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On our way to Summa Humma!
At the gate here in the Air Tran terminal (merged with Southwest) so we get the hip line of rocking-chairs looking out onto the tarmac, wide leather armchairs, and banks of outlets everywhere. There are *three* women spotted so far buried in “Fifty Shades of Grey.” What is it about that book?
I am receiving the funniest series of texts from Connie Gauthier and mom Tracy on their drive up to Boston together.
Connie: “there is not an agressive bone in mom’s body. hard to be a backseat driver in this car”
Tracy: “whatever my daughter is telling you is not true. she is the slo bo”
Connie: “i’m flying next year at least if I fly I can feel some acceleration”
“oh no. we’re stopping for lunch. STOPPING.”
“mom just shoved her phone in my face so I could read your last text. out loud.”
“playing my ipod over the speakers and she has the volume turned all the way down.”
“oh no! she recognizes a song and turned the volume all the way up and is singing out loud.”
It goes on like that. This road trip needs to be a SNL skit.
Forecasting beautiful sunny weather for Saturday’s pool party! Yippee! Bill runs a mean pool party.
Love that this is a NASDE comp. Love NASDE comps – love the routines, the high level of social dancing, most of all love being surrounded by people as nuts for this dance as we are.
Tonight’s the kick-off dance – hope we make it in time to dance some of it!
EXCITED EXCITED EXCITED LOVE SUMMER HUMMER!
Our flight attendant was an adorable black woman with fashionably hip gold cuff bracelets, short matte-grey nails, Mary Janes, and the cutest pixie haircut with – hyperventilating – a shiny *metallic* gold streak in her hair from crown to forehead. Metallic! First time I’ve seen that. Must have this! I asked if she modeled and yes! she does! She was the one to read the “in case of emergency float around the ocean on your seat-cushion also let your kids suffocate while you hook up your own oxygen” speech over the microphone and between exploding it out faster than Nicki Minaj and her thick black accent I did not understand a single word this woman said.
We have more dialects in this country than any other country in the world. I love America.
We fly so much yet every lift-off remains breathtaking. Watching the ground tip at an extreme angle then fall away below; the high-def lumps of white cloud, crisp and defined, hanging in arm’s reach just outside our window – no matter how many times we fly it is still majestic to soar across the sky.
My phone flew out of my coat pocket into the fetid puddle left fermenting in the bacteria-infested bathroom sink. I hate germs. I want to cry.
So excited to see friends from the UK! Haven’t seen loud-mouth Steve and his beautiful long-suffering Rachel, Caro, the rest of the London crew, for ages it seems like! Or our good friends Hrfnkel (I’m not clearing my chest, that’s his name) and Maria from Iceland! And friends from France! Feels like a long time since these folks have been to the U.S.
This event, late August, always marks summer’s end. The light is low and golden on leaves and sides of buildings, the contrast so sharp it makes me drunk. The cicadas have been roaring so loudly we have to shout to hear above the din. Crickets sing non-stop all day and all through the night, the dry grasses and trees throbbing and pulsing with a complex symphony of highs and lows, calling each other, “summer is ending summer is ending.” This is my favorite time of year, so full of promise and foreboding.
The Open is right around the corner and “Open Fever” is setting in. What new routines are in the works, new partnerships, surprises? I can barely wait! The Open will be different this year. For the first time in its history the Open will hold Novice and Intermediate Jack and Jill divisions. Whether this will be a good thing or a bad thing we shall see. Some say this makes the Open like any other comp, detracts from the uniqueness of our flagship event. Others say it’s great for lower level dancers who until now haven’t had a place at the Open. We shall see.
You either have to rent a car, catch a cab, or take public transportation to get from the airport to the hotel. We rented a car. The route takes you through the infamous “bricks dropping from the ceiling smashing into drivers’ cars” three tunnels (part of the even infamouser “Big Dig” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Dig .) We got stuck in horrific, mind-flattening stop&go rush hour traffic along Boston’s east-west corridor – the also infamous Mass Pike – heading towards Worcester (like the sauce, as in, don’t call it War Chester.) Google Maps took us a brand new much worse way than we’ve ever come before, adding a full half hour to the trip. That’s because Google Maps was just updated on my Ipad! Yay! So now it’s much worse than before.
But we got here! We arrived at the same moment that a busload of very happy very colorful Asians pulled up at the front door – women with huge floppy hats and six totes on each shoulder stuff bulging and falling on the ground, sweaty excited men shouting and dragging seven suitcases at once, kids with four animal backpacks each and huge open bags of family-sized chips and cheese doodles – everybody pushing laughing shouting in a language I didn’t recognize – everyone stopping abruptly every few feet to stare intently up at the empty sky.
