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SPECIAL NEWS! Arjay and Bridget have a baby boy! Born March 11! Which, as Arjay pointed out, is a cool palindrome: 3-11-13
In other news: I am getting hourly CNN alerts about the color of smoke coming out of a chimney. Cool it CNN! Wolf Blitzer dude seriously! Take a chill pill. If the smoke is still black don’t tell me about it okay? That’s not news. Also if it’s dark grey, slate-grey, battleship grey, ash-grey … I don’t need to know the 50 Shades of Grey coming out of the Vatican chimney. Just tell me when it’s white. Put it on an elevator TV.
Classic was OUTSTANDING.
1. Eddie and Elise, “Beauty and A Beat” (by Bieber) omg so FAST! And so different than last weekend, first time on the floor! Wow, what a difference one single week makes. It was the BOMB last night – clean, so energetic, so full of joy and health, complete trust and commitment to every movement – she goes full force all the way from one side of a connection to the other whether it’s a bend, lean, or whipped body part – she’s all the way there and looks like she’s having a blast at every moment. Love the look on her face. This routine doesn’t “breathe” – a thing you’re “supposed” to have according to some people who know much more about dance than I ever will – but in my uninformed opinion this song doesn’t “breathe,” either, and the choreography fits the breathlessness of the song perfectly. I loved this.
2. The Uspenskys, “Eet” descriptions here and here HOLY CRAP THE BALLROOM these guys are LOVED here on their home turf. It was good to have a raucous ballroom tonight since the room had seemed quiet on Friday, timid almost, not how I remember mid-west events. But tonight – different story. Musta been saving up all their yelling for routines. The Uspenskys got a wild standing ovation. I must say that as much as I love this routine I will never ever again be able to see it – or hear the song – without remembering one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen: Matt and Brennar and this.
3. Hugo and Brianne, “Fade” (Claude Hay,) in red and silver diagonal slashes of fabric. So smooth! She’s adorable, he’s adorable, they’re both talented, funny, and great dancers.
4. Sebastien et Blandine (dancing to a personal favorite: “Skinny Love” by Birdy) – OMG I love this routine! Blandine’s dancing? OMG! How she has progressed! In such a short time! This is the girl who only two years ago couldn’t speak or understand a word of English, came to the States for the first time with Sebastien (and Verane, Stephane, Estelle, Benjamin and Melodie, and a few others) to her first event (Atlanta? SwingDiego?) a Novice dancer who really didn’t know the dance. SUPER nice people from their first tentative foray into the west coast community but obviously new to our dance. Sebastien had been tossing a team of girls around his neck and heaving them up to the ceiling as effortlessly as if he was juggling oranges so he may have been a bit more comfortable at the beginning than Blandine, but both were new. And both have worked their butts off, worked so hard to improve, and boy does it show. They get orders of magnitude better every month. We were blown away by this routine at the Open but last night? OMG simply astonishing. You must see it!
Here is the link to the paid “thumbsupvideo” for last night’s Classic Division.
5. Shane and Keri, “New Alphabet” (Eels) with another of their bad-ass, dangerous, cool “fusion” pieces – combination of swing with Argentine Tango, contemporary and lyrical, hip-hop, gymnastics, thrashing, and jazz. I love their courage in putting daring, cutting-edge routines out there knowing they’re pushing the edges of what and is and is not swing, and that in terms of competing they are taking a risk cause they might not please judges. My favorite part of this routine is how they go from extreme speed and bouncy energy to extreme extreme slo-mo. Pretty cool. They take risks with costumes, too. This one is military-inspired, khaki and camo. My favorite was this dramatic flamboyant costume from the US Open two years ago, with Keri’s stunning face paint.
6. Kyle and Sarah! With their funky, funny, fun, fast, “Seven Nation Army” and “I’m In Miami Trick.” Check this out – their footwork! The combination of speed and smooth! How they slide around the floor as if on wheels! They’re crazy amazing. Here’s a description, and here’s a video of the routine in full costume.
Kyle and Sarah make west coast look easy. I’ve always said and will say again: when it looks really easy is when you know you’re looking at greatness.
Because west coast is hard! Really hard. I’d put money on wcs being way harder than any other social/street dance. First of all you have to cooperate with another person. That in itself is impossible, especially if they’re the opposite gender (which I think of as The Enemy.)
Second, you have to be able to be creative and make things up on the fly which is a problem if you are any of the following:
- an accountant
- a stripper
- an academic
- an exhibitionist
- an introvert
- a 60′s hippy
- Lindsay Lohan
- haven’t slept for four days
The really great champion dancers, like Kyle and Sarah, make it look easy no matter how they are feeling. You think “Shoot. That looks easy! I know I can do that. Watch me make Champions by next year.”
7. Matt and Crystal, “You Don’t Know Me” – HOLY SHAMOLY THE BALLROOM! So much pounding and screaming when they walked out onto the floor it was bouncing the floor boards up and down! The Auclairs are beloved in Chicago. What a pretty routine this is – I love these guys’ taste in music. And Crystal, sheesh! She’s curvy and sexy, and that beautiful face, and her sensuous movement – oh my goodness. Standing ovation for the Auclairs, of course.
8. Jordan and Tatiana, “Somebody That I Used To Know” (Gotye, Dubstep and Frisbee remix.) The amazing, blazing, winning routine that has brought cheering crowds to their feet at the Open and everywhere they’ve performed it since in Europe, Australia, and far-flung cities across the world. Here’s the description from the Open. Have you seen it? Hope you’ll be lucky enough to see it live. It’s thrilling!
9. Josh and Lindsey, “This Love Is Over” (Ray LaMontagne) the gorgeous routine we saw at MadJam last weekend. This routine became an immediate audience favorite – both weeks we heard breathless exclamations about the beauty and emotion of the piece and predictions of high scores and placement. Lindsey is a stunning dancer – she performed a Cabaret routine at MadJam (we were hoping to see her perform this here, too, but didn’t) which outshone most everything else on Sunday – she has not only extreme technical ability, strength and grace, but she has heart and connects with the audience, she speaks to you boldly and directly. Josh is a great dancer too, and the partnership seems, from what I can make out so far, to be a good one. So far the routine hasn’t placed in the top five which might mean that as lovely as it is other routines were even better. Or it might mean judges aren’t seeing swing content. Or who knows what – a whole host of other criteria on which judges base their scores. All I know is that I’d never want to judge. I would put everybody first.
