Spotlight New Year’s 2011 Update #1

Oh my GAWD what a great New Year’s! Four days of brilliant moments. SO MUCH  LAUGHING! My stomach will never recover.

I don’t know where to start! Maybe with Doug’s latest genius creation, yet another brilliant idea: a new division, the “Jack and Jill Classic” in which Allstars and Pros draw names on Friday night (even this part was funny – Doug held the small glass bowl containing the follower’s names and every leader who walked out there had some problem simply pulling a piece of paper out of a bowl. Either their hand got stuck, or they poked Doug in the face, Jason Barnes’ hand fishing around on Doug’s bald head instead of in the bowl, Brennar on tip-toes couldn’t reach the bowl because Doug purposely held it too high, Rob Jackson held his hand so high Doug on tip-toes couldn’t get the bowl up high enough. You get the picture – it was a hilarious hot mess) and also draw a CD with music pre-cut to 2:30; having two days, till Sunday night, to put together a new routine with this partner, to this music, using other people’s old routine costumes.

Two days to prepare in between participating in all the rest of the event’s activites, competing in other divisions, judging, teaching privates, performing, giving workshops, and social dancing. And in some cases taking care of young children too (Jason and Amy Barnes brought April, Jason and Sophy brought Jasmine and Jade, Matt and Crystal brought their little pistol Lilly.) But wait till you see videos of these routines. You will be floored. SO FUNNY! So brilliantly creative! Such great dancing!

Chris Van Houten and Chelsea Rodgers came out in black spangles and sequins, dancing a cool disco-ball swustle to “Missing You,” Chris lapsing every few bars into crazy head flinging reminiscent of the famous Will Ferrel/Jim Carrey/Chris Kattan “What is Love” skit. 20 seconds into the routine Sheven Kekoolani, in his trademark black and white argyle sweater,  walked just in front of the backdrop from one side of the floor to the other, not even trying to go unnoticed.  Seemed a little disrespectful. Chris and Chelsea had no idea Sheven had done this, they were up at the front of the floor dancing earnestly (with the exception of Chris’ momentary fits.) And then 15 seconds later Sheven appeared again, walking back the other way, stopping in the middle to do a b-boy airchair freeze and swaggering down to the other end to disappear behind the drapes. This seemed not only disrespectful but even rude, trying to steal the show like that. 20 seconds later Sheven appeared a third time but now accompanied by six other guys rolling onto the floor in formation: Hieu Le, Chris Moy, Jon Elms, Mineh Ishida, Han Doan, Yu Sun, and Sheven – it was an Asian Invasion!  Leap-frogging, b-boying right up into the middle of the floor, totally upstaging Chris and Chelsea and then running over to join them in a rioutous chorus line can-can finale. The whole thing carefully choreographed. Earlier in the day we had seen a roomful of Asian men and Chris Van Houten laughing together in secretive discussion but even we were taken by surprise. They got us! They got us good! Oh my goodness people were just dying laughing.

Jason Miklic and Erica Smith performed a FANTASTIC routine, put together in 45 minutes on Sunday afternoon, to “The Way I R.”

Brennar and Colleen (“Colleen MacDonald” as Doug mistakenly announced – oops – Colleen is now Mrs. Uspensky!) in a FANTASTIC rendition of “More” (the Jordan and Tatiana acoustic routine version, by Alex Vargas). (Brennar and Colleen spent the weekend drawing each other for every contest – if they didn’t know each other before they do now!)

Jason Marker and Crystal, “After The Love is Gone,” yet another total Matt spoof. Poor Matt Auclair! He spent his New Year’s being made fun of, relentlessly picked on from everyone in every direction. And if anyone knows how to make fun of Matt Auclair it is his beautiful wife Crystal Auclair who knows intimately his egg-beater, washing-machine, sprinkler – alllllll his moves, both on and off the dance floor. This routine was fall-down funny.

