstration at one of the upcoming studio parties - a solo, or with a small group of people.
AML: There always seems to be a turning point for students, and professionals, when it comes to nerves. What do you think is the catalyst that allows a dancer to shed some of that nervous energy?
BG: I think repetition is key. Everyone is a little nervous at first, so those first few heats are like "confidence deposits" towards future heats.
AML: Speaking of nerves, what are a few things you've found that are really effective for dealing with the pre-dance jitters?
BG: This is going to sound too easy to be true, but it works:
1. Take a big, deep breath and let it out slowly. Do this 3 times.
2. Do some light stretching. You don't need fitness bands or a ballet bar, just some simple rolling of the shoulders, and moving your head side to side and up and down.
3. Try 1&2 with a friend or in a small group.
Rapid Fire Questions
1. Your best advice for better Salsa dancing, but in less than 7 words.
BG: Imagine that you're dancing in a club.
2. Favorite song to dance Hustle to.
BG: Michael Jackson's "Love Never Felt So Good" (my wedding song)
3. Your example of a Power Breakfast.
BG: Okay, you asked for it... don't be grossed out. Oatmeal with cottage cheese, walnuts, cashew milk, and brown sugar. Trust me.
4. Your favorite thing about working as an Arthur Murray Consultant?
BG: My favorite thing about being an Arthur Murray consultant is that everywhere I go in the world I feel like I'm with family and friends. #bestjobintheworld
5. You get to rebrand the term "minor dances". What's your new name for them?
BG: Awesome dances!
6. What sets this area apart from all the others?
BG: Energy and camaraderie.
7. If you could star in a nationally televised commercial for this event, what would you say?
BG: The District Showcase is a unique opportunity to get involved in a multi-studio event with 15 locations in attendance. You will become a better dancer just through osmosis.
People that know Bobby understand that this type of practical insight is right up his alley. They see Bobby as someone they can relate to, learn from, and feel comfortable around.
They aren't blinded by his numerous accolades, because that's not his goal. For every opportunity he has to leverage his resume, he chooses to leverage his ability to connect.
In a weird way, Bobby is exactly like the Showcase.
This event has every opportunity of looking and acting like a competition, but doesn't. The event is rooted in the development of confidence, and the byproducts that come with that.
There are some that will be convinced that the Showcase is designed exclusively for competitive students, and since the Showcase can't walk up, introduce himself, and connect to you over a cup of coffee, we'll have to rely on people like Bobby to interpret the heart and intentions behind the event.
Whether it is a coaching lesson with Bobby, or your first time at the Showcase, in both cases, it just takes a few minutes of courage to understand why it was a great decision.
Want to get Bobby's thoughts directly from the judge's panel? Follow him on these social channels and join in on the behind the scenes action on September 23rd and 24th.
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