10. Mike and Sheli, “Too Close” (Alex Clare.) Sheli’s balance is amazing – she can do anything. Funny too, she’s so funny. She says she’s smiling in the routine not because you’re supposed to smile when you’re dancing but out of sheer petrified embarrassment. Now that I think of it her face is always red which I’ve always found charming. But now I know why she’s bright red and smiling. Her face is stuck that way. She told me the funniest story years ago, about hitting the very first break at the beginning of their routine only doing it backwards by mistake so that she found herself right up against the backdrop, arms outstretched, smiling a huge smile into the drapes. She’s fun to watch social dance because she, literally, can do anything, and does. Oh, and Mike, social dancing, I will only say this: girls tell me he’s so good and so hot they lose the ability to talk and can only grunt space-cadet noises. Maybe that’s why Sheli is always smiling. Also: I have on my office wall an autographed picture of Mike with his shirt off. Limited edition, distributed to a lucky few at Spotlight New Year’s.
11. Kris and Rebecca, “More Than Words” (The Piano Guys.) Beautiful ballet-like slow routine, much different than last year’s fast “Gold,” to show their control, lines, and mastery of balance and strength. Rebecca’s ballet training shows – her long neck, extensions, flexibility and grace.
12. The Markers, “Creep” (Radiohead) AUGHGHGH! THE BALLROOM WENT WILD! CHICAGO LOVES JASON AND ANNMARIE! They NAILED it. We’ve now seen this three times, each time it gets even baaaaader, and I mean that as a compliment. Their quality of movement is different in this routine – how can I describe it – they do “sharp” stuff, angular, fast jabs, quick hard hits, stuff you might expect to see from short people who are quick and agile not huge tall Saginaw, Michigan people with long limbs that take forever to extend and retract. The feel of this routine is new – it’s just, I don’t know, not as nice. It shows the not-quite-as-nice-as-you-thought side of the Markers. Twice now I’ve come home from a comp and in my notes, right beside the word MARKERS!!! scrawled across the page, I find I’ve written “spit.” I guess that word must come to mind when watching this routine. Spit. Like spitfire, or spitting mad. Restless, impatient, itchy. It’s just great. And, like I say, they nailed it this time. I didn’t see a single hiccup, not a moment’s indecision or lack of focus. Not that *I* could see, at least.
Oh! About the Boston Globe reporter! He (or she?) was seen around 1am Saturday night being escorted out the front door by security. So who was this person? Not a reporter I don’t think hahaha. I’m guessing someone dropped that business card on the floor and this lady (man) thought “I have an idea!” Which actually is a great idea now that I think of it. I’m going to use a business card myself the next time I want to crash a party. Maybe I’ll say I’m from CNN and I’m doing a story which will appear on elevators world-wide.
1st Place Jordan and Tatiana
2 Kyle and Sarah
3 Matt and Crystal
4 Sebastien et Blandine
5 Arthur and Colleen
1st Place Myles and Tessa
2 Greg and Lemery
3 Robert and Nicola
4 Rob and Connie
5 Jason and Sophy
1st Place Hieu Le and Natalie Gorg
2 Kyle and Aimy Patel
3 Chip DiStefano and Michelle Haynes
4 Scott Mehlberg and Tatiana Zavyakova
5 John Elms and Lori Rousar
1st Place Tommy Gibbs and Renee Lippmann
2 Chip and Janice DiStefano
3 Wayne and Cindy Rohr
4 Buzz and Debra McCreary
5 Mike Booth and Cheryl Grange
JACK AND JILL CHAMPIONS
1st Place Jordan and Tatiana
2 Matt and Kellese
3 John Lindo and Blandine
4 Robert and Sarah
5 Ben and Lemery
JACK AND JILL ALLSTAR
1st Place Hugo and Angie Cameron
2 Josh Sturgeon and Sheli
3 Kyle Patel and Melissa Rollins
4 Brad Whelan and Lori Rousar
5 Eddie and Natalie Gorg
JACK AND JILL ADVANCED
1st Place Hareesh and Marina Moeller
2 Jeff Mumford and Kelsy Petrykowski
3 Sebastien and Aimy Patel
4 Jon Elms and Katie Slater
5 JC Bryant and Katia Aviasevich
JACK AND JILL INTERMEDIATE
1ST Place David Brown and Olga Usmanova
2 Miguel Ortega and Tatiana Zavyalovaa
3 Roger Batista and Allison Brown
4 Chris Kompanene and Allison Shu
5 Michael Saloka and Amanda Staley
JACK AND JILL NOVICE
1st Place Pavel and Sarah Sheaff
2 Bruno and Jocelyn Lopez
3 Jean-Pierre Sach and Nicole Skelly
4 Jonathan Villar and Shelby Vandenberg
5 Richard Falls and Amy Laederach
JACK AND JILL NEWCOMER
1st Place Shimpei Muraoka and Lindsay Burkley
2 Jon Young and Jennifer Hutchinson
3 Brett Stacer and Ali Reilly
4 Matthew Freeversyser and Jennifer Czech
5 Karl Dunajcik and Anne Dunajcik
JACK AND JILL MASTERS
1st Place Chip and Peggy Allen
2 Wayne Rohr and Renee Lipman
3 Tommy Gibbs and Jennifer Vaughn
4 Vince Peterson and Theresa McGarry
5 Mike Booth and Nancy Buchler
1st Place Jordan and Jessica
2 Kyle and Tatiana
3 Brent and Kellese
4 Robert and Rebecca
5 Ben and Sarah
1st Place Chip DiStefano and Renee Lipman
2 Mark Endo and Theres McGarry
3 Mike Booth and Peggy Allen
4 Claude and Gordana Fortin
5 Tommy Gibbs and Joann Podleski
Remember the tall hairy bearded guy in the pink tutu and ballet slippers? Who crashed the party? At Swing Dance America 2007, I think it was, Saturday night? Hollering and making hellaruckus when security escorted him out of the ballroom? Tried pulling off his tutu in protest?