Lori Hayner and Niko Salgado (graciously stepping in for Sean McKeever who had drawn Lori on Friday night but wasn’t able to dance) to Danny Gatton’s “Funky Mamma.”

Arthur “MacDonald” as Doug announced it (formerly Uspensky) and Stephanie Risser, in mildly indecent matching sleeveless black vests (no shirt underneath) and tight black pants, to Apple Bottom Jeans … and … surprise! They re-cut the music to include two surprise segments of Justin Timberlake’s famous hilarious “D!(% in a Box” (

Carlos Garcia and Taletha to “Get Up Get Down Get Funk Get Loose” – with all sexy dips and drops done by Carlos instead of Taletha, carrying on the rest of the routine as if nothing unusual was happening. Hysterical.

Our favorite of the night, Jason Barnes and Courtney, to “Smack That.” Oh. My. Gawd. This was priceless. We had passed these two practicing in the lobby several times since Friday, each time stopping to ask how it was going and each time being shown what they’d come up with so far, telling us how hard it was to figure out interesting ways to “smack that” (the lyric repeats over and over.) It looked like the routine was coming along – we didn’t see anything particularly great or horrible, just a lot of competently danced west coast with a few pats on the butt. At one point – this must have been very late Saturday night (Sunday morning, I should say) – we passed them still practicing, by now looking particularly frazzled. They said they were so tired they’d become giddy and their choreography was devolving into complete smut, demonstrating some of the more recent ideas they’d come up with. Pretty bad is all I’ll say. Very funny, but pretty, pretty bad. It’s a wonder the hotel staff hadn’t called the cops.But somehow by Sunday night they pulled it together and the final product was ridiculously funny.

So picture this: Jason Barnes is a very big man – maybe 6′ 7″. Courtney curled her pretty blonde hair and wore a pretty yellow shirt under a black bustier. A very big man and a very pretty girl. So the routine starts with nice dancing, a few polite “smack that’s” and a lot of swing. And then Jason bends her over and WOP! smacks the living daylights out of her butt so hard it resounded at the far side of the ballroom – so hard she went flying forward, stumbling trying to catch her balance and not fall on her face.  One powerful loud-ass smack.  When she came up for air her face was bright red – she looked genuinely surprised, and the smile plastered on her face had a different character than before. It said “REALLY JASON? REALLY?!?”  As they continued dancing you could just feel her getting madder and madder. And then they did something between his legs to the lyric “tae bo” and he smacked her on the side of her head so hard he said afterwards he worried he’d knocked her out. She was getting beat up. So when it came to the end of the routine, the final “smack that” lyric, and Courtney wound up, hauled off, and smacked Jason so hard across his face and neck that she sent him reeling across the floor falling down flat on his back to the last note in the song,  when she finally did that you knew exactly why. She smacked the bejeezus out of him.  It was such an outrageous routine the audience just fell out of their chairs laughing, crying and laughing, jumping up cheering in a standing ovation that just wouldn’t be calmed down. One of the funniest things we’ve ever seen. We talked to them later (Jason had a huge red welt across his neck) and they said they practiced it by dancing to the point of the smacks, saying “and here you hit me,” agreeing that when it came to the actual performance they would truly clock each other. And they did. Sooooo funny. Unforgettably funny.

Jimmy Mulligan and Annemarie (looking like Elly May Clampett in pigtails and a checkered shirt), gorgeous dancing to “Beggin’.”

And last of all, to the wonderful “How Long Can A Fool Go Wrong,” Matt Auclair and Connie Gauthier, and poor poor Matt – even Matt himself was making fun of Matt Auclair this weekend. And poor Connie, too! Having to dance egg-beaters and washing machines with new and even more complicated speed-demon innovations, like going up and down up and down while rotating around each other WHILE doing a washing-machine! Hilarious, astonishing dancing.

These routines came on Sunday night at the end of a long, fabulous weekend. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed as much or as hard as I did this event. What a blast!

LOADS more to tell!


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