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Real Music - What’s Goin’ On - October 2016

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Real Music - What's Goin' On - October 2016

by Robert Feuer

Now that the summer outdoor music season has disappeared into that special internal space where our summer memories go for us to dream over forever, we turn our attention to those shows inside walls, under artificial light, as an escape from winter’s doldrums.

The most helpful website for finding these events is Soco Dance Beat, founded by Ann and Kevin Hutchinson in 2014, operated by them since. They provide a comprehensive calendar for dancers to find live music in Sonoma County. Listings include band name, date and time, cost, genre, location including a google map, and venue contact information. Listings are free to bands, individual musicians, and venues. 

Ann said she’s compelled to create things, connect people, and make good things happen. She started her dance career with tap and ballet as a small child, and would waltz around the living room on her dance-teacher-father’s shoes. She taught Greek folk dancing for private parties, school PE units, and festivals. Now, she’s a published author, journalist, songwriter, public speaker, dance instructor, and event producer. 

Ann and Kevin’s teaching philosophy is simple. “If you’re not having fun, there’s no point,” said Ann. “We break it down as basic as it needs to be for the individual, making sure that they are hearing the rhythm and able to dance without thinking about what their feet are doing with every step. We use dance as a metaphor and vehicle to help you improve communication and intimacy.”

Kevin started with ballet. His first dance performance occurred at age seven in the Russian dance in the Nutcracker. During high school in the 60’s, he danced every weekend in the school canteen, to dances like the Twist. In his 40’s, he started Ballroom dance, Swing, Foxtrot, Waltz, and Cha Cha. He met Ann at a Wednesday Night Market in Santa Rosa in 2013, while dancing to the band Stompy Jones. “In the middle of the street my life changed when I met this cute little brunette who also loved to dance. Dancing for fun, love and romance is where our hearts are,” Kevin said. 

Together, they teach beginning and intermediate ballroom dances, such as cha cha, waltz, east coast swing, west coast swing, and zydeco at the Arlene Francis Center in Santa Rosa. They also perform dance demos and teach groups at private events.

Soco Dance Beat also helps bands find new venues and helps venues find bands. Their skills include web design and maintenance, and publicity and social networking for venues and bands.

Say hello if you see Ann and Kevin dancing at public events. They’re the ones who bring their own “dance floor,” a 3.5’ bamboo square that rolls up. “The reason is that, when you swing dance, you have to spin,” Ann said. “The surface you’re dancing on is as important as wearing shoes that will slide. It also has a side benefit of staking out dance floor territory.”

socodancebeat.com for listings and much more

Photo by Christa Driggers