SwingDiego 2013 Update #10


1. The FLOOR again hahaha that damn floor.

So how big was the floor?


Bigger than Jim Minty! Bigger than Earl standing on top of Jim Minty! Gary Jobst on top of Earl! On top of Jim Minty!

Really big!

The floor was 6,000 square feet! That’s really big. I think.

The ballroom – not the floor, the ballroom – was 40,300 square feet!  That’s pretty big too, right?

The ceiling was 30 feet high! I think that’s really high.

God please let me have the zeros right this time! Because I am irking the daylights out of a whole lot of men who are writing me privately losing patience. No women – thank god – but a whole lot of men.

2. It was Parker who emceed that final hilarious Battle Of The Sexes Jack and Jill, Parker who made the funny comment about Tatiana risking her entire career to win. I hit “send” and then saw I got the emcee wrong oops. (Robert Royston emceed the entire event up until this final competition.)

3. Someone wrote to say “Not everybody is competitive! I’m not! I don’t dance to compete I dance cause it’s fun.”

So now I know there’s one person in the community after all who doesn’t like competing! Who knew?

Maybe being a competitor is in your genes. You either love it or you don’t. Genieboy and I both love it and we love being around other competitors – the fiercer, the more competitive, the better.

Genieboy tells me – from a life in football, rugby, basketball, soccer, baseball, and coaching – “The fiercer the competitor, the bigger the baby.” Big tough linemen = great big babies, he says.

Not that there’s any correlation with the dance world.

We do think it’s funny when the pros give us that speech, “Dancing is not about winning a Jack and Jill. Is that why you’re dancing? Then you’re dancing for the wrong reason! You shouldn’t be dancing to “win.” You should be dancing for the fun of it.”

Yeah, right.  Like you do.


I always want to say “But competing IS what makes it fun. Even funner than it already is.”

Because I love competing.

But I hate losing.

People come up to comfort me, they say “Don’t feel bad. It’s not about winning. It’s about having fun!”

No it’s not. It’s about winning. Go away I’m having a melt-down.

Okay, okay, I knowwww.  It’s about having fun, too.

But talk about being a baby! I HATE losing.

And yet. Given the opportunity I’ll jump right in and compete over and over again, no matter how many times I get smacked down.  And every time, without fail, I always think I stand a good chance of winning this time because … I dunno.

Because I’m deluded.

So yeah, maybe not everybody loves to compete – but some of us do.

I would guess there’d be a lot of “born competitors” in the arts. Sports, too, of course.

Also cancer research, Silicon Valley, and The Food Channel.

4. Genieboy says he never thought about stabbing me violently in my sleep. He thought about stabbing me violently, just not in my sleep.

Anything else need correction? If not, give me a chance – I’m not finished yet.


I’ve told you about Benji and Tatiana’s winning Strictly but the other ten were just as amazing. Couples had a choice of fast or slow

Royston to Louis: “Fast better be FAST, bro. Back in my day we danced to 145. Barefoot. In the snow. Uphill. Damn kids.”

1. Olivier and Virginie P; “Summer Jam” (R.I.O.) – with a splits by Ollie, later dropping her in a back-bend, and while holding her neck with one hand he steps over and straddles her, waving the other hand in the air cowboy rodeo style …

2. Ben and Melissa (Ben announcing himself as “The Ghetto Rabbi,” so Royston launches into “If I Were A Rich Man” from Fiddler On The Roof – I think Royston knows every word to every song in every Broadway show in history); dancing to “That’s The Way Love Goes” (Janet Jackson) – SO smooth and flowy, with a slide by Ben and a”spin – pop!” by Melissa to accent that first final “5, 6, 7,8” of the intro; and then to imitate Olivier Ben drops Melissa into a backbend, straddles her and waves his hand rodeo-style – all in slo-mo to suit the song. So funny, so smooth.

3. Jordan and Jessica; (Royston to Jessica, referring to the shirt mishap the previous day: “Now for the record, is everything all fastened and not coming off?”) to “Diamonds Adorn” (Travis Garland.) No jokes in this dance, just stunning, gorgeous, connected, expressive, beautiful movement, sailing across the floor. Is there a more beautiful couple?

