Monday, July 28, 2008

Dance Test a Success @ FADS Chicago Open!

Hi Gang!
The Chicago Open was so much fun! This time around they had a very famous officiant, he kept the competition going at a good clip! By the time the professional heats started we were less than 5 minutes off the posted time in the program! It's always such a treat for me to watch all the professionals compete too. I LOVE to see them all do what they can do... for real... not having to hold back for a student partner that may not be up to their level. Everyone did a great job, I'm so proud of them!
Saturday night was 1950's themed... I (as you'll see in the pic below) tried my best to channel my inner pin-up girl and tried for a kind of fancy 50's hairstyle... it ended up being ok, but not exactly what I had in mind. :-)
<---my inner pin up girl looks something like this. :-)

Dinner was nice, I had some great conversation with Capitan and Jem, as well as the others at our table. But lets be serious people... I was there to DANCE! The Crown Vics went on only about 20 minutes late which was good...I spent the first few songs mentally preparing my ankle for whatever was about to come my way...

Thankfully most of the songs played were a tempo that was suited for Single Time Swing... an easier version of my beloved East Coast. I could absolutely test my healing ankle with Single Time! After a good solid test at a Single Time... my ankle was fine, no problems whatsoever! I got a dance in with TNG (You'll remember him from WAY back, he's still around, just working out of a different studio). RT of course came around for a dance, and MSU (from South Barrington) and I definitely had some laughs!I was elated that my ankle wasn't giving me trouble...and for the swings anyway, my following was pretty strong. I felt a little sketchy on some of the turns... didn't quite make it back to frame on time...but the best part about swing is it's easy to pick up a dropped rhythm. I could have danced to every song, all night I was so happy to be there! Thankfully I didn't because that would have definitely ruined my healing process.

Comical events of the evening were plentiful. Throughout the evening MSU and I danced quite a few times (I seem to recall 4 dances) and at the start he tried to dip me...which doesn't work out at all.. I DON'T dip yet. I've never been walked through exactly how I'm supposed to support my own weight, and I'm not very good at figuring that stuff out on the fly. I'm not about to bring my partner crashing to the floor with me! MSU has tried to dip me on many occasions and sometimes it ends up that I dip him. So it became a pattern... after every time we danced, he'd lay himself out for a dip... then it became random... if he wasn't escorting someone off the floor or was just passing me by he'd run into me, sling one arm over my shoulders and I'd be dipping him! It was too funny! It was more like him hanging off of me than anything else, but hey... funny is funny and I'll take it!

During the breaks in the band the "DJ" would put on a Waltz or some Latin for those of us that are into that. When a Cha Cha came on MSU grabbed me for that... I think Cha Cha is our official dance. True to form, he made stuff up... I followed pretty well, and again we did the reverse dip! At one point during the one and only actual East Coast Swing I did, MSU asked me why I don't smile when I'm dancing (Actually it seems to be during a real ECS that I don't smile at all) I told him there is no smiling! Dancing is a serious business!! Followed by the biggest smile I could muster while trying to make sure I was keeping up and not breathing heavy and keeping a constant radar on my ankle... I can't smile when I'm trying to do all that!

I was also asked to dance by an instructor from the Burr Ridge studio... nice guy, he's also known to be a tad crazy...and somehow his whole demeanor just oozes "smooth dancer". Anyway... I re-introduced myself to him, and we did a single time swing. He said I had great movement... I don't know what that means... but cool!

Towards the very end of the evening the band played the absolutely classic 50's song "Earth Angel." RT grabbed me and I said "Are you sure? This is like a Fox Trot or something."
RT listens for a minute... "No, Rumba."
I always forget that while RT has called Chicago home for a long time, he didn't grow up in the US and doesn't have all the same points of reference that I do for this early Americana stuff. I was totally cracking up that we were attempting a Rumba to "Earth Angel"! It didn't work out all the time... the tempo wasn't quite right... and because I was busy singing along in my head I totally missed all the Quick Quick Slow of it. It made for some interesting dancing. :-)

Then it was about 30 minutes before the end of the night, I decided to be smart about it and ice my ankle to prevent any additional swelling. Well... just as I'm about to get settled in and watch with ice on the ankle... two or three of the guys I love to dance with asked me to dance back to back... Not a chance I was going to say no! I completed a tragic Fox Trot with a fellow student, got whipped around as if the single time swing were a hustle, and then did the oddest West Coast I think I've ever done!

GREAT night!
Oh, did I mention? TONY DOVOLANI was there!!! He was judging the comp that weekend with FABIAN SANCHEZ.. both of Dancing With the Stars!! Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to chat with Fabian... I would have loved to! I did however get to chat for a quick second with Tony... my favoritest professional dancer of all time! He remembered me and the photo shoot that happened last time he was in!!! :-) You have no idea how special it makes you feel when one of your favorite famous people remembers who you are!

Oh...and I did get a picture too... :-)
So, I got to ankle is almost 100% again...and I got to see TONY!!!
It doesn't get much better than that!

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