Welcome to my life on the ballroom D - list

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Ester Williams, a new favorite quote

"I found, much to my relief, that all I needed for my emotional and personal security was my own resolve and determination. I didn't need a marriage and a ring. "  - Ester Williams

Sunday, September 15, 2013

100 Things to do at a Dance Competition, other than compete

100 things to do at a Dance Competition, other than compete.

( listed in no particular order)

1. Be kind to yourself.

2. Tell a friend she's beautiful.

3. Say hello to strangers

4. Greet your deck captain.

5. Find a way to help others

6. Cheer for others.

7. Stay until the end of awards

8. Allow for someone else to go ahead in the line. 

9. Hold an elevator door.

10. Loan a program when needed.

11. Invite a friend to dinner.

12. Make a Newcomer feel welcomed.

13. Thank an organizer.

14. Give judges their space

15. Be happy for somebody.

16. Avoid OVER - dress shopping

17. Acknowledge youth competitors

18. Give credit wherever you can

19. Take a moment to do something silly

20. Pick up a tab

21. Share items in your emergency kit.

22. Buy your partner a coffee

23. Take 10 minutes to be quiet

24. Find time to stretch

25. Drink water

26. Take a moment to just listen to the music

27. Stay and spectate for a division that's not your own

28. Give your front seat to a newcomer

29. Show enthusiasm for the success of others 

30. Smile

31. Go to bed early

32. Do something spontaneous 

33. Spend an hour with your cell phone completely OFF

34. Thank the hotel staff

35. Have breakfast 

36. Take your dance partner out to lunch

37. Thank the registrar 

38. AcKnowledge the MC

39. Give energy for applause

40. Help a man to pin his number

41. Explore the hotel

42. Take a moment to check in with the outside world.

43. Like a friends photo on Facebook 

44. Share the success of others

45. Take pictures with friends.

46. Help someone to find success in results, regardless of placement. 

47. Try something new.

48. Dance a Peabody

49. Notice effective habits of others

50. Acknowledge those who finish behind you.

51. Wave hello at an old friend 

52. Learn a great story from someone who's been dancing longer than you.

53. Have a glass of wine

54. Take a few minutes to quiet the mind.

55. Support charitable causes that the event has to offer.

56. Thank a dancer who watched  your heats.

57. Reward yourself with something fabulous!

58. Eat something healthy

59. Get a massage

60. Observe something new 

61. Comment someone on their dress.

62. Give a hug.

63. Dress up for the evening session

64. Repeat number 53

65. Arrive early 

66. Stay late!

67. Be happy where you're at

68. Spend an hour in comfy shoes

66. Organize your hotel room closet

67. Bring a snack from home 

68. Send a postcard 

69. Adventure outside the hotel

70. Warm up

71. Practice 

72. Cool down

73. Eat a meal in Silence 

74. Take time to think

75. Greet someone outside the competition bubble 

76. Consider someone's advice

77. Avoid the results book.

78. Take a nap!

79. Make your own coffee

80. Eat a piece of chocolate

81. Make a wish for the future

82. Take a moment to remember when you started

83. Make a list of things you are thankful for.

84. Order pictures!

85. Give someone an unexpected present

86. Eat a cookie.

87. Take a group picture 

88. Look out the window.

89. Observe what's going on in the back row.

90. Thank your videographer 

91. Give your partner the benefit of the doubt

92. Take a bubble bath

93. Withhold judgement

94.  Dance like no one is watching

95. Make Art

96. Refrain from talking loudly in the elevator

97. Don't point at people

98. Compliment

99. Stop Obsessing

100. Have fun!

Zelda Fitzgerald Artwork

Since watching the movie, Midnight in Paris, I've been even more intrigued by the life of Zelda Fitzgerald and the Daisy Buchanon character in Gatsby. Maybe she reminds me of someone. 

As the walls of my condo remain blank, I'm still shopping for something to hang in the house. Last weekend while in Rhode Island, I went shopping again for city  scapes at the antique mall.

On and off again, I've seen a few paintings that look very similar to the fascinating  artwork by Zelda Fitzgerald. I'm surprised she found time for it, if she was also trying to switch to a full time career in dancing at the time she painted them. 