Royston: “I have a very serious question to ask everyone here. Did ANYBODY AT ALL see Jordan?”

[shaking his head, looking around the room]

“He may as well have sat back there with my drink.”

“My favorite Jessica Cox story, and also the one that makes me the most angry. I have a three-year-old daughter who was playing on a luggage cart, in a hotel, with one hand.” [he demonstrates].

“And Jessica walks up and says, “No, no, Summer. Use both hands on the pole.”

[Royston imitates Jessica pole-dancing – his arms outstreched, back arched, butt swaying like Jessica Cox’s butt would sway if she had Royston’s butt]

“And Summer did! She did it right!” [and he shows us Summer’s version of pole-dancing]

Jessica from the sidelines “I would NEVER do that!!!”

Royston “Haha Yeah right. We just saw Jordan! He was the pole!” [demonstrating Jordan standing totally still like a pole, waving his hands all around, with a couple of familiar Jordan-esque movements in between]

I would LOVE to watch the Champions do impressions, moving caricatures, of each other. You know it would be fall-down hilarious because these people know each others’ movements well. Too well.

Maybe next year’s Champions Jack and Jill contest.

4. Benji and Tatiana with the astonishing, winning dance mentioned in the last Update.

Royston: “I know for a fact that NONE of that was planned, none of it choreographed. That’s a new genre. It’s called “Improvisational Cirque de Soleil.” They practice it by playing Drunk Twister.

Royston was ON all Saturday night. On top of everything. Taking care of the audience, taking care of the pros as they came out to dance and afterwards, moving the schedule along, taking care of Louis and Victor to make sure they were always ready with music.

And he was funny. So damn funny!

Early in the evening he asked that somebody bring him a vodka-and-tonic and after a few times asking nicely he resorted to begging until finally someone brought him a drink. He then spent the rest of the evening with the drink in one hand, taking a sip now and then as a beat in a joke, working the audience like a Vegas pro, looking, in his handsome suit, very much like Dean Martin.  Classy, a perfect look and feel for this event. Great emceeing.

5. Jesse Vos and Brandi; “Things Are Changin” (Gary Clark Jr.); another gorgeous, perfect dance – no jokes, no tricks, just smooth, lovely, subtle, understated, exquisite expression of the song. I can’t say that I watched Jesse much at all – Brandi is so compelling I can’t take my eyes away. I guess Jesse must have been good. Right?

Royston: “Ever get the feeling that Brandi could stand there for 32 counts and still dance more than you do?” [demonstrating a perfect Brandi Attitude.]

6. Kielbasa and DeLuca (Love the sound of that! More musical than “Michael and Jen” right?) to “Forest Gump” (Frank Ocean); sultry, funky, west coast at its sexiest. So fun to see these two dancing again – they were a great routine couple! And seem to feel the music in the same way.

7. Barry and Tessa, “Imma Go” (Taio Cruz); LOVE Barry dancing! Especially love Barry dancing FAST! And with Tessa! So fun! Between Barry’s total joy out there, and Tessa’s enthusiasm and fearless tricks, drops, and gorgeous musicality (including about 70,000 pirouettes holding one leg, head back) – with all this the dance was SO much fun to watch.

And funny! Of course funniest when the mistake happened which was either a mistake or very good comedy. Tessa did a splits in the middle and Barry, dancing backwards holding one of her hands, tried pulling her up out of the splits. Tried and TRIED to pull her up, tugging her along moving backwards and back some more with an intense expression on his face – but Tessa just didn’t get up. So we got to watch the funny thing that happens when one person is in a splits and the other person is straining to get them on their feet by dragging them across an entire 60,000 foot floor through 16 counts of music hahaha. Loved seeing both of them laughing at this, un-phased, having a blast out there. Great joyous dancing.

8. Michael Norris and Deborah, to “Valerie” (Amy Winehouse); Oh MAN was this fantastic. Crazy, crazy great footwork! Michael is a Shagger, and Deborah – who can follow ANYONE, doing anything – arguably the best follower ever in west coast history – followed Michael’s shag footwork, his bends, shapes, tempos, inflections – followed every tiniest nuance – with her west-coast footwork in a PERFECT match. It was stunning. They floated back and forth across the floor as if sliding on ice, their feet in constant motion. Also Michael has no kneecaps, as Royston pointed out. He’s astounding! The Shag single and double knee drops, the Shorty Georges – jaw-droppingly beautiful.

