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News Alert: STEVE DRZEWICZEWSKI CARTWHEELS ACROSS ROOM.
In an effort to outshine his 7-year-old champion cheerleader/gymnast daughter Mr. Stephen Drzwhatever humiliated himself tonight in front of an audience of 1,400 by attempting a series of spastic lunges across the floor. His daughter Grace, a rising superstar on the competitive cheerleading circuit, had performed flawless back-flips and cartwheels moments before the incident, receiving a standing ovation. Mr. Drzewzewnevermind was forcibly removed from the ballroom, shouting “Bring it on! I can beat that girl any- WOULD YOU LET GO OF ME I WANNA DO CARTWHEELS!”
In other news, this is the warmest Boston Tea Party ever. 80 degrees! Shorts and bathing suits below us on the Charles River – people out playing in the sun paddling skulls, kayaks, sunbathing on the river bank, lounging around picnic tables.
Floor-to-ceiling windows in this hotel – guest-rooms, lobby and restaurants are filled with light and expansive views of the beautiful river outside, ducks, geese, swans, the sun jumping in the wind and waves – brilliant!
Strictlys were tonight – Open west coast, Lindy, Balboa … and Invitational west-coast and lindy. The finalists from the invitationals will compete in the crossover Saturday night – highlight of the weekend!
I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again: LOUIE ST. GEORGE PLAYS GREAT IN-BETWEEN MUSIC! All those times when there’s normally no music – contestants walking onto the floor, judges taking their seats, between heats, during rotations – at these times there is no “soundtrack” so no atmosphere. But when Louie is the DJ? There are no dead moments! He whips the crowd into a FRENZY with TV-show theme songs, Broadway show tunes, WWI military songs, movie soundtracks, heavy metal, Who Let The Dogs Out, Wizard of Oz, Classic Rock, children’s music, 40′s torch-song standards, heavy rap …. Louie is a GENIUS! Totally lifts the energy not just at that moment but for the whole event.
And if Louie’s music isn’t enough Mr. I-can-do-cartwheels-Drzwczewiczachooblessyouski leaps up as contestants are walking on the floor, or judges, or for no reason other than the spirit suddenly moves him, bouncing up and down yelling, whistling with two fingers, waving to the audience to do the wave! pound the floor! scream stomp raise a ruckus! and between Steve leaping around and Louie’s in-between music and a room full of rowdy Lindy hoppers with red stripes in their hair this event is a continuous riot of yelling screaming energy.
Rob Glover and Peter Strom are emcee’s for the weekend – funn-nnny! Both of ‘em!
Peter Strom did not say “Brad Nuthertucker.” I said wait did I hear that right that man’s name is really Brad Nuthertucker? Or did Peter just call that man a bad … okay never mind.
Two heats in the west coast Open Strictly – 34 couples total. UK, French ex-pats, Quebec, Scotland (all one of him – the Scottish wcs community is growing slowly,) Florida, Texas, New Yawk, DC …
Invitational Strictly (with leaders judging themselves):
1. John Lindo and Jessica, “Super Freak.” hahaha omgawd Jess is a baaaaaad girl. Lindo is a baaaad boy. The two together? Hysterical!
2. Arjay and Deborah, “Workin’ Day and Night”
3. Ben Morris and Melissa, “Shake Your Groove Thing”
4. Robert Cordoba and Jen DeLuca, “Get Up Get Down Get Loose”
5. Brennar and Torri, (oops forgot the song!), Torri in a simple white tank top with a lime-green sports bra underneath to match Brennar’s lime-green socks! hahaha that’s how they coordinated their strictly outfits! I love witty clothing!
6. Angel and Debbie, “Give It To Me”
7. Jordan and Tatiana in the cleverest and funniest rendition of “Heart Attack and Vine” you will ever see. Every time the refrain (“heart attack and vine”) was repeated they did some other hilarious brilliantly-executed something:
- Double-timed head-whips
- Triple-timed rag dolls
- Mid-air body-rolls
- 12 pirouettes, head back, right-foot-held-in-left-hand-at-shoulder-height
- Drunken wobbles
Final All-Skate to “I’m Sexy And I Know It” in which Jordan twirled Tatiana BY HER SHIRT for an entire phrase, ending up with a huge twisted knot of shirt around his finger, and in which Brennar managed somehow to completely remove his belt …
Lindy Invitational was great – so damn funny! Can’t wait for the crossover! I love seeing the pros so relaxed. This event is like that – no routines so it’s just a party, a fun, high-energy, big happy party.
OMG Jo Hoffberg’s hair! Beautiful shiny blonde with a fire-engine red stripe! All piled high in a tall, super elegant up-do. Mad Men meets Anime. CRAZY awesome gorgeous aughghghgh!
Here we are again, just like last year and the year before, and the year before that … saying,”That was the HARDEST I have ever laughed! Ever!”
We’ve just seen the Crossover! Amazing dancing AMAZING!
And before the Crossover the Opening Act: Steve and Rebecca’s ferocious 7-yr-old daughter Gracie and two of her cheerleading teammates challenging a motley collection of strangely enormous-looking Lindy and West Coast pros in a FIGHT TO THE DEATH!
So fun here! Ballrooms packed till 6am last night when the music finally stopped – west-coast in main ballroom, CRAZY fun crossover room behind the bar, Lindy room downstairs. All packed tonite, 4 o’clock as I write this.
Tomorrow I’ll tell you about Gracie! And her teammates! Crazy! And the Crossover! The costumes! And Strictlys, jj’s …
This is a special comp, perfect just as it is, SO FUN!
