Swing Fling 2013 – Update #2

Very cool thing going on here this weekend – a Judging “Apprentice Program” in which Dawn Garrish (chief judge) is training judges how to do this difficult job. So there are 15 judges standing out there with clipboards and staff cards hanging from their belts. What a great idea!

Last night’s final “show” – the Open Strictly – was a bit of a disappointment.

There is a large collection of fantastic upper-level dancers here. So the Open prelim was terrific – one of those whiplash-inducing dances where you don’t know where to look. And the Finals All-Skates were both fantabulous.

But the Finals Jam, with dimmed lights and high expectations, which we were all crowding up to see  —  kind of a let-down.

Every couple out there fantastic dancers.  Yet the dances – every single one without exception – were just kind of  …  meh.

The music (Sadie) was fast.  You know the song.  Not many (any) real hits or changes in tempo or feel.  So it was tough for them to do much more than race back and forth.

I’m thinking that’s what the problem must have been. Either that or they all suddenly had come down with a virus.

Kind of a shame cause you know how it is – the audience is looking for a show. And so much talent up there. I’m imagining it might have been frustrating for them too.

But no biggie – In an hour we’ll watch Open Jack and Jills and I’m looking forward to seeing these guys have more of an opportunity to show their skills.

Strictlys were fun anyway, of course.  Dancing is always fun.

Novice Stricly Prelim (27 couples):

1. Everybody Got Their Something (Nikka Costa)
2. Don’t Cry On My Shoulder (Solomon Burke)
3. oops forget

Intermediate Strictly Prelim (18 couples):

1. Walk On (Ruthie Foster)
2. Girl On Fire (Alicia Keys)
3. Wish You Were Here (Cody Simpson)

Advanced Strictly Prelim (8 couples):

1. oops forget this one too
2. Crickets (Grieves)
3. Good Time (Owl City)

Open Strictly Prelim (24 couples):

1. Rack ‘Em Up (Jonny Lang)
2. I’m Calling You (Outlandish)
3. Don’t Wake Me Up (Chris Brown)

Novice Strictly Finals:

Richard and Susan Defelice
Lionel Lei and Julie Walker
Craig Miyamoto and Kimberly Wilhelm
James Kong and Anna Batista
Faith Pangilinan and Matt Eddy
Trevor Krumm and Rebecca Thiele
Romero Royster and Esther Jennings
Tom Anderson and Stephanie Courtney
Richard Barney and Heather Graddy
Ryan Hayes and Rebecca Norton
Chris Kashuba and Gina Pennington
Michael Linger and Danielle Cooper
Klaus Dobler and Laura Pendleton
Steven Shaughnessy and Kathry Johansson

1. She Just Wants To Dance (Keb Mo)
2. Beautiful Goodbye (Maroon 5)
3. Show Me (Usher)

Intermediate Strictly Finals:

Curt Kothera and Lura Johnson
Chris Edwards and Faith Musko
David Goldenberg and Lia Brown
Sam Easley and Ramune Daisy Svelkyte
Aidan Keith-Hynes and Alyssa Lundgren
Ryan Shead and Raquel Williams
Jeremy Govert and Rehanna Loncar
Chris Wrigley and Amber Hicks
Claude and Gordana Fortin
Marc and Emma Carter

1. Gangster of Love (Johnny Watson)
2. Fine China (Chris Brown)
3. Scream (Usher)

Open Strictly Finals:

Brent and Whitney Brown
Tybaldt and Sophy
Jason Barnes and Deborah Szekely
Markus and Tren
Jason Miklic and Hazel
Luis and Connie
Brennar and Cameo
Ben McHenry and Libby Collins
Greg and Lemery
Jason Wayne and Yvonne
Arjay and Courtney
Robert Royston and Blandine

All-Skate to Don’t Cry On My Shoulder (Sam Cooke)

Jam to Sadie (Son Seals)

And final All-Skate to Clarity (Zedd)

Great “activity flow” at this hotel. In the big lobby, immediately outside the ballroom doors, there’s a large open floor, sky-lit, ringed around by chairs and couches, and filled all the time with couples practicing routines, private lessons underway, and contestants warming up. Something about having this big active floor right there at the ballroom door is really good, somehow.

No big teams of people here from any single area – it’s more smallish clusters from all around — a few people from Quebec, two from Boston, four from Toronto and Ottawa (versus the 60 who showed up somewhere recently – when Canadians come en force they’re a terror,) two from Arizona, Alfred from California (DC loves Alfred – we’ve made him an honorary member of our community,) Sebastien and Blandine from France, Libby Collins from Oz, a few from Michigan, few from Pittsburgh.

The DC community is itself big enough to support an event of this size – and we’re a vibrant thang here. We regularly get 100-150 dancers out every Friday, 60-80 every Tuesday, 50 every Monday, 100 every Wednesday, and 60 every Saturday.

And that’s every week!

Have to remark about the ballroom again – it is simply fantastic. The backdrop panels I mentioned – looks from up close like it’s black fabric hung from BEHIND the stage lighting at the very top of the ceiling! Must have blue and white lights projected onto it somehow. It’s the most dramatic backdrop ever. And the lights I mentioned earlier – they move across the ceiling as well as walls and floor. It’s just awwwwesome.

Dancing last night till 6am!

Hilarious conversation with Arjay last night in which he metamorphosed into a bent-kneed elk.


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