Well I think we maybe got crashed here tonight by a very drunken, pretend newspaper reporter (she gave us a Boston Globe business card) a woman about my age, blonde, in way too tight skinny-jeans, with lipstick applied up to her nose, in high heels, which either because of alcohol or because of age she couldn’t stay up on so instead she kind of thumped over to the reserved seating table, her ankles taking turns flopping on the floor, to ask Julie Hein, Rosa Passi, and Bob and Beverly Budzynski if they were important people she should talk to. But she immediately lost interest and anyway was too drunk to stay for an answer and her eyes were rolling around in her head so before anyone could say anything she flopped herself out onto the floor where she stood, wavering, in between dancing couples, staring them down intently for as long as her eyes would stay put then turning to stare at someone else, swaying on her bent ankles like a tree about to go down, which was a little disconcerting for the dancers. And then she pulled a small red camera out of her bag mumbling something incoherent about somebody posing if she could figure out how to use her camera.
Rosa coughed into her hand and said “bbbprr” we said “What Rosa? What?” She coughed into her hand again, a cough with a word attached, “[cough] -ipper! [cough cough]” We were laughing we said “Rosa WHAT?!?” so she cough-talked louder and this time we heard “[cough] zipper! [cough]“
“Oh!” we said, “Zipper! Her zipper is open?”
And indeed it was, the woman’s fly was down, actually more busted open than down since the pants were so tight simple engineering would show that unless that zipper was made of aircraft grade steel it was not about to stay zipped.
By this time we were starting to suspect she wasn’t from the Boston Globe.
Should we tell her? What should we do? We thought we really ought to tell her so I walked over and said “Excuse me honey your zipper is down” – I had to repeat it three times, loudly, before she could focus – and you know what she said? She said “Uh oh! Hope my thang wasn’t stickin’ out. Just so long as my you-know-what wasn’t pokin’ out if y’know what I mean.”
That is what the reporter from the Boston Globe said when I told her that her zipper was down.
The last I saw of her was just as Classic was about to begin. When everyone ran to find a seat on the floor she wobbled herself over to the table and trying to reach to get her pocketbook her knees and ankles just kind of gave out – slowly – she got shorter and shorter like Groucho Marx on bent knees, sinking downward almost gracefully, in slo-mo. Have to ask if anyone saw where she went.
Or he. Where he went.
Tonight was routines! Eight Masters couples (this comp is on Bob and Beverly Budzynski’s Masters Tour) and thirteen Classic couples! SO much superb dancing tonight! I am not just being polite – the routines tonight were absolutely terrific. I would NOT want to be a judge! Judging seems impossible when each routine is over-the-top marvelous in its own unique way. Like trying to judge a Renoir against a Picasso.
I’ll tell you all about routines, and the wonderful Champion Strictly finals, tomorrow.
Cold, overcast, gray weather out there today but who cares? This hotel is so beautiful you don’t want to go outside. You’re too busy lounging on a plush couch in the lobby, with your notepad, watching the balconies.
Or maybe down in the ballroom watching Jack and Jill prelims which are today …
Grace is our emcee this weekend – so funny! Jim and Nancy opened the event last night entreating us to be nice to each other. “Turn to the person you came here with, tell them how much you love and appreciate them.” Then they introduced Grace who said “I feel weird. I didn’t come here with anybody I came alone. So I’ve been back behind the curtain, in the dark, with my arms around myself, saying “I love you Grace I appreciate you.” She’s hilarious.
Pro couples came on one by one to dance to a song they’d chosen:
~ The Roystons to “Swannee,” (Grace: “Robert you always look fierce, you dazzle audiences. No pressure.”)
~ Brent and Kellese to “Things are Changin” (Gary Clark) – Kellese in Daisy Mae short-shorts denim overalls, a one-armed paisley peasant blouse, black tights with knee-high black lace-up suede boots and red, red lips. I love Kellese’s sense of style, every outfit she’s ever worn a totally different work of art, created at the moment like cooking with whatever you find in your pantry, created not from high-end designer pieces but from stuff anyone could find in a mall, or collect from hand-me-downs, or by tying your husband’s dress shirt around yourself upside down, or by draping curtains or other large swaths of fabric around yourself like she did one year with only two strips of metallic gold and scarlet red. I love Kellese’s artist’s soul.
~ Luis and Taletha to “Better Without You” (Rhian Benson) and because the Keys had just left the floor kissing Luis felt moved to enter the floor kissing so he put a smacker on Taletha but with a hand covering his mouth. Taletha gagging, barfing, looking totally nauseated and grossed out. That’s how they started their sexy romantic dance hahahaha.
~ Ben and Jessica IN 6″ spike heels and a miniskirt – Ben said “Do we have to do anything? Can’t she just stand here and we can all clap?” which she did, and we did. Jessica brings a party wherever she goes. She’s gorgeous, smart, and a tireless worker. I listened to her explain to a new competitor how she handles nerves, stress, pain, mistakes on the floor – how she sees her responsibility to an audience, her duty as an entertainer, her duty to be “on,” to bring positive energy, love, laughter, cheering, and support. Jessica is the person any event director – any producer in the entertainment business – wants to hire. (They did dance, too, to “Valerie” – she can dance in 6″ heels as ferociously as she dances in 1/2″ sandals. She’s not human.)
~ The Auclairs to “Let Me Love You” – wow Crystal holy mackerel more beautiful every time we see her. Matt more funnier. And more faster if that is possible. (Grace: “I don’t feel old at all when I remember that I competed with Matt when he was ELEVEN.”)
~ John Lindo, Jessica, and Jessica’s Shoes, to “Booty Voodoo.” She is not Homo Sapien Sapien.
~ Myles and Tessa to “Locked Out of Heaven” by Bruno Mars. We heard they were out on the town Thursday night – would have been a treat to see these two tearing up some of Chicago’s famous blues bars! Did they do lifts?
~ Kyle and Sarah to “Naked” by Kevin McCall – SO FUNKY! SO FUNNY! SO FAST! SO SMOOTH! SO MUCH HEART! What a treasure Kyle and Sarah are! How precious to the community! How lucky are we to be part of the community now, and see them live, and know them! Future generations will look back at videos and wish they could feel what it’s like to be here now, in these heyday years.
~ Jordan and Tatiana to “Beauty and The Beast” (by the Bieber) in which Jordan, on that last YAA!, at the end of the song, that last yelp that you might not have noticed before but will now, forever after, always wait for, on that yelp Jordan yelled YAA! and sprung straight up in a jump shot that would scare Kobe Bryant. I caught the bottom half of him on camera – the rest of him was up near the ceiling.
Daylight Savings begins on Sunday at 2am which means I must “Spring Out Of My Bed One Hour Earlier Than I Want.” Do they have this in countries other than the US or is this a uniquely confusing custom we have here like the truly nutty 0.3048 meters in a foot and 8 ounces which does it weigh that much? Or does it fill up a cup but weigh who knows what. You decide! Cause we’re a little confused here in the US and this is why I don’t bake.