We weren’t at Chicago but we watched all weekend.
1st Ben and Melissa
2 Kyle and Sarah
3 Kris and Rebecca
4 Sebastien and Blandine
5 Luis and Taletha
1st Myles and Tessa
3 Greg and Lemery
4 Stephen and Sabrina
5 Ben and Rebecca
1st Jeff and Susan
2 Kim and Shalay
3 Reggie and Lara
4 Michael and Angie Jones
5 Jerome and Laura Conforti
1st Wayne and Cindy
2 Chips and Janice
3 Bob and Debra
4 Renee and Tommy
1st Robert Royston and Rebecca
2 Jason Marker and Tessa
3 Ben Morris and Stephanie McHenry
4 Luis and Sarah
5 Ben Hooten and Melissa Rutz
2 Carlos and Melissa Greene
3 Kris and Melissa Moy
4 Josh Sturgeon and Angie Cameron
5 Kyle Patel and Amanda Warren
1st Seb and Blandine
2 Hugo and Sabrina
3 Sheven and Joy Davina
4 PJ and Angie Jones
5 Eric Byers and Renee Lippman
1st Jerome and Natalie
2 Scott Mehlberg and Melodie (about to be Mrs. Benjamin Folch) Chardonnet
3 Eric Theriault and Bonnie Inveen
4 Ben (about to be Mr. Melodie Chardonnet) Folch and Hope
5 Yu and Shoshi
1st Kyle and Rutz
2 Ben Morris and Jill Dumarco
3 Robert Royston and Rebecca
4 Myles and Sarah
5 Luis and Lemery
It’s the first day of March and here we go! March Madness has arrived!
Beginning with MadJam here at home in DC. First year here at the new hotel (same hotel where we were last October for “DCSex” (the new name for “VSO” – the Virginia State Open) – but reconfigured for this much much bigger event.) And so far the hotel is wuuunderbarrr! Super duper wunderbar! Everyone here is SO NICE! A whole line of “greeters” when we arrived just after noon today – five beautiful young women standing in a row with big smiles and “Welcome! Welcome! This way please! Need help with your car? Your bags?” A table with a big urn of hot chocolate and a pitcher of fresh apple cider. The nicest, friendliest front-desk staff ever – going out of their way to accommodate crazed dancers switching rooms and roommates like musical chairs. Doormen jumping to open doors for us, running ahead to press elevator buttons! A team of smiling, joking bellman waiting with baggage carts and kind words. WOW! Someone has trained this staff! I don’t remember anything like this in October but then we arrived late at night so maybe that’s the difference. They say they do conventions all the time so they’re used to taking care of people. But wow! Nicest check-in ever!
And all the rest of the staff, too. I asked for an extra pillow and Poof! Within seconds an older gentleman appeared at the door with a stack of pillows – he handed them to me then bowed down and kissed my hand! Queen Liza! Wow.
We had no heat, called the front desk and within seconds a mechanic appeared at the door (had to replace the motor) – the all-time nicest guy! Cuban! a dancer! Music collector! – very excited a dance event is happening here in his hotel and looking forward to peeking into the ballroom to see what we do. So nice! Wow.
Our room is standard – not fancy but adequate. We didn’t get one of the newer “Respire” hypo-allergenic rooms. Waaaa. I would have liked that, famous germaphobe that I am.
The French are coming the French are coming! Buckets and barrels of them! Found myself in the elevator with five very tall Frenchmen – a French wcs basketball team! – all first time in the States. Maxence is here I know cause I saw his happy hat dancing along on top of a crowd in the lobby. Aussies are here! Brady Stanton and his female entourage! Myles and Tessa are here, Rebecca Ludwick, Grant and his many shoes, Brad Whelan, first time here in DC – what a treat!, Steve and Rachel from London! And lots and lots of us DC locals. Fun!
At 10pm the kick-off dance (in a side room – the big ballroom is still being set up) was already starting to rock – felt like excited energy. It’s now midnight and I’m heading down!
More tomorrow … lots of people will be arriving all day long tomorrow. Pro-ams mid-day, strictlys later in the afternoon and evening …
We still have no heat in our room rghghgh and it’s cold and raining today rghghgh pirate noises argh rghghgh it is fuh-reezing in here we have to wear coats oh well worse things in life some people never get to go to dance comps at all anywhere ever we live a pretty charmed life so I should stop complaining. And anyway it’s not snowing, I should think about that. Two years ago, or three years ago, or maybe four years ago Michael O’Connor and his mom Kim had to walk across the city in, like, four feet of snow, to get here to MadJam. No snow this year. So. By now most everybody’s made it to the hotel (it’s 3am Friday night/Sat morning as I write this) despite tornadoes in mid-west and south and some flight delays and cancellations.
Today was a loooong day of pro-ams. A very long day. Robert Cordoba MC, Judges: Brent, Kellese, Gary Jobst, Debbie Ramsey-Boz, Deborah Szekely, and Chief Judge Dawn Garrish. Long day. Fun cause comp-Fridays are always fun with people arriving from all over the country and the world. So it was fun hanging out in the lobby. But hard to stick it out in the ballroom where there were solid pro-ams all day starting 11am in the morning and continuing straight through till dinner which we speed-snorted off the plate using rolled dollar bills since we were famished and had only an hour till strictlys. Hustle divisions most of the day, many small heats in each division (one to four couples each.) Hustle has “pre” divisions so it goes “Pre-Novice,” “Novice,” “Pre-Intermediate,” “Intermediate,” “Pre-Advanced,” “Advanced,” and so on. Double the number of divisions, in other words. West Coast pro-ams followed in late afternoon and continued till dinner.
