What is the definition of California Mix

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by aaah, Dec 6, 2009.

  1. aaah

    aaah Member

    What is officially California Mix?

    Hi folks,

    Need your dance social expertise. We run dances as volunteers in our area. Our most popular dance is a california mix. There has been alot of angry responses from WCS dancers who say we are giving a ballroom mix and are falsely advertising Cal Mix and many other angry statements.

    Our playlist goes
    1. WCS
    2. Hustle
    3. Latin
    4. Swing
    5. Night club 2 step
    6. Other (Waltz. Foxtrot, Country2step etc.)

    So WCS plays once every 6 songs. Are they right and we shoulc call this dance something else?
  2. suburbaknght

    suburbaknght Well-Known Member

    I don't think there is an official California mix. It usually varies by club and by region. That said, when I think of it, it's very similar to what you describe.

    Mostly it's west coast swing, hustle, and salsa. Secondary dances would include nightclub two-step, country two-step, other club Latin dances (merengue, cha cha, bachata, samba), and east coast swing. A handful of times throughout the evening you'd hear waltz (and then usually of the country variety) or tango (usually Argentine but still suitable for American).
  3. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    yes, my experience of a california mix, as well
  4. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    I saw this page quite a while ago, and found it again (although I'd forgotten about it) while checking into this.

    http://musicfordancing.com/personal/Personal_info.html

    Text from the site

    In 1995 I started my first series of public swing dance events called "rhytmn in the night" and coined the term "California mix".
    (yes, I spelled Rhythm wrong! and still have a flyer to prove both claims)
    These were mixed dances with a strong emphasis on WCS music with Country 2 step, Niteclub 2 Step, Cha-Cha, Salsa, Hustle and small smattering of smoothies and a waltz mixed in.
    This type of dance mix was being played at the mecca of West Coast Swing dance, the Press Box in Westminster Lanes (OC, C.A.) by Kenny Wetzel at that time.
  5. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    The more I read that Western Swing / Hillbilly music, was the most popular music in LA, and that people DID dance swing / Lindy Hop to it, when Laure Hail was supposedly documenting how people danced swing in LA, but her list of music to practice to for what was then called "Western Swing" music included only straight ahead "Big Band" songs.... the more I become convinced that West Coast Swing was born in ballrooms.
    See my recent post which has descriptions of the dance from 1960.
    Tell these "Westies" to read the wikipdeia article to see where the dance came from, and example of music it was danced to.

    And thanks for bringing this up. I'm devoting a big chunk of time researching this and trying to put it together in a coherent way. Stories like yours make me think someone has to do this.

    (Wanna REALLY blow them away? Play some Western Swing from that era rather than contemporary two step. Or play the Bill Haley song that was used in "Don't Knock the Rock" when two "teenagers" dance in the living room while the adults watch. Yes, it's a Bill Haley and the Comets tune.(The dancers change their slot to a new direction, but most people would list that as a quibble, I think. Haile was definite that the slot was fixed.)
  6. SadKumquat

    SadKumquat New Member

    Ironically, the only place where there isn't a California mix is in California...go figure.
  7. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    The cal mix dances in my area vary widely.

    One of them is similar to yours, plus they will throw in just about any kind of dance into the jackpot including polka. That dance mostly caters to people who don't specialize in WCS and are quite happy with a wide-ranging mix.

    Another one of my local cal mix dances caters primarily to avid WCS & country dancers; at that dance, probably 3/4 of the songs are WCS with some of them suitable for hustle also. The rest of the music is country 2 step, nightclub 2 step, hustle, waltz and cha cha. Maybe one salsa at most.

    So it depends on your crowd. If they're a heavily WCS crowd, they probably want less variety than you are playing.
  8. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    Does it matter what they play? Westies dance WCS to anything!
  9. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    These were mixed dances with a strong emphasis on WCS music with Country 2 step, Niteclub 2 Step
    This type of dance mix was being played at the mecca of West Coast Swing dance, the Press Box in Westminster Lanes (OC, C.A.) by Kenny Wetzel at that time. (1995)


    Turns out they are still playing that mix at the Pressbox. Was there a few weeks ago.
    And yes, people did both country western Two Step and Nite Club 2 step.

    They played at least one NC2S suitable tune at the Atomic Ballroom, too.

    So, they do play "California Mix" in California.

    Meanwhile, at Cowboy Country in Long Beach, they did WCS to CW tunes (but only the ones that have the right sound). And they were pretty much the same ones we dance to in Portland.
  10. chachachacat

    chachachacat Well-Known Member

    Yes, we have "California mix" in CA, we just don't call it that. It's what they play at WCS dances; some of the other "street dances" i.e. hustle, nightclub two step, then country two step added in the 90's when CW had its popularity, and a little waltz and cha from CW/ballroom crossover.
  11. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

  12. tsb

    tsb Well-Known Member

    actually, this sounds like what i usually hear at the hacienda on thursday nights, though it varies from week to week. i'd be there right now if i wasn't nursing a groin injury. i wouldn't expect there to be much salsa played at a typical WCS venue out here as there isn't actually much crossover from salsa to WCS here in LA. it pretty much gets played only if someone requests it. and i've been told by a couple of WCS DJ's out here that what becomes a popular song at various venues out here takes about 4 months to hit the east coast.
  13. Terpsichorean Clod

    Terpsichorean Clod Moderator

    Huh...a local ballroom just started holding what they're calling a "California Mix Party". ;)

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