Welcome to my life on the ballroom D - list

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Vegas Holiday Dance Classic 2012

I just returned from a fabulous trip to Las Vegas with Miss Alice Williams an Danielle Roeber. This year Miss Alice placed 5th in the Senior 2 Rhythm Division and Danielle made her first callbacks on bronze freestyles. We had a wonderful time at the Tropicana Hotel, along with lunch in the Paris Eifel tower. We had time for a a limo tour of the Vegas strip, and we got to see Frank Morino's Divas Show.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

My Fair Lady At Arena Stage

Following our road trip for Thanksgiving, DC Ballroom hosted a Dancers Night Out at Arena Stage! Over 30 dancers attended the show, from 3 local participating studios. It was by far, the most splendid production I have ever seen at Arena Stage, which included a elegant Viennese Waltz scene and fabulous costumes.

Visiting the Providence Biltmore

For Thanksgiving weekend, Dmitri and I took a road trip to Providence Rhode Island, do I could meet my family for Thanksgiving. We stayed at the Historic Providence Biltmore, which now feels like a home away from home. It's become a Thanksgiving tradition to stay there each year.

2012 Ohio Star Ball

In November, Sophia and I danced in the Ohio Star Ball. Sophia placed 5th in the World Pro Am Bronze Rhythm Final and also made the semi final round in her smooth division.

On our first day in Ohio, we had dinner with Natasha Isacs and Gregory Day. There wasn't a lot of free time in our schedule, but it was great to see old friends, and having just a little time to make new ones.

Between dancing, Sophia got to spend several hours in the vending room for dress shopping with friends Christjohn Batters and Mona Maers. Christjohn has a special talent for spotting dresses that are in need of adoption/ loving owners. The Emil Booth became a campsite as we spent a great many (enjoyable) hours of plying dress up with Sophia and Mona.

Zelda arrived towards the end of our Ohio week with our dear friend, Anna Kabul. This girls arrived strictly for dress shopping and spectating. We had a wonderful week and we were all left very thankfully to Sam Sadano, who took time to meet and greet with us during our stay.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

New Jersey State Open & Superstorm Sandy

Last weekend we attended the New Jersey State Open, hosted by Roxanne and Susan Adary. The event took place at the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino in the heart of Atlantic City. Local DC area dancers who attended included:

Anna Boyd
Dana Coppola
Sophia D'Angelo
Kirill Gorjatsev
Roxi Holloway  
Anna Kabul
Phil Schaeman
Daria Zotova

We drove up to Atlantic City on Friday Thursday evening. I had been to Atlantic City only once beore. Back in 2006 I danced in Atlantic City with Daria Zotova, competiting in the Future Champions Division. We didn't have time to do any sight seeing during my first visit. This time I was hoping to see more of the city.  The  weather forecast would ultimately prevent us from seeing anything. But I did get to see all the billboards on the drive in. One of them advertise the Long Island Medium, I had no idea that she did shows in ATC.  The weather was in the back our our minds as we checked into the hotel, which was extensively remodeled since our last visit. . The hotel was formerly named the Trump Marina, which many people used to nickname the "Dump Marina".
 Since the hotel's change of ownership, it was remodeled extensively, Roxi and Sophia were impressed by the elevator lobby areas on each floor, and fun fun lounging on the swank Varga Style couches...

The Grand Ballroom of the Golden Nugget was dressed beautifully for this competition, in shades of Pink and Purple, it was also fit with neon lights tat were fitting for a casino style comp. There was excitement upon entering the ballroom.

Sophia had two successful days of competing in Smooth and Rhythm freestyles. This was her very first time entered in Silver Rhythm, and she placed 2nd in her Silver Rhythm Scholarship.

Dana was entered in bronze smooth freestyles and placed second in her Bronze Smooth Scholarship.
Roxi, Sophia and I were all very proud of her, as it was her first time placing in the too of her scholarship division.

After our first night of dancing we all went on the town for dinner. Dana is native to the Atlantic City area, and suggested a famous (historic) night spot for us all to catch dinner. It was the highlight of our stay in Atlantic city. We took a cab over to Angelo's Italian restaurant, which is filled with celebrity photos and history of Atlantic City...

Angelo's also has fabulous Italian food. Sophia felt right at home. Together we were all seated under a photo of Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme. We had a wonderful time.

Our second day at the New Jersey State Open was as wonderful a the first. In the morning, as we were dressing and prepping for our day on te dance floor, I couldn't help but peer out the widows at the darkening sky, and the beautiful year- round heated swimming pool.

 The Golden Nugget has a beautiful Marina and resort area, with heated hot tubs, cabanas, and swimming pools. The pool and hot tubs were packed with people, despite the now chilly Halloween Air. For some reason I felt tempted to go for a swim... But our schedule didn't allow it. Instead we had just enough time listen to all the pre storm warnings on the weather channel.
After a full day of dancing on Saturday, we attended the New Jersey State Open Grand Banquet Dinner in the hotel ballroom. As we prepared our eveving wear the hotel delivered evacuation notices to all the hotel rooms. requiring us to leave the hotel by Sunday at 11am.
The impending evacuation of Atlantic City was the discussion among everyone during the evening dinner session. It overshadowed the awe and opulence of the ballroom which was decorated so beautifully for the banquet dinner dance. Our group stayed for the Saturday evening session followed by the New Jersey State Open Awards ceremony, where Sophia took "Top Bronze' student.  Following awards we received notice that the parkway was to be closed to southbound traffic due to Hurricane Evacuation. We had to scramble back to our hotel rooms and pack for an early departure. We drove home around midnite, leaving Atlantic City ahead of the road closure.