MORE THAN 40 PEOPLE HERE FROM FRANCE! Mostly from Montpellier, but also from Lyons, and north of France, too. So cool to have them here! The women are gorgeous and the men are all named Jerome. Really! All except Maxence, he’s not named Jerome. Maxence and ridiculously beautiful Virginie have a Classic routine in the works! CAN’T WAIT OMG it will be SO awesome omg omg! Not ready yet … they’re aiming for SwingDiego AUGHGHGH! As if there weren’t ALREADY enough reasons to go to SwingDiego AUGHGHGH! He says it’s medium tempo, and not emotional because “I dunt know hair goot enough yet to do emotional dence!” What a gentleman. A lesser man would take one look at Virginie and do an emotional dence right der on zee spot.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ [several-hour break] ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Oh, hello! I must have fallen asleep and what do you know! It’s now tomorrow morning!
Comp-morning, that is. In normal-people time it’s 1:30pm in the afternoon. We are still in our PJ’s, however, watching Bill Cameron on closed-circuit tv. They’ve just now begun wcs Newcomer – it’s been hustle jack and jills since 11 am (running an hour and a half late today but closed-circuit tv makes it easy to know when to head down to the ballroom.) Sunny today, bright blue sky, beautiful out!
Last night was Strictlys – fun! More about that in a few minutes. First I’d better take my morning shower and get ready to face the day before there’s no more today left to be faced. Tonight is routines – Classic, Showcase, Juniors, Rising Star .. can’t wait!
OH MY GOODNESS!
What a WONDERFUL Saturday night this has been! What great routines! What a great Champions’ Jack and Jill!
And what a fun night of dancing tonight! We are forcing ourselves to leave the ballroom now -at – what is it? 6:30 AM? It is light out – aughgh - Ballroom is still full and great energy. Music all night was terrific. How can you leave when you’re like OH! I love this song! Oh I love this song too!! Hate to stop dancing but we gotta because GB made finals tomorrow (today, I mean.) But instead of going to sleep I’m sitting here looking at the ballroom on tv and it’s totally packed, still, one great song after another aughghghgh
Lots to tell! More tomorrow! I mean today! In a coupla hours ….
P.S. Brennar did a bad bad thing. Which turned out to be not bad at all. But which was VERY worrisome for a few scary moments. Especially since this is Brennar, of all people, Brennar the ultimate extreme thoughtful gentleman. So funny so so so funny. I think he shocked himself way more than he shocked his partner (Lemery) or any of us in the ballroom or any of the gazillions watching on ustream all around the world. Poor Brennar. I promise to give Brennar a hard time about this for the rest of his life.
AUGHGHGHGH It’s almost 8am and still great music in the ballroom! I’m still up (GB fast asleep for two hours now) – should I give up trying to be responsible and just go back down to dance? I’m watching on tv and It is still hoppin’ in there! Who’s the DJ? Such good music!
The energy Sunday night! From just after awards (around 5) till 7am Monday morning – sheesh! Lots of people saying it was the highlight of their entire weekend. One of those dimly lit “in the zone” nights where a roomful of dancers are transformed.
We’ve always had good late-nite dances at our comps here in DC, seems like it’s always been true, even with our tiniest events like the Easterns in its senile years, on the famous “lobby floor” at the Hilton – the all-time weirdest space – a small pass-through foyer-hall sandwiched between outside doors at one end (neon-pink signs taped all over the glass “KEEP LOCKED AT ALL TIMES USE OTHER DOORS” so naturally for four days they remained propped open with chairs, shoe-boxes, cans of red-bull (so many funny, important, memorable conversations right outside these doors in the smoking/drinking “lounge”) and at the other end a winding hallway and doors to the main ballroom (which had a beautiful floor and stage lighting and which sat utterly empty all night long – desolate except for one lonely DJ wondering why everyone was dancing crammed into each other on the other side of the wall out in the hallway on that floor with the steel pieces that ripped your shoes and made you trip and fall on your face and every couple hours we’d have to get down and pull the whole thing away from the wall because it kept sliding across the carpet. And yet the energy all night long! People in and out all night, up to the rooms and back down again, dancing and dancing and laughing all night long, lounging on the couches along the floor dragging chairs to the back of the room, trying on shoes at 4am, hanging with Louie who’d still be playing music at 9am when the first morning workshop began.
This year’s MadJam Sunday night dance was in a smaller meeting room – same one used for workshops and the Thursday night dance (which was not particularly well-attended – we counted 20 couples on the floor at the most crowded time of the night on Thursday, and by 2am the room was almost cleared out.) But last night all 45 of the French were still here! And the Aussies! And the English and Canadians, Californians and Texans and all the hard-core DC locals! All finished with competing, teaching, and other responsibilities and wanting to rock and roll. So Sunday night was WOW! Room was jumping. Until 7am we heard. We also heard a few people decided to miss flights rather than miss dancing. Now that is truly devoted!