Who have we seen so far: Arjay is here! Maxence is here! Michael Kielbasa is here! Louis St. George is here!
Chris Palmieri’s cool new registration/bib/judging system – on Ipads – is in use again here, as at Swing Fling two weeks ago. Registration was fairly quick (Bill’s mom and sister!) but would have been quicker if we hadn’t messed up our own reg by making changes last minute. We held up the line waiting behind us. Hopefully tomorrow, when everyone gets in at once, they’ll have more at the registration table so when annoying dancers like us have issues it won’t make the lines last forever.
Asians are walking around the hotel in pajamas. Just pajamas, no bathrobe, no slippers. The old-fashioned kind of pajamas where you know they’re pajamas. Cracking me up.
Genieboy’s downstairs dancing. I checked the ballroom at 10pm counting 30 couples on the floor, another 10 sitting around. The floor is 40 x 80, or 3,200 sq ft. Decent size, not huge. No backdrop up yet – they say that’ll go up tomorrow. Tables are the long skinny type (five people on each side) arranged one-deep around three sides of the floor. DJ in the far left corner, platform for Global Dance TV’s cameras at the back.
Ballroom is probably picking up now … I’m gonna go down and have me a few dances!
Just finished Champions’ Strictly and WHAT FUN! Louis and Victor – the DJ dream-team, are, as Bill said on the mic, always trying to figure a new way to “bust these guys’ chops” (meaning find some new fun thing to do with their comp music.)
So guess what they did tonight? Each couple got the USOpen routine song of somebody competing tonight. Not their own routine, somebody else’s. SO FUNNY! If you know and love the routines it was beyond hilarious watching them try to pull off the iconic moves from each. If you don’t know the routines (I’m including links to the videos for each) it was still so much fun to watch these guys try to pull off hard stuff which they most of the time couldn’t. Love watching them horse around, play. Their playing is inspirational.
1. Maxence and Torri dancing to Jordan and Tatiana’s “Viva La Vida” and WOW this was not only funny watching them do J&T’s iconic moves it was also beautiful, creative and gorgeously danced.
2. Kielbasa and DeLuca! So great to see them dancing together again – they look great together. To Ben and Melina’s “Chelsea Rodgers.”
3. Greg and Sabrina to Myles and Tessa’s “She Talks To Angels”
4. Sean McKeever and Stephanie McHenry to Kyle and Sarah’s famously brilliant “Johnny B Good”
5. Arjay and Jess to Jen and Kielbasa’s “Din Da Da.” They managed to include Jen’s famous elbow-in-the-air spins, the wild head whips, the back-bend drop where she walks around him to the beat then walks back again, all the little hits … hilarious great great dancing
6. Ben Hooten and Yenni to Arjay and Melissa’s “No Diggity”
7. Myles and Lemery to Ben and Melina’s Juniors routine, “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Burnin’ Love”
8. Chuck and Jill DeMarco to Robert and Nicola’s “One Night of Sin”
9. Jordan and Sarah to Parker and Jessica’s “Love and Happiness/Red Alert” – on “wait a minute something’s going wrong” Jordan’s facing front and Sarah’s suddenly squatting down behind him somehow – we can’t even see her but what we can see is missing of hands, she’s hidden, Jordan looks confused, the whole picture is wrong and then you realize they were that quick, both of them were that quick that they created a moment of “something wrong” and it’s a joke and before you know it boom they’re out and dancing so smoothly it’s stunning. The transition is invisible. Funniest part of this dance – Jordan attempts Parker’s lift (it’s a showcase routine) and bombs, can’t get Sarah up off of his shoulders. But he tells us to wait – he’s gonna try again, and just at the end they try a second time and …. he … manages … not-very-smoothly … but he manages … to get … her … up … there … and YES! Sarah’s in the air! Kinda wiggly and shaky but there she is! Smiling and waving at us! Jordan is not smiling. Funny. So funny.
10. Ben and Tatiana to Kyle and Sarah’s “9 to 5″ – Tat did the arms-of-the-clock part hahaha
11. Robert Royston and Tessa to Jordan and Tatiana’s “Let’s Get It On/Dirty Pop” (their first routine out of Juniors!)
And the All-Skate to Bill’s own 1997 USOpen routine – and as Bill told us “it just goes to show you how bad some choices of music can be!” So funny. I don’t remember the song – I’ll have to ask Bill so I can give you a link here.
Bill couldn’t have been more perfect on the mic for this comp, He loves these people, the Champions, loves the Open, and after each dance told us tidbits and funny stories about each original routine. It was a great comp.
By the way, Ron and Tyoni are here filming for Global Dance TV – you can watch the live stream all weekend here:
Showcase was tonight! Just before the Champion Strictly!
