Tampa 2011 Update #1

We’re in Tampa! Having a buh-last so far!

Just finished the Allstar/Pro Strictly:
– Brennar and Alyssa (HILARIOUS dancing, hilarious creative insanity. Brennar was on tonight, all night, his best funniest most outrageous self, red-faced, dripping with sweat, not missing a single instant to do something beautiful, witty, and almost always hysterically funny.)
– John Lindo and Jessica
– Tiffany Lubran and Jason Marker
– Luis and Lemery
– Greg Scott and Jennifer Pasetes
– Rebecca and Bryan Jordan
– Doug Rousar and Anne Marie Marker
– Gina Amato-Brown and Christopher Hussey
– Robert Royston and Jill Dumarco
– Patti Jobst and Stephen White
– Patty Vo and Jason Miklic (Jason and Sophy are here with both girls! Jasmine and their beautiful new baby, Jade. Such cute names for such cute beautiful baby girls.)

Just before that, the Allstar/Pro Jack and Jill prelims – lotta good dancers here this weekend so this was a fun JJ. I didn’t count so I’m guessing maybe 30 couples.

And before that: Showcase! Way, way cool. Nine couples:

1. Ben Hooten and Rebecca – First time on the floor and WOW! What a great routine! I LOVE it! Wait till you see – it is FIERCE! Got some pictures, but 30 seconds in I said “forget it – I wanna watch this, not take pictures.” So I have a few of the very beginning only. (There’ll be video (Bobby Caudill is the videographer) and there were other cameras snapping. And the Open is in two weeks so there’ll be plenty of pictures there too. But I’ll post my few.) Their costumes are FAB – slashes of yellow, black, and silver. Very futura techno-ish – to “Little Bad Girl” (Dave Guetta, Taio Cruz and Ludacris). They missed one lift. Rats. But first time on the floor, so big whoop.

2. Dave Weiss and Crystal Auclair – in elegant black, white and silver, to Broken Strings (James Morrison and Nelly Furtado).

3. The Roystons – their wonderful new(ish) routine to Lady Gaga’s acoustic version of Edge of Glory, Nicola stunning in her tiny little red top with ruffly pieces flying in a whirl around her.

4. Rob and Connie – Same great routine (Drops of Jupiter) they’ve been working all year … and AUGHGHGHGH they messed up in the middle! and never really recovered after that. These are our good friends. We hate to see this happen. But it happens!

5. Sheven Kekoolani and Agnieszka Maslanka (Such. Great. NAMES!) – new routine (at least to us, maybe to everyone, might have been their first time on the floor) and really fun. They danced to Mission Impossible, dressed in bank-robber khaki pants and black turtlenecks. Serious faces. Agnieszka (“Agnes” in English, but who wants to use that when her real name is so terrific?) has HUGE blue eyes and man does she use them, whirling around to stare threatingly at you.  No wasted moments – two and a half minutes of scary slasher acrobatics and sudden changes in tempo, including a back-drop in slo-mo (shades of Matrix) where she oozes all the way down to his ankle and then gets tossed up again.

6. Luis and Jennifer – to If Only You Believe – last time we saw this was at Swing Fling (their first time on the floor) and wow, what a difference two months makes! Jennifer looks like a different dancer! Relaxed, confident, toes pointed, hands in the right place, no stiffness, pretty lines, lifts looked effortless … beautifully done! No mistakes that I noticed.

7. Stephen White and Sabrina Paxman – same great routine we’ve seen several times now, danced powerfully and cleanly.

8. Greg and Lemery – Same gorgeous, powerful routine they’ve been working (and taking first or second around the country) for a year now (Teenage Dream.) Danced *almost* flawlessly (Greg stumbled for one nanosecond on the first lift.)

9. JB and Sarah Krezinski – Saw this at VIP – another good routine which has gotten WAY cleaner and more powerful.

Benji and Torri did not dance – they’re both here so I’m not sure why.

The evening started with prayers and a tribute (by a local pastor) for Veteran’s Day. Then Phil told us about a charity he’s become involved in, “Nourish The Children,” put a hat in the middle of the floor, and asked us to make donations ($1,200 went into the hat!). This was followed by two exhibitions: first the Willis clan performed a re-enactment of Titanic (the Willis’ are being filmed this weekend for an upcoming reality show about them – they’ve already done the first half and this weekend they’ll finish shooting. They say it’s weird having cameras follow them around while being asked to act normal, as if there weren’t a crew of people walking backwards in front of them holding a humongous lens 6″ from their face and other people dangling microphones over their heads. Then a second exhibition by Mike Glasgow and Kristin Wenger (their Sophisticated routine). And then 13 Novice Pro-Am routines! (Rick Weston, Danielle Blouin, Robert Royston, Matt Auclair, Stephen White … am I forgetting any pro’s? … oh! and Brennar and his student Chase who were so terrific they got a standing ovation (so fast! such clever choreography! such a FUN routine! and they put it together from scratch, on a whim, three hours earlier!), and three Intermediate/Advanced Pro-Am routines.

What a fun night!

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