My consulting work in the US and around the world focuses on building the kind of communities we all want to be part of.
Ask me about: Navigating the social community switch from gender-based to role-based dancing using community-strengthening pathways.
Ask me about: Producing two widely-shared Code of Conduct and Expectations of Professional Staff documents, source material for those seeking to strengthen WCS communities around the world, including the World Swing Dance Council ... How to understand your community values, put those values in writing, and queue up the ability to act on them with forethought in times of crisis.
Ask me about: How my "Newcomer Welcome Program" brings a focus on the experience of those new to the multi-day event experience to our standard-setting Dance Jam Production events, and the kind of discernment in planning and execution that I can bring to your event.
Ask me about: Gaining perspective, and centering your event experience in what you value... Finding creativity, playfulness and joy through knowing yourself and the tools a little better.
For individuals, I customize private instruction to your learning style and pace, focused around what's important to you as an individual. I specialize in honing the tools that help you find your own success -- joy in dancing with partners of any level.
Insight into why we do what we do grounds my presentations. I design creative, accessible and fun workshops, rich in information for dancers of multiple levels. I love teaching the tools and skills to find yourself and connect with others in the language of West Coast Swing, and facilitating ways we can have fun connecting with one another as whole human beings.
Social dance is the soul of West Coast Swing ... Play is how humans learn best ... There's nothing more fun than connecting to another human being in a way that enriches us both.
An Amherst College Physics & English (poetry!) major, I earned my master's degree in Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, I began my career in science education (where I wrote really exciting and creative science curriculum, taught 1st-7th graders, mentored teachers, published, ran professional organizations and assessed both students and programs) and, later, parent/child education for early language learners at a play-based preschool. Along the way I've meandered through many forms of leadership, from board service to marketing and publicity, science fair coordinating and volunteer team management, and from organizational decision-making to individual mentoring and small group consulting.
I first fell in love with the one-on-one-relationship-based musical creativity of West Coast Swing at Dawn Garrish's Cherry Hill and Craig Hutchinson's Potomac Swing Dance Club, and during the halcyon days of the North River Bar in Manhattan while I was in graduate school at Columbia TC. I started my own consulting business focused on West Coast Swing judging, teaching, event directing and program design when my younger went to Kindergarten. Throughout, my dance career has been marked by making dance friends and influencing the social milieu of our international dance scene. I am a current allstar/pro competitor and GPDIA-certified WCS judge with years of national and international judging experience. As an event director with Dance Jam Productions, I coordinate three standard-setting and industry leading west coast swing congress weekends: MADjam, Swing Fling and DCSX. My consulting engagements usually focus on program design, social change leadership, mission & values, and event strategy.
I have extensive experience with non-profit board leadership. I've served as Program Chair, Publicity & Marketing Director, and Board Chair in multiple organizations. I thrive on building consensus when it's tough; I see diversity of voices as a strength for an organization during time of crisis; and I always ground any discussion in expectations of essential respect and common goals. Organizations I've worked with in a board capacity include: Interfaith Works, Interfaith Housing Coalition, Rockville Community Nursery School, Washington Elementary Science Teachers Association, National Association of Swing Dance Events, and DC Peace Team.
While the pandemic had social dancing on pause, I found myself interested in the way loneliness shows up when we crave more human contact than we can safely engage in, and how we create and nurture our ability to connect to others even while we are far apart. I'm excited about the way technology is evolving in response to our current need, but I'm also looking forward to the day we can rebuild our in-person communities in joy, gratitude and safety.
I'm also a hopeful poet: KayNewhouse.com.