The answers to many questions of, “What Do I Believe In?” was the overriding theme of Ren Lexander in his presentation to the Pattaya City Expats Club (PCEC) at their Sunday, April 9 meeting. Prior to the presentation, the Deputy Chief for Banglamung District presented Commemoration Cards to 18 members who had taught English Conversation as part of the club’s effort to help local Thai’s improve their English.
Founded in 2006 the Banglamung District Cross Culture Volunteer Group taught at over 30 locations and helped over 450 ambitious Thais including factory workers, hotel staff, students, hospital staff and several school teachers improve their English Conversation. The presentation by the Deputy District Chief was to recognize interest and willingness of club members to give of their time for the benefit of the Thai people. This Volunteer Group is currently responding to a request for a teaching and entertainment visit to the Sattahip Naval Base to help with a Summer Camp of about 80 children later this month.
Following the commemoration card presentation, Ren Lexander, PhD, spoke on the topic of “Dance Leadership- Part 2.” This was a follow-up to his presentation of “Part 1” last March which went deeper into his dance and leadership journey. Ren reviewed his previous talk by describing his early interest in social dancing and his beginnings with Latin and Ballroom dancing. Eventually, his dancing fascination evolved towards a style called “Ceroc”. He describes this dance style as “free-form”, partner dancing.
He developed a passionate vision to turn a blend of pumping Led Zeppelin rock and Arabic street music into a “Ceroc” routine. This marked the beginning of his evolution from a performer to a choreographer. By 2000 he joined with a Canberra dancer and they competed in a championship, which drove Ren into his “competitive stage of life”. The dance-duo won with their first venture into the 2000 Ceroc Australian Championships! This launched his journey from performer to choreographer, and then, teacher.
One of his students asked him if he would develop a routine for her and her wedding party. He agreed and came up with a dance featuring Carlos Santana’s 1990s song, “Smooth”. He used that same routine in the 2001 Australian Ceroc Championship and won! What followed was a departure from the typical, light hearted, “Ceroc” style, to a routine he calls “Obsession”, which starts with “ultimate pleasure” and moves to a “murder-suicide”. This bold, “new-style”, took judges by surprise but did earn the team a 2nd place award at the 2002 Ceroc Australian Championship.
To illustrate his answer to one of his “What do I believe in?” questions, he related a story about a father and son carrying goods to the market, with a donkey on leash. The father was criticized for not using donkey to help carry the son and goods. He then loaded the boy and goods on the donkey, but then the son was criticized for causing the father to walk. So, the father and son, along with the goods were loaded onto the donkey. Well, this really drew fire, for abusing the donkey. To remedy this new problem, the father and son cobbled the donkey, used a pole so that they could carry the now upside down donkey and goods. Well, the donkey was having none of that and struggled as they crossed a bridge, causing all to fall and drown. The answer to the second, “What do I believe in?” question, is: “If you try to please everybody, you end up pleasing nobody”.
Ren talked about the challenges of team leadership. He shared some of the “incites and principles” he developed while teaching and leading award-winning dance teams, which are applicable to all leadership positions: Powerful people are the people out there doing what they don’t quite know how to do; You never know what might happen when you say ‘yes’; Leaders step up to the plate: Leaders will do for a team beyond what they would ever do just for themselves; and the primary duty of leaders is to raise up more leaders.
He then explained the four-levels of “Team Membership”: (1) In-team Leader – The assigned leader of the group, the “boss”; (2) Team Member – Ideally, a “team player”, enthusiastic and hard worker; (3) Team Passenger – Goes along with the program, without much emotion; and (4) Team Saboteur – Looks for ways to destroy the team, for “ulterior motives”
Other answers to the running question “What do I believe in?” include: “Truth is the daughter of time.” “Confidence is something you go through on the way to humility.” “The wisdom of Britney Spears” – because of her answer to a question: Do you like your voice? Her answer was: “I like how singing makes me feel.” “Persistence”, “To win without risk is to triumph without glory” by Pierre Corneille, “Respect”, and “That life is best seen as a dance. Sometimes life leads me and I follow. Sometimes I lead and life follows me.”
A number of his dance routines were shown, including “I’m Outta Love”, “Mucho Mambo 2003”, “Los Angeles Latinos Ceroc Rueda” and “Bring it On”. Just search within YouTube, by inserting “Ren Lexander” in order to find and view these and many other videos featuring Ren’s performances.
He concluded the presentation by introducing his lovely dance partner, Sophie, and they performed a dance routine to the delight of the PCEC members and guests. The presentation and performance was very well received and a lively question and answer period followed.
Ren’s presentation was followed by an update of current events and activities and the Open Forum, where questions are asked and answered or comments made about Expat living in Pattaya.
For more information about the PCEC, visit their website at www.pcec.club.