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Two days back from Tampa and here we are at DCSex (you might know it as VSO). Then we’re home for two days before we fly out to … the Open!
It’s Friday night at this event created by Hutch (Craig Hutchinson) so very many years ago. It was Hutch’s idea for VSO (the Virginia State Open) to be a celebration of swing, all types of swing. You may not know that Hutch wrote two books attempting to describe, define, and codify swing; made a terrific short film, and drew up a manual with squinchy little squinkie creatures, arrows, and feet stepping and dancing all across the pages. Wonderful Hutch, what an odd duck, so beloved here and across the country, a founder of NASDE (maybe *the* founder? with Barry? and a few others – who else?), and boy oh boy did Hutch love Swing. I think we have VHS (or Beta) tapes of the first years of this event.
So here we are at the newest rendition of VSO, this year at a new hotel, a very standard Hyatt, nothing special really, but which will work well for out-of-towners as it’s close to the airport. Our room’s a bit old and seedy, smells funky, but adequate. This is the new hotel for MadJam too (in March) so we’ve been curious to see what it’s like and now that we have we are seriously hoping the ballroom for MadJam will be WAAAAAY bigger. Cause this one is, well, one of the smaller ballrooms we’ve seen, like ever? We counted floor squares (each maybe 3 sq ft?) and there are 14 front to back, 12 side to side. That about tells you the total size of the room cause not a whole lot of space left for actual sitting. There’s room for 16 chairs crammed along each side of the floor, four skinny tables of six people each jammed along the front of the floor, and behind these three rows of 14 chairs each. No room to walk from one side to t’other without trouncing on people and nowhere for us to sit in an actual chair, at all.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
So tonight was Strictly’s. First Lindy (didn’t get here in time to see) then Novice WCS (maybe ten couples? Didn’t get here in time for that either – terrible Friday traffic!), Intermediate (eight couples total), and Adv/Allstar/Pro Strictly (20 couples).
Three songs for Adv/Allstar/Pro prelims: Moves Like Jagger, Ability to Swing, Man in the Mirror.
John Lindo with Nicola Royston
Alyssa and Jesse
Genieboy and Jody Katz
Jody Moscaritolo and Kelly Hull
Xavier and Tammy Brown
Dean and Lemery
Rob and Deonna
Kay and Alfred
Robin Smith and Debbie Tuttle
Mike Glasgow and Robin Grimsby
Brian Kidd and Heidi Batdorf
Steve Hunt and Rachel Martin
Jerome Louis and Abbi Leggett
Sam and Denise Miller
Marcus and Erica Smith
Greg Scott and Jennifer Lyons
Reggie and oops! don’t remember!
Abi Stone and Don Herron
and last but not least … Akil and Trendolyn
Finals for this were done Jam/Spotlight style, and the three songs were Cause I Said So, OMG, and S&M.
Akil and Tren
Rob and Deonna
Steve and Rachel
Alfred and Kay
Lindo and Nicola
Dean and Lemery
Greg and Jennifer Lyons
Marcus and Erica
Xavier and Tammy
Sam and Denise
Alyssa and Jesse
1st alt Jody Moscaritolo and Kelly Hull
2nd alt Mike Glasgow and Robin Grimsby
and the top three placements:
1st Akil and Tren
2nd Rob and Deonna
3rd Dean and Lemery
1st Roy Legaspi and Julie Parrish
2nd Brandon LeFrance and Sally Charles
3rd Jeff Moscaritolo and Danielle Lindblom
1st Sam Easley and ??
2nd CJ Tate and ???
3rd Nicole Stottlemeyer and ??
(sorry! hard to hear and I don’t recognize some of the newer names – very difficult acoustics in the room, hard to make out a lot of what is said on the mic)
That was it for tonight!
Jack and Jill’s tomorrow.
Packing, unpacking, repacking, AUGHGHGHGH!! Two days between events is not enough!
DCSex (the artist formerly known as VSO) (which has now been renamed “DC Swing eXperience (official event)”) (or DCSX) (or DCSex) turned out to be a FUNnnn! weekend!
Terribly cramped Friday night, even terribly-er cramped Saturday morning for Novice prelims (not even standing room available! Much less a seat! Or floor space!) Karen Beck (Dave’s long-time right-hand-man-who-is-a-woman) said “wait till you see what happens tonight! Magic! The walls will magically open up and the floor will magically become bigger! Like Disneyland!”