Want to see the ballroom? Watch the live stream all weekend! Click here for Thumbs Up Video!
Dim, sexy red lighting for late-nite dancing in the ballroom! It’s a trend! It’s a meme! We’re getting great moody lighting at more and more events. Really ads trancey dramatic atmosphere as the night goes into the wee hours.
Great Rising Star tonight! LOVE this division! How terrific to see new couples put routines on the floor for the first time! Cool new ideas, new personalities being revealed through dance, new music choices, new history being made, new drama … what a great place for new west coast dancers to get their feet wet.
I think that here at this event the division is called “Rising Star Classic,” which I think means you can’t test out your showcase skills if that’s the division you’re aiming for. I think a Rising Star division should include both Classic and Showcase so that any new couple thinking of competing will know there’ll be a division for them.
Seven Rising Star couples tonight:
1. Levi and Melissa, “Arms,” Just saw them dance this last weekend, giggling throughout their performance which was delightful. No giggling tonight though which made them look much more powerful, bold and confident.
2. John Elms and Lori Rousar, “Save The World” (by Swedish House Mafia.) Brand new! Great dancing! Oh and by the way last night Lori got her suitcase stuck in the escalator (the long, open, golden escalator which takes you from the front door up to the lobby) causing her to do a back flip-roll over her suitcase tumbling all the way back down to the bottom. She wasn’t hurt at all. It sounds scary but I’ve now heard at least ten different people tell the story (she had a large audience) and everyone says it was one of the funniest things they’ve seen in a while.
3. Chris and Amy, “Hazy,” now the third time we’ve seen this and it just gets better and better. Amy is so elegant!
4. Scott and Tatiana, “I Want You Back,” – just saw this one, too, last weekend.
5. The Patels – Kyle and Aimy – Sexy And I Know It” (by Noah) – new (to us, at least) – Kyle without the GINORMOUS bushy black santa-claus beard he was sporting last weekend and Amy cute as a button with that infectious smile that makes you want to laugh, both of them in bad-ass black with laces/cut-outs or some embellishment suggesting bikers and bondage which on these two is particularly funny and adorable.
6. Hieu and Natalie, “Unfold” (by Jason Mraz) – this we saw in – okay where did we see this everything is a blur – where am I right now oh yeah Chicago okay we saw this at Spotlight, New Year’s Eve. Beautiful dancing. Beautiful music, beautiful choreography, beautiful dancing.
7. Chip DiStefano and Michelle Haynes, “Foxy Lady” (Alain Clark) – Michelle is one of our favorite people. So are Chip (and Janice, his wife) as a matter of fact. Fun, funny people, and it shows in their dancing – full of spirit.
2. Braden O’Dell and Lila Ferguson (from Denver) to “Beauty and The Beast” (Justin Bieber) – brand new! first time on the floor! and what a supportive audience. And what a great routine! She lifts HIM at one point, in a kind of slow-mo leveraged balancing planking thing for which they got a rousing ovation. This was prettttttty daggone great for a brand new couple with a brand new routine, first time out.
3. Hareesh Kapoor and Angela Baker to “Pretty Little Heart” (Robin Thicke) – also brand new, first time on the floor, fun routine.
4. Myles and Tessa who NAILED it! Nailed the trick (they didn’t last weekend at MadJam – ugh hate it when they fall! And Tessa is fearless – brave and determined and fearless – their tricks are scary great, scary dangerous, and it feels like we’ve seen Tessa fall more than a few times at this point. But does it stop her? No way. She’s inspiring.) And they nailed his pirouette at the end, spinning himself on one leg while holding her above his head. Sheesh. This routine is really beautiful. Great song, great choreography.
5. Jason and Sophy! (to “Starships”) Back on the floor again after two pregnancies, two births and two BEAUTIFUL little daughters. Sophy looking more chic and stylish than ever before. Talk about inspiration! Or fearless! Holy cow. Sophy is tough as nails, immune to pain, ferocious, and absolutely clear-minded and unambiguous about what matters in life.
6. Greg and Lemery, with their stunning, emotional, clean, quiet, theatrical, heartfelt piece – “Your Eyes.” It’s fun sitting with people seeing this routine for the first time – they shake their heads at a loss for words, wipe their eyes, shake their heads some more.
7. And finally the beloved Roystons with “Mercy,” Nicola so sexy in her bustier, ruffly short-shorts, boots and above-the-knee socks.
This hotel! OMG stunning. The lobby! Most dramatic, elegant hotel on the circuit (at least here in the United States) that I’m aware of. Contemporary, Hyatt-atrium style, like Atlanta. Excellent for spying! Relaxing in the lounge or bar you can watch every person walking around the balconies on every level on their way to their room. Or someone else’s room. You get the picture.
This is that great hotel where one year the Bondage Convention was held. Such goings-on that year! Also the Wheelchair Convention and the Soapy-Clean Salesman’s Convention, all simultaneously. That was a good year at this hotel.
Televisions in the elegant lobby restrooms! One over each sink projected from within onto the wall-to-wall mirror beam-me-up-scotty-style.
Televisions in the elevators! Brilliant! I’ve always been bored on the elevator. No more! Now I can watch CNN on the way to my room and keep up with important world news: “Hideous norovirus outbreak on the Royal Caribbean! Cruise ship forced to turn around mid-ocean to power to nearest hospital.” Eeeew. Last month overflowing raw sewage and mass starvation on Carnival, this month vomiting and diarrhea on Royal Caribbean. Eew eew. That settles it. Cruises definitely on our Not-Bucket List. Also, CNN is stupid.
Glass elevators with multi-colored light show on the underside which one watches float up! up! up to the skylight and night stars at the tippy top. (Glass elevators are also favorable for spying. One hides behind a planter watching to see who exits the elevator on one floor, after a few moments appearing on another walking quickly to duck into a different room. Tip: it helps if you carry a small notepad to keep track of which room goes with who, etc.)
Fire at the entrance to the clubby restaurant in the gigantic atrium lobby. A big fire, not a small fire.
Way over on the opposite side a second restaurant – upscale, fine-dining – also open to the lobby. And a bar lit with multi-colors glowing through the bottles on glass shelves. Like you’re on a space ship. Lobby floor dotted with enormous glowing glass tiles lit from below like you’re walking in outer-space in a starry galaxy. Contemporary touches at every corner – skylights everywhere, angles, curving corridors, floor-to-ceiling glass.
