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It’s pouring. We’re several thousand miles from the ballroom. It’s freezing, The flight was six hours. The front desk staff said sorry we’re charging you $158 a night not the $99 Capital Swing rate – that block was sold out a year ago. Also we’re putting you in the overflow area that we never use except for your dance convention there are so many of you people of course its a little ratty so please feel free to go stay somewhere else this event is mostly a headache for us. (The manager was not happy when she heard this and promptly dispatched a golf cart to make the long journey to our room to deliver cheese and crackers and a letter of apology.)
When we did our strictly last night at 11pm it was really 2am our time.
Outside of THAT everything is hunky dory here in lovely gloomy Sacramento.
Strictlys and Showcase were last night:
1 Parker and Jessie
2 Arjay and Melissa
3 Orion and Rebecca
4 Miles and Tessa
Advanced Strictly (we danced in this division and can you believe these people beat us? Come on, *us?* It’s an outrage. We are so much better than any of these dancers. Joke! Joke! That is a joke, hello. But yes we did dance Advanced Strictly because my husband has moved to Advanced! I feel totally out of place dancing in this division.)
5 Zena and oops forget who
4 Jill DeMarco and John Kirkconnel
3 Courtney Adair and oops forget
2 Catriona and Patrick
1 Tall Paul (London Paul) and Dim Sum Yenni
4 Quenna and Peter
3 Ken Minchen and oops forget
2 Verane and oops
1 Samantha! (got a lot of pictures – they danced right in front of me) and Ben Plante (no fair! when they do a flat-back or duck-out she doesn’t even have to bend down since she’s 2’3″ and he’s 7’8″).
1 Rome and Chevy
2 Connor and Tara
3 Torri and Michael O’Connor
Okay, gotta get ready for JJ’s, in an hour and a half. Then the “fabulous dinner buffet” which comes with the ticket. Then Classic, which we are super duper duper duper looking forward to. Oops bad grammar never end with a preposition change that – I meant to say which we are super duper duper looking forward to woof splash.
Sorry for not updating until now! Saturday the schedule had us in the ballroom from morning till 5:30pm for the “fantastic dinner buffet” (quite good, actually), the mad run several hundred miles in the pouring rain back to our room on the far side of the grounds for a lightning-fast change of clothes and eyelid glitter (red glitter didn’t match my lime-green Saturday night outfit), running running through the pouring rain several hundred miles back to the ballroom for Classic, followed finally by Awards for Saturday’s comps.
And then of course social dancing for which we stayed up until 5:30am. 5:30 to 5:30 without stopping. Ha!
Wow the level of social dancing sheesh holy shamoly mackerel jumpin jehosephat. I know I know, it gets irritating hearing about California dancers. I can’t help it – they do seem to be rawther excellent out there.
So then Sunday was crazy hectic again between being in the ballroom (Junior routines, Masters Jack and Jill (and wow, best Masters field we’ve ever seen (Festa danced Masters!!!) ), Allstar and Invitational Jack and Jills, then running sweaty and wild-eyed back to our room to pack, late as always, missing Awards and Judges Sheets, to get to the airport where we caught a prop-plane (built for transporting chihuahua’s) from Sacramento to San Francisco, and a normal human-sized Boeing for the loooooong sleepless red-eye back to Dulles blech blech ptui hate that part. So there wasn’t even time to pee (in the hotel’s public restroom which has one SINGLE stall I thought I’d mention) – much less write.
Saturday we had a rainless day! How unusual for Capital! Cold and windy but no rain since, which we appreciated since, as I’ve said, our room was FOURTEEN MILES FROM THE BALLROOM.
Faith made Intermediate finals! At Capital! Wow! I don’t like her any more. I started not liking her as we sat waiting to hear the announcement of who made finals and I felt an intense burning welling up and welling up in my chest. And then, like an aha! moment, they announced her name and I suddenly realized that I find Faith an extremely unlikeable person.
From our DC crowd: Orion made finals, as did Samantha, Rebecca, and Khy. Who didn’t make finals: myself in Intermediate, and in Advanced James H, GB, and Lara.
