During July my cousin, Lindsay Hayden, came to visit me here in DC. Lindsay grew up in Rhode Island, and spent most of her childhood as a student with the State Ballet. We planned her visit to DC at the last minute, but the timing couldn't have been more perfect. She arrived just in time for the July 4th holiday, which we enjoyed at Candi Levri's bayhouse on Tilghman Island.
In total I had ten days to spend with Lindsay. She had never tried her hand on before, so we had to make every minute of her visit count. Our goal was to enter her in the Youth Smooth and Rhythm Championships at Virginia State, and we had not a moment to lose. So every day, for eight days straight, Lindsay trained in the basics of smooth and rhythm. I invited her along for coaching with Dan Calloway, and Nick Short. Meanwhile back at the studio, she trained with myself, Michael Rye, Roxi, and Rosario Kalong. It was a combined team effort, and in total she must have danced for over 30 hours during the week leading up to the competition. Although she encountered a few blisters along the way, she held up pretty well. And by the time we arrived at the Hyatt in Reston I couldn't have been any prouder. In total, Lindsay and I danced twenty one freestyles and two championship rounds. She placed 2nd in the youth smooth and youth rhythm championships at the Virginia State.
Also at the Virginia State, I had the pleasure of competing with Candi Levri in the Closed Bronze Smooth Scholarship. Candi placed third, which was delighting news to everyone at the studio.
, Roxi and I returned to the Hyatt in Reston to support and cheer for and Sarah Davis, who were competing in the open professional smooth division. We had front row seats with our friends Dimitri Dolgopolov, his girlfriend Gabriela, and his ex-girlfriend/ my ex-professional partner, Daria Zotova. Together we make an oddly paired group of friends. We always manage to provide entertaining conversation together. At the beginning of the evening Dimitri was barreled over by Rowdy Harrision, formerly of Severna Park Arthur Murray. Normally, Rowdy is close in tow with Gail Mahan, who I was hoping to run into at this event. After all our friendly exchanges, we headed over to our ringside table to watch the event. The evening of dancing was fantastic. Kirill and Olga were also among our favorites to watch in the smooth division. The results were not surprising. Roxi was excited to catch up with Sarah and Mike, and having done that made for a perfect evening.
When we arrived back at the Dance Bethesda , Michael Rye was beaming with pride over the success we had during the weekend. Dance Bethesda had students compete in all levels and categories. Michael Rye and Yumiko Yoshida placed in Standard. Michael Rye also danced with Esah Yip, Margaret Pi, and Ann Marlow. All of Michael Rye's students performed well. Seeing that Dance Bethesda will bring more than 20 students to our next scheduled event, the Virginia State served as a great test run before we move onto larger scale evolutions.
As for me, the highlight of my weekend was running into Melinda Spencer of Virginia Beach. She was among many Virginia Beach dancers in attendance at the Virginia State, including Marie Rantz, Brent Dunn, and the fabulous Kimberly Pasquale. Ms. Spencer was my dance instructor for several years while I was enrolled as a student at former International Dance Studios in Virginia Beach. It had been several years since I've seen her, and her appearance at the Virginia State took me by surprise. I owe a lot to Ms. Spencer. It was her patience and guidance that lead me on a more serious path in dancing. I will always be grateful to her for that. It was great to see all of them, especially Kimberly, who looked stunning in her Donna dresses, dancing in Silver Smooth.