Club Lounge is awesome – elegant food for breakfast, dinner, snacks throughout the day, honor system for beer, wine, even mixed drinks! How nice to be treated with respect as if I’m trustworthy.
They forecast 1-2 feet of snow for DC the day before I was to fly here to Chicago. Grocery stores sold out of bread, toilet paper, and milk – all things I need in a snowstorm. They were calling it the “SnowQuester” (for non-US’ers – that’s a play on the word “Sequester” which is your guys’ version of “Austerity” or, in plain English, “We’re broke.”) They closed the government for this snowstorm! That’s unheard of in DC.
I thought between the sequester and airport personnel being fired and a snowstorm I am never getting to Chicago.
Snow dumped on Kansas and Boston. But in DC? Nothing! Not even a dandruff flake. I had a totally easy flight, and this hotel is walking distance from the airport so getting here was tres magnifique.
Hey, I have a question: Do you use Sky-Mall? Any of you Frequent-Circuit-Travelers? For Christmas shopping, since you’re on a plane more than you’re in an actual mall? I earmark a SkyMall magazine every flight, take the catalog home with me intending to buy stuff, and a month later look leaf through what I marked and wonder WHAT WAS I THINKING?!? I don’t even have a cat! Why do I need a Litter Kwitter 3-Step Cat Toilet Training System? Or a Bacon Throw and Pillow Set Complete With Bacon Fragrance?
Frequent-Circuit-Traveler Question #2: Are barf bags good for anything besides barfing? They’re free so I could be collecting them if I had some re-purposing ideas.
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
Chi-caaago Classic! Third year of this comp (since Nancy Tuzzolini and Jim Becker took over) and our third year here. This year we’re at a new hotel – a huge convention Hyatt Regency 10 minutes from the airrport (which, except for the fact that every so often the room shakes with a roar that blows out your ear-drums, we like cause it’s so convenient – means we can stay for Awards *and* make a flight home at a decent hour, too, for a change) with that Hyatt open-atrium floor plan thing where you can look up and see balconies upon balconies ascending up into the clouds all lined with greenery way up to the canopy of glass at the top, and where at any hour of the night you can see exactly who is walking with whom to which room, neon-lit glass elevators to help with this, and a dramatic lobby all huge open split levels, wide escalators, giant sculptures and hanging art pieces, exposed concrete, angles, conversation areas, dim multi-colored lighting, all very marvelous and echo-y.
Thursday night there was a wheelchair convention here at the hotel. Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a wheelchair convention? I haven’t. Standing in the massive lobby looking up we’d see long parades of the tops of people’s heads rolling along on all those exposed levels. The glass elevators going up and down all night, packed with crowds of people in wheelchairs. The bar in the lobby – a big open hopping place with a giant fire at the entrance - crammed to the max and jumping (maybe jumping is not the right word) with 3,000 loud, partying-down people in wheelchairs. Fuh-reaky! I wanted to look away, I really wanted to look away. But alas! Nowhere to look! Cause anywhere I turned aughgh! More wheelchairs wheeling around every which way! These people were all acting normal, too, like they didn’t even realize they were in wheelchairs. I just kept thinking please just don’t anybody talk to me cause all I knew I would blurt out would be “Hey! You guys are all in wheelchairs!”
Yesterday morning we found ourselves squished into a soapy crowd of extremely clean, bracingly chipper, uber confident go-get-’em 26-yr-old salesmen in matching black corporate suits, severely starched white shirts, yelling instead of talking as we floated down together packed like sardines in our glass elevator. It was a national Head-Hunter-Recruiter convention. I looked up at the one soapy guy I was smashed up against (I had to look up to talk because they were all 6’4″ or taller – we felt like midget senior citizens) and asked “So if I wanted to get a job this would be the place to be?” which brought on such a roar of laughter (it didn’t seem like a funny question to me) I was afriad they’d blow the glass out of the elevator before we landed.
They seem to have vanished without a trace after their motivational breakfast.
So last night started with Opening Ceremonies at 8:30. Nancy came out – I forgot about this from last year! – like a beauty pagent queen! Holy Moses I am not exaggerating! She is STUNNING in makeup and a dress. Okay that didn’t come out right. She’s beautiful all the time, but man oh man this is a girl who cleans up well! That didn’t come out right either. But you know what I mean. She said her goal this year which she unfortunately didn’t achieve was to get Jim Becker, her co-host, to show up on time. She had, however, found another solution: “Cardboard Becker,” a life-size Jim Becker standing on the beach in his bathing suit beside his surf board. Very hunky, very cooperative.
Then introductions of the pro staff (Jordan danced for the FIRST TIME since surgery (December 9th) on his new knee! He’s being completely responsible, doing precisely what the doctor says, not pushing it faster than recommended, building strength slowly and carefully, everything just right. But still my heart was in my mouth watching him dance on it. Ughghghghghgh).
Then Rising Star: two adorable Novice couples (students of Jason and AnneMarie’s); Melissa and Gilbert; Jesse Cramer and Tina Price; and a couple I didn’t recognize.
Then Showcase: Mark and Kim Bloom; Miles and Tessa (same beautiful routine as at the Open); and Strictly’s.
Babies! Babies everywhere! Jason and Sophy’s baby!!! OH MY GAWD!! She is so CUTE!! Jasmine Kdep! She looks like both of them – Sophy says Asian features are usually dominant but this little girl is clearly half Jason: she has his round eyes and maybe his mouth, too. She’s 3 months old, relaxed, cheerful, smiley – they say she’s been easy from the day of her birth, never cranky, sociable, just a happy little sweetheart girl. Jason and Sophy have never looked happier.
And Rebecca’s baby! Ilyana! Oh my GOODNESS what a fat little chunk of a bruiser she is! Fat little arms, fat little legs, big fat cheeks, and HEAVY, like a bowling ball. The picture of rosy health. way, way, way too cute.
And Angie Cameron is huge with a baby boy about to be born at the end of April!
And Jason and Amy Barnes are about to have theirs in June!
And Tom Jennings and Melanie just had a baby boy last week! Michael!
And Yuna and Bill Cameron just had a baby girl three days ago!!
It must be Spring – all the animals are having babies at once.
This is a convention hotel, as I mentioned.So guess what OTHER convention is going on here?
A bondage convention. Bondage, as in S&M.