5 Kaitlin and oops couldn’t hear
4 Christopher Durand and Taylor Harrell
3 Kevin Kline and Tara
2 Chevy and oops
1 Marcos Garcia and Simone (both Simone and her brother received in addition the Juniors award, the one Torri received last year)
5 Jim Baker and Trish Hughes
4 Ken Minchin and Kristine
3 George Goebel and Samantha
2 Ben Plante and Tara Hayden
1 Peter Bailey and Susan
5 Tatiana Something-Skya (I love her last name, her whole name in fact, wish I could remember what it is)
4 Darren and Dana Shephard
3 Orion and oops who was your partner?!? I didn’t write it down bad girl smack my forehead
2 Trey and Rebecca
1 Brennar and Zena
5 Brent and Kellese
4 Lindo and Rutz
3 Jordan and Jessie
2 MarkTheMarine and Charlotte
1 Robert and Jen DeLuca
5 Benji and Kellese
4 Mike and Jen (they made a mistake – proud and happy for them that they were able to take 4th even with the mistake.)
3 Christopher and Katrina
2 Ronnie and Brandy
1 Jordan and Tat
A great moment (hopefully recorded on DVD) in Allstar JJ: Christopher Hussey drew Catriona Wiles (both are coming to MadJam! LOTS of people we talked with are coming to MadJam! In fact MadJam came up in every conversation this weekend it seemed – lots of excitement about it) so here they are dancing an elegant, classic swing to a traditional blues song when Christopher throws her out to face the cameras and hit the big break. Catriona is nothing if not long gorgeous lines. So bam! they hit this beautiful pose, and Cat’s hand – fingers opened to accentuate the hit – smack onto Chris’ crotch and remain there. And they’re both standing there posing for the audience. Christopher’s eyes get wide and his smile begins to fade into something odd but Cat just remains there smiling at the camera, waiting for the next lead, and we watch as it slowly dawns on her what that thing is that she’s feeling in her hand and suddenly she knows and whirls around, yelping, her mouth wide open, snatching her hand away and ohhhhh my gawd what happened in the ballroom then! The audience lost it! The DJ lost it! Steve Zener lost it. Cat and Christopher totally lost it, doubled over red-faced, howling, the entire ballroom falling over in laughter. We couldn’t recover. The convulsions would begin to calm down for a moment and then someone would lose it and the whole ballroom would start up all over again, there was no stopping it. My eye-makeup was ruined. When the music started back many minutes later the two of them tried finishing their dance but were laughing too hard, they had to keep stopping. At one point Christopher set her up for the same move again, but this time she refused to throw her hand out so he just stood there vibrating his hips – turns out Christopher does a mean hip shimmy – who knew?
The Juniors division was HUGE! Totally totally fun to watch. They are so damn good, so flexible, so blazing fast, so fearless, so honest. After their JJ Steve Zener called a man and woman from the audence to come up onto the floor (never seen them before and didn’t recognize their names – think they’re from Fresno?) anyway they came out onto the floor and Steve then asked all the Juniors (still standing in their long line after just having danced JJ) who had come to Capital with this couple to step forward. 30+ kids stepped forward! I’m thinking this couple must have brought the whole crowd of them down in a bus. It was really something! How great is that, to be bringing that many kids into the community! Then Steve asked Buddy to come up onto the floor and all the Juniors who came with Buddy to step forward and another 20 or more stepped up to the front. I love this aspect of the California community. Love love love. Having Juniors around makes the comp so much more fun, for one thing. They’re so funny! And real, full of energy, thrilled with the funness of everything, SO much fun to dance with. I love kids, love when juniors are at a comp.
Speaking of Juniors, Torri Smith! Torri is simply an amazement. I watched her dance with Benji (Invitational JJ) and found myself choking back tears just out of the mind-blowingness at that little girl. She follows ANYTHING, no matter how quick, no matter now contorted, keeping her grace and balance and calm and interacting with the audience when he leads her to do so. She is SO fast, her spins and balance are crazy. At one point Benji led her in spins with his outstretched parallel-to-the-floor leg – don’t ask how, it happened so fast I have no idea. Her spins! Oh my gawd. Benji dances the entire floor, flying from one end to the other, from the extreme edges, corner to corner, taking her with him. The two of them together are astonishing.
