Chicago 2013 Update #2

Want to see the ballroom? Watch the live stream all weekend! Click here for Thumbs Up Video!

Dim, sexy red lighting for late-nite dancing in the ballroom! It’s a trend! It’s a meme! We’re getting great moody lighting at more and more events. Really ads trancey dramatic atmosphere as the night goes into the wee hours.

Great Rising Star tonight! LOVE this division! How terrific to see new couples put routines on the floor for the first time! Cool new ideas, new personalities being revealed through dance, new music choices, new history being made, new drama … what a great place for new west coast dancers to get their feet wet.

I think that here at this event the division is called “Rising Star Classic,” which I think means you can’t test out your showcase skills if that’s the division you’re aiming for. I think a Rising Star division should include both Classic and Showcase so that any new couple thinking of competing will know there’ll be a division for them.

Seven Rising Star couples tonight:

1. Levi and Melissa, “Arms,” Just saw them dance this last weekend, giggling throughout their performance which was delightful.  No giggling tonight though which made them look much more powerful, bold and confident.

2. John Elms and Lori Rousar, “Save The World” (by Swedish House Mafia.) Brand new! Great dancing! Oh and by the way last night Lori got her suitcase stuck in the escalator (the long, open, golden escalator which takes you from the front door up to the lobby) causing her to do a back flip-roll over her suitcase tumbling all the way back down to the bottom. She wasn’t hurt at all. It sounds scary but I’ve now heard at least ten different people tell the story (she had a large audience) and everyone says it was one of the funniest things they’ve seen in a while.

3. Chris and Amy, “Hazy,” now the third time we’ve seen this and it just gets better and better. Amy is so elegant!

4. Scott and Tatiana,  “I Want You Back,” – just saw this one, too, last weekend.

5. The Patels – Kyle and Aimy – Sexy And I Know It” (by Noah) – new (to us, at least) – Kyle without the GINORMOUS bushy black santa-claus beard he was sporting last weekend and Amy cute as a button with that infectious smile that makes you want to laugh, both of them in bad-ass black with laces/cut-outs or some embellishment suggesting bikers and bondage which on these two is particularly funny and adorable.

6. Hieu and Natalie, “Unfold” (by Jason Mraz) – this we saw in – okay where did we see this everything is a blur – where am I right now oh yeah Chicago okay we saw this at Spotlight, New Year’s Eve. Beautiful dancing. Beautiful music, beautiful choreography, beautiful dancing.

7. Chip DiStefano and Michelle Haynes, “Foxy Lady” (Alain Clark) – Michelle is one of our favorite people. So are Chip (and Janice, his wife) as a matter of fact. Fun, funny people, and it shows in their dancing – full of spirit.


1. Rob and Connie, “I Feel Good” (James Brown) – descriptions here and here.

2. Braden O’Dell and Lila Ferguson (from Denver) to “Beauty and The Beast” (Justin Bieber) – brand new! first time on the floor! and what a supportive audience. And what a great routine! She lifts HIM at one point, in a kind of slow-mo leveraged balancing planking thing for which they got a rousing ovation. This was prettttttty daggone great for a brand new couple with a brand new routine, first time out.

3. Hareesh Kapoor and Angela Baker to “Pretty Little Heart” (Robin Thicke) – also brand new, first time on the floor, fun routine.

4. Myles and Tessa who NAILED it! Nailed the trick (they didn’t last weekend at MadJam – ugh hate it when they fall! And Tessa is fearless – brave and determined and fearless – their tricks are scary great, scary dangerous, and it feels like we’ve seen Tessa fall more than a few times at this point. But does it stop her? No way. She’s inspiring.) And they nailed his pirouette at the end, spinning himself on one leg while holding her above his head. Sheesh. This routine is really beautiful. Great song, great choreography.

5. Jason and Sophy! (to “Starships”) Back on the floor again after two pregnancies, two births and two BEAUTIFUL little daughters. Sophy looking more chic and stylish than ever before. Talk about inspiration! Or fearless! Holy cow. Sophy is tough as nails, immune to pain, ferocious, and absolutely clear-minded and unambiguous about what matters in life.

6. Greg and Lemery, with their stunning, emotional, clean, quiet, theatrical, heartfelt piece – “Your Eyes.” It’s fun sitting with people seeing this routine for the first time – they shake their heads at a loss for words, wipe their eyes, shake their heads some more.

7. And finally the beloved Roystons with “Mercy,” Nicola so sexy in her bustier, ruffly short-shorts, boots and above-the-knee socks.


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