It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks, with back to back competitions. First, Chicago Classic!
This was our first time at this event, which always makes us a little nervous because you just don’t know what to expect. This was also a particularly challenging one for me, as I was doing both my new Pro-Am routine with Matthew Boehm, as well as my Rising Star routine with Chip, back to back Friday night. Which means, an extra early flight to get to the hotel in time for floor tryouts and not a whole lot of time for preparation. It was GO time!
I really liked the hotel at the event, atrium style, which means that all the rooms overlook the lobby all the way down the center. Which is particularly fun, when you open your hotel room door from 7 floors up and can still hear Kellese’s voice below. 🙂 The restaurants in the hotel had some great food too. So even though it was hotel priced, at least we really enjoyed it!
One thing that is always a bit tough going to a new event, is that alot of people don’t know you yet. Which is especially difficult when you are doing a routine. Going on a Friday night is hard too, since most people haven’t shown up yet. The crowd in Chicago needed some prompting to really support the competitors. I wasn’t surprised that they didn’t do much for me personally since they don’t know me, but I was a bit surprised at how subdued they were even for the top showcase performances on Friday night. They were better Saturday night, with some prompting from Grace, the awesome MC. I do wish that people on the audience would realize how difficult it can be to dance in front of all those people and understand that their cheering and support really can make the difference. It is true when they say that the more energy the audience has, the better and more high energy the performances have as well. It’s all very symbiotic.
At any rate, Matthew did fine for his first time on the floor, even with bobbles, and we came in 4th place. A great start! Chip and I had a few mistakes this time, but we recovered well for a 3rd place finish this time around, against some tough new routine competitors!
A couple of things that I really enjoyed at this event – the competition music was AWESOME. I loved the combination of old school and new school music, contemporary and blues. It was great to be able to see how everyone’s dance changed when they were interpretting all the different types of musical genres.
I also very much enjoyed being able to watch the top pro routines up close and personal, by having the option to sit on the floor front row. It is absolutely inspiring to see these performances that close to see every nuance, every look, every smirk and smile, every small hand gesture.
Then this past weekend was Novice Invitational! This is a local event that I’ve been attending since 2004, when I did my first pro-am routine as an Am with Trent. This time, I would be putting out my first Pro-Am routine as a Pro to my hometown crowd! Although this was a much smaller event than the Chicago Classic, the Texas and Louisiana crowd really know how to support the dancers and it made me proud to be from down South.
The event was at a new hotel this year and we loved it! Great location, surrounded by lots of good eats, and plenty of time to explore, as well as the skybridge which took you safely across the street to the mall for some great shopping as well!
Matthew did wonderfully this time for his 2nd time on the floor with the routine, but his first time in front of a hometown crowd. Everyone was so supportive (even through my wardrobe malfunction – no worries, I didn’t flash anyone!). We had a small mistake, that Matthew covered up very quickly and very well – I was SO proud of him! He is truly growing as a dancer. We ended up in 2nd place!
I also had the privilege of dancing with him in the pro-am strictly, as well as the honor of dancing with Eric, Shane, Louie and Randy. It’s truly an honor for them to trust me as their pro to choose me to dance with them. They all did a great job and I look forward to watching their dance continue to grow and progress. An extra special congrats to Louie, who had the dance weekend to remember! Not only did he make finals in Jack and jill, he also placed top 10 in the his strictly swing and won 2nd place in the pro-am with me! Great job, Louie!
A super extra special thanks to ALL my ams – they were the ones who got me 2nd place top female teacher this weekend! You guys all rock!
So another comp weekend in the books. WHEW. This weekend, we head off to Robert Royston’s intensive for a weekend of cramming new dance knowledge in our brains. Can’t wait!