US Open 2011 Update #4

We had planned to make it to the hotel in time for Ben Morris’ Wednesday night kick-off workshop but alas! Flight delays! We missed it daggnabbit.  We figured well, guess we wouldn’t be missing much in the way of social dancing since last year the hotel was pretty quiet on Wednesday night. Not this year! By Wednesday late afternoon there were already dancers everywhere, teams in costumes and makeup running formations in the lobby, couples working out moves in every alcove. By Wednesday the mood had already swung into full High Drama, you could already get electrocuted just walking down the hall. Your clothes would catch on fire every time you passed the ballroom.

Thursday night was Thanksgiving. We had a nice Thanksgiving. A little rushed. Maybe more than a little rushed. Actually it was so rushed a person might not digest their food properly. If they had eaten anything, that is. We had a lovely invitation to join a good friend for Thanksgiving dinner but instead spent Thursday night tearing through the streets of L.A. in a sweaty panic, free-fallin’ west down Ventura Boulevard, rushing up to our friend’s house yelling HelloGoodbye!, a frantic pivot turn and racing right back to the hotel so as not be late for the Golden Ticket Tour.  At 2am, when all the rest of the United States of America were patting bellies stuffed with mashed potatoes, we realized we were ravenously famished.

We heard that a certain Englishman whom we all know but shall not mention his name, who was also invited to our friend’s house for dinner, that this Englishman walked into the house next door without knocking, the wrong house, and opened the door and walked right in and sat down at the dining room table, which was empty, yelling “Hello! Where’s the food?! Hello! Anyone here?” until the surprised strangers came running down the stairs to explain that he was at the wrong address.

Random tidbit that doesn’t have to do with anything: Rebecca Ludwick was demonstrating how cool her Android version of Sirius is and said into the microphone “I love you.” The phone went completely whacko, scrolling  “Do you know I LOVE YOU? I LOVE YOU? I LOVE YOU? ILOVEYOU?ILOVEYOU?ILOVEYOU?ILOVEYOU?ILOVEYOU?ILOVEYOU?ILOVEYOU?ILOVEYOU?ILOVEYOU?ILOVEYOU?ILOVEYOU?ILOVEYOU?   and then crashed. I know some people like that.

Another random tidbit that doesn’t have to do with anything: Many people came up to introduce themselves to me this weekend. It was very flattering! They would shake my hand, say “Nice to meet you,” and “Please don’t put that on Facebook.”

So let’s see. After Thursday was … FRIDAY! With Showcase of course, which I’ve told you about. But did I tell you yet about the Jack and Jill’s? They were really fun! I guess that’s all I have to say about the Jack and Jill’s.

Then Strictly’s (the proper spelling of which I have been corrected for (for which I have been corrected? For?) several times now and I’m sorry I refuse to leave out the apostrophes for the word “Strictly’s” or the word “Pro’s.” Those words are weird without apostrophes.) were also fun! Three heats of about ten couples each. Such great dancers! The best in the world!

First Heat:
Jordan and Sarah
Nick King and Jill Dumarco
Kris Swearingen and Tiffany Lubran
Michael O’Connor and Connie Gauthier
Brennar and Rutz
Chuck and Tessa
Scott Stuart and Alyssa
Stephen White and Lara Deni
Eddie Valdez and Torri

Three songs (Beth was the DJ): Moves Like Jagger, More Than Words, and Honky Tonk something-or-other blues something

Second Heat:
Jesse Vos and Tara
Ben Morris and Stacy Chiang
Benji and Brandi
Luis and Mackenzie
Parker and Katrina
Steve Hunt and Kara
Annmarie and Ben Hooten
Melina and Michael Kielbasa
Mr. and Mrs. Doug and Lori Rousar
Courtney and Pete

… and their songs: Give Me Everything, Free Fallin’, and One Scotch One Bourbon One Beer

Third Heat:
Ryan and Katrina Ostrenski
Geoff Nighswonger and Dawne
Sean and Katie
Rob Jackson and Tori Ellington
Greg and Cameo
Kyle and Tatiana
Jason Wayne and Laureen
Robert Royston and Yenni
Mr. and Mrs. Kyle and Amy Patel

… and THEIR songs … Only Girl In The World, Breaking Me, Have You Heard The News

And then US Open 2011 Opening Ceremonies! I love this, I just love it! Those huge flags carried around the floor! The parade! The kids – their beaming faces! How happy and proud everyone is to be part of it all! There on the floor are the competitors we’ve watched all year long who’ve come in from around the country and the world, every routine couple, every division, every team, every cabaret act, every NASDE event director, the emcees, the DJ’s, the judges … all standing together on the floor, waving flags!  What a sight.

By now I’m sure you’ve seen results but just in case you haven’t here are Friday’s winners:


1st Place   Benji and Torri
2nd   Myles and Tessa
3rd   Lionel and Amandine
4th   Ronnie and Laureen
5th   Greg and Lemery
6th   Robert and Nicola
7th   Stephen and Sabrina
8th   Rob and Connie
9th   Ben and Rebecca
10th JB and Sara
11th Eddie and Elise
12th Sebastien and Chloe
13th Luis and Jennifer
14th Doug and Annmarie

There were a number of penalties and violations for various infractions of rules. I wasn’t able to get any of these recorded (which might have been educational) but I can say that there was a definite calm in the scoring room; a respectful, cooperative feeling – peaceful, almost. Phil Adams (Competition Director) was there to answer every question directly and knowledgeably. I was hurrying off to dinner (our friends were about to pass out from low blood sugar) so didn’t pay attention to who or what but it looked to me that although some couples were surprised or disappointed to discover that they’d lost points, still no one seemed to feel they’d been treated unjustly. I felt a little sorry for some of our French couples who seemed confused and had to find translators to understand nuances of interpretations of the rules of which, it seemed, they had been unaware. All in all, though – and considering the hoopla surrounding Showcase in the weeks leading up to this year’s Open – the behavior of everyone involved was completely civilized.

I think.


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