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Saturday, July 2, 2011

New York Dance Festival 2011

New York Dance festival 2011

Just off the train this morning...so this is written off the cuff without proof reading (as per my usual).

A good time was had by all this year at the 2011 New York Dance Festival. The Dance Factory of Arlington attended the event with three professionals and 16 amateur dancers. Dancing participants were:

Mike Baris
Dmitri Dolgolpolov
Roxi Holloway

- with -

Linda Burkert
Chris Carroll
Bettina Camcigil
Simone Donne
Doug Drob
Joy Pryde  Haskins
Anne Leary
Azhar Manipady
Julie Manipady
Christa Mason
Miguel Ramos
Danielle Roeber
Suzi Smith
Jin Wu
Bill Ziesel

Also in attendance were Michael Simms with pro/am dance partner, Anna Boyd.  Other DC area dancers included Catherine Noblitt and Renaldo Perez. The DC Ballroom Yahoo Group has created a photo album for this event and is currently seeking photos! Group members are invited to upload photos to the album.

The Festival took place in ..New York..'s historic Roosevelt Hotel

The Roosevelt Hotel is located on Madison Avenue in midtown ....Manhattan..... The dancing was held in the hotel's grand ballroom. The Grand ballroom was enormous, although I do admit it looks much larger on television than it does in real life.  The ballroom featured elegant chandeliers hanging from its ornate ceiling. There was a balcony level with detailed iron balustrades. The hotel was built during the 1920's and had authentic features throughout, along with updated room accommodations.

Lobby of the Roosevelt Hotel.

Every aspect of this event went smoothly. I think a lot of it was due to the efficiency of the Festival's celebrity deck captain, J.T. Thomas. No photography was permitted inside the ballroom; so unfortunately, we have very few pictures to share! I think this was my first ever event with a zero tolerance policy against any type of photography at all. The rather harsh enforcement of the no-photo policy did little to dampen our sprits during the weekend.   Hopefully we'll find the photo ordering info soon from the event photographer. The photographer was difficult to find during the event. I chased him up the stairs for a group Rhythm photo for our studio, but he was unavailable when we needed a group photo for Smooth.

Roxi and I arrived at the ..Roosevelt.. on Thursday night, and attended the American Style Congress on Friday, along with Chris Thompson, Daria Zotova, Kirill Gorjatsev, and Dmitri Dolgolpolov. We saw many familiar faces there, like friends Mike Nichols and Sarah Davis. We also saw several famous dance celebrities. The panel for the American Style Congress was amazing. My favorite lectures were by David Hamilton and Marianne Nicole. Marianne Nicole was, in my opinion, the most relatable, entertaining and informative. David Hamilton's lecture was the most interesting and the most sincere. I was fascinated by hearing the panel speak. I have seen many members of the panel over the years on different judging panels at different events. But for the most part they have always appeared as statues to me, holding clipboards with stagnant, unchanging faces. It was fascinating to hear them all speak at long last. I learned a great deal about the current trends in American Style. I was surprised by some of the opinions of the panel. Some of it I agreed with, and other comments left me scratching my head in disbelief. Most disappointing was the notion that some of best dancers on our country want the term "American Style" to be dropped. The positive side of the argument is that the effort will be made towards world wide appeal for the style. Personally I value the American identity in dancing, and would find it saddening to see it removed. Seeing that we got off our return train for ....New York.... early this morning, I have had little time to discuss the conference with my friends here at the Dance Factory, but it will certainly make for several interesting lunchtime discussions this week. I'm very grateful to have had the opportunity to attend the Congress and the event.

Now Back to the Dancing...

Our studio did a fabulous job this weekend. We traveled up after an unusual week. Spirits were high and for many of our students, ....New York.... would be their first ever event. Roxi and I had both been up to spectator at the New York Dance Festival before. We were impressed by our first visit, when we scouted the event. This was our first year attending with pro/am partners. Bettina Camcigil, Doug Drob, Danielle Roeber, Linda Burkert and Jin Wu attended this event as newcomers. They all performed wonderfully and secured many favorable placements with their freestyle entries. One small challenge that we all faced was the rapid speed of the ....Peabody.... at this event. At some points it was a challenge to keep pace with the speed of ....Peabody.... at this event. We typically attend events in the DC area with a slower paced ....Peabody..... The high speed ....Peabody.... was especially difficult for our newcomer and Prebronze students, but I think it proved to be a good challenge for them, and despite a few speed bumps everyone made it  through their routines successfully! From this event we learned that USISTD Peabody syllabus is NOT good for competitive dance routines in the lower bronze levels. The valuable lesson has been noted.

As amateur couples we had Miguel Ramos and Simone Donne dancing together for the first time, along with the first time pairing of Doug Drob and Bettina Camcigil. I congratulate both on a job well done.

In Bronze 1 &2  I had the pleasure of dancing with Joy Pryde-Haskins, Simone Donne and Anne Leary. All of them placed in their freestyle and championship rounds, respectfully. It was my first time dancing with all three of these experienced dancers. Joy was on loan to me from her key instructor, Chris Thomas. It was wonderful to see  all our Bronze 2 dancers return from ....New York.... with medal results for their placements in the Bronze Championship rounds.

In Full Bronze and Silver I danced a few specialty heats with Suzi Smith (on loan from her key instructor, Dmitri Dolgolpolov). Suzi and I also danced a solo routine to the ragtime tune of "Too Much Mustard". We did our own rendition of the Castle Walk, inspired by Fred and Gingers take on the dance in the RKO Picture "The Story of Vernon & Irene Castle". We have a long way to go before the routine is perfected, but it's certainly an enjoyable work in progress.

After dancing all day on Saturday our group went to Swing 46 for a few late night drinks and swing dancing. We made it just in time for a few dance sets with a LIVE band. After we closed Swing 46, Michael Simms and Anna Boyd suggested that we all go out to The Iguana Club for Salsa and Merengue. We danced until 3:30 AM!  After late late late night dancing, Joy, Danielle, Chris Carrol, Miguel, and Simone joined us at McDonalds near Broadway for our first and last meal of the dance day, which lasted for well over 12 hours (dancing that is). It was a spectacular end to a full day of dancing.

On Sunday morning, Roxi and I had lunch at Serendipity with my Aunt Nancy, and her two kids, Sarah and Riley Maxwell. Note the dancers on the menu:

  Riley enjoyed their famous "Frozen Hot Chocloate"

After lunch we attended "Wicked" on Broadway at the Gershwin Theater. I particularly enjoyed the Broadway Hall of Fame photos in the theater lobby, depicting my hero,  Kitty Carlisle Hart. We also spotted a really cool photo of Fred and his sister, Adele.

This barely scratches the surface of all the fun we had this weekend. I'm very thankful to everyone that helped make the weekend such a huge success.

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