Dang, I had not realized that it had been so long since I did an update. Holy moly. Three dance convention weekends in a row – I have no idea how long this is going to take to recover!
First up – Austin Swing Dance Championships!
This is a 2nd year event and I think this is already on the lists of “MUST” dance events! The event is well run by event directors, Rick Domalski and Angel and Debbie Figueroa, and by the Chief Judge, Mike Topel. That was definitely one comment that I heard over and over again throughout the weekend – how on-time everything was and well organized. And even when there were issues, they were upfront about it and let everyone know so that we were prepared.
Again, we really like the hotel and that there is some good eats within walking distance. The ballroom is a pretty good size (although it does get crowded from time to time – just means we got a lot of dancers!) and we really enjoyed the Texas style breakfast taco buffet at midnight! We also like that the event directors align themselves with a charity cause every year. This year it was with SafePlace.org, a charity that supports victims of domestic violence. They included a dollar dance to dance with your favorite pros ( I got Arjay this year!) and some of our Houston ladies got together and we donated 2 big boxes of clothing, shoes and accessories to the cause. Very happy to get to support the event!
This event also includes a special Invitational Strictly Swing, where the Champions must choose an all-star partner. We thought this really added something special to the comp – I can’t wait to be a part of it (maybe next year?!), while Trent got the opportunity to dance with the amazing Susan Kirklin. Victor chose the music – each couple got 2 songs, including a former routine song from the Champion dancer! Those who know their WCS history really had the advantage here – kudos to Brad Whelan and Deborah Szekely and Matt Auclair and Stevie Blakely for some of the most entertaining dancing I have seen!
I also got to do both my routines during this weekend – first pro-am with Matthew and then Rising Star with Chip. At least they were two different days this time! Rising Star was Friday night and included some tough competition! I was a little nervous again, as I always am in front of my friends, but it felt great! We won 3rd place in that division. Saturday night was Matthew’s routine – this one is feeling better and better all the time as he continues to learn and progress in his dance. We didn’t place this time, but we got some excellent feedback from a few of our judges. Always appreciated!
I also want to thank Matthew, Louie and Shane for being awesome Ams and for choosing me to be your pro. A special congrats to Shane for 2nd place with me in the proam and 1st in your SS with Emma (the supreme super star of the weekend!!!!)
The final event of the weekend was the Swing Slam (previously the Golden Ticket). This really is a great way to keep the energy going late into Sunday afternoon. I absolutely love this tournament style format as it keeps the audience completely engaged and involved and keeps the competitors on their toes! The creativity that pours out of the competitors in this format is amazing. Something about the energy from the audience being right in your face and cheering their heads off!!!
So congrats to Rick, Angel and Debbie for another successful event!