Six great routines – it will be interesting to see how they are judged this time.
Judges: Jessica, Steve Nereen, Anne Fleming, Heidi Mongeau, Donna Roesel, Kyle, and Maira Pineda as chief judge this weekend.
1. Stephen and Sabrina’s beautiful “Somewhere With You” – so many difficult lifts and drops – at one point she jumps up and then drops flat out on the floor one after the other so quickly it’s like one movement – the routine is solid tricks. So hard.
2. The Roystons with their great “Edge of Glory”
3. Rob and Connie with their brand new routine! What a crowd pleaser! The entire ballroom jumped up screaming, whistling and pounding their hands in a standing ovation for this fun, funky, playful piece, full of swing, lifts that stop sharp mid-way, constant contact and conversation with the audience, brimming with jokes … so great! A fabulous joyful thing choreographed entirely by Rob and Connie themselves. Awesome costume too – 60′s retro multi-colored fabric with a bare back, Rob with bits of the fabric decorating an elegant black shirt.
4. Myles and Tessa’s marvelous, mesmerizing “Rolling In The Deep” (they messed up their most dramatic lift – such a shame. Hate to see that happen.)
5. Greg and Lemery to last year’s beautiful “Teenage Dream” (wonder why they’re not doing this year’s “No Diggity”? I’ll have to ask them!)
6. Ben and Rebecca’s great “Little Bad Girl”
Adv/Allstar Jack and Jill Prelims:
Oops I don’t seem to have finals! Thought I did … daggnabbit. I’ll get them.
Also Adv/Allstar Strictlys:
Here are the finalists, I’ll write up prelim couples tomorrow:
Rajeev and Blandine
Jerome Louis and Natalie Gorg
Cameron Crook and Nicole Clonch
Joe Mahoney and Abby Stone
Chris Lo and Abi Leggette
Anthony Derosa and Kelly Hull
Josh Williamson and Estelle
Warren and Jen Diener
Rob Jackson and Chevy (Chevy is a blonde! it’s gorgeous!)
Stephen White and Connie
Kris Swearingen and Virginie
Chris Dumond and Hannah
Steve Hunt and Rachel
Rob Glover and Emmeline
alts Reginald Beason and Whitney Bartlett
Jerome Subey and Daria Mikloukhina
GB left the ballroom at 3 and says it was seriously rocking, GREAT energy. Victor texted at 6:15 am to say he was about to hand over DJing to Louis, 40 people still on the floor. Ha! Crazy great! I’m sure some of those cwazy people are competing at this very moment cause we have just started Jack and Jills.
[two hours have passed: insert one of Louis' show tunes or tv theme songs here]
Just finished Novice, Newcomer, and Champion JJ prelims. Funny how you can feel it in the ballroom on Saturday morning when last night’s social dancing was electric. All around you are faces still on an adrenaline high after two hours of sleep and you just feel a little somethin’ somethin’ in the air. The walls buzz and crackle. Electricity.
And the pool party is just around the corner! And Classic! There’s just excitement in the air today.
Champions’ JJ prelim songs just played:
“Finally Moving” (Pretty Lights), and
“Wild Ones” (Sia)
For Champion finals, tonight (another exciting thing about today) both leaders and followers will pick their own songs. Love when they do this for the Champions. Fun for us as much as for them cause: you learn what sound speaks to each person’s heart, you see them dancing to music that truly moves them, you get to Shazam their song.
1. The first link in Update #3, for Jordan and Tatiana’s “Viva La Vida” was incorrect. Here’s the correct link:
2. Last night was the Advanced JJ, not combined Advanced/Allstar. Cause tonight’s program kicks off with the Allstar JJ (another exciting thing about today.)
Buffet last night YUUUM. When you’ve been dancing and cheering for hours, ravenous enough to eat your neighbors’ hands, it is GREAT to have mounds of eggs, scrumptiously greasy potatoes, bacon bacon baconnnnnn, and all that other yum breakfast stuff.
And in ten minutes we get to stuff again at the pool party! Which means hamburger buffet yum! I gotta quit writing and get down there.
Courtney’s hair is way longer and blonder. So pretty! Becca wore 5″ heels and a short short dress for judging this morning. Sizzlin hot.
Okay NOW I’m going down to the hamburgers.
BRENNAR IS HERE!!! Home from boot camp! What a hunk – even buffer than before, and no hair. He looks bad ass.
Okay NOW I’m going to those hamburgers.
Pool party was SO FUN! Robert Royston! An amazement. He worked that mic for two solid hours – no stand-up comic could have done better. He’s hilarious, smart, witty, kind, inclusive, jumps around like a 12-year-old, has a potty mouth and knows when to use it (and when not), generous, silly, loves the community as a whole and the individuals in it, he’s Ocean’s 11 cool, doesn’t miss a trick, and nobody works harder. He made that party. We miss him at the Open. We miss his voice and his brilliance.