WE GET TO SEE SHAG NEXT WEEKEND! IN ATLANTA! AT GRAND NATIONALS! AUGHGHGH CAN’T WAIT! If you haven’t seen the Shag juniors community you’ve been missing something terrific. Shag kids don’t have bones in their legs – they don’t actually have legs – just empty trousers that can fold down on top of themselves and unfold back up again. With motorized feet down at the bottom.

9. Kyle and Torri, “Novacane” (Frank Ocean); Torri had lost her voice and Kyle said “It’s cause she smoked a pack of Marlboros” which was the opening for Royston to begin doing “Torri-As-Slimy-Cigar-Smoking-Mafia-Don” (or Bluto from old Popeye cartoons) which he did – hilarious! – for the rest of the event. Especially hilarious because Torri is so adorable, so the opposite of Bluto.

Torri is another one I can’t take my eyes off of – and so is Kyle – so the two of them out there, the level of skill, talent, precision, creativity, wit – no words, really – this was just west coast at its finest, yet again. They are just so damn good these two! As good as it gets. I happen to love this song, too. I was mesmerized.

10. Maxim and Virginie Grondin; “Madness” (Muse)

(Maxim asked for a slow song “Because I’m old.”

Royston: “Wait did you just say you’re OLD? Yeah, you’re old.


“He doesn’t know what the means.”)

What an entertainer Maxim is! Those big bright eyes having a conversation with you, that smile always just about to happen, his calm, happy presence on the floor. And beautiful tall Virginie with her head whips, hip accents, hitting everything – every tiniest note in the music – with some body part even if just a finger.

They did the pull-me-up-out-of-a-splits thing, too, only it was Virginie pulling Maxim this time, and it worked better than it had worked for Barry and Tessa. So it was nice – but not as funny.

We like seeing the pros mess up. It’s funny! It’s like when our kids and grandkids see us make mistakes and die laughing – knee-slapping, belly-clenching guffaws, retelling the story 1,000 times so they can laugh again and again. It’s fun to see that even the Big Guys can make mistakes.

11. Maxence and Sarah, “Shoop” (Salt-N-Peppa); The whole audience weaves in their chairs when this song comes on. And who better to do funky Old Skool than Sarah – the funkiest dancer around! Saturday night she was looking particularly beautiful – sleek and classy in all black with the most adorable new haircut. Lovely, smooth, sexy, grooving dancing to a great classic.

And the Final All-Skate to a great song – Pitbull’s “Pause” (I love everything Pitbull, but that’s just me. Certain of my friends – not naming names you know who you are – don’t like Pitbull or anything remotely like Pitbull or written in the same century as Pitbull or any song containing the words “pit” or “bull.”) which Louis started with the intro to “Roadrunner” (Can’t tell you how many times we danced to THAT song – ugh – allll through the late 80’s and 90’s. Glad we don’t anymore. It gets old fast. Like after 30 seconds into the first time you hear it.)

And that was the STUPENDOUS Champions’ Strictly. What a show!

For you hometown DJ’s and competitors, here are a few more of the contest songs played by the GREAT DJ’s of the weekend, Louis, Victor, and Kelly Faust:

Open SS Finals:
“S&M” (acoustic version – Rihanna)
“Moves Like Jagger” (Maroon 5)
“Gonna Move Across The River” by I forget who
“Seven Nation Army” (Mady Finley)
“Don’t Wanna Go Home” (Jason DeRulo)
“Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough” (Michael Jackson)
“No Diggity” (Oli Brown)
“Trouble” (Olly Murs)  (that’s a lot of Ollies for one division)

Intermediate JJ Prelims:
“Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”
“Things Are Changin” (Gary Clark Jr.)
“Get Lucky” (Daft Punk)
“Dirty Pop” (Justin)
“Creeper Returns” (Mark Hummel)


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