DFW ProAM Jam – Memorial Day Weekend, 2011

What a great weekend!  Thanks Lori & Glenn for putting on a great event!

We had a great time this weekend, with plenty of dancing and music and just hanging out with great people – I don’t think you can ask for any more than that!

Thursday night brought us a 2 hour workshop from Angel & Debbie Figueroa (that unfortunately, we were not able to attend).  I heard plenty of good things about it and the early bird dance that night.

Friday started off with the usual suspects… getting into town, checking into the hotel, registration, getting your wristband, floor tryouts and, of course, some early socializing (and maybe a little dancing).  Terry Roseborough and Stevie Blakely taught the Friday workshop.  Ruth Gilbert was the Head DJ this year and honored me by giving me plenty of booth time.  I had the privilege of starting things out on Friday evening and for the Opening Ceremonies.  Speaking of which, Lori & Glenn did a great job honoring our Veterans.  She brought in the William Kratt Chord Company, a traditional barbershop quartet.  They were really a nice addition to the opening ceremonies.  They opened with America the Beautiful, followed by a great Armed Forces medley and finished up with the one of the best performances of our National Anthem I’ve heard in a long time.

The routine divisions were the featured categories on Friday.  In the Pro/Am routine division, I believe (I sincerely hope I’m not missing anyone) we had Kerry Turner & Claudia Buhrig, Jeanne DeGeyter & Jonathan Tatum, Alicia Turner & Bill Black, Lisa D’Amico & Harold Kramer.  Great performances by everyone and congratulations to Jonathan Tatum and Jeanne DeGeyter on their win.

The Novice division had routines by Tim Winter & Claudia Buhrig, and Harold Kramer & Patty Jones.   The Intermediate division had routines by Ben Smith & Wenni Guo, and Josh Williamson & Anyssa Olivares.  Solid performances by everyone and I think they put on a great show!

Saturday was all about Jack ‘n Jills, female Pro/Am Novice and male Pro/Am Intermediate prelims and finals.  Workshops were taught by Jeanne DeGeyter, Taletha Jouzdani, Heavy & Barbara Grammer, and Damon & Lisa D’Amico.  Lots of great dancing and some truly entertaining moments on the floor – let’s hope someone got it all on video!

Looks like Matthew Boehm’s efforts in his dance may be paying off – he made the Novice J&J finals and an awesome 3rd place finish in the female Pro/Am Novice division!  Keep up the good work Matthew!

The advanced J&J was a lot of fun.  The music was old school disco – and you can see part of the winning performance here.  It was a ton of fun.  I have to say thanks to incredibly talented Alyssa Kling for helping to make me look good (and snag a 3rd place finish).  Talk about an up-and-comer.  I fully expect Alyssa to make it to All-Stars in very short order.  I also want to thank the incomparable Angie Jones for our great J&J dance (again) and our 4th place finish (again – not 4th again, but placed again.  Seriously, I think this is 3 or 4 times together in the last year).

Sunday wrapped up the weekend with the Junior division, Strictly Swing divisions, female Pro/Am Intermediate, and male Pro/Am Novice.  Workshops were offered by Austin Murrey & Chelsea Rodgers, Shawn & Kristen Moody, Angel & Debbie Figueroa, and Jason Miklic & Sophie Kdep.

I had a great time dancing in the male Pro/Am Novice division with Laura Jean.  She feels the music in every ounce of her body and it’s a joy to be able to dance with her.

In the Novice SS, I have to offer a congrats again to Matthew and his first place finish with Sarah Thomas!  Keep up the good work Matthew, you’re doing great!

I loved the Advanced SS;  It was a great show.  Doug had the dancers all come out onto the floor together and ran it “dance jam” style.  Everyone got fast blues and the energy level rocked through the whole thing.  Stevie and Will’s outstanding performance netted them 1st place in a really tough category.  A special congrats also to my bride and her partner (Jeremy) for their great performance and 5th place finish!

The highlight of the weekend though, was easily the Golden Ticket Finals.  I have to give Doug a great big thanks for his work on the concept and promoting the Golden Ticket and how much fun he makes it.  The head-to-head nature of certainly amps up the energy and everyone seemed to have a good time – even as their role changed from competitor to spectator.  A ton of fun and a great show, you just didn’t want it to end!  The final round pitted John Bowman & Wendy Cart against Lloyd “Cookie” Chevis & Michelle Haynes.  Against the pounding backdrop of David Guetta’s Love Is Gone – John Bowman & Wendy Cart walked away with the jacket, tickets and travel vouchers for Golden Ticket Finale held at the US Open in November.  Congratulations to John & Wendy for several great dances and I hope to see you in November.  Another very special congrats to Cookie & Michelle – who were right there the whole time.  I don’t think the judges had an easy job there!

All in all, it was a great event!  So many good things that can be said about the event and I don’t think I would get it all.  I know Lori & Glenn put their heart and soul into making DFW ProAM Jam a great, friendly party and it shows.  I’ve also got to mention this year’s special gift – Strawberry-Jalapeno jelly!  This stuff was delicious!  With cream cheese on crackers, I had to seriously restrain myself.  I’m looking forward to some creative recipes using this oh so tasty condiment.

Like we do at the end of every event we go to, Michelle & I talk about how it was.  How was the pro staff, the music, the judging, the ambiance and all that other stuff.  Ruthie, Ruby & Tom did a great job with the comp music.  Shawn Moody does an outstanding job as MC.  He traded out duties through the weekend with Steve Giles – a Dallas local and solidly outstanding MC as well.  All the Pros were friendly and danced.  The hotel was nice, the rooms were roomy and the price was dang near awesome.  The people were absolutely the rockin’ist best dang group of dance partiers EVER! It was a very good event.  We will be back next year.