EEEEEWWWW!!! eeewww EEEWWWWW.
Most of them are in black – Darth Vader vampire icky witches things with one blood red rose in stringy hair, creepy guys with pointed hairdo’s …
Nobody’s pretty. They’re noticeably ugly in fact. A lot of them are obese.
Last night around 4am I’m walking to the elevator and way down the hall in the dim light is a nurse coming toward me. I didn’t know yet about the Bondage Convention. I’m tired, not paying full attention. But after she walked (waddled, I should say, she was enormous) by I took several steps then stopped in my tracks, confused, and turned around to watch her thinking “Gee. That’s strange. Wonder why she’s wearing 6″ shiny white patent-leather platform heels. Her skirt. That skirt is a little short. And that tiny, shiny white pocketbook dangling on her arm. Something is not quite right with this nurse. What is wrong with this picture? Oh well you’re tired. You’ll figure it out later.”
Then the guy in the elevator asks me “Hey are you a swinger?”
WHAT?!? I say, WHAT? NO. NO!
“There’s a Swingers party going on downstairs.”
Yeah okay I mumble, turning my back to him and staring intently out the glass.
“No really, there’s a Swingers Convention downstairs in the side ballroom.”
Really? I say, Are you serious? Oh my gawd you’re kidding! Really? what’s going ON down there?
“Oh, just a lot of f-ing.”
No kidding. That is exactly what he said.
Jordan says he was in the elevator today and a woman was twitching and jumping and vibrating all over the place. Jordan figured she was maybe part of the wheelchair convention and maybe happened to not be in her wheelchair at the moment (some wheelchair people are still here). But then this other guy in the elevator says “What are you jumping around about? Looks like you’re all hepped up.” Jordan’s thinking whoa now that was pretty rude, poor girl probably has some condition or something.
Then the girl answers “Oooh I am SO excited! I just took an Advanced Bondage class! And I can barely stand it! I’m going up to my room to try some stuff!”
Oh yeah, and JJ finals have been posted.
1st Alt Bryan Jordan
2nd Alt Oscar
1st Alt Jeanne DeGeyter
2nd Alt Rebecca Ludwick
Chris Van Houten
(they like Chris’s here in Chicago)
1st Alt Arthur Uspensky
2nd Alt Will Shaver
Melissa’s Rollins and Spencer
1st Alt Lara Deni
2nd Alt Kim Blume
Sitting in airport, got an internet connection, so Awards:
Classic (there were six couples):
1 Ben and Melina
2 Jason and Erica
3 The Markers
4 Aussies (dancing Classic for the first time!) Scott and Kat
5 Frenchies Julien and Beverly
6 Oscar and Samantha
1. Gilbert and Melissa
2. Jeffrey Munson and Susan Brown
3. John and Holly (Markers’ adorable Novice couple #1) 4. Chester and Kaitlin (Markers’ adorable Novice couple #2) 5. Jesse Cramer and Tina Price
1. Jason Miklic and Tatiana
2. Maxence and Jen
3. Miles and Erica
4. Maxence and Alysa
5. Miles and Anne Marie
1. Jason Marker and Colleen McDonald
2. Carlos and Angie
3. Solomon and Sheli
4. Byron and Stacy Cramer
5. Kyle Patel and Amanda Warren
1. Gilbert and Melissa Spencer
2. Kris Sweringen
3. Gary Thompson and Lori Wahl
4. Carpio and Dawn Lara
5. Mike Konkel and Dallas
1. Tommy Gibbs and Renee Lippman
3. Genieboy and Cindy Dionne
4. Enola and Rodney
5. Liza and Tom Pogros
1. Jore and Samantha Ramirez
2. Aussie Scott Stewart and Giselle
3. David Weiss and Natalie
4. Benjamin Herron and Linda Wilson
5. Frenchie Julien and Amanda Thompson
1. Jay Sigh and Frenchie Beverly Bruneri
2. Jesse King and Danielle Lindblom
3. Josh and Heather
4. Alan Stanley and
5. Jeffrey and Bernadine
Okay, more soon unless we start boarding … no WiFi on United so might have to wait till tomorrow to finish telling all the fun stuff about this comp … AND … finish telling about MadJam last weekend!
Saturday night opened with a raucous hip-hop routine by a local team – 21 teenagers in camo, superman T’s and hoodies – crazy wild jumping spinning choreography weaving in and out – way cool.
Then two Masters couples. Then the six Classic couples, beginning with Jason and AnneMarie Marker.
I mention the Markers because omg I’ve never heard a room go so wild for any couple, ever, anywhere. I mean crazy ballistic on-their-feet screaming wildly enthusiastic. Chicago LOVES the Markers! Of course what’s not to love? They’re adorable people, great teachers, and this was the launching of their new routine so there was a lot of excitement. But man oh man are they beloved – what roaring, stamping, yelling, waving, whistling, jumping up and down – as they came out on the floor, on every single hit during the routine, and when they finished. Chicago loves the Markers!
They were followed by Oscar Hampton and Samantha Ramirez; then Aussies Scott and Kat (I *love* this routine – love the song (Break Even by The Script), love the choreography, love Kat’s dancing, haven’t been able to look at Scott yet cuz Kat’s too gorgeous but he’s probably ok too. Then Jason and Erica (who danced beautifully all the way up to the last eight counts when their music suddenly stopped then abruptly started back at the beginning which of course completely ruined the mood and flow of the choreography. So after the other five couples had danced Jason and Erica came back out a second time and this time danced through to the end). Then the young French couple Julien (his underpants match his shirts! Pink, checkered, whatever. They all match! It’s a French thing) and Beverly; and finally Ben and Melina.
Then Invitational (or Champion? or Pro? Whatever. Dunno how they put together the top-level group at this comp and each event appears to have its own system for this. Bless our non-standardized community) Strictlys which were fuuunnnnnn to watch:
Maxence and Melina;
Byron and Anne Marie;
Ben and Jen DeLuca (dancing to “Sweet Home Chicago” – when it goes “One and one is two” Ben stopped and put up two fingers - so then right after when it goes “Six and two is eight” Jen stopped, too, and with her hands did six and two is EIGHT and to accentuate EIGHT she karate-chopped her hand right into Ben’s crotch! Screamed, jumped away with her hand over her mouth, Ben also screaming cause it hurt, a little red in the face, a little bent over for a while … But they actually finished the dance, laughing pretty hard through the rest of it. Jennifer Jeffries -(in rare form all weekend long, funniest we’ve ever seen her) said “Well lucky us! We got a special early Holiday treat! Usually we have to wait all the way till Christmas to see the Nutcracker!”
