MadJam 2013 Update #8

11,000 u-stream viewers watched MadJam on Sunday afternoon! From every continent, all around the world!


Chris and Nicole, “A-W-E-S-O-M-E” (Jason Mraz) So fast, so funny, so fast, so playful, so fast, so witty, and so FAST! I could watch this over and over with a big grin on my face. Brilliant choreography, gorgeous execution. Here they are debuting this year’s winner at the Open.

2nd Josh and Anyssa, “Good Feeling” (Busta Rhymes remix) Superstars on the rise, placing in every jack and jill and strictly they enter, and winning the Juniors division, with this routine, last October at Boogie. Here they are earlier this year at ACC.

3rd Kyler and Whitney Brown, “Dock of The Bay” (Otis Redding) and “Sittin’ On The Boatdock” (Fatback Deluxe) west coast and shag! Their quick feet! Their lines! Her spins are off the chain (I heard a bunch of leaders laughing about trying to do pirouette finger-spins with her an their hand and arm not being able to keep up the speed of her turns – she’s CRAZY fast! Whitney’s got the “it” factor – watch out world, she’s here. Oh and yes, if you were wondering she is one of TWO gifted daughters of beautiful, beloved Gina Amato Brown – both daughters clearly inherited their mother’s talent. The next few years are going to be fun, watching these two! Here’s the routine at ACC earlier this year.

4th Akil and Alexis, “Shake It Up” (Selena Gomez) and speaking of beautiful daughters inheriting their parents’ talent – Alexis (and younger sister Taylor) are the lucky inheritors of Dean and Dawn Garrish’s “entertainer genes” born to perform, to be happiest in a crowd, to be so attractive there should be a law against you, and to go through life making people laugh. Alexis has her mother’s face and expressions, her dad’s height, and her own sense of grace and balletic movement. Her partner Akil has been an audience favorite in routines as well as social-dance competitions from the day that he smiled through the front doors of our Cherry Hill dance one Friday night only a few years ago. When Akil walks through a door his smile enters first,  the rest of his body following after. Here they are last October.


1. Lindsey Nastos wowing the audience (and receiving a standing ovation) with her gorgeous heart-rending modern piece: “Give Me Love” (Ed Sheeran)  Here is this beautiful creation.

2. Marya Wallace and Taje Lowe, “Fireball” (Willow Smith) in hot-pink ruffle-skirts, neon-striped knee-socks over black leggings, sparkly Chuck Taylors, and braids – ridiculously adorable sweet little girls hip-hopping and bouncing all over the stage like matching candy-covered cupcakes. Watch them here.

3. Kurt and Heather “Close Your Eyes” (James Taylor) with their lovely, graceful, sweet, perfectly choreographed Nightclub Two-Step. So nice to see Kurt bring his Country background and Heather her lifetime in ballet to the west coast competition floor. Gorgeous couple. Here they are.


What a blast this division was! Like a shot of 5-Hour-Energy-Drink coming just at the right time at the tail-end of the weekend.

1. Role Play in lime green, neon purple, and black, in checkerboard and diagonal stripes, “Do You Remember” (Pitbull and Glee), everybody leading and following, boys and girls and purples and greens all morphing in and out and amongst each other in beautiful shapes like a colony of amoebas oozing across a slide in biology class.

2. Capital Swing in black and gold animal prints, “Dinner At The Sugarbush” (Brent Lewis) (a piece of music so brilliant for a team routine – huge credit to Dawn for finding and choosing this), thumpy, “call-and-response” style choreography filled with jokes, wit, attitude, and boatloads of “Oh yeah? Watch THIS!” moments. Great routine.

3. Love To Dance in black and shiny metallic blue, a smooth and sexy DC hand-dance team, to Michael Jackson’s “Come Together” and “Leave Me Alone.”

4. DC Swing, “Play That Funky Music” (Wild Cherry) in which they did the “sprinkler” and got a roar, whistles, and a spontaneous standing ovation from the crowd, who never sat down again after this. These guys are not old but they *played* old – selling it as if they were a bunch of old geezers funking it up ghetto-style – pretty hilarious. Fun routine!

5. Swinging In The Rain (from San Diego – Arjay and Katie , in neon green and hot-pink, tops, wristbands, and ties to 80’s classics “Push It,” “Bust A Move,” “Sweet Dreams” and “Livin’ On A Prayer” – high-spirited and fabulous! The audience went crazy insane, the French contingent actually jumping up and down and yelling to the beat in unison from start to finish. You couldn’t sit still for this – so much fun!

MadJam was great this year. We live here so we’ve been every year, and have watched it grow from very small to pretty daggone big. Not sure what the final numbers were this year but it was big. Too big for the ballroom, really – the floor was fine but seating was difficult.  I’m still hearing comments about how great the floor was – anyone who competed on it this year loved the backdrop, the freaky-great spotlighting, and the amazing energy created by allowing audience members to sit on the floor for routine and spotlight divisions.

However. We also heard a lot of griping that sitting on the floor you weren’t able to see a thing if you’re a short person or had too many rows sitting in front of you.  And that there was nowhere to sit at all if you wanted an actual chair.  Seats on either side of the ballroom were completely obstructed by the crowds of competitors and staff lining up there  – these seats ended up empty for much of the event.  Seats at the front of the ballroom were few and were appropriated and “marked” (like cat-spray) early in the event. Much of the weekend was standing-room only which doesn’t work for everybody.

Venues for our events are hard to find, especially as our dance gains in international popularity and the comps get bigger. This hotel may be the best that’s available in DC.

An event director is lucky if he lives in a city with

  • a convention center
  • near an airport
  • which is affordable
  • with a gigantic ballroom
  • with wiring, structures, and codes to allow for stage and spot lighting, screens, streaming
  • great guest rooms
  • an all-hours affordable buffet
  • friendly hotel staff
  • who can accommodate our weird sleeping/eating/sweating patterns

Event directors try so hard to get it right, and it’s not easy. I’m glad they do what they do so the rest of us have places all over the world where we can go play for four days and nights.

Five cases of laryngitis during MadJam! Total laryngitis, too, these folks could only whisper.  People said it was a virus but I don’t think so. I think it was five cases of Yelling-Your-Head-Off cheering for friends.

And a lot of laughing.

What a fun weekend!


2 responses to “MadJam 2013 Update #8

  1. Pingback: Atlanta 2013 – Update #5 | Liza's Updates·

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