We are in the short break before tonight’s excitement so let me quickly give some names and finals stuff:
Champions JJ prelim contestants:
Adv/Allstar Strictly Prelims
Rob Jackson and Chevy
Cory Vingi and Sarah Richard
Stephen White and Connie Gauthier
Kris Swearingen and Virginie
Alfred and Anyssa Olivares
Chris Dumond and Hannah
Andrew Mastin and Eveleen Sung
Steve Wilder and Angelique
Steve and Rachel
Akil and Dana Simonetti
Ron McCarthy and Linda Leverock
Kate Lovegrove and Steve Hall
Scott Mehlberg and Anna Kondakova
Jerome Subey and daria Mikloukhina
Rob Glover and Emeliine
Bradley and Sarah Wheeler
Gosh no time to write aughghgh! Running down to ballroom again! For a SUPER fun night!
What a NIGHT!
Reginald Beason and Lara Deni
Stephane Schneider and Abi Leggette
Will and Jill – new routine! “Change The World,” in teal chiffon, sweet smooth little thing.
Chris Lo and Estelle – new routine! “Je me Lache” (personal fave song of GB and myself), black and white, both in vests with silver emblems; quick snappy fun choreography. Estelle is a rare beauty, with a heart as beautiful as her face. She told me afterwards she was terr-ri-fied. Extremely extremely scary. But fun. Sort of.
Rome and Chevy! Dancing, for the first time out of Juniors, their wonderful wonderful routine debuted at last year’s Open – “Dog Days are Over” (MAN I love this song!). Rome has been away for six months? nine months? teaching skiing, hasn’t danced at all. I was told that they only decided at 3pm this afternoon to dance. They KILLED the routine. Chevy suddenly looks very much not a Junior. And – funniest thing – smack in the middle, in a break, exactly on the beat, her shoe flew off into the air and across the room. Hilarious!
Daria and Donnie
Josh and Anyssa
Chris and Nicole,
and the ridiculously adorable Hull twins Ian and Emily, 7 years old, dancing the routine they debuted at last year’s Open *completely* differently than they did a year ago. What a difference a year makes when you’re seven.
Sean and Courtney
Blandine and Seb
Arjay and Jen (she’s not been dancing – knee injury – so this was their first time back with their great sexy “Moves Like Jagger” – Jen says there are still things she can’t do with the knee so the routine had to be modified which was frustrating. Still looked awesome.
Kris and Rebecca
Jordan and Tatiana, and
Maxence and Virginie
SUCH GREAT ROUTINES, every one of those above. And now, after a year of dancing them all over the world, these routines are all extremely tight and powerful. No clue what the judges will do – they’re all so good.
(Judges were Donna Roesel, Steve Nereen, Michael Kielbasa, Ben Morris, and Chief Judge Maira Pineta)
Champion JJ Finals! Oh man, were these fun. Guys picked a girl out of the bowl (held by Yuna in a stunning full-length turquoise dress. Yuna is strikingly gorgeous with a face meant to be on the cover of magazines. She should model. Seriously.)
1. Maxence and Yenni, to “One Love” and “Take a Dirty Picture” – Yenni did a series of pirhouettes then, still on one leg, dropped into a splits between Maxence’s legs to hit the break. She is so extremely graceful! Impeccable technique.
2. Michael Kielbasa and Tatiana, to “I Just Wanna Know” and “Dance Like Michael Jackson.” Complete with moon walks. Tatiana stood in front of Michael, arched all the way backwards into a full back-bend to the floor, went threw his legs head first, and came up standing behind him. Seriously?!?
3. Greg and Jess to “Gimme One Reason To Stay Here” and “Rabiosa” — and this crazy great song started up and BAM! Jess was IN HER ELEMENT! She’s Cuban and Pitbull is Cuban and this song is Cuban and Jessica, so funny and full of life and spirit, simply went nuts dancing her heart out, whipping her gorgeous head of hair all over the place, whipping that gorgeous body of hers over-around-under-beside-all up and down her happy partner Greg (who held his own! he looked great when I looked at him for 1/30th of a second one time.) She had the whole ballroom jumping in their seats, clapping along. What a dance!
4. Arjay and Sarah, to “Frontin” and Titanium. What great songs! Oh man, Arjay and Sarah together? So so so smooth! They skated. They slid around the floor without moving anything but feet. So quick! subtle! detailed! understated! witty! So smooth!
