City of Angels 2014 Update #7 – Campfire Stories

Sunday 071FacebookMagic happened this weekend here at City of Angels.

So many tender moments.

Sunday Night at the Pool.

Wine around the fire pit;

Tired, happy, dancers snuggling on the couches and in the dark cabanas;

Heaters burning in a row along the pool;

Falling lights flickering from a canopy of branches overhead;

Silhouettes floating up and back under the moonlit palm trees to soft Gary Clark Jr and John Mayer;

Tears and laughter;

Wine, Tall Tales, stories.

So many stories.

Returned to my room late last night thinking about one story …

A young girl, college student, difficult breakup, mother suddenly hospitalized with a serious illness, finding herself out of school with no money or place to live  —

Dancers opening their homes to her, insisting on financial help, providing medical information, resources, help wading through insurance issues; taking this person into their homes and their hearts, quietly without fanfare or announcements. Just real help with te hard parts of life.

Real world support. Out of love, just love, period, nothing fancier than that. Not expecting a thing in return.

Because the community is family – chosen family.

Constant reminders this weekend that after all the “drama,” the griping and moaning, petty jealousies, turf wars, sniping, cattiness – all the stuff that’s fun to gossip about and not so fun to navigate –

All that negative drama is nothing compared to the quiet, behind-the-scenes, coming through for people in the real ways.

The good in this community has always vastly, hugely, overshadowed the bad.

How many times over the years have people said that the community – the lifelong relationships begun here – has changed their lives utterly. The community is their lives.

Not a metaphor to say that the dance community is family. It’s home.


I incorrectly reported that Mike Gadberry – Event Director of Desert City and generous benefactor – donated $32,000 this weekend to Brad Whelan to provide free Brad Whelan Pictures for all City of Angels attendees.

That figure is incorrect – I omitted a zero. Mike actually donated $320,000.

Brad wants me to make clear to event directors interested in hiring him for future events: Please be aware that Brad’s rates have gone up and $320,000 is his current fee for a weekend of photography.

City of Angels attendees: Pictures of the weekend are not right-click copy protected. Go to and right-click on any picture to download to your computer.

I also forgot to include results of Pro-Ams.


1ST PLACE Jonah Deitz (with Melissa)
2nd Jim Slusher (with Kara)
3rd Arthur Lahm (with Sarah)
4th Joshua Baime (Melissa)
5th Gerentt Chan (with Yenni)
6th Steven Spellman (with Carrie Lucas)
7th Bruce Gombrelli (with Nicki Silton)


1ST PLACE Karen Barrett (with PJ Turner)
2nd Marylou Star (with Donnie Carl)
3rd Deb McCreary (with Robert Royston)
4t Michelle Beltran (with John Piper)
5th Marlynn Lane (with Miguel DeSousa)
6th Kate Sibley (Donnie)
7th Clarise Okwach (Doug Silton)
8th Morgan Margo (Robert Campos)
9th Tina Slusher (Miguel)
10th Sylvia Berman (Carlus Reed)


1ST PLACE Joshua Messina (with Carrie Lucas)
2nd Kwilanza Crawford (with Jade Ruiz)
3rd Lance Armstrong (with Kristen Humphrey)
4th Andrew Tai (Melissa)
5th Benson Malto (Carrie)
6th Babak Shakeri (Delanie Lewis)
7th Jesse Ferguson (Carrie)
8th Jonathan Howard (Liza Hillman)
9th Trent Thacker (Kara)
10th Jon Sheehan (Carrie)
11th Ryan Hargrove (Liza Hillman)


1ST PLACE D’Leene Peet (with Marcus Sterling)
2nd Sandy Fisbeck (with Carlus Reed)
3rd Michele Fisher (Robert Royston)
4th Deana Nickerson (Donnie Carl)
5th Magdalene Sakadelis (David Walkup)
6th Emi Hlwatari (Martin Parker)
7th Lynn Henry (Miguel DeSousa)
8th Christina Chambers (Doug Silton)
9th Gina Marie (Donnie)
10th Pamela Meade (Sean Mckeever)
11th Stephanie Gombrelli (Doug Silton)
12th Rebecca Cooney (Miguel)
13th Joelene Trenholm (John Piper)
14th Betsy Snyder (Doug)
15th Cynthia Aaronson (Carlus)
16th Dana Hasten (Mike Carringer)

Something special just kind of happened late Saturday night, in the open area between the ballroom and the lobby.

A spell-binding, organic, magic moment …

No one can stop talking about it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s