Also also heard that instead of the MadJam “Pickle-Shots Parties” of previous years that this year there was a “Luge Party.” Since I had heard of neither “pickle shots” nor “ice luges” I had to have both explained: 1. Shot of Jameson’s followed by a shot of pickle-juice brine (with or without the pickle); 2. A humongous double-bed-sized ice sliding-board down which is poured a stream of one’s choice of alcohol, with someone’s open mouth hopefully at the bottom to catch the drink as it comes sliding down. Ice luges also come in the shape of interesting body parts. What can I say – google it. So Sunday night was dancing/partying/fun times all around the hotel! You could feel it – people walking around smiling, cracking jokes, camped out in circles on the carpet sharing pizzas, friendly with strangers, happy happy happy smiling people everywhere, even having gone without sleep for at least four days.
So! I’m getting emails, texts, and facebook messages asking about results. I was scratching them down by hand as they were being announced until someone told me not to bother cause full judges’ sheets would be posted on nowdancing.com … but so far anyway (It’s Tuesday 5pm as of this writing) I can’t seem to find results posted anywhere. So … from memory only (my memory is 347% accurate):
(11 couples: Judges: Festa, Bill Cameron, Debbie Ramsey, Parker, Gary Jobst, Brent, Dawn CJ)
1st Brennar and Torri
2nd Arjay and Jen
3rd Kyle and Sarah (new routine! Even newer than the Open!)
4th Ben and Melissa
5th Sean and Court
6th Kris and Rebecca
(Six couples; Judges: Bill Cameron, Festa, Barry Jones, Debbie Ramsey, Parker, Dawn CJ)
1st Myles and Tessa
3rd Greg and Lemery
4th Rob and Connie
5th Ben and Rebecca
6th Sebastien and Vanessa
You can watch Showcase here:
And Classic here:
For those who can’t get to a computer right away:
- Myles and Tessa – “Rolling In The Deep” (their gorgeous USOpen routine)
- Roystons – “Edge of Glory”
- Greg and Lemery – their new “No Diggity” – this time in shimmery gold and black
- Rob and Connie – “Drops of Jupiter” – last time on the floor, best they’ve ever danced it even with – or maybe even because of – a 16-beat lead-and-follow at a critical point, in which Connie said this, using eye-contact only: “Haha dude you screwed up! You’re the leader I’m following you! Good luck, hope you fix it! And if y’don’t I’m laughing my ass off!”
- Ben and Rebecca – “Little Bad Girl”
- Sebastien and Vanessa – “You” (Martin Jondo) (I love Sebastien’s taste in music! Another one with tempo changes, hits, yelps (I’m a sucker for yelling in a song) – tons of stuff to choreograph.) Something went wrong within the first few seconds so they stopped dancing and had to have their music restarted. That’s not allowed, of course. What a shame, to come all the way over from France and then have a glitch like that right at the beginning and be disqualified. The audience – during this glitch and several others (I’ll tell you about them) was SO supportive! Cheering, pounding hands, yelling YAAAAAY YAAAY Allez La France! Go Sebastien and Vanessa!” Some crazy lifts, of course. Sebastien always does crazy lifts. Jody Moscaritolo (stepping in for Robert during Showcase (came out afterwards taking his pulse.)
- Kevin Fitzhugh and Ashley Riddick “Changes” (Hendrix)
- Kyle and Sarah – an acoustic version of “Somebody Told Me” (Killers) Very easy routine, not much to it, really. Except for the fact, that is, that the song is ONE HUNDRED FORTY-FIVE BEATS PER MINUTE! Hello! Holy Flying Footwork! hahahaha Try this yourself! Without bouncing! Good luck!
- Sean and Courtney “Feelin’ So”
- Sebastien and Blandine “Broken Sorrow” (their USOpen routine, with her nine pirouettes holding her foot behind her) – they received penalties (and a drop in placement) at the Open for what appeared to be a separation for too many counts (Sebastien says it is only an illusion, he actually maintains contact with her back) – great dramatic music choice, again and yet another costume creation (they do all their own costumes – for their own routines, their students’ routines, and their teams) – one of her legs in wispy black netting all the way up to the lacy fringe at her hip, one arm snaked with black ribbon the other only a black sequined cuff. And a wide black choker. Crazy sexy.
- Ben and Melissa “You and I” (Robert walked on the floor afterwards shaking his head, muttering “Holy Knickerbocker’s Meat Market WOW. I am a fan of dresses. Can I get an AMEN? For the Church of Short Skirts and Heels! Where we party Saturday night and pay for it Sunday morning.” (booming overly enthusiastic amen from the men in the audience)
- Brennar and Torri “Sadly Beautiful” (When it’s over Robert walks on the floor says “Okay quick impression. Who is this?” sits down in the middle of the floor, cross-legged, staring off into space, mouth wide open jaw hanging on his chest, and just sits there staring dumbfounded like an imbecile, then asks us, “Raise your hand if that was you.” It must be funny to stand at the other side of the floor and watch the audience’s reactions.)
- Ben and Cameo “Fort Knox”
- Arjay and Jen, “Moves Like Jagger” (Robert: “I’m a fan of short skirts AND leopard print”)
- The Markers “Unwritten”
- Kris and Rebecca dancing for the very last time their marvelous flying “Into The Night” (they’ll debut their new routine this coming weekend at Chicago! you’ll be able to watch it here: http://globaldance.tv/set/chicago2012) (Rebecca, by the way, dancing not one but two routines last weekend – on a torn meniscus. Amazing.)
More in a little bit ….
Seven random tidbits:
1. The French have left DC and are now on their way to Chicago for the Chicago Classic this coming weekend. Most flew but some are driving. Why, I asked, Why are you driving? Such a long drive! “Vee vant to see leetle beet of your country!” they said. Great! I said Great! Where are you going? “Peesburgh!” they said.
