Liza May

Capital 2012 Update #3

What a gorgeous sunny day yesterday! Great happy energy all day. It’s the weather! The weather has so much to do with the mood of an event! How can you not have fun when you’re playing outside in the sun all day? Great weather makes the whole weekend feel like you’re on holiday vacation.

Juniors, juniors everywhere! Throwing each other into the pool, throwing each other onto the grass, throwing each other down the halls, throwing each other into the tables at the back of the ballroom – yelling and squawking even louder than the geese! Juniors make an event so much fun! I stopped by the Juniors Pizza Party – what a scene! Janelle Guido (I LOVE this girl! She’s Big Sister to the entire community, takes such ownership of every junior dancer, bursting with pride as if they were her own family) said “OMG! OMG! I’ve never seen so many juniors all together before! This is awesome this is awesome!” It is awesome, I agree. They’re fun, funny, and man can they dance!

Florida is here, Chicago, Boston, Texas, St. Louis, London, DC, New York, L.A., Vancouver, Syndney, and Reykjavik!

Glitter tattoos! Hand-painted temporary sparkly tattoos. Gorgeous! Audrey at Table 48.

Speaking of tattoos: Ronnie and Brandi are here, both looking even *more* trim and beautiful than normal, gearing up for their new event “City of Angels” in a month, distributing uber-cool City of Angels tatoos. Saw them early evening as Brandi was discussing their evening schedule: “I’ve got three privates I’m running to do now, then opening ceremonies, then you have to throw an Asian, then …” “Wait, what?” I interrupted “He has to what?” “Oh, Showcase. He has to throw an Asian. Laureen. Once during a practice Laureen came leaping at him from across the room yelling “Incoming “UFO” – ‘Unidentified Flying Oriental.’ So we say he has to Throw an Asian.”

This is Dani’s 17th year running the event! Did I hear that right? I can’t believe that’s correct. She was running this event when she was, what, twelve years old?

After the National Anthem (gorgeous acapella harmony by Nick King and —-) velvet-voiced Steve Zener (emcee for the weekend) welcomed staff and djays,

Workshop Teachers:

  • Ronnie and Brandi
  • Jordan and Tatiana
  • Ben and Melissa
  • Brennar and Torri and Benji
  • Kyle and Sarah
  • Michael Kielbasa, and
  • Robert and Nicola

… and Judging Panel:

  • Jack Carey
  • Dottie Macken
  • Jessica Cox
  • Sylvia Sykes
  • Andy Bowman
  • Kelly Casanova
  • Carlito
  • John Lindo
  • Michelle
  • Sharlot
  • Mark
  • Mario
  • and Chief Judge Yvonne

… and, as Steve described her in the best introduction ever, “Our Mentor, Model, Fashion Icon, Relationship Counselor, Life Coach, Interior Designer, Friend To Everyone … Our very own First Lady, the Incomparable Annie Hirsch! (the entire ballroom rose in a standing ovation – she is loved, so very loved.)

Then the entire staff got on the floor for a “snowball” dance and within seconds KER-BAM! there was Benji flat on his back on the floor, yelling “oh no! shooooow-caaaaaaase!” as he went down, since shooowww-caaase was what he was scheduled to do an hour later and falling on the floor is not the best way to get ready for that. Who was Benji dancing with? Jordan. So much fun to see these two – lifelong friends since boyhood – to see them horsing around, laughing their heads off, dancing together like they have been since they were kids. What a treat.


27 Novice Strictly couples and WOW were they good! Crazy ridiculous good. These are Novice dancers? Sheesh. They’re young out here – many of those Juniors are still in Novice. Average age out there on the floor – maybe 20?

27 Intermediate couples – What a great rowdy, supportive, yelling cheering crowd! Spectators are NOT shy out here! And they’re not worried about “breaking concentration” or interfering – they’re calling the dancers by name, shouting encouragement, cracking jokes, giving instructions … what fun!

36 Advanced Strictly couples! So many in Advanced they had to break it into two heats. This was an interesting division, a very Allstar-ish sort of Advanced division, a little disorienting.

Great DJ-ing for strictlys, by the way (I think it was Jack Smith) – for Advanced: Moves Like Jagger, Rescue Me, Black Coffe and Cigarettes, Love You Like a Love Song, More Than Words …


  • Eddie and Elyse Valdez, “The Light”
  • Benji and Torri, their flawless, rich, astonishing “Love Story”
  • Robert and Nicola, “Edge of Glory”
  • Ronnie and Laureen The Human UFO, “Without You”
  • and Greg and Lemery with their new routine (but without their awesomely cool new costumes cause the costume designer did just about everything wrong a seamstress can possibly do, including putting Greg in a dress and making Lemery look like a pregnant hippie), “No Diggity” – a foray into funk, total departure from their last romantic, lyrical piecd

Champion Strictly Prelims:

  • Brennar and Courtney
  • Lindo and Torri
  • Josh and Katherine Krok Eastvold
  • Clint and Lemery
  • Sean McKeever and Tara
  • Edwin and oh oops! I didn’t catch her name!
  • Jordan and Rutz
  • Jack Smith and Michelle
  • Robert Royston and Jill Dumarco
  • The Waynes (man do they have a cheering squad here! they’ve definitely got a fan base!)
  • John Kirkconnell and Alyssa Glanville
  • Michael Kielbasa and Katie Schneider
  • Nick and Yenni
  • Greg and Cameo
  • Ben Morris and Sarah
  • Kyle and Tatiana
  • Ben McHenry and Samantha Buckwalter
  • Parker and Jessica
  • Benji and Brandi

Before they danced Steve made an important announcement: NO COMPETITORS’ MEETINGS! Standing ovation, the whole ballroom clapping and cheering! It’s about time! Capital is one of the last holdouts – events have been running perfectly smooth comps now for several years without the dreaded early-morning meetings, spoiling the day (or night before) for anyone wanting to do jack and jills.

And finally, last night, Awards:

Didn’t catch Novice …


  1. Place $200 Connor and Shanti
  2. $150 Nate Woodward and Amanda
  3. $ 100 James Cook and Amy Tran Patel
  4. $70 Mike Pyle and Christina Lovett
  5. Jay Tsai and Katrina Gregoriants


  1. Place $300 Martin and Helen
  2. $200 Jake and Mackenzie
  3. $150 Shaheed and Elyse
  4. $100 Scottie and Joann Meinl
  5. $60 Alfred and Colleen Uspensky


  1. Place $1,200 Benji and Torri
  2. $800 Ronnie and Laureen
  3. $600 The Roystons
  4. $400 Greg and Lemery
  5. $300 Eddie and Elyse

Champion Strictly Finalists:

  • John Lindo and Torri
  • Michael Kielbasa and Katie
  • Nick and Yenni
  • Ben Morris and Sarah
  • Kyle and Tatiana
  • Jordan and Melissa Rutz
  • Parker and Jessica
  • Robert Royston and Jill Dumarco
  • The Waynes
  • Benji and Brandi
  • and 1st Alternate Ben McHenry and Samantha Buckwalter

That was yesterday, a sunny, happy day.

Today is overcast, and it’s not just the weather.

Bad news.

Filed Under: Capital

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