And they did! Saturday night the walls (“air walls” I’ve learned they are called) went up, more floor was laid down, and poof! Magic! We had a ballroom and floor at least twice the size, roomy and marvelous, with plenty of seating.
Saturday night Dave announced that last year’s VSO had 250 registrations (we get 250 people every Friday night at Dave’s dance so for us that’s small – if you’re ever here in town try to include a Friday, it’s like a mini-comp every weekend) so he was expecting about the same numbers, maybe a little more. Instead he had 600 registrations by Saturday morning! Wow! No wonder there was nowhere to sit. What a happy problem to have! Pretty cool. There was a Bar-Mitzvah next door and some other event next door to that so as soon as the rooms became available Dave was out there pushing the walls back, rushing around laying more floor, and voila! A beautiful big ballroom!
We’re expecting (and hoping) this event will grow. It would be so cool if we’d get tons of Lindy Hoppers (we have a great Lindy community here in DC), tons of Shaggers (we’re a one-hour flight from “shag central”), tons of DC Hand-Dancers, and tons of wcs dancers, so we could have cross-over competitions, workshops to learn all the other styles. It could be the VSO that Hutch originally envisioned! How fun would that be!
We had closed-circuit TV in the room, again, cameras on the main ballroom floor 24/7 so from the moment we arrived till tear-down on Sunday we were able to see and hear everything – workshops, competitions, everything. All with titles, too, explaining what was going on.
MadJam is purple, Swing Fling was bathed in blue light … the color for this event is red, so red and black backdrop, ballroom bathed in red lights, and everyone encouraged to wear red most of the weekend.
Robert Royston emceed much of the weekend (along with Jody Moscaritolioliolio) and was ON all weekend, just beyond hilarious. I tried to scratch down both his jokes and Jody’s so I wouldn’t forget anything but he was letting them fly so fast I couldn’t write quickly enough and most of the time I was laughing so hard all I ended up writing was lines and scribbles all over the page. I think most of the event was filmed on ustream (haven’t looked yet myself) and may still be available there. It’s worth watching just to hear Royston.
Okay so Saturday night! Routines! Most (maybe all) of the following couples are heading out to the Open this weekend.
First Alexis and Akil – (that would be Dean and Dawn’s stunner of a daughter with Akil Boatwright, a darling of a person who saw wcs and was instantly hooked for life) and WOW. Wait till you see! I will say nothing more until after the Open, don’t want to spoil the surprise.
Then three couples in an open swing division (another opportunity to compete but no points – this is no longer a NASDE event): Rob and Connie (new ending! very dramatic, very hard! Especially hard coming at the very end of a difficult routine); Greg and Lemery (flawless, yet again, at least as far as my untrained eye could see); and Mike Glasgow and Kristin Wenger – lovely, elegant routine – keeps getting better.
Next, the Superstar Show:
Markus and adorable 6 or 7 or 8-year old Marya-Montez Wallace, with sparkly LED-lit hot-pink basketball shoes and ATTITUDE oh so cute, standing ovation of course; Robert Royston and Deborah Szekely’s new Classic routine, “Man In The Mirror” – she tripped or stumbled – and if available on ustream you should try to catch it because you get to see how Champions handle a blip in the middle of a performance: they keep dancing! With even more passion and commitment!; Sam and Lisa West in another graceful, witty, totally delightful shag routine, to the theme from “Pink Panther;” Max Pitruzella and Annie Trudeau in an amazing, hilarious, brilliant lindy routine, complete with props and costumes (how I hope my pictures come out! I was on the floor, two rows back, so lots of heads in the way. If mine don’t come out, though, plenty of other people were taking pictures. And Dave will put up videos I’m sure. You’ve got to see this, you’ll love it); Marcus and Tren (funny, full of life, fun routine they did for us at Swing Fling, to “Boogie Shoes”); Robert and Nicola’s great Edge of Glory, and last of all, and for many the highlight of the weekend, Jordan and Tatiana performing “Pump It,” which seemed, if possible, even faster, funnier, more powerfully, more ferocious, than in 2006. What an honor to see this live, again! Right there in front of us! Wow.
Lots more to tell about last weekend … Alfred inadvertently performing amazing feats of juggling and Jesse Vos inadvertently spinning out of a cummerbund, all while maintaining swing content … which I’ll write up during our flight out to L.A. tomorrow. Virgin America with Wi-Fi! So I might not only get it written I might even be able to send it out!
Oh, and as always with Dave’s events, results were posted online right away: http://www.dcswingexperience.com/winners.htm