I always tell visitors from abroad: If you’re visiting the States the one place you don’t want to miss is Pittsburgh. No I don’t.
2. New at MadJam: If you won more than $100 in prize money you received an empty envelope with a tax form and a note that in order to receive your prize you must submit the completed form at the Registration Desk. Hoping it was a W-9 (which asks for social security number) and not a W-2 (which asks for a lot more than that) but don’t have one here in front of me so can’t say for sure. Never seen this at any other comp. Means that if we win prize money we (rather than the event director) pay taxes on it.
3. For next year’s MadJam: There is an online store which sells 100% purple merchandise. Fishnet stockings, electrical tape, jewelry, furniture, bow ties, hair dye, kitchen tools, food, writing implements, stuffed animals, electronics, home decor, and clothing.
4. Melissa Greene has the cutest new hair style. Adorable cut, fifty different colored highlights. I took pictures but could be the next millennium before I post them so be on the look-out for other pictures of her.
5. Lemery’s shoes at Awards OMGAWD! White, red, black, yellow, bold modern-art slashes of color on 6″ heels, chunky peep-hole toe. AUGHGHGH.
6. Great lighting all weekend. Stage lights, spotlights, “christmas lights” sparkling on the back-drop … a photographer’s dream! Dramatic contrasts, shadows, enough light to make it easy to capture flying dancers. No excuses for bad pictures – it was even easier than shooting outside.
7. If you were watching u-stream you may have noticed that the list of finalists in each category was broadcast beforehand. I love that the lists of finalists appeared *somewhere* even if you have to go to a u-stream video to find it. I always try to catch the names of all contestants, including all those who pay to enter but who, if they don’t make finals, leave no trace, as if they don’t exist, never attended the event. And I try to get the names of finalists. And all the rankings – not just the top three or five. Cause I’m constantly asked who competed? Who made finals? Who placed where? People all over the world are always waiting to hear the “stats.” I’ve said before: wouldn’t it be great to see the full lists of competitors, the full lists of finalists, and the full lists of placements and judges’ rankings? Lotta geeks and analyst/engineer types in the dance world, guys (geeky girls, too) who love lists, excel spread-sheets, pie-charts, graphs, forecasts, analyses … These folks would love to see all the data. In an era of 1′s and 0′s it would be easy to make this available.
I’m for complete transparency anyway. We have this awkward cult of secrecy regarding scores for which I’ve heard three explanations:
- People have photo-shopped pictures of the judges’ sheets and posted them online. This is why pictures are not allowed. (If the event posts the scores then there’s no possibility of altering and lying about them, right? So I must be missing something.)
- Judges are attacked. This is why their names are withheld or only displayed for a short time. (Judges should not be attacked. I haven’t ever seen this myself but I’m sure it happens, evidently enough to warrant inconveniencing the majority of competitors who are polite and thoughtful. If asked politely it seems a judge should be able to say either “I’m sorry I don’t remember what I saw” or “I do remember and this is why I put you where I did.” )
- People don’t want it publicly displayed that they did poorly. (Maybe they shouldn’t be competing in a public “race” if they want to keep secret how they do? Competition means ranking yourself against everybody else. It seems odd to have a public competition and then keep the results secret.)
At MadJam the finalists, at least, appeared in the u-stream videos broadcast in the ballroom, in the guest rooms, and on monitors and cell phones around the world, which was a breath of fresh air.
Jack and Jills! Saturday morning! (“morning” as in 1-4pm Saturday afternoon)
Bill Cameron on the mic; Anthony DeRosa DJing
Judges: Tybaldt, Hazel, Arjay, Robin Smith, Erik Novoa, Taletha, Doug, Myles, Annmarie, Patty Vo, and Chief Judge Dawn
72 girls in Newcomer prelims!
100 girls (74 guys) in Novice prelims!
65 girls in Intermediate prelims!
Had to be out of the ballroom for Juniors, Advanced and Allstar prelims but I think I heard Juniors 11 guys 12 girls; Allstar 12 girls 15 guys; and Advanced maybe went right to finals? Correct me if I’m wrong …
In any case Bill told us there were a total of 770 Jack and Jill prelim competitors Saturday morning! That means that Bill pronounced 770 names. At least once. Wow, that’s a lot of pronouncing.
I did catch Champions Prelims (Judges: Barry Jones, John Festa, Bill Cameron (doubling as judge and emcee), and Dawn CJ):
Champion Finals were later that night and wow what a show! So much mind-blowing dancing! Between Classic, Showcase, Juniors, Rising Star – and then finally the Champions Jack and Jill – Saturday night was SO much fun!
So Champion Finals were danced spotlight, of course, two songs each, one slow contemporary and one fast blues.
First up: Brent and Torri (I must mention Torri’s top: thin silk collared shirt/vest kind of a thing, almost backless, mint green with faint burgundy pin-stripes, which she wore with a wide black patent-leather belt. So cute! Loving her sense of style.) First song “She Ain’t You,” second “Shakin’ The Shack” – beach music! For two champion Shaggers! Brent slid down to the floor in one of those one-leg-extended drops and got stuck down there waving for Torri to please pull him back up. Priceless.
Parker and Tessa, “Work Out” (J. Cole) and “Funky Mama” (Danny Gatton) – Parker did a back-bend so Tessa echoed with her own back-bend-drop-to the floor. And no one fell on top of anyone!