5. Brennar – make that Private Goree – home for a visit, drew – guess who? Torri! yaaay! They looked SO delighted what a joy to watch their love for each other and their amazing dance connection. “Powerful Stuff” and “Scream.” This could have been a routine, the impromptu choreography was so superb. They are beautiful together.
6. Royston and Lemery, “Sexy and I Know It” (acoustic version) and Robert’s beloved “Up The Lazy River.” Okay we all know Robert can win a Jack and Jill. But Lemery dang! She gets exponentially better from one comp to the next. She’s progressing as fast as Ian and Emily Hull from age six to age seven. Lemery can do ANYTHING and she does it gorgeously, cleanly, powerfully, and with style. She – they – were fabulous!
7. Jordan and Deluca to two GREAT songs, “Shoop” and “Back In Time” – they’re both so good, so damn good, so quick, funny, hip, sexy, funky, and understand the dance. And they both knew *every word* to Shoop. These two dances were crazy great. Complete with Jordan surprising her by sliding off her shirt (Jen had a layer underneath. Fortunately. Or unfortunately.) (Oh, he started their dance by sliding all the way across the floor to her on his belly. And then sliding away. And then back again.)
8. Ben and Tessa, “We Found Love” (acoustic) and Ben’s choice, the sweet oldie “Don’t Know Much About History”
and the all-skate to “I Can Only Imagine”
What a show! Such entertainment! I could watch these guys forever. They are so. damn. good.
Last night’s social dancing – everyone agrees – was off-the-charts great. Tonight is even better because all the routines are finished and everyone is psyched to PARTAY. It’s crazy down there in the ballroom, just crazy fun.
This is a great comp!
Who made Finals?
Nick De Vore
JJ finals about to start.
Dancing was CRAZY fun last night!
Me (high-maintenance OCD neat freak) and Genieboy (sloppy disorganized every-surface-covered-with-mounds of uncategorized stuff) rushing around the room here trying to take showers and not kill each other on our way back down to ballroom.
Remember last year’s hurricane, and the power went out? And we danced to cell-phones and glow-sticks? So this year, to start a tradition, the top five winners of Champions will dance with the top five winners of Novice – in the dark!
(here’s last year’s update: http://lizamayliza.com/2011/08/25/summer-hummer-2011-update-2/)
Bill last night: “This is the largest fly-in event on the east coast so we want to say a huge THANK YOU to all those people who spent so much money and so much time to fly all the way here. Thank you for coming. It’s great to have you here.”
Million zillion photographers here. EVERYBODY has a camera! And they’re all fantastic cameras, too. Even cell phone cameras are fantastic these days. But the small point-and-shoots have been revolutionized – they’re even great for dark ballrooms. So cool – you look around the ballroom and everybody has a camera in front of their face. We’ve become Japanese!
Okay gotta run down!
Jack and Jills:
1 Robert Connors and Amanda Clark
2 Joshua Albert and Carol Lanzill
3 Robert Palenchar and Catherine Macinnes
4 Keith Horan and Bonny Branch
5 Michael Lynch and Karen Meyers
6 Ben Rossman and Laura Vanderwoude
7 Dave Tahsea and Sandra Mayer
8 Matt Johnson and Flora Wan
9 Douglas Roth and Roseann Brusco
10 Danny Ho and Amanda Ashbey
11 Jordan Blanchard and Genevieve
12 Jonathan Falletta and Vicky St. Pierre
1 Aleksey Grigoriev and Jennifer Chowaniec
2 David Goldenberg and Jacqueline gutierrez
3 Dominique Morin and Dani Mullin
4 Thomas Falletta and Taryn Crosbie
5 Sean Gao and Christina Perry
6 Colton Orr and Paula Wilson
7 Tony Goff and Cari Chestnut
8 Sebastien Gervais and Jody Nagel
9 Myat Nyunt and alaura Colantonio
10 Michael Pisco and Sandrine Tarea
11 Joseph Foster and Anita Beyer
12 Nathan Johnson and Barbara Jackson
1st Place Jerome Fernandez and Laura Ciabarra
2 Marlon and Samantha Ward
3 Tj Bednash and Kristin Bianco
4 Ludovic Franc and Sara Mouchon
5 Nick De Vore and Nadya Serova
6 Phouvanh Meckhasinh and Nadia Hrzhy
7 Sean Ryan and Vanessa Keroack