They remind me of a city scape that was for sale at the Rhode Island antique mall. Sometimes you never know where old artwork comes from. Makes me wonder if other Zelda Fitzgerald paintings are floating out there in the universe, at near bargain prices.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Flying Down to Rio

Had a great time last night watching Flying Down to Rio, 1933 RKO. It is best known for being the first screen pairing of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.  It is the only film in which Ginger Rogers was billed above  Fred Astaire.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

USDC 2013

Each year, the United States Dance Championships returns to Florida to host the biggest dance stars in our industry. Some say that it is the most prestigious competition of its kind on American soil. The site of the ballroom is always very impressive.
The 2013 USDC started on Monday, September 2nd. We arrived with friends and fellow competitors a few days early at the Walt Disney World Swan hotel, located in Lake Buena Vista.

When we arrived early to the competition on Saturday. We had the opportunity to view the enormous Swan Ballroom before the competitive dance floor was placed over the carpet. The lighting and stages set for the event were very impressive.

The United States Dance Championships is the only event recognized by the National Dance Council of America to have the official United States National Dance Championship titles.

The website for USDC is very helpful. Sophia was listed on this site for winning Top Bronze Student in 2012. We were never notified of her placement last year, so we departed before awards in 2012.

Since last years trip ended ealry, we decided to return this year to Orlando a bit early. I was hoping this year to enjoy more things Disney :)

I am not ashamed to admit that I had specific goals to accomplish during this event that were outside of dancing, like wearing mouse ears and having dinner at Disney's T-Rex.
For some reason, I am always unable complete my Disney "To do list", and I visit there almost once a year. I'm still no less excited by returning again an again, with the hopes of eating dinner at T-Rex, with its famous ice bar.

Maybe my Disney "to do list " was too long. This year we had a few more important things to do.

The most important celebration at USDC was be  Sophia's birthday! And she was about to turn $&@#!  

Our dance friends flew in from around the country to celebrate with Sophia before USDC began. We met up with our Atlanta  friends, Chrsitjohn Battters and Mona Maerz, from Ballroom Dance Clubs of Altanta. We arrived so early that the mannequins were still standing cold and naked in the ballroom lobby, and at the Jordy Booth, we arrived so early that there truly was " nothing" .

We met up with Christjohn and Mona for a fun day at Universal Studios.

It was a day to be young am have fun.

Our next day at the Swan was spent poolside. It was a relaxing day for dance  practice and spray tans.

Later, group had a chance to see JT Simon in the hallway. He's seen here holding a bucket of beer, courtesy of Dore?
 The following day the dancing began.

 It was tough keeping track of everything, even with a well marked program.

Sophia placed 4th in her Bronze Rhythm Schorahip. I am so proud that she placed as a finalist for this second year in a row.

We were all happy for Marcy who won yet another USDC title. It's hard to tell from  this picture, who is the bigger celebrity.

Sophia had just come off of doing 3 comps before USDC, and suffered a serious foot injury just before Capital Dancesport. That being said I was even more happy that she took 4th place and her bronze rhythm Schorahip, 5th in bronze smooth, and 3rd place in her bornze 9 Dance.

Between heats I had the time to snap this pic of Linda  and Melbin. 

Looking forward to returning next year.

Windy City Open 2013

During the last week of August we attended the Windy City Open. This year was my 6th year attending.

I had a nice time at this event. I was expecialy fun to watch Blake Kish and Pat Turk in the Country Western division. So much fun that Sophia & I joined them by adding late entries in Country Western.

Perhaps the experience will prompt Sophia to acquire a Country Western outfit :). We danced the division in our Rhythm costumes!

During our visit we got to visit theFlagship  headquarters for McDonald's, one of the largest operating McDonald's restaurants in the world. 

The building was several stories tall, with walls made entirely of glass and it was filled with Rock n' roll memorabilia

We also had time to visit our friends, Gregory Day and Natasha Issacs at Chicago Dace.

It was one of the most beautiful studios I have ever visited. The studio was just recently redesigned with a modern cafe and bar, along with sound proof sliding glass walls, luxurious bathrooms and changing rooms.

Before dancing, we met with the D'Angelo family for Italian Dinner.

The competition  itself was smaller this year, but fun.


Friday, September 6, 2013

Between hobby & lifestyle

After USDC, some dancers were so disappointed with the results, that they (jokingly) considered switching hobbies. There were many unexpected placements, which discouraged a few girls, and made them consider the switch from dancing to knitting. LOL ! Be careful what you wish for! In a world of extremes, you can't find an activity more diametrically opposed to ballroom, or can you? Watching this video has taught me that people can follow any hobby so passionately that it becomes a lifestyle, but my how different the lifestyle can be ! 

Changes my perspective on the way  people might view a hobby?  Not sure, but it makes me wonder where the line is, when an activity goes from "hobby" to "lifestyle"...