Kielbasa and Kellese, “It Girl” and “Baby Work Out.” “Put your hands on your hip, Let your back-bone slip, Work out! Ahhhhh….” Right-side-pass Michael switches hands, looks like he winds her up in a prep for a spinning death-drop, he drops down to one knee so *she*drops down (while being un-torqued,) and BAM on the beat she hits the floor, flat on her back, and BAM on the beat they’re both up again, Kellese finishing by arching up in time to that “Ahhhhhh” at the end. For us sitting several feet away, on the floor, watching it unfold in real time, this was crazy great. Was it a series of “mistakes” and “quick saves” turning into more mistakes and quick saves? Were they reading each other with some inkling of what each was envisioning? Who knows, who cares! It was dancing on the edge and it is thrilling to be allowed to witness Champions dancing on the edge, taking chances that might miss. It’s like watching Nik Wallenda cross Niagra Falls (which, by the way, he is planning to do later this year.)
My father was a great story-teller. I asked him once how he thought of these tales he’d tell and he said he didn’t know how it happened, he’d just open his mouth and a story would come out. He himself would want to hear what was going to happen next. Kellese reminds me of my father in that way – she gets on the floor and dancing just happens, free-spirited, un-programmed, of the moment, 100% right-brained intuitive dancing, as if it’s “channeled” through her. That wild hair! That gorgeous laugh! Kellese is an artistic soul if ever there was one.
Next Arjay and Melissa! (For those who don’t know: these two were partners – in dance and in life – for many years. They are very beloved in the community. And Arjay was just married, just last weekend!, which made their drawing each other even sweeter.) “How To Love” and “Wall To Wall.” I can’t find words to describe how superb these two dances were, only that I have already re-watched them 20 times or more, mesmerized at the quickness of their thinking, the sheer wit and focus which is apparent, and the extreme joy of dancing. Not to mention the quality of their movement. Doesn’t get any better. I think everyone knew this couple won. These two dances will be reviewed on youtube forever as an example of what brilliant lead-and-follow can look like.
Kyle and Deborah Szekely, “5:00 In The Morning” and “Junk In Your Trunk.” Kyle is SO creative, SO funny. And Deborah? She can follow ANYTHING. Deborah makes anything funny even funnier, anything beautiful even beautifuller. She finishes things for her partners – great ideas, half-baked ideas – she improves and completes all of it. She’s ridiculous. So Kyle starts off sexy Deborah makes it sexier and the dance quickly becomes naughty. And then, because the lyrics say so, Kyle puts her in a side pass where she can’t see what he’s doing, pulls out his phone and starts texting somebody else. Too funny. Two more brilliant dances from these two. What a night!
So much more to tell … four more couples in this division … (Ben and Jen, Robert Royston and Sarah, Maxence and Hazel, and Brennar and Lemery.)
Next installment soon …
… Champion Jack and Jills continued! …
So four more couples:
BenJen! (Morris/DeLuca), “Rack City” and “Move Across The River.” If ever there was a girl to do Rack City it’s Jen DeLuca omgawd. Love the song – it’s down, down, down – deep, low, gritty as it gets. First growling bass notes and the whole line of Champions are weaving in their chairs – this song’s impossible to sit still to. Ben’s mopping his brow, straightening his shirt, looking like he doesn’t know what he’s in for. Ben seems young to be dancing with hot stuff like Jen, doesn’t he? He may be badder than he looks but that face! He looks so innocent!
So at one point he gives her a hip catch with her famous “triceps-excercise hold” (elbow in the air, hand at the shoulder blade – she did multiple spins like this in, I dunno, 2007?, and for a year the audience would leap to their feet screaming at that point in the routine – it sort of became her signature move) which she spins out of, then back into, and then ducks out. And her duck out, okay why does my duck-out look completely not like her duck-out? I usually get stuck, for one thing. And I’m sorry there’s something about north south east west while looking at your feet – I simply cannot figure out which way to go or what I’m supposed to be ducking *under* so frantic confusion while I’m crouched over thinking where do I put my head where do I put my head over here? over here? over here? and by the time I’ve tried different directions the moment is lost to put it mildly and I have a searing pain in my lower back and a splitting headache. Anyway Jen must do this everyday I guess, while grocery shopping or going through airport security, cause she looks SO HOT.
But seriously – they are both so good, so, so good. Playing off each other, both leading and following at every moment. Such rich dancing.
Royston and Sarah, “Up” and “Drinkin’ Wine.” This was another funny partnership and again because of the grittiness of first song, another down and dirty rap song – which Sarah of course can handle (Sarah invented hips. Before we back on the east coast had ever seen her in person we heard there was this little pip-squeak of a girl who would be laid out flat in a horizontal drop and would body-roll in mid-air, defying gravity and bringing audiences screaming to their feet.) But Robert Royston! He’s the cleanest, wholesomest country boy to ever dance to a dirty rap song and it was hilarious watching him try.. This is a man who knows how to play an audience better than anyone out there but I’m not sure he was actually “performing” he looked so out of his element. Best moment – which you must go watch for yourself (put it on slo-mo if you can, or try to find a different video that might catch his face head-on because it’s the detail that is fall-down funny) – is when she surprises him by spinning around and he gets caught about to do a spank so starts clapping his hands nervously real fast like a spazz, way up under his chin all dorky, and his facial expression! So guilty and sheepish! Bright red and sweaty. Omg. It’s funny on tape but maybe that’s cause we’re remembering it live – hope you can see how hilarious this moment was. Genieboy and I have been recounting it to each other for a week falling out of our chairs laughing.