Then Oscar and Tessa (Tessa came out protecting her boobs); Mike Konkel and Sheli; Arthur Uspensky and Stacy Cramer; Tatiana and Jason Miklic (OMG Tatiana was beautiful in a white top! She’s gorgeous in white! Patterned, with a long black feather down the back); Solemon Krebs and Colleen McDonald, Jason Miklic and Sophy (They’re parents! How cute is that? They’re even cuter now that they’re parents and they were ridiculously cute before! Now they’re so cute it makes my teeth hurt!); Kyle Patel and Melissa Spencer; and Victor and Jeanne DeGeyter.
Oh, forgot to mention: Friday night Alisa Winkler sang the National Anthem (all these singers coming out of the woodwork! Who knew! Guess it makes sense that people who love dancing probably love the arts in general, right? I’ll bet there’s a heck of a lot of talent in our community that we don’t know about. How great it would be to see all the comedians, musicians, writers, actors, painters! Right?)
And then the Chicago Fire Department came through playing bagpipes! Jennifer Jeffries said she saw the whole procession of them going up the escalator so went racing down the steps to stand at the bottom to look up their kilts. She a baaad girl.
Sunday was first the Golden Ticket Tour, a very cool new thing started by Ron and Tyoni (who were there filming Global Dance TV all weekend – oh and btw Jesse Decker tells us that gdtv will soon be broadcast on tv, actual tv! In addition to internet tv. Is that cool or what?).
So the Golden Ticket Tour! This is a new nationwide competition – so far 13 events are involved – and is based on Doug Rousar’s tournament format in which 16 finalist couples are divided up into two teams. Each round two couples, one from each team, dance together in the middle of a circle of people sitting right there on the floor and the judges (with help from the screaming audence) raise the red or blue paddle to vote one couple out, and thus it continues round after round, finally getting down to the top three couples. Third place couple gets cash (a helluva substantial hunk), second place gets cash (even more substantialler), and winner gets cash plus a jacket plus a free ticket to the USOpen plus a travel voucher for plane fare to the USOpen (how cool is that?!?) plus the opportunity to dance in the Final Round of the Golden Ticket Tour to be held at the Open, where all the winning couples from all the 13 events will be separated and re-paired up with Champions and pro’s to dance one last tournament. The winning couple will take home an estimated $5,000.
Cool idea, or what?!?!
What’s even cooler is that something about the excitement of having to battle it out on the floor, right there in the middle of a circle of cheering fans, brings out creativity and crazy kooky stuff which ordinarily you only see at 5am in the far dark corner of the ballroom. Or sometimes in a Champions’ Jack and Jill. Many of the contestants are Novice and Intermediate dancers, too, just got lucky enough to have drawn someone with whom they “clicked.” (Yeah that “clicking” thing – the crack cocaine of partner dancing! That “thing” responsible for enough marriages, divorces, and scandals to provide Fox TV with seventeen generations of reality shows.)
Anyone, any level, can enter the Golden Ticket Tour. In this case there were (I think?) 40 couples, Novice through All-Star, randomly paired up by computer (I think? Or were we rotated? Don’t remember). Costs $30 – a little pricey – but that’s cause the winnings are good.
Advanced JJ Couples:
Sheli Schroeder with Chris Lo
Chris Gardner with Cindy
Chris Van Hooten with Alisa Winkler
Susan Brown with Mike
Megan Montana (is that a great name, or what?) Except I was so taken with her name as well as her graceful supremely focused dancing, that I forgot to notice her partner ooooooops.
Gilbert with the other Melissa (Spencer, who is dancing REALLY REALLLLLY well, like sick well, like so well I might have to stomp on her toe if she gets any better)
Lori Wahl with Gary Thompson
Dallas Radcliffe with Mike Konkel
Dawn Lara with Carpio
Kris Sweringen with Lara Deni, and
Melissa Rollins with Brian Wong
Allstar JJ Couples:
Jason Marker and Colleen to “Shake Your Groove Thing” and WOW did the audience ROAR for them! Like I said before, Chicago LOOVES the Markers! And they love Colleen, too. (It’s a funny thing cause Friday night was so dead, the audience was so quiet, tired, unresponsive – everyone was commenting on it. The judges kept turning around and begging people to at least clap, at least stop yawning! At least try to pretend they were interested even if they weren’t. But that was Friday. By Saturday night, and certainly by Sunday this audience was loud and rowdy, couldn’t have been more supportive. Specially for the Markers!)
Kyle Patel and Amanda Warren to “Boogie Wonderland.”
Carlos and Angie (HUGELY pregnant – she’s due in a few weeks) to “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough” – Angie did about 47 pirhouettes. COME ON! She’s like Kay Newhouse – nothing affects their balance, not even 15 pounds sticking out the front. And she took 2nd! Ha!
Byron and Stacy Cramer to “Super Freak,” and,
Solomon and Sheli to “It’s So Easy”
Champion JJ Couples:
Maxence and Alyssa to “She Wolf”
Jason Barnes and Jill to “Dip Out Of The Club”
Jason Miklic and Tessa to “Do You Remember”
Ben and Sophy to “Strobe Lights”
Miles and Erica (who came out crouching like Groucho Marx, and still was about a foot taller than Miles) to “Tik Tok”
Maxence and Jen to “Meet Me Halfway”
Jason Miklic and Tat to “Down”
Miles and AnneMarie to “Beat Goes On,” and,
Jason Barnes and Melina to “Get Involved.”
Meanwhile there was this Bondage convention going on downstairs. They had vendors. Saturday evening Genieboy came up to the room with a whip and a studded choke collar.
Genieboy was thrown out of our room and spent the rest of the weekend sleeping on the couch in the lobby.
Just kidding. He didn’t go downstairs and no whips or choke collars in our room.
But the Bondage convention did have vendors! No idea what they were selling down there – I was too scared to even go near the escalator which led to their ballroom. Some people did venture down, though, reporting that “those Bondage folks were very friendly and welcoming, happy to see newcomers taking an interest, ready to answer all kinds of questions.”
I’m sure they were.