As we departed Atlantic City, we noticed that the majority of the billboards were dismantled ahead of the storm.

This was a view of Angelo's, where we had dinner on Friday, as the storm began to hit.
A view of Angelo's sign after the storm

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Comical visit to the Rainforest Cafe

It was our last day in Florida after USDC. All the girls had left us, so Dmitri and I decided to have lunch at the Rainforest Cafe. The place is filled with robotic animals, mist and fog machines, vines, fish tanks, and screaming children...what's not to love aout it? Dmitri and I first stopped in the photo booth for a quick picture.

Roxi avoids this place like the plague, and under normal circumstances, she forbids me from entering the Rainforest Cafe... Since she left USDC early, it was the perfect time to go. Here is Dmitri outside while we were waiting for a table. He was acting a bit childish and I kept waiting for the hostess to reprimand him, but was not surprised when she started flirting with him instead.

Even though we had advance reservations, we had a long wait for our table. Luckliy we had plenty to do in the lobby area and gift shop. Here's Dmitri with the snake.
When we were called for our table, we were met by our Safari Guide.
Roxi would have been horrified, as we took the full tour. Also, I find that when I'm not with  Roxi, people make the assumption the Dmitri is my Russian Twink BF. Obviously, I dont care about what people think, but it would be nice if they thought I had better taste. Downtown Disney is a judegment free zone, or at least it should be.. We were there to have fun, and sadly everyone thought I was on Russian date night.
After Diner we hung out by the Downtown Disney Stage and watched the
 Michael Jackson Line Dance Show!
Followed by desert at T-Rex...which may be even cooler than the Rainforest Cafe...I'm definaitely tasking Roxi here next year. The place is filled with Dinosoaurs and volcanic eruptions go off every 20 minutes.
The perfect way to end our adventure at USDC

Lindy Hop at the World War II Memorial

Dancing depicted in one of the panels:

Little Shop of Horrors at Planet Hollywood

While Dmitri and I were on break after USDC, we had lunch at Planet Hollywood. After lunch we toured all the levels to explore the memorabilia. I got to see the dresses worn by Crystal, Ronette and Chiffon in the opening number. We've used the soundtrack from this movie in many of our dance showcases and parties. It was odd seeing it on display on Downtown Disney. We also got to see a dress worn by Audrey in "Somewhere that's Green"

Monday, October 8, 2012

USDC Spetember 2012

USDC 2012

In September I attended USDC with Sophia and she made the finals!
The event was held at the Disney Swan Resort
When we finished dancing, Sophia celebrated by dress shopping at the Jordy booth.
Dmitri and I celebrated by drinking at the pool
Sophia and Zelda left Florida early, but Dmitri and I stayed the next day to have lunch at Planet Hollywood in Downtown Disney.
Inside Planet Hollywood, I saw the clown costume worn by Gene Kelly in the Pirate.

Avant Garde Studio Opening July 2012

In July we attended the opening of Avant Garde Dance studio, in Rockville, MD. The new studio is directed by Michaela "Pinky" Puno, Slava Sergeiv, and Nick Short. Nick has coached Roxi and I for several years now, and we were very happy to see his dream of studio ownership come full circle.

Attendance at the professional "soft" opening was by invitation only. Those attending were a who's who of the local dance scene. I was impressed that many local studio owners attended this event, including Michael Rye from Dance Bethesda along with Irina and Ron Bennett, from Chevy Chase Ballroom.

Several leading Pro/am's attended as well: Marcy Garson, Sophia D'Angelo, Simone Done, Miguel Ramos, Danielle Roeber, Alice Williams, David and Amy Pollinger, and Bill Zeisel.

Among the many guest attending were several of the DC area judges, Including Dan Calloway, Beverly Donahue, and Pat Traymore. Pat looked vibrant and took the time to catch up with Roxi. They always chat about their favorite Nail salons. It was nice to see her again.

My coworkers from Arlington were noticeably absent from the opening night: Daria Zotova, Kirill Gorjatsev and Dmitiri Dolgopolov. They were all invited but declined their invitations. I was both saddened and surprised by that, especially when nearly every local studio was represented at this event.

The evening gala was an elegant affair, with a formal catering and an open bar. Music and general dancing followed, along with a video tour of the facility and its' construction. Roxi and I got to join in for the Samba line Dance with Chris Thompson before heading home that night. It was the perfect way to end the evening. Meeting up with old friends and mending fences.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Remembering the Leroy Theater

My grandfather was an usher at the Leroy Theater during the 1940's. I have fond memories of his many stories about the Leroy. It was a magical piece of architecture. I got to visit the Leroy on two occasions before its demolition in 1996. Some of these photos were taken from the Pawtucket Times, but a few of them I took myself during my last visit.
Fireplace from the lobby
Ticket Window
View from the balcony
High above the mezanine level
Vintage lobby illustrations
Base of grand staircase
Wrecking ball photos from the Times