Maxence and Hazel, “Far Away” and “Think” – WOW! Two gorgeous dances! Hazel is so musical and Maxence! Maxence is just merveilleux. Both of these people are exceptionally friendly, welcoming, and open, both are great listeners – and they dance that way. This was a GREAT partnership. Hazel’s face! She has one of those smiles that capture a room. And man is she quick! Smooth, creative dancing. Everyone knew they’d do well and they did! Third place (behind Arjay and Melissa and Kyle and Deborah.)
And last of all the wonderful handsome amazing Brennar and our beautiful Lemery (actually if we’re lucky we might soon be calling Brennar “our” Brennar, too, if he is accepted to the Naval Academy in Annapolis. Won’t we be lucky in DC! Not that we’d get to see him much. But we might! We saw Orion while he was here… which he got docked for, a lot, but we did see a lot of Orion.)
“Stereo Hearts” and “Spankin’ Leroy.” So Spankin Leroy has this famous break, right? A full eight-count silence. So Brennar and Lemery are standing facing each other and on 1 of this great break Brennar reaches his hand through her legs, planning to have her reach behind her back and pull him through. Only the coordination of the grabbing-of-hands and the crouching-versus-standing-upright doesn’t happen quite in sync like it’s supposed to and there are a few seconds where all we are able to see – we’re one foot away on the floor at eye-level this whole thing unrolling silently in slo-mo like falling off your bicycle – all we see is Brennar’s hand groping blindly, wildly in the air, searching for a lifeline, something to grab onto, and since they are both now standing up his hand is just a bit too “cozy” for comfort. It’s silent, it feels like time freezes and all eyes are on the hand wiggling helplessly in the wrong spot.
Believe it or not the move actually worked out perfectly. After this moment. Brennar slides through and comes up at the other end of the slot exactly right on time! And it was made funnier and certainly more interesting because of that one long long second, being out on that precipice for that one scary moment. The whole audience (and all the pros in their chairs) laughed in relief when it was done.
What a fun division this was!
Scores were posted last night!
1 Brennar Goree & Torri Smith
2 Arjay Centeno & Jennifer Deluca
3 Kyle Redd & Sarah Vann Drake
4 Ben Morris & Melissa Rutz
5 Sean Mckeever & Courtney Adair
6 Kristopher Swearingen & Rebecca Ludwick
7 Ben McHenry & Cameo Cross
8 Sebastien Cadet & Blandine Iche
9 Kevin Fitzhugh & Ashley Riddick
10 Jason Marker & Annmarie Marker
1 Myles Monroe & Tessa Cunningham
2 Robert Royston & Nicola Royston
3 Gregory Scott & Lemery Rollins
4 Robert Jackson & Connie Gauthier
5 Ben Hooten & Rebecca Ludwick
1 Christopher Dumond & Nicole Clonch
2 Akil Boatwright & Alexis Garrish
3 Stephen Guido & Hannah Clonch
4 Josh Williamson & Anyssa Olivares
5 Brandon Anzaldi & Madison Malone
6 Cameron Crook & Amanda Mckamey
1 Brady Stanton & Libby Collins
2 Reginald Beason & Lara Deni
3 Michael Saloka & Nicole Zwerlwein
4 Jerome Chanchom & Laura Conforti-rousse
5 Derek Leyva & Katheryn Baca
6 Jc Bryant & Tracy Martin
7 Jason Lane & Mary Beth Lane
1 Capital Swing
2 Les Cingles du Swing
3 DC Swing
1 Ryan B-Boy Boz
2 Favorite Things
3 Stephanie and the BBs
4 Nightclub two step
1 Rich Chung & Nam Lim Kim
2 Xavier Dumail & Vanessa Bazin
3 David Kalifa & Olga Usmanova
4 Claude Frezou & Laura Conforti-rousse
5 Justin Spencer & Kimberley Myers
6 Myat Nyunt & Margaret Tuttle
7 Brendan Jacques & Talley Starbird
8 Scott Gilbert & Patricia Rogan
9 Tommy Brodie & Samarah Wright
10 Nathan Smith & Schroeder Noble
1 J. Fernandez & Marine Fabre
2 Olivier Duplay & Virginie Duplay
3 John Bowman & Alaina Sisley
4 Yu Sun & Nicole Zwerlwein
5 Stephane Schneider & Amanda Mckamey
6 Jeff Mumford & Leah Burkman
7 Tj Bednash & Sally Charles
8 Kyle Merritt & Nicole Stottlemyer
9 Froilan Mate & Sara Plescia
10 Michael Blackburn & Natalie Kuczma
11 Sam Easley & Raquel Williams
1 Trevor Spika & Chelsea Spika
2 Cameron Crook & Estelle Bonnaire
3 Jb Brodie & Helen Tocco
4 Reginald Beason & Heidi Batdorf
5 Sebastien Cadet & Sandra Pellegrini
6 Grigoriy Lebedev & Katia Avlasevich
7 Bradford Whelan & Anna Balcom
8 Stephane Dominguez & Samantha Fernandez
9 Pj Turner & Lara Deni
10 Akil Boatwright & Celine Sully
11 Matthew Smith & Libby Collins
12 Keith Stremmel & Erica Smith