Saturday morning we’re in the elevator on our way down to JJ’s (this is before we knew) and there’s this woman in the elevator with long stringy hair, little husky, biker type, a little makeup, nothing too out of the ordinary. So we say “Good morning!” and Genieboy makes polite elevator conversaion asking so what are all those interesting badges and patches on your jacket (jeans jacket over a black t-shirt.) And when she answers I swear both of us nearly jumped out of our skin. She was a MAN! AUGHGHGHGHGH! Her voice so deep she roared some answer that scared even Genieboy out of his wits. The elevator door opened just as s/he finished whatever it was s/he was saying but we were both so shocked we couldn’t move just remained standing there stiff and wide-eyed staring at each other. And then burst out laughing so hard we had to lie down on the couch outside the ballroom to compose ourselves.
Another s/he was wandering around all weekend – Jennifer Jeffries referred to her/him as Mona Lisa. S/he was evidently 6’5″ with hairy legs smashed into stockings and a fluffy pink tutu.
We loved the hotel. I’ve posted some pictures on Facebook (link is below). It’s a gorgeous hotel.
But more importantly the staff is SUPERB. Every single staff person all weekend long, including the housekeepers, restaurant staff, everyone everywhere – superb. Several times throughout the weekend we passed through the lobby and there’d be a whole row of ten smiling extremely professional looking staff members in suits and nametags just standing there in a row to smile and greet you as you passed by, asking if you needed anything. Felt very old-fashioned European-style service oriented.
It is a *wonderful* hotel. Buffets for breakfast, lunch and dinner, all $20, and all at hours which work perfectly for a dance comp. Starbucks downstairs if you only want a snack. Grocery store and a mall within driving distance (but the surrounding neighborhood is grimy and poor so the stores are not pleasant).
We don’t recommend taking the free shuttle from O’Hare to the hotel because you have to walk 20 minutes to get to the shuttle stand and then have to wait another 40 minutes for it to arrive. It’s worth the $8 for a cab, in our opinion. But the free shuttle from the hotel back to the airport is nice, and only 15 minutes away! That we love.
So … another great weekend!
Pictures posted on Facebook so far (got several hundred more to upload):
About the hotel: not particularly fancy, just a standard Marriott. But it is three miles (10 minutes in the free hotel shuttle) from O’Hare airport which makes life so much easier (unless of course you’re Kelly Hull and fly into the other airport all the way across town, an hour’s trek from the hotel on public transportation), cause it means no rental car, taxi, or lengthy drive, which matter most at the end of the event when we’re dawg tired and spacey (more than normal) and want to stumble onto a plane and fly home.
Also about the hotel: staff are great – every single person we dealt with was friendly, helpful, smiley. Also also about the hotel: the sheets on the bed go the whole length of the bed! And tuck in at both ends! So your feet aren’t sticking out one end, face grossed out on a mattress pad at the other.
Also also also about the hotel: great breakfast buffet which runs till noon, great dinner buffet with many chocolate desserts, all right in the lobby and reasonably priced. The event provides a hospitality room right next to the competitors’ meeting room with bagels, cream cheese, fruit, muffins, orange juice, and tanks of coffee. There’s a grocery store right across the street. So you have options for not starving yay! Inexpensively, too! The previous weekend (MadJam) we subsisted entirely on purple Hershey’s kisses.
Genieboy has watched enough of himself on video and received enough feedback to have reached the conclusion that his dancing is what Mario called “staccato” – meaning sharp quick movements. And since west-coast is a flowy dance Genieboy has decided that if he wants to advance in Advanced he is going to have to force himself to dance in what he calls “Limp Dick” style. So that’s his latest thing: learning to dance Limp Dick style.
Sean and Brandi brought their very chunky, fat-legged, adorable little bruiser of a baby to Chicago! Dylan is beautiful. He looks just like his father, even makes the same expressions. Huge blue eyes. Just gorgeous. And Brandi looks beautiful! So happy! So proud of her cute baby. He’s six months old, such a fun stage where he’s noticing that there’s an interesting world out there, other things besides his own bodily functions. That’s more than I can say for some adults I’m thinking of.
Brandi and Ronnie’s routine is beautiful. So clean! She (both of them) are an amazement. Brandi danced a strictly with Jordan – they were both cracking up – giggling that made them keep bending over holding their stomachs, dropping their hands and turning away trying to regain composure, avoiding each others’ faces so they could hold it together and finish the dance. On Sunday Brandi drew Jason Barnes for the JJ – that was also terrific. So smooth, subtle, connected. Mesmerizing. I couldn’t take pictures – had to put my camera down to stare.
Forgot to mention! Nice group of juniors! Nowhere near as many as at Capital, but some, anyway – maybe 10 or 15? Juniors make an event MUCH more funner.
Nancy Tuzzolino (co-director, with Jim Becker) sang this weekend. The anthem for opening ceremonies and duets with a pianist friend for the Saturday night show. What a gorgeous voice! Also on Saturday night: a modern-dance group of 10-15 young girls (8 – 12 years old) performed two routines; Jimmy Mulligan and his ballroom partner (didn’t catch her name) performed a waltz; Brianne and Andrew did their (juniors) routine; and a group of old fogies (from the Chicago club) performed a Frankie Valley lip-synched tribute – funny and wonderful, all songs I grew up with and love. I sang along too loudly to Walk Like A Man, Sherry, Rag Doll, Big Girls Don’t Cry.
Our DC crew: Kelly Hull (she won in Advanced! With zero sleep, plugged ears, and drugged up on an entire pharmacy of coughing sneezing sinus ear-infection medications), Rob Jackson (who didn’t make finals in Advanced which no one can understand – makes no sense – he looked fantastic – he even looked fantastic while receiving a surprise upside-down foot in his face during a basic sugar-push), Keith (who made finals and drew Lara!), Lara (who made finals and drew Keith!), both Orion and Rebecca (who nailed their routine yet again), Khy (who made finals!), Michael Blackburn (who NEVER sits down, the man is an energizer bunny), GB and me.
Cody and Tracy Melin did a showcase routine in which he threw her waaaaaaaay up in the air where she flipped over and landed back down neatly in his arms. He’s huge and hunky with tattoos and a ponytail, she’s teeny tiny with a teency weency six-pack not big enough to contain internal organs which all the women sitting around me were bitching and muttering about throughout the routine. Cody and Tracy received three violations because they danced in jeans, which we were told in the Competitors’ Meeting is now, according to wsdc rules, no longer allowed. (This includes JJ’s and Strictly’s, too, so bear this in mind for future comps).
Fun comp! I took a fatrillion pictures which I’ll upload to Facebook and send the link.