I think I have finally recovered (mostly) from my back to back dance convention weekends! And I think maybe I have even collected all my thoughts from this last weekend at Michigan Classic.
This was our first time at Michigan Classic and Doug and Lori Rousar’s first time as event directors there. I always get a little anxious heading into a new event, especially out of our region because I feel like we don’t know very many people and you just don’t know what the atmosphere is going to be like. Well, I shouldn’t have worried! Doug and Lori definitely know how to keep a good energy level throughout an entire weekend, starting with the opening ceremonies (see my other post with the video)!
Friday night started with Pro-Am and masters routines and the Pro J&J. I believe there were 14 couples in the pro-am routine division – that is phenomenal! Followed up by 5 very enjoyable Masters routines! I truly enjoy watching routines as they represent so much to each couple out there. Kudos to everyone who put in the time, energy and money to show us your joy of the dance!
The Pro J&J is always a favorite of mine to watch – you just never know what they will come up with and they did not disappoint!
Even though we ended up not staying up late Friday night (early flight that day and super early floor tryouts the next morning), I heard nothing but good things about the first late night dance of the weekend. The special contests of the night was the Jack & Jack and Jill & Jill contests. I was a bit sad about missing this contest, but I was SO tired and I knew if I didn’t get any rest, I wouldn’t make it through the rest of the weekend.
Saturday was the rest of the J&Js and Rising Star and Classic routines. I have to say, that my J&J prelims were definitely the best prelims I’ve had in a long long time. All of my partners were great and I enjoyed all my dances immensely. Lo and behold, I even made finals! In finals, I had the true J&J experience – I drew someone who I was completely unfamiliar with – Jeff Mumford. I had never even seen him dance before, other than his routine tryouts that morning, let alone actually danced with him! It took us a little bit to get “acclimated” with each other, but he took care of me on the floor and we had some really fun dances. I just hoped that he had as much fun as I did!
And whodathunkit, but we actually won the division against some really tough competition. It was AMAZING.
Then time for the routine. There were 10 couples in the Rising Star division! It was truly an honor to get to share the dance floor with so many new routines on the floor for the first time, just like us. During floor tryouts that morning, I was chatting with a fellow routine dancer, and we were just mentioning all the different choreography styles being represented in our group. We were last to perform in that group. Having not done a routine in over 3 years, I suddenly got nervous, but Chip and I just told each other, no matter what happens, just keep dancing and performing. While we had a few minor mistakes, we hoped that we performed well enough to be in the top 5. We had some really good routines that we were going up against! Everyone really kept the energy going through all the routines – we had a GREAT audience who cheers us all on!
That night, both Chip and Trent were ill. Chip had later told me that he was not feeling well and was in pain throughout our routine. He didn’t tell me before hand so that I wouldn’t worry – I can’t even believe that he made it through the routine and you couldn’t even tell. What a trooper! And Trent suddenly came down with a fever. So after awards, and making sure both guys were comfortable in bed, I ventured back out to the ballroom for some late night dancing. I ended up staying up until almost 4am. Once I got on the floor, I almost never got back off! I had some wonderful dances and thanks to the DJs for playing music that kept us moving!
Sunday was pro-am strictlies and all strictly swings. I had a really great dance with Matthew in the ProAm – he is really working on his dance and I look forward to seeing him continue to progress. He even made his first intermediate J&J finals this weekend! So proud of you, Matthew!
For the strictly swing, Trent and I wanted to dance with each other – which meant I had to move up to dance with him in the All-Star/Pro division. I wasn’t nervous about it until I saw who we were up against! OMG! The Auclairs! The Markers! The “Kelleses”! Brennar Goree! Erica Berg! The list goes on! Then Victor (head DJ) tells us that the ladies get to pick whatever song we want. What an opportunity! After a brief consult with Trent, I pick “Dr. Feelgood” by Aretha Franklin. And Trent and I got to slow whip for that crowd in Michigan. Such a RUSH!
Such a wonderfully energetic event, run by two wonderfully energetic people. The sense that I got from both Doug and Lori, no matter how little sleep they got, no matter how stressed they were, the overwhelming sense of joy and love for the dance and the community came through loud and clear. Definitely an event that we would recommend and we hope to be able attend again in the future!