SwingDiego 2014 Update #3 – CLASSIC PRELIMS OFF THE CHIZZY!

Just up from Classic Prelims!

(they call it “The Classic Qualifier” because I don’t know why.)


Thirteen couples. (If you made top five last year and you’re still dancing with the same partner you don’t have to qualify, you’re automatically in Finals.)

1. Chris and Malena from Rising Star “Macario Leyva” (by Montez De Durango)

2. Lee and Fabienne, “Clarity” (by Zedd) – awesