Atlanta 2010 Update #2

Opening Ceremonies!

Funny funny Cooter Douglas with a southern accent thickern’ grits. Says he’s on Facebook now, even friends with John Festa, who told him he can now finally understand what Cooter’s saying as long as he’s typing and not talking. Then Grace on the other mic, telling us she’s been dancing since 1989 (Cooter said “yeah by that time I’d already been arrested that many times”); followed by a video of Charlie and Jackie from 1981, the year they started dancing.

That brought Charlie and Jackie onto the floor to say some words about how this weekend is Grand Nationals 16th year, they’re thinking about how they started, how they got here, all that’s happened these past 16 years. (By the way, all this buildup is because there will probably be an announcement made on Sunday that this will be Charlie and Jackie’s final year doing this – at least this is what we’ve been hearing discussed for months now.) They told a story about the first year of the event (1995) and this kid from Texas for whom they’d done a favor (travelled down to his studio to teach) so they asked him to come dance at Grand Nationals. Then they showed us the video of this kid’s routine. And there were Mario and Carmen in their astounding “Shake Your Groove Thing” which of course went on to win at the Open that year.

And that brought Mario on as MC for the rest of the night. Mario said “This weekend is bittersweet. How many memories! The Savoys, Angel’s routine with Maria Torres, Vivian patting David on the head at the end of their cabaret routine, Dewey, Truman …”

So here was tonight’s program:

First Carolina Classic (eight shag couples doing strictly’s – Sam West! Sam West is, for me, simply an amazement – his grace!).

Then Juniors: Andrew and Jennifer Willis (same routine – What You Got) (Breaking News: Brenda Willis is PREGNANT WITH THEIR 12th CHILD!! AND THEY ARE ALL HAPPY, CALM, LOVING, WELL-BEHAVED, RESPECTFUL, CREATIVE, AND BEAUTIFUL! I’m not just making up adjectives, they really ARE these things. And so is Brenda! It’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen.); Randy and Tia (Pretty Young Thing); Jason and Chase (an adorable shag couple, to Beggin’ – and they are FAST!); Trey and Tori (same great routine (“Gone” and “Get Your Money”) but new costumes, black-and-silver, these two are ridiculously beautiful); Dean and Alexandra to Tina Turner’s Rolling Down The River, craaaazy riduculous crazy blazin stupid fast just frenetic jumping flying so many tricks and lifts and cartwheels and aughghghgh … this is adorable little Alexandra Grunwald who did that dirty-faced floppy rag-doll cabaret routine at the Open, the routine that made me finally give up trying to take pictures I was sobbing so hard in joy and amazement); Brennar and Torri – what can a person say about these two? And this incredible routine? It is SO fast, so clean, so lovely, so beautifully choreographed, perfectly danced, it’s just perfect that’s all there is to it; Cody and Jessica (adorable shag couple from South Carolina dancing to Duffy’s Mercy); and Justin and Tiara (Bleeding Love and Black and Gold).

And then! Showcase!!

Judges were Festa, Arjay, Sylvia, Jessica, Jack, and Annie (she’s chief judge for the weekend.)

Started off with Sebastien and Elsa, here from France to compete in showcase only to discover that Elsa is too young! So instead of competing they opened up the division with a demo (I’m No Superman) – so GOOD!

Then the six Showcase couples: Benji and Kellese, Barry and Patty (Barry Jones! I haven’t seen Barry do a routine since – wow, I don’t even know, the 90’s I think? what a TRIP!); TJ and Wendy Zito; Robert and Nicola; Greg and Lemery; and Cody and Tracey.

Festa was the early DJ (just as we were leaving the ballroom) – I think Victor (who DJ’d last night – fantastic music) is scheduled for later on tonight.

MUCH more to tell.  I’ll try to write more tomorrow morning. Tomorrow is JJ’s, lots of other stuff, and then …. CLASSIC AUGHGHGHGHGH!!!

Love Liza

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