8 Nicolas Besnier and Catherine Vourlessis
9 Jerry Wang and Agnieszka Gaczynska
10 Sylvain Pele and Rachel Martin
11 Adam Balasy and Eveleen Sung
12 Yingkit Chow and Heather Conkerton
1st Akil and Natalie Gorg
2 Josh and Nicole
3 Jerome Subey and Anyssa
4 Cory Vingi and Emeline
5 Jerome Louis and Whitney Bartlet
6 Keith Stremmel and Anna Kondakova
7 Ewan Dupre and Hannah
8 Mike Glasgow and Kate Lovegrove
9 Steve Wilder and Shoshi
10 Marcus Schwarz and Abby Stone
11 Rajeev and Kim Lashley
12 Stephane Schneider and Daria Mikloukhina
1st Ben Hooten and Chevy
2 Kris and Virginie
3 Chris Dumond and Connie
4 Steve Hunt and Blandine
5 Stephen White and Sabrina
6 Rome and Jen Diener
7 Chris Lo and Estelle
8 Cameron Crook and Kelly Hull
1st Johanna Barnes with Greg
2 David Goldenberg with Lemery
3 Will Burbage with Yuna
4 Michele Fischer with Royston
5 Dave Cronin with Yuna
6 Michael Egan with Yuna
7 Joshua Albert with Angelique
1st Place Justin Zadro and Samantha Ward
2 Tj Bednash and Nadya Serova
3 Jerome Fernandez and Vanessa Keroa
4 Nick De Vore and Gudrun Maria Jonsdottir
5 Ludovic Franc and Sandrine Tarea
6 Barry Carothers and Molly King
7 Jim Chow and Taylor Morton
8 Nicolas Besnier and Laura Vanderwoude
9 Marlon Mills and Dani Mullin
10 Ilya Obshadko and Nadiia Hrzhymovska
11 Adam and Anna Balasy
12 Phouvanh Meckhasinh and Stephanie Courtemano
13 David Goldenberg and Lura Johnson
14 Chris Wieczorek and Heather Conkerton
15 Bryan Purtell and Pam Marshall
1st Place Rob Glover and Emeline
2 Chris Dumond and Hannah
3 Kris and Virginie
4 Rob Jackson and Chevy
5 Cameron Crook and Nicole
6 Anthony Derosa and Kelly Hull
7 Josh and Estelle
8 Chris Lo and Abi Leggette
9 Stephen White and Connie
10 Joe Mahoney and Abby Stone
11 Steve Hunt and Rachel Martin
12 Steve Hall and Kate Lovegrove
13 Rajeev and Blandine
14 Warren Pino and Jen Diener
15 Jerome Louis and Natalie Gorg
1st Place Chris and Nicole
2 Josh and Anyssa
3 Ian and Emily
1st Rome and Chevy
2 Chris Lo and Estelle
3 Reginald Beason and Lara Deni
4 Donnie and Daria
5 Stephane and Abi
6 Will and Jill
1st Place Greg and Lemer
2 Myles and Tessa
3rd Robert and Nicola
4 Rob and Connie
5 Stephen and Sabrina
6 Ben and Rebecca
1st Jordan and Tatiana
2 Arjay and Jen
3 Maxence and Virginie
4 Sean and Courtney
5 Kris and Rebecca
6 Seb and Blandine
Oops forgot to include Champions.
1st Jordan and Jen
2 Kielbasa and Tatiana
3 Brennar and Torri
4 Arjay and Sarah
5 Royston and Lemery
1st Ben and Tatiana
2 Maxence and Torri
3 Kielbasa and Jen
New Summer Hummer tradition: The “Hurricane Jack and Jill,” last comp on Sunday afternoon. Perfect end to a great weekend! Top five Novice followers and leaders paired with top five Champion followers and leaders to dance in complete dark, adorned only with glow sticks.
What a site!
Arjay! Enormous glow-stick glasses that covered half his face, enormous over-sized striped bow tie, in one hand his phone with “Vote For Us” on the screen. Hit a break by laying his partner into a dip and running a tiny flashlight strobe up and down her body.
Royston with a glow-stick patch over one eye (his son Bobby poked him in the eye Saturday.)
Mrs. Crosbie (Taryn and Neil! Just married! Scotland’s wcs community doubled in size!) so clever! Glow-stick circles on each butt cheek, circles on each boob, big circle around the hips, down the spine and ribs, and man did she make those circles dance in space! And her partner Jordan with a long … a very long … a very VERY long you-know-what hanging and swinging between his legs. Which he worked into the dance in every which way. These two together – hilarious.
The line of ten couples in the dark, pulsing to the music, throbbing, swaying in all different directions, body parts moving, and all you could see was a line of glow stick shapes waving every which way yet somehow all in sync.
Then they spread out across the floor to dance and it was like someone blew fireflies and fairies into the room, flitting around in random directions, different heights and levels in space, streaks of neon zipping about in the dark, playing on the air.
