MadJam 2012 Update #7

Jack and Jills!  Saturday morning! (“morning” as in 1-4pm Saturday afternoon)

Bill Cameron on the mic; Anthony DeRosa DJing

Judges: Tybaldt, Hazel, Arjay, Robin Smith, Erik Novoa, Taletha, Doug, Myles, Annmarie, Patty Vo, and Chief Judge Dawn

72 girls in Newcomer prelims!

100 girls (74 guys) in Novice prelims!

65 girls in Intermediate prelims!

Had to be out of the ballroom for Juniors, Advanced and Allstar prelims but I think I heard Juniors 11 guys 12 girls; Allstar 12 girls 15 guys; and Advanced maybe went right to finals? Correct me if I’m wrong …

In any case Bill told us there were a total of 770 Jack and Jill prelim competitors Saturday morning! That means that Bill pronounced 770 names. At least once. Wow, that’s a lot of pronouncing.

I did catch Champions Prelims (Judges: Barry Jones, John Festa, Bill Cameron (doubling as judge and emcee), and Dawn CJ):


Tammy Brown
Patty Vo
Deborah Szekely
Debbie Ramsey
Melissa Rutz
Stephanie McHenry


Ben McHenry
Ben Morris
Michael Kielbasa
Robert Royston
Greg Scott
Sean McKeever
Robn Smith
Gary Jobst
Dean Garrish
Kevin Fitzhugh
Jason Barnes
Robert Cordoba

Champion Finals were later that night and wow what a show! So much mind-blowing dancing! Between Classic, Showcase, Juniors, Rising Star – and then finally the Champions Jack and Jill – Saturday night was SO much fun!

So Champion Finals were danced spotlight, of course, two songs each, one slow contemporary and one fast blues.

First up: Brent and Torri (I must mention Torri’s top: thin silk collared shirt/vest kind of a thing, almost backless, mint green with faint burgundy pin-stripes, which she wore with a wide black patent-leather belt. So cute! Loving her sense of style.) First song “She Ain’t You,” second “Shakin’ The Shack” – beach music! For two champion Shaggers! Brent slid down to the floor in one of those one-leg-extended drops and got stuck down there waving for Torri to please pull him back up. Priceless.

Parker and Tessa, “Work Out” (J. Cole) and “Funky Mama” (Danny Gatton) – Parker did a back-bend so Tessa echoed with her own back-bend-drop-to the floor. And no one fell on top of anyone!

Kielbasa and Kellese, “It Girl” and “Baby Work Out.” “Put your hands on your hip, Let your back-bone slip, Work out! Ahhhhh….”  Right-side-pass Michael switches hands, looks like he winds her up in a prep for a spinning death-drop, he drops down to one knee so *she*drops down (while being un-torqued,) and BAM on the beat she hits the floor, flat on her back, and BAM on the beat they’re both up again, Kellese finishing by arching up in time to that “Ahhhhhh” at the end. For us sitting several feet away, on the floor, watching it unfold in real time, this was crazy great. Was it a series of “mistakes” and “quick saves” turning into more mistakes and quick saves?  Were they reading each other with some inkling of what each was envisioning? Who knows, who cares! It was dancing on the edge and it is thrilling to be allowed to witness Champions dancing on the edge, taking chances that might miss. It’s like watching Nik Wallenda cross Niagra Falls (which, by the way, he is planning to do later this year.)

My father was a great story-teller. I asked him once how he thought of these tales he’d tell and he said he didn’t know how it happened, he’d just open his mouth and a story would come out. He himself would want to hear what was going to happen next. Kellese reminds me of my father in that way – she gets on the floor and dancing just happens, free-spirited, un-programmed, of the moment, 100% right-brained intuitive dancing, as if it’s “channeled” through her. That wild hair! That gorgeous laugh! Kellese is an artistic soul if ever there was one.

Next Arjay and Melissa! (For those who don’t know: these two were partners – in dance and in life – for many years. They are very beloved in the community. And Arjay was just married, just last weekend!, which made their drawing each other even sweeter.) “How To Love” and “Wall To Wall.” I can’t find words to describe how superb these two dances were, only that I have already re-watched them 20 times or more, mesmerized at the quickness of their thinking, the sheer wit and focus which is apparent, and the extreme joy of dancing. Not to mention the quality of their movement.  Doesn’t get any better. I think everyone knew this couple  won. These two dances will be reviewed on youtube forever as an example of what brilliant lead-and-follow can look like.

Kyle and Deborah Szekely, “5:00 In The Morning” and “Junk In Your Trunk.” Kyle is SO creative, SO funny. And Deborah? She  can follow ANYTHING. Deborah makes anything funny even funnier, anything beautiful even beautifuller. She finishes things for her partners – great ideas, half-baked ideas – she improves and completes all of it. She’s ridiculous. So Kyle starts off sexy Deborah makes it sexier and the dance quickly becomes naughty. And then, because the lyrics say so, Kyle puts her in a side pass where she can’t see what he’s doing, pulls out his phone and starts texting somebody else. Too funny. Two more brilliant dances from these two. What a night!

So much more to tell … four more couples in this division … (Ben and Jen, Robert Royston and Sarah, Maxence and Hazel, and Brennar and Lemery.)

Next installment soon …


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