Word has it that Hill and Knowlton's CEO Paul "Fancy Feet" Taaffe is planning to enter the 1st Annual World Salsa Championships later this year. The championships are scheduled to be held in Las Vegas, December 14 thru 17. Taaffe will join thousands of dancers from over 100 nations have entered to compete in this history-making competition. It will be broadcast live in multiple languages and on several international TV broadcast feeds, including ESPN International and ESPN Deportes.
By way of a little background, there are no strict rules of how salsa is danced, but there are basic moves: Forward Basic Movement and the Back Basic Movement. Variously coupled or combined and often with small variations in body position, these two movements create the "Salsa Moves." More elaborate combinations include: Splitting Hairs; Courtesy Walk; Twist and Turn; Switch Back and Stop and Turn.
According to his biography, Taaffe has been a professional sidestepper for more that 30 years. Taaffe currently teaches clients such as Kelloggs, American Express and GE Capital how to dance with the media. Paul most recently was in the news for teaching HP a few salsa moves amidst the board hacking scandal. Taaffe told H-P it had to "show that the board was not aware of the specifics of the investigation." Paul emphasized the need for the lack of awareness (Note: Switch Back move).
A week ago, I had a chance to take a spin with Paul. I had written him and asked simply for clarification on a point he made recently. Despite my cool demeanor, Paul, in tight black trousers dripping with PR mendacity, almost immediately turned up the heat. What a pro?! Frankly, the experience left me absolutely breathless.
Posted by Amanda Chapel Thursday, October 19, 2006
Here we bring you another installment of Ask Amanda, our weekly professional advice column.
This week we have a young turk in L.A. getting ready to take “the jump.” Amanda does her best to talk him down but apparently his mind is set. So she does the next best thing. Amanda helps him flap his wings some and pack a parachute.
Without further ado:
After 10 years working in various size agencies, I have recently made the decision to open a consultancy.
My colleagues have been totally supportive of my decision. And past clients have enthusiastically opened their doors for discussion. It's very promising.
But, as kind as their words are, I know that's not going to pay the bills. I am totally freaked out and nervous about the future.
What do you advise I do to grow my business and keep me away from agency life?
All the best,
- Ozzie in L.A.
Dear Ozzie in L.A.,
Jump Ozzie Jump!!
Reminds me a bit of a scene from a short story by Philip Roth, "The Conversion of the Jews.” Ozzie Freedman, a teenager gets into an argument with Rabbi Binder in Hebrew school. Ozzie can not longer accept all the hypocrisy and traditionalism. Their squabble escalates until the Rabbi slaps Ozzie giving him a bloody nose. Ozzie calls Binder a bastard and, and without thinking, runs up to the roof of the synagogue, threatening to jump. As the Rabbi tries gingerly to talk him down, Ozzie's classmates cheer “Jump Ozzie Jump!!”
As Roth describes, "Being on the roof, it turned out, was a serious thing. If he jumped would the singing become dancing? Would it? What would jumping stop? Yearningly, Ozzie wished he could rip open the sky, plunge his hands through, and pull out the sun; and on the sun, like a coin, would be stamped JUMP or DON’T JUMP."
For the record, here I am going to be both Rabbi and classmate. I want you to take the leap but I really don't want you to kill yourself in the process.
Ozzie, at one time or another we are all out on that ledge. Out of fear, most, 98 percent, come down. But others, and you may be one, have no choice. For some of us the questions that arise out of hypocrisy and traditionalism are just TOO overwhelming. Such is the genesis of the entrepreneur... as well as sadly, some of our ravaged and forgotten social outcasts. Mother Nature uses some of us to push the envelop. She pushes us out onto that ledge and out from the comfort of the nest.
If you are one of those chosen few, let me first say that I totally understand your decision. I empathize with the grief that led to it. I humbly honor your courage. That said, let's see if we can help you fly rather than fall flat on your face.
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