And Louis, brilliant Louis, played, of course:
“Flashlight” (Parliament); “Ooo-Wee Baby Then The Lights Go Out,” “Strobe Light,” and last of all “Turn All The Lights On”
Speaking of Louis and music here are a few songs chosen for comps this weekend (Louis or Victor):
Friday night’s Adv/Allstar Strictly:
“I Got The Blues”
“Moves Like Jagger” (Robert, after the dance: “I love that song but in the last year I’ve seen more bad impressions of Mick Jagger doing a sugar push than I’d like to remember.” Arjay, from the back of the room: “You mean my routine?” Robert: “Yes.”)
“Give Me Everything”
“Fine Brown Frame”
Intermediate JJ prelims:
“Let’s Stay Together”
“Give It To Me”
Adv JJ Prelims:
Newcomer/Novice/Intermediate Strictly Final:
“Mean Ole’ World”
“Click Click Click”
“Don’t Need It”
Adv/Allstar Strictly Final:
“Move Across The River”
“Mr. Know It All”
“Tonight Is The Night”
And speaking of Louis I was reminded again how brilliant he truly is when I paid attention to his handling of the pool party. Audio engineering genius. There was not a moment – not a single moment – during which Louis was not playing some precisely appropriate background (or foreground) music, loud or barely perceptible, just the right volume to suit the moment, just exactly the right sound. Not to mention finding on the fly any song requested for karaoke or any other reason.
Like when Maxence walked on the floor and Louis pulled out “Allons enfants de la patrie” (La Marseillaise) (while writing this I just discovered – to my astonishment – that I know every word to this song by heart. I have no idea why I should know this song. Or feel that I’m singing something dear and familiar from early childhood. ooooo-weeee-yoooo. Weird.)
Or when Jordan put on the earphones to sing karaoke and Louis threw on “What a Wonderful World” (you should hear Jordan do a Louis Armstrong impression! Got to have ripped up his throat but he makes a mean Louis Armstrong. Who knew?) and then “Niggas in Break” to which Jordan knew every. single. lyric. as well as every single music-video move. Pool was rockin’, hamburgers jumpin’ and pumpin’ in their warming plates, Jessica hands in the air, walls of the building shimmyin’ and shakin’ in the golden glow of the low sun, people at the party weavin’ and noddin’ to the beat. The scene was Jordanesque.
Or “Chariots of Fire” as Jen inched under the limbo bar to win, yet again, the Summer Hummer Limbo Competition. Jennifer Chowaniec is an amazement. She has won three years in a row now (she’s not short, either!) Robert had already whipped the crowd into a frenzy so when she won and he asked her to beat her 2009 record (two nails below this year’s) the crowd just went wild. And she did. And then Robert asked her to go under the last nail, the bottom nail, 18″ from the floor, which required her to hold herself horizontal, thighs pressed to calves, half an inch between bar and torso, creeping forward toe by toe without a body part touching ground. And this is when Louis laid on the opening chords of “Chariots,” softly in the background to not disturb her, and a throng gathered in a close, thick, silent mob – including hotel staff who left the buffet to watch and passers-by outside the fence – and you felt you were witnessing the Olympics right there in front of you and you held your breath (Robert: “I need you to do this. For me. I need you to make it under that last nail. My life will be better if you do.”) and there was not a sound, even the birds stopped to watch. It was silent out there, time froze.
Found myself mesmerized, choked up, tears in my eyes, couldn’t take pictures.
She didn’t make it. She didn’t quiiiiite make it. But what a cheer from the crowd! Will she make it next year? We will be waiting for you Jennifer Chowaniec! You are our Summer Hummer Limbo superstar.
Or Louis pulling up the last song when finally, as the sun dropped behind the trees and one more pool party came to an end, Robert brought up Chuck Serafin again this year to sing “American Pie” – which blindsided you because you thought you were going to laugh at the song and laugh at Chuck doing karaoke to it but instead found yourself singing along and you realized you actually love the song and Chuck was singing from his heart and it was unadorned and quite beautiful; and you looked around and everyone, really everyone, knew the song; and the mood had been handled so delicately that you weren’t embarrassed to put your hands up and wave back and forth with everyone else and sing. And it was one of those brief pauses, again, where you get a glimpse of how transient life is, how lucky you are to know these people, experience these rare, sweet, unselfconscious seconds together, how lucky you are to be part of this colorful community, to have the picture of this moment imprinted in your memory forever.
Summer Hummer was great. We haven’t missed a year since we started travelling the circuit. What would make it even better, in my own uninformed easy-to-say-what-needs-fixing-when-you’re-not-the-one-doing-all-the-work opinion:
The lighting in the ballroom was difficult. There *was* no lighting is the more accurate description. Other than the ballroom’s overhead lights which for some reason stayed very dim – even at their brightest it was murky dingy yellow in there – made me feel like I was struggling for oxygen all weekend. For social dancing it was just dimmer. “Dim and Dimmer” – it could be a movie. Seriously though good lighting would not only make for WAY better video and pictures it would also super duper affect the mood and atmosphere (which are already off the charts great at this event.)
Registration lines, despite Chris’ very cool new program, were long and slow, snaking around the corner of the room and taking an hour to get through. We were lucky, we handled our reg’s on Thursday. I felt sorry for the people who had to spend an hour or more on Friday just getting banded.
Competitors’ Meetings. It’s been two years since any other comp that we’ve attended has held competitors’ meetings but here they were mandatory for Newcomer and Novice, two hours before these guys’ comps, on Saturday morning. Kind of ruins dancing on Friday night when you know you can’t sleep in the next morning.
Hope I don’t get stuff thrown at my head for saying this, but: Judging Panels. SH is a NASDE comp so even more critical to have good judges as people’s careers (and incomes) are in the hands of the people on that panel. But even if it weren’t NASDE I feel it’s important to hire the best (meaning most competent, trustworthy, respected) judges on the circuit.
Need a bigger ballroom. This event has already outgrown the space (social dance floor is maxed out, and here social dancing is reallllly important part of the weekend, and realllly fun) and the event will only get bigger. As nostalgic as this funky old “castle” is it has become too small. Elevators couldn’t handle us either.
Three final random comments:
Love how Bill said “I do this all the time: I give plaques to 5th and 4th place, don’t always give ‘em money but I give ‘em plaques, but I like to have them come up here and have their moment of recognition.” I love the easy, honest, transparent way Bill talks about prizes and what he gives and doesn’t give. Very human. That brief sentence above tells you that he gives as much prize money as the event can afford, and knowing that makes anyone happy and grateful. Love how casual and real Bill is.
Love that they posted all the scoresheets, with judges’ names, and even posted prelims! So people who don’t make finals can at least see their name up there on the wall, as a competitor, “in the game” so to speak.
Which brings me to a last unresolved ongoing debate:
Should we be like ballroom and never post judges’ names so that judges would:
1. Not have to be bothered with questions or reprimands, and
2. Judges would (possibly, not assuredly) have the anonymity to score more honestly (since we are a tight (“incestuous” might be the better word) community and judges are often scoring personal friends)
Or should we be completely transparent and post all scores and judges’ names so that:
1. Competitors can know how to evaluate a particular score by knowing the person who gave it
2. Competitors can ask a judge for feedback or help
3. Judges can be expected to say “Yes I gave you that score and here’s why” or “Sorry I don’t remember what I saw at that moment”
That’s it for Summer Hummer 2012 Updates. What a GREAT comp! We had a blast!
I had commented about Competitors’ Meetings at Summer Hummer. Bill and Yuna tell me that Summer Hummer was, in fact, the very *first* event to do away with these for most divisions because they understand what it’s like to have to be at a meeting early in the morning when you’ve been up dancing the night before. They do make the Saturday morning Newcomer meeting mandatory, however, and this is intentional, because they want to take special care of Newcomers. The meeting serves to describe what competing will be like, where to go, what to expect - it’s a pep-rally, really, as Yuna describes it, to help the brand new people feel welcomed and pumped.
They take special care of Newcomer and Novice in an additional way, too, doing something unique for these divisions which I had neglected to mention and which I am glad I now have an excuse to tell you about: All Newcomer and Novice JJ competitors who *don’t* make finals – which of course is almost all Newcomer and Novice JJ competitors – are invited (not required) to attend a feedback seminar on Sunday morning where they pick one pro from a panel of pros present from whom they receive individual critiquing (one point only, time constraints) in addition to later critiquing from all the pros of division dance issues in general. From all accounts this seminar was useful and much appreciated.
DJ’s (from the team of DJ Greats this weekend) were:
Flashlight Jack n Jill: Victor and Louis
Novice and Intermediate JJ’s: Kelly and Anthony
Advanced and Champions JJ’s: Victor
All that great music listed in the last update was not just Louis (yeah he’s a genius just not *that* much of a genius don’t want him to get a swollen head) but it was Victor, Kelly, and Anthony too, all of whom are *fantastic* as I know I’ve gone on and on about before. Love when any of these guys are up.
Reg lines: Yuna tells me she checked twice and saw no line at all. Sounds like I must have passed by when the line was at its worst (I was there at 4pm and then again 7pm on Friday – just the time period, Yuna says, when the entire event decides to arrive at the hotel and flood the registration table all at once.) Outside of this crunch time it sounds like registration went quickly and smoothly.
Any other corrections?
It was a GREAT weekend. We had so much fun and so did everyone we’ve talked to. This is one not to be missed!