US Open 2013 – Update #3

Nine days!

Two more flags added!


Jack and Jill and Strictly registrations piling in!

Dudes.  Tonight’s the cut-off for Jack and Jills and Strictlys.  If you want to dance at the Open get your scooter to the computer.

This is only the second year that the US Open holds Jack and Jills and Strictlys for all levels.  Last year was the first.  You can imagine the uproar when news of this made it through the grapevine last year.

Not the most timid community afraid to voice opinions in public hahahaha

Worries voiced all over Facebook:

  • The schedule would be too packed
  • Jack and Jills would change the whole feel of the Open
  • The focus should be on routines because routines are the engine behind a year’s work of choreography, practice, and travelling the circuit
  • This is NASDE, the culmination of the NASDE year, not a wsdc event like others

But most of all the worry was that Jack and Jill and Strictly winners could now claim the title “US Open Champion” – a coveted and heretofore sacrosanct honor, and the hugest prize any competitor can aspire to in our world. What does the title mean if a Novice Jack and Jill competitor is now a US Open Champion? It’d be like giving an Oscar to the guy who posted an Instagram video of his dog chewing socks.

But the idea turns out to have been a huge success, allowing people to compete at this prestigious event who had never been able to before, not cramping the schedule, and making a clear distinction between prizes for JJs/SSs  —  and prizes for routines.

Three additional Jack and Jills this year! Masters, Juniors, and Junior Shag. And yes! you can dance in both your age division and your level division (that goes for Strictlys, too.)

Strictlys this year: Champions, Open, Lindy, Masters, Juniors, and Shag (which, because there is no Jr Shag strictly, will include some very cool adult/child partnerships.)

New Emcees!

Did you know that Kenny Wetzel emceed the Open for 18 years? That’s Kenny [“Ohhhhh yeah”] that you hear in every youtube video from 1983 through 2000, at the Open and most every other event in the country, for 18 years.

Kenny Wetzel, who formed the Rebels Swing Dance Club in LA, and with Sonny Watson taught, choreographed, DJ’d and danced in nightclubs in LA and around the country. And passed away in 2000, at age 71.

And then!

The great teacher, choreographer, dancer, and brilliant emcee – Robert Royston! For ten years from 2001 onward, Royston’s voice was the voice of every US Open.

And then!

Last year we had the pleasure of enjoying Rob Glover and Damon D’Amico …

And then  …

This year’s new emcees …

Jo Thompson Szymanki,  Jim Tigges,   and  Jack Smith!

Did you know that the US Open is the largest and longest running Swing Dance contest in the history of Swing dancing? The famous “Harvest Moon Ball” which ran from 1935 until 1974 in New York is the second largest  —  but it wasn’t all swing.

The US Open is the premiere event of the swing world.

Here are videos of the very first US Open in 1983.   That’s Kenny [“Ohhhh yeah!”]  you hear in the background.

US Open Swing Dance Championships 1983 – Part 1

US Open Swing Dance Championships 1983 – Part 2

Man oh man is there buzz at this point.

Wait till you hear who’s doing Classic!

And Showcase?!?  Omgawd.

Crazy new partnerships, this is gonna be a crazy year.

So many new baby west coast dancers born this year!

Neil and Taryn Crosbie,  Arthur and Colleen Uspensky, and Phil Adams (Chief Judge of the Open) daughter and son-in-law Lauren and Robert  – all have new baby girls …

David and Cassy (Olson) Dunning, Scott and Melina, Arjay and Bridget, Miguel and Alina –  have baby boys …

Erik and Anna Novoa, Michael and Kelly (Faust) Scholl, Trevor and Chelsea Spika – are expecting …

Ronnie Debenedetta and Neal Cabluna have a brand new baby boy – Nicholas – not even 24 hours old yet!

And we have a new granddaughter! Three days old! Scarlett Eve, 8 lbs 2 ounces, full head of light blonde hair.  Our fifth grandchild!


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