13 Mitchell Marcello & Lori Rousar
1 Brennar Goree & Deborah Szekely
2 Kyle Redd & Jennifer Deluca
3 Robert Royston & Lemery Rollins
4 Maxence Martin & Emeline Rochefeuille
5 Michael Kielbasa & Cameo Cross
6 Arjay Centeno & Patty Vo
7 Brent Key & Kellese Key
8 Robert Cordoba & Tessa Cunningham
9 Ben Mchenry & Sarah Vann Drake
10 Ben Morris & Virginie Grondin
1 Kevin Fitzhugh & Kimberly Ciccarelli
2 Dave Damon & Sue Lambell
3 Lewis Neal & Leslie Mallory
4 Mike Glasgow & Debbie Ramsey-Boz
5 Anthony Jones & Linda Allen
6 Eddie Karoliussen & Kristin Wenger
7 Gerry Morris & Kelly Wentling
8 Will Burbage & Johanna Barnes
9 Shawn Brennan & Nancy Price
10 Roger Harris & Adela Su
Jack and Jills:
1 Chris Cusick & Mary Keegan
2 Chris Arasin & Gabriela Figueredo
3 Kevin Loveland & Veronica Castilla
4 Charles Williams Jr. & Sara Frazier
5 Nathan Johnson & Danielle Cooper
6 Tom Allen & Kendall Pham
7 Gregory Johnson & Allison Bennett
8 Thomas Gomez & Darlene Crowl
9 Billy Northcutt & Gayle Allen
10 Bob Carleone & Kelly Jordan
11 Elan Ronen & Robin Stocksdale
1 Justin Spencer & Laura Conforti-rousse
2 Roger Batista & Raquel Williams
3 Jerome Chanchom & Becky Wolcott
4 Derek Leyva & Sarah Sheaff
5 Luc Maurette & Katheryn Baca
6 Tyler Sullivan & Shelby Thorne
7 Rich Chung & Jennie Hartman
8 Tommy Brodie & Sara Plescia
9 Kevin Vial & Joni Horton
1 Jerome Subey & Taylor Bechtold
2 Ewan Dupree & Margaret Tuttle
3 Josh Williamson & Larysa Krasij
4 Olivier Duplay & Alaina Sisley
5 John Nye & Virginie Duplay
6 Benjamin Folch & Victoria Andromalos-dale
7 Jeff Mumford & Kendra Zara
8 Riquelme David & Terra Summers
9 Scott Mehlberg & Natalie Kuczma
10 Phouvanh Meckhasinh & Whitney Brown
11 Andrew Mastin & Auntonya Rogers
1 Akil & Blandine
2 Reginald Beason & Nicole Clonch
3 Stephane Dominguez & Emeline Rochefeuille
4 Andrew Makowski & Virginie Grondin
5 Rajeev & Lisa Toepel
6 Sebastien & Estelle
7 Stephen Guido & Anyssa Olivares
8 Eric Byers & Celine
9 Mitch Marcello & Abi Wood
1 Kris Swearingen & Chelsea Spika
2 Cameron Crook & Trendlyon Veal
3 Doug Rousar & Cameo
4 Stephen White & Jen Diener
5 Erik Novoa & Yuna
6 Trevor Spika & Samantha Fernandez
7 Rob Jackson & Tori Ellington
8 Kyle Patel & Heidi Batdorf
9 Jb Brodie & Lara Deni
10 Brandon Gautreaux & Helen Tocco
1 Arjay Centeno & Melissa Rutz
2 Kyle Redd & Deborah Szekely
3 Maxence Martin & Hazel Ulrich
4 Ben Morris & Jennifer Deluca
5 Robert Royston & Sarah Vann Drake
6 Brent Key & Torri Smith
7 Parker Dearborn & Tessa Cunningham
8 Michael Kielbasa & Kellese Key
9 Brennar Goree & Lemery Rollins
1 Akil & Whitney Brown
2 Josh Williamson & Hannah
3 Stephen Guido & Amanda
4 Brandon Anzaldi & Anyssa
5 Cameron & Madison
6 Chris Dumond & Alexis Garrish
7 Tommy Brodie & Nicole
1 Gary Jobst & Lorraine Rohlik
2 Kevin & Johanna Barnes
3 Mike Glasgow & Robin Tittley
4 James H & Patty Gray
5 Dave Damon & Tracy Gauthier
6 William Mattocks & Kelly Wentling
7 Gerry Morris & Robin Grimsby
8 Miguel & Tammy Brown
9 Shawn Brennan & Sue Lambell
10 Marcus Schwarz & Kristin Wenger
11 Genieboy & Cathleen Rhodes
** “Sophisticated” (in case you’re wondering what the heck it is) is kind of like your pinky toe or appendix: it’s a holdover division from years ago with no real use anymore (ie no points tracked by the wsdc) and mostly not seen on the circuit (I don’t know if we’ve ever seen this division in California, mid-west or Texas – it’s mostly an east-coast thing. Or maybe just DC?) It’s an age division, up to the event director what the age is (we’ve seen it 30+, 35+, 40+) The wsdc points registry does track Masters (50+) and as more and more baby-boomers enter that demographic more and more comps are including Masters divisions for Jack and Jills, Strictlys, and a NASDE Routine division (for which there is a great tour, created by Bob and Beverly Budzinski and rewarded handsomely with a large pot at the end of the year both by the tour and by the Open. Not naming names but one lucky couple recently walked off with just about 10K at the Open.) We are aware of some terrific new Masters routines in the works for this year – the division is finally taking itself seriously and becoming respectable.
LOTS MORE TO TELL!
There always is.
And meanwhile, it is Friday, and the Chicago Classic is in full swing! This is our first year in seven that we can’t be there. But we will be watching all weekend! You too can watch it, here:
More soooon …..