I’m James Joseph–call me Jim–an author and rhythm coach. I write how-to books. When I find a simple and clever way to learn something new, I like to write about it.
I first cracked the code to music and dance in my 2010 book, Every Man’s Survival Guide to Ballroom Dancing. I went deeper into music in my 2018 book, Hear the Beat, Feel the Music: Count, Clap and Tap Your Way to Remarkable Rhythm.
I used to be rhythmically challenged. Even though I loved music, I always felt like an outsider. I wanted to get more comfortable with music but I didn’t want to become a musician or a music geek who could name every Rolling Stones album. Heck, I just wanted to tap my foot at a concert without feeling self-conscious. And I wanted to lose my fear of the dance floor. But there’s no “How to Get Rhythm” class offered at schools or dance studios (I repeat: you won’t learn music in a dance class). So I had to learn it on my own.
I followed the path of dance choreographers, not musicians who learn music theory. I’ve now trained for more than 20 years under Swing Dance Hall of Fame member Skippy Blair. And I’m now a GSDTA certified dance instructor.
My mission is to teach people how to hear the beat of music, discover their natural rhythm and begin moving to music. I believe anybody can become more rhythmic and, in the process, enjoy music more. (Scientific studies have shown that humans have a natural connection to music.)
My specialty is helping those who are rhythmically challenged–those who “ain’t got no rhythm.” I can also help those who need a better connection to music like dance fitness instructors, deejays, musicians, singers and dancers (from partner dancing, like swing and salsa, to ballet to club dancing).
Funny thing, despite my website address—ihatetodance.com—I now embrace the dance floor. The Wall Street Journal even interviewed me for a piece they did on dance, “Learn to Dance at Social Events” (I’m in several paragraphs in the middle of the piece–whenyou may need a subscription).
I used to be the guy who freaked out when confronted by a dance floor. Seriously. But I’m now so comfortable dancing that I danced for charity in my town’s local version of “Dancing with the Stars” (note that my partner had never danced before).
When I was younger, I was intrigued–and challenged–when I watched macho male actors dance in the movies (even Humphrey Bogart danced with Ingrid Bergman for a few seconds in Casablanca). I would watch James Bond movies as a kid in the 1960s and 1970s. I would think: James Bond—the manliest of men–can dance, why can’t I? I was determined to become an all-around, competent, social dancer who, like James Bond, could handle any situation.
This became my goal, which I believe is an apt goal for anyone, man and woman, leader and follower:
To be able to walk onto any dance floor, from a wedding to a nightclub to a New Year’s Eve ball to a cruise to a concert, and perform an admirable dance, with any partner, to any music, with confidence and grace.
If you have a question, throw me an email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo by Lan Bui (top photo)