AAC 2009 – Update #3

Okay … here are the final wonderful totally wonderful wsdc results:


Novice JJ (with 102 followers – huge field):
3rd Butch Nelson and Taylor Harrel
2nd James Thompson and …. ROBIN TITTLEY!!!!! YAAAAYYY!!!
1st Mark Shephard and Amy Carter

Intermediate JJ:
3rd Kelly Strouse and Abby Wood (we can claim her as DC – she lived here and will be back)
2nd JB Brodie (the kid I got in finals in Dallas 2007 – couple years older now and all the 12-yr-old girls think he is DREAMY screaming and squealing every time he’s on the floor)
1st ROB!!!!! with Christina DeMeola (wonderful, funny, friendly gal from Chicago – she did Rising Star last year) YAAAAYYYY!!!

Advanced JJ:
3rd Brian Spivey and Darla (great dancer, who did, again, her Rising Star routine with Demery Strickland. I love the routine, and she’s all class and elegance, and fast, but they didn’t do so well which is a mystery to me).
2nd Austin Murray and Christa Martin
1st Trey Ellington (the brother of Tori-with-the-hair) and Taletha (she’s phenomenol)


Novice Strictly
3rd Jorge and Sarah (Houston folks – don’t know either of them)
2nd James and Amanda Thompson (more Houston people, don’t know ’em)
1st Mark Shephard and Amy Carter (this girl cleaned UP this year – and – more importantly – she took us to the grocery store in her Lexus to get soda’s)

Intermediate Strictly:
3rd Demery and Brianne Cline (the sweet tiny little thing from Tampa who, with Anderw, did their Juniors routine at the Open)
1st Clay and Katy Slater (who won stuff all weekend – she kept bursting into tears from happiness as she received her multiple jackets up on the stage)

Advanced Strictly:
3rd Jake and Rebecca
2nd Brian and Lisa Spivey
1st Trey (again) and Heather Smith (looooooove her, looooove her dancing)

Masters Strictly:
3rd Chip DiStefano and Janice Salmon (this is Chip, not her boyfriend who is Chips. What’s going on with this?)
2nd Heavy and Snowflake
1st Richard and Roxanne (Houston couple)
Michael Stephens and I placed 4th, just behind these couples, receiving one 1 and one 2 from the judges – so that’s pretty good.

Pro Strictly:
3rd Brent and Kellese
2nd Jason Barnes and Katrina
1st Benji and Deborah – and omgawd what a show. Hilarious, wildly creative, wildly near-unbelievable following on Deborah’s part ( I told Benji Deborah can follow anyone, ANYONE, even you for gawd’s sakes, which cracked him up (thankfully – it didn’t come out sounding as much like a compliment as it had sounded in my head before I blurted it out).

Some other random scores from the judges’ sheets after the event (and I have others if you’re interested):
Haider and Lara did a Strictly and placed 6th out of 15 (not bad!)
Robin and James H did an Intermediate Strictly and placed not so good.
Orion placed 8th (out of 16) in Advanced JJ
Rebecca and Trent Haynes (the wonderful slow-whip dancer, teacher in Houston, married to the wonderful Michelle Haynes (who, with Joel Gorman, did a sweet, romantic, graceful Rising Star routine (Mario and Angel’s work) in a dress and heels) placed 10th in Advanced JJ
Oscar and Yuna placed 14th
Dana with Kyle Snow placed 15th out of 16.

By the way, yesterday I wrote that Marion had announced    “THE Best Novice Male Dancer in The Nation is …… ROB JACKSON!!”.

But I have no idea who Marion is. Whoever she is she probably didn’t announce that.

What I meant to say is that MARIO made the announcement, however there is a little war going on between me and my spell checker, which waits till I’m ignoring it and then sneaks the letter “n” onto what I wrote because, well, because it has issues. Passive-aggressive thing going on, or it has a problem with Cubans.

So this was a fun event. Rob says he had even MORE fun in Boston, even with all his winning in Houston this weekend.  What was really fun about Boston was that a whole crowd of us went up up together so what a total blast hanging out at a comp with all our friends – and so supportive to get out there and know you have your whole crew screaming for you.

But GB and I thought this year’s Houston was a fun comp. We’ll definitely go back next year – I think everyone will want to (if they can stand Texas. We happen to love Texas and Texans even if they do have to do everyting their own damn way. They’re so rambunctious! And the Houston community is rockin – vibrant and well-trained,)

Cher says the number of registered competitors here was off the charts – blindsided them completely. Like everyone, she worried how the economy going to affect the circuit this year, and she says ballroom registrations were in fact down from last year. But she says what they were absolutely not expecting was this surprise flood of competition registrations, which by themselves ended up increasing the total numbers from last year. That might explain why GB and I liked the event so much, and why the high level of energy and excitement. Because at this comp everyone was there to compete rather than just watch.

They (meaning Cher, Angel, and Mario) kept the schedule jam-packed, since there were four tours having to run all their competitions in one weekend. So not a lot of down time, comps going on into the night. But Cher runs a tight ship. I love her style – itty bitty tiny thing with a BIG mouth and a whip (Cher is Kellese’s mother). She does not mess around. Last year there were loooong lines at the registration desk and she said no way, unacceptable, dun’t matter what it costs – I’m not makin’ dancers stand in lines at my event.  So this year she used Brian’s full package (Event Express) and there wasn’t even a single-person-wait at the registration desk. You arrived at the hotel and could get banded – and your bibs – right there in the lobby before even going up to your room. And even with all the competitions and the huge fleld for Novice things were run on time, or at least reasonably on time.She’s great. She’s tough, full of heart, laughs at everything, salty-mouthed (even on the mike for closing ceremonies – which were actually fun to listen to – between her, Angel and Mario no moment is without a joke); and she’s an elegant, subtle, smooth dancer – all class.

As of last night she didn’t know yet how they’ve done financially this year, but she’s hoping it will beat last year’s profit of $82.

Oh yeah and I’ve got, hmmmm. Lesseee. This time maybe, ohhhh, a million pictures. Up from my 500 I took in Boston. Which I will post on Facebook soon’s I can. Every picture is so great, another great picture of another great friend, so I can’t bring myself to ever delete any, which is becoming a little tiny problem.

Love Liza


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