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Friday, February 28, 2014

2014 New York Dance Festival

 The 2014 New York Dance Festival 

The year the studio participated in record numbers, with deep appreciation and thankfulness to the NYDF organizer, Mr. Edward Simon. This was my 5th year attending, and the 4th consecutive year the studio.

Among those attending:
Lauren Garrett, 1st year
Sophia D'Angelo, 3rd year
W/ her husband Rob
And her son, Grayson
Geneivieve Planmondon, 2nd year 
Judith Albarelli, 2nd year
Michael Albarelli, 2nd year
Danielle Roeber, 4th year
Dana Coppola, 3rd year
Ann Kabul, 2nd year
Tarang Mehta, 2nd year
Terry Chasteen, 1st year
William Zeisel, 4th year
Lindsay Hayden , 2nd year
Karin KK Hayden, 2nd year
Nancy Thurley, 3rd year
Sarah Jane Cavaleri, 3rd year
Riley Maxwell Cavaleri, 3rd year
Luca Madi, 1st year
Michael Lockhart, 1st year
Rebecca Gentry, 1st year
Nick Fasnacht, 1st year
Lauren Atkins, 1st year
Anne- Marie Lund, 1st year
And Mike Baris

The event was held in the Historic Roosevelt Hotel, dedicated to " TR " the man.

I visit this hotel each year with fond memories of my time in service onboard the USS Theedore Roosevelt, CVN-71. 

While there are many dance events with supposedly " haunted " hotels ( like the Superstars Vinoy" and the hotel at Heritage, I would classify the Roosevelt more along the lines of being "magical". After exploring  the hotel one can truly feel the presence of TR's legacy, and it's vintage atmosphere can transport a dancer back in time.

The Roosevelt's ballroom, as now I say each year upon entering, is that befitting of a President.
Our gang departed  DC for NYC by way if Greyhound Bus. This year we managed to book our transportation to NYC with bargain $19 bus fares.

Rebecca & I arrived on Thursday evening and danced in the Rising Star Smooth a Division. We were cheered on by all of our students and friends.

Sitting ringside on Thursday night, was Lauren Garrett, my student and friend, who served this year as Patron of the Arts and Sponsor of the New York Dance Festival Professional Rhythm Division. It was a great homor to present the Professional Rising Star Rhythm awards in memory of her parents, Peter and Marie, and her late brother, Bernard, all whom enjoyed dancing. A commemorative page was set in the program to commemorate this very special occasion. It was my honor to be by her side during the Rising Star Rhythm awards ceremony.

Our first day in Rhythm was a huge success. We ended the day with a comical charity dance round to benefit a charity, " Ballroom Barks " . Every dancer from our studio participated in this event, making it a semi- final round, to support the cause for our animal friends in best way we could, by having every dancer on deck & dressed in costume.

Animal and themed costumes were encouraged this year our team went all out. We were also very fortunate to have Illya Resin get in in the act, partnering with Judith Albarelli.

The Ballroom Barks competition included many dances that our Newcommers hadn't even learned yet, so we held a weekly Ballroom Barks preparation class to prepare for it. Here we see Mr. Bill & Judy during our final dress rehearsal before departing for NYC.

Many of our daners made the Ballroom Barks final, including Sophia D'Angelo who made a surprise pairing with Terry Chasteen..... To add to the fun, Terry arrived in full costume as the Cowadly Lion.

Rhythm day started at 6am when we had warm ups in the ballroom before the session opened. We were very fortunate to have Brandy Bangs and Rosendo Funero served as our deck captains. We are so thankful to then for keeping all of our dancers on time and in a good mood. 

Smooth day was an equal success. Several of our DCBallroom dancers had the opportunity to debut their new dresses, by Jordy Chris Stephenson.

Group Photo in the Main Ballroom
We also had some time for pictures at the Dance Benefits booth.

On Saturday Evening we attended the T.A.P. Gala, hosted by Judith Simon and Andre Savenko. The gala benefited The Alzheimer's Project and featured Music by the Duke Ellington Orchestra. My family attended this event with me, and it was an amazing opportunity for my cousins to see live music from a group of 19 legendary musicians at their very best.

Click here for a Vine video of the T.A.P. Gala performance by the Duke Elligton Orchestra:

The Gala also featured a drum circle, and a special presentation about drum therapy in in Alzheimer's cause.

Drum Circle at the T.A.P. Gala

During the social dance hour, we saw John DePalma dance the Mambo with Melanie LePatin.

During the Saturday evening session, the audience was surprised when Marge Champion was presented with a Lifetime acheivement  award.

At the conclusion of the event, DCBallroom received it's first ever Top Studio Awards.

The evening closed with a special thanks to Sophia D'Angelo, who supported NYDF as a Diamond level sponsor on the platform of Mental Health Awareness.

This blog will be updated with more news, stories, an results, alll coming soon.

To be continued..... 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

2014 Florida Superstars

This February we were invited back to attended the annual Florida Superstars Team match. We were selected for Michelle Officer and Dan Rutherford's team, which was victorious yet again this year. We are very thankful to Michael Chapman, Herb Vasquez and Maria McGill for hosting us.
The event was held at the historic Vinoy in St. Petersburg.
The hotel is filled with a rich dance history and is said to be haunted.
The Grand Ballroom has changed little since the Vinoy's opening. The competition is not held in this room, due to it's size, but all the formal dinners were still held here, allowing dancers to experience the room's beauty and history.
The hotel's gift shop sold photos and history books which documented the Vinoy's historic journey, from opening, to abandonment, to restoration.
Our flight to Florida left Reagan National Airport just before a terrible snow storm. We were lucky enough to arrive to 70 degree weather.
The event was filled with action & splendor, and proves to be more challenging and colorful with each passing year.