05/2003 Fresno Dance Classic - The Halfway Point
I've been to a bunch of events since Worlds, but Fresno is the fun point of the year.
I had to work my butt off the first couple of days, in addition to trying to run Reveille. Steve wanted to cancel Reveille this year, but it's been a tradition since before I started attending, and I couldn't let it die, what with the 20th anniversary coming up next year. (We are planning an special anniversary Reveille for next year.) Anyway, it was a lot of work to pull together, but at the last
minute, it all worked out, especially with a brilliant piece of choreography from Stephanie McPherson. It was a short-but-sweet show. There was some great dancing competition during the weekend, as well as some excellent social dancing. (I didn't get to do much social dancing, but what little I did was a lot of fun.)
Then, I was working hard for the Gong Show on Monday, for which I had five acts. I decided to drop one of them, and we put four on the floor.From the "Number One" skit, to
the Animal Effects, to the Conjoined Unknown Comic, it was all pretty funny, as well as some other great acts like little Miss Shotts singing solo. I saved my best for last with a rendition of "Yeah... Toast!!" with a slide show. I got a standing ovation and won 1st place again! It was a great time.
Steve did a great job, once again, throwing a wonderful, polynesian themed party, with all the fixin's!! I'm looking forward to the 20th anniversary next year!!
10/2002 Nearing the End
Finished up a fun weekend at Paradise, which was held in Monterey instead of San Diego this year. While the crowd was a lot smaller than normal due to the move, we still had a lot of fun. I got to do a performance with Yvonne "B" that made my face hurt from laughing, I had a great Strictly Swing dance with Lisa Fay, and I had a blast with Laureen Baldovi doing a Two-Step and West Coast Swing Just Dance in the Maverick
division (where anything goes). Laureen and I has some hilarious stuff, and I also surprised her and the audience with Toby Munroe cutting in on our Two-Step while leading Laureen in illusion turns. It was awesome!
Boogie By The Bay was probably the best social dance event I've attended in at least 6 years. Every night, there was a TON of people dancing, and they stayed up late!! On Sunday/Monday, I had to leave at 4am and there were still a bunch of people dancing. It was really
awesome. That and the great compeition, free food and nice facility made for a really fantastic weekend.
The New Mexico Dance Fiesta, under new co-event directors Roger and Melissa Taylor, was really well run and a lot of fun, with some late night dancing. They did a great job for their first time!! I look forward to being there again next year. The facilities were really nice and the dancing, both competition and social, was really good.
South Bay / San Francisco Dance Festival
was on again this year, and, while smaller, it was a lot of fun. A small group of dancers help the late night dancing, and the swing room went into the wee hours. There was a lot of different "social comptition" offerings which gave all the people without regular partners a chance to strut their stuff.
I also did a workshop in Eugene for the Eugene Swing Dance Club, and I invited Ginger Pickerel to go up with me. We had some fun classes their and they had a nice Saturday night dance
party with people coming from as far away as Seattle and the SF Bay Area. I had a lot of fun their, and on Sunday, they allowed me to BBQ up some fresh salmon. (We smoked the hell out of about 3 pounds of salmon - it was AWESOME!!!!)
Looking forward to the end of th year coming up and Worlds in Nashville!!
07/2002 The Halfway Point
Just got back from the New Orleans Mardi Gras - what a blast!!
In addition to my closing roll as Captain of Mardi Gras - I turned over those duties to Ronnie DeBennedetta - I also filled in as the Jester as Mark & Tiffany Maxwell we busy with the King & Queen duties. Being jester is a LOT of work!!! But it was fun, and I helped the event raise over $2000 for St Jude's Childrens Hospital - the crowd was very generous. Thanks!! My girlfriend also flew down from Canada, so the event was even more fun for me. I should be recovered in another day or so.
Going back to Portland earlier in the month, I had a great time there, as usual. Lots of great dancing, and the "Biker" theme was a lot of fun. They also let me do a couple of things in the show, so Toby, Penny and I did a trio Hustle lead-and-follow with cuts. That was a lot of fun. We are working on a longer, choreographed routine for later in the year. My classes was a lot of fun, and the late night dancing was great.
At Fresno, which is one of the best parties of the year, I
again had a great time. Steve always does a great job with his event, and the Circus theme was really fun. I participated in the traditional Reveille show which was very funny, though the practice the night before was about 10 times funnier. I'll have to get some of those pictures up on my site. My class was really a lot of fun and everyone did a great job!! I got some nice feedback. Also, Yvonne did our special "West Coast Insanity" routine, which was a lot of fun, as usual. My
greatest achievment of the weekend, however, was with my partner Blowina in the Gong Show, where I did my interpretation of "Cirque de Solei meets Josh & Nikki" in a routine I called "Cirque de Insane". Thanks to the impeccible and incredibly fair judging, I took first place again!! When I later saw the video, I cried from laughing. That video is posted on my web site at http://www.dancegeek.com/videos/ if you want to check it out.
Big Apple was also a lot of fun, with some excellent late night dancing. I was *really* tired when I got back home. There was some great line dancing, too. I was allowed to do a performance with Yvonne "B" in the dinner show, and I think we did pretty well - it was a lot of fun.
The Peach State Dance Festival was a first-time event for me. I had been wanting to go for a couple of years as I had heard nothing but great comments about the event, and it did not disappoint!! I had a awesome
time there, and Bill puts on an *incredible* dinner show. If you haven't been to his event, you should try to make it. Also, I'd like to thank him for the "opportunity" to be used as a jump rope....
Costal Country was really nice. It's a beautiful setting for a laid back social dance event. There was only a little dance competition, with the focus being workshops and LOTS of social dancing. I did a lot of late night dancing, and on Saturday night, I made my special Chocolate Mint
drink concoction. Robert & Laureen and JD are working hard to make the event bigger every year. Monterey is a lovely vacation spot, as well.
The Capitol Swing Dance convention was great, as usual. I always have a great time there and I get to do a LOT of late-night social dancing and I get to see a lot of awsome dance performances.
SwingDiego seemed to be a great hit, and they had a great turnout for a first-year event. I did a lot of late-night dancing, with one night not
ending until about 7am!! They also let me MC the DJ "spin-off" which was a lot of fun There was also some outstanding competition.
Finally, going back to the beginning of the year, the Monterey Swing Dance was a hit, as usual, with lots of daytime and late-night social dancing. It's great having the workshops spaced with social dance time to play or practice your new moves or techniques. The weather was nice, too, and Monterey is always beautiful.
01/2002 Happy New Year!!!
Well, Worlds X was... interesting. I personally had some very interesting things which made for a hectic, irritating, fun, tiring, and pleasantly surprising ordeal. First, I wasn't even going to stay, because I found out I was not on staff, though I had expected to be. Bad assumption on my part. I changed my flight that day to go back, however I received what was both a horrible shock and a nice surprise: the girl I've been dating decided to make a surprise visit to the event to
see me!! I was, at the same time, really happy and mortified, since the first thought through my head was that I was leaving at 6am the next day!! I had been registered for only one competition, so it wasn't a big deal for me to leave, other than the expensive flight. Now Tina had been planning this for some time and had planned to wait to surprise me. It's a good thing she didn't, because I would have been gone. Anyway, the next day was very stressful as my flight was made with "award miles"
and I had very limited return dates, and since I gave up my original date, the only other date available was one day later or February!! I decided it would be horrible for me to leave after all the thought she had put into this surprise plus she wasn't planning on leaving for another couple of weeks, so I had to spend the next two days trying to call all over the place and use the Internet to buy yet another ticket to go home.
In the meantime, I was still stuck with the fact I was not on staff and only had the room for a few more days. Tony Lee and Barry Durand were a TREMENDOUS help getting me work and some judging assignments (as I am a certified judge). In the end, it was really great spending time with Tina, though I had spent two years preparing for this event and had hoped to spend little or no money and now I was spending almost $1000. One thing I definitely owe Tina is regarding my line dance compeition. I would not have even been in it had she not shown up. My newest dance "La Mamba", which I made with the help of Toby Munroe, ended up taking
first place in the A-B-C Line Dance Choreography competition out of 22 enteries!!! That's my first UCWDC World Championship ever!! (Not counting the several Jack & Jill wins.) It was a totally unexpected win, as I had only entered for fun and to help show off the dance in case people might be interested in it, and I almost scratched. I also met a lot of people and did a ton of line dancing. I also got a lot of nice comments over the week regarding my dancing and teaching.
Another really cool thing about her showing up is after the event, I finally got to see Amsterdam; we took a train and spent a couple of days in the town, staying at the Victoria Hotel (?) and ate at a *great* restaurant called the New York Steak House. Tina took a ton of pictures that turned out nicely. Tina also has family in Belgium so we went there for a few days to visit. After a couple of nights at the "folks" place, we went to stay in Brussels which was awesome. They have beautiful old towns and lots of restaurants. It *really* sucked having to take a train there - the trains, and especially changing trains SUCKS!!! AHHH!!! But after getting there, it was really great. We spent late nights in the town, walking all over the place. It was really cool and we got some great pictures that I'll hopefully post later. Another really neat thing was the fact that this was the off-season so there weren't many people, and we could eat anywhere without wating. What made it even better is that it never rained after the event while we were on our "European Vacation", until the very last night, and even then it only sprinkled a little. (It was bitterly cold a few nights, though, but our waiter in Brussels - Pedro - made us the best Belgian hot chocolate and Baily's we've ever had!!) I finally had to leave to get back to work, and Tina went on to Switzerland to visit another friend.
So, while there were some aweful, stressful, expensive moments, it was a really cool gift that made this a very memorable trip. While I learned to hate trains, I am a "world champion" co-choreographer, and I've become a little more "worldly" thanks to a wonderful woman's special surprise.
I didn't enter the Superstars division competition this year because I felt my dancing hasn't improved enough. This next year I will be working hard a new routine which will be done for Worlds
XI and I really look forward to competing this year!!! Congrats to all those who qualified and competed in Superstars this year - it was a great competition to watch, and it was definitely the most-attended competition of the week.
I am looking forward to going to some new events and having even MORE fun this year!!
11/2001 Fall and Stuff
This is late (as usual). I've been to several events since New Orleans,
including San Francisc (Southbay), Boogie By The Bay, Paradise and Mountain Magic. I just got back from Mountain Magic in Lake Tahoe, where the weather was beautiful and the gambling was really fun! A few of us were at the crap table for hours at a time. Ginger Pickerel and I placed 4th in the Champions Strictly Swing. (Thanks, Ginger!!)
Paradise in San Diego was great, as usual, though the Hotel shut down our dancing WAY too early. JD was a great host, providing us with more dancing,
food and beer/drinks on Sunday night.
The Golden Gate Classic was an awesome line dance event. There were people from all over the world. I learned some cool new line dances. The only bad part of the event was the extremely early ballroom closures. Sunday morning, I was part of a hilarious dance routine with the Australians. The audience was crying with laughter.
Boogie By The Bay was an awesome event, as usual. Many late night hours of great dancing. I love the free buffet - and
the food was great! The competitions were excellent.
The Champions/Professional Jack & Jill at Southbay was a blast!! What chaos!! I had a great time We had some good late night dancing. We need to keep this event going!!!!
07/2001 New Orleans Mardi Gras
I was Captian of the New Orleans Dance Mardi Gras this year. It was awesome!! I had a great time. I researched the real Mardi Gras to find out what the captain was supposed to
do and to get a little history and background on the whole thing. Everyone involved with the parade was great. And the parties at night... It took me a week to recover. On Saturday I only had 45 minutes of sleep and then I had to get up and work!! Thank you, caffein!! Well, if you've never been to this event and you like Country and Swing dancing, you owe it to yourself to check it out!!!
Oh, and my new dance "La Mamba" took first place in the "ABC" Line Dance Choreography category!!
03/08/2001 "The Devil Went Down to Southport" Superstar Productions Event
I'll be going to England again in March for the next Superstar Productions event. This should be a lot of fun. There will some awesome line dancing going on there, and hopefully there will be a few couples dancers, too. (I'll be available for lessons to help convert line
02/01/2001 Late Stuff from Worlds IX
Tthis is a little late, but I had to work a lot to make up for the time I was gone!! I didn't well at Worlds for competition. I was sick almost the entire time I was there, and I had to work every day while I was there. I took 5th in Line Dance Superstars, 4th in the Advanced 2-Step Jack & Jill, and my line dance "Trilogy" made it to the finals of
the non-country line dance choreography competition (amazingly!).
On the plus side, I was nominated for *four* Star Awards, which was a complete surprise, and even more of a surprise was that I won two!! I was awarded "Favorite Male Line Dancer" and "Dance Entertainer of the Year"!!! I was pretty shocked, to say the least. For those of you not familiar with the Star Awards, it's sort of the like the Oscars or the Grammys or the Feather
Awards, where people are nominated to certain categories and then your piers vote for their favorites of the various categories. Getting nominated to four categories is pretty damn cool, but winning "Dance Entertainer of the Year" out of all the great people nominated is just awesome!!
Unfortuantely, the UCWDC has not posted the results of the Star Awards yet. (Not as of 2/5/2001.)