Torri’s routine partner Brennar Goree (from our neck of the woods – a Shagger from Virginia Beach), is also terrific, and a *super* duper nice person. I was fixated on Brennar, actually, watching him, mesmerized, all weekend. He accelerates and decelerates his dancing and his leads so that the music oozes, or I should say the movements ooze, one into the next, never one pattern just bumping up against the next but rather sort of morphing or dissolving into the next with the boundaries between movements so blurred you see not patterns but instead one continuous physical expression of the music. It’s beautiful, witty, clean, subtle, and often hilarious. I think Torri should marry Brennar. Not only because they’re both adorable and the nicest possible people you can imagine, and not because they’re both splendifulous dancers. It’s because she needs to be Mrs. Torri Goree. It just has to happen. It’s one of those opportunities that can’t be missed.
We saw Benji and Kellese’s new routine. Man they crank out routines faster than anyone on the planet. How many new routines have we seen in the past year? It seems like maybe four or five? Six even, maybe? Several of these Buddy has said they were able to do in a week or less – I know of one which was choreographed and ready for the floor three DAYS before they performed it (this was maybe last year in Atlanta). This new one is, again, a diversion from traditional swing. That is putting it mildly. I loved it! The music is a mixture of jazz and classical and the choreography is very jazz/modern/lyrical looking with only hints of recognizable swing. It’s fast and beautifully complex so who knows, maybe if taken apart measure by measure it might turn out to have more swing content (meaning 6 and 8-count patterns) then it appears. Don’t know. They did come in 5th, though, not 2nd or 3rd or 4th. Also not 12th (there were 12 couples). I loved it, love the creativity.
Nicola Royston is pregnant with their second child!!! Congratulations Robert and Nicola!!! She looks beautiful, blossomingly beautiful. We met Robert’s bestest friend in life – best friends from elementary school through high school to the present day – Doug! Robert says Doug is his favorite part of Capital because Doug (not a dancer) shows up every year as he lives close by. Everyone loves Doug – there’s something about him that makes you want to jump on the guy and hang there, kinda like monkey bars. Might be the fact that he was (and still could be if he wasn’t so busy running a gym) a bodybuilder. I don’t know if Genieboy had this run-and-jump-on-him response when we met Doug, but I did, and Robert says people who have been coming to Capital for years know that Doug will always come visit and look forward to running and jumping on him.
New Move alert: During the Invitational JJ Parker ATE Melissa Rutz’s hand. For a full 8 counts. Then he ate her forearm for the next 8 counts. Parker looks great eating human flesh.
Oh yeah, and the armbands at Capital were very pretty. I’m still wearing mine, in fact. It’s brown – which is funny I should call this pretty since GB and I have a joke about brown, especially the merits (lack of) of brown as a routine color, or on a JJ dance floor. But, daggone it, this arm band is really pretty. It’s undertstated which might be why I’m having a hard time communicating with it. It says “Capital Swing” in an elegant script which is not painted on but rather etched in so you can only see it if you’re up close since it’s not shouting at you in a bright contrasting holographic color like most arm bands. Which I like. The shouting at you in holographic glitter, I mean. I like that. But this arm-band, I dunno. There’s something about it, it’s growing on me.
And finally, last of all, the high point of the weekend: Jordan and Tat’s new routine. Oh! It is astonishing! AUGHGHGHGHGH!!! The power and speed! As good as it gets. And it’s CLEAN, absolutely perfectly clean, brilliantly blindingly clean, every nanosecond, every finger, every angle of every body part, every facial expression. It’s danced within the music, part of the music, as an improvement to the music. And the music!!!! AUGHGHGHGH I almost died – it’s my favorite song! I couldn’t BELIEVE it’s the song they chose! The very exact song I put on repeat and listened to for 6 hours on the plane on the way out there to Sacramento! It’s a CRAZY great song, a song that won’t get old, ever, a classic. Just wait – oh my goodness – wait until you see this routine! It is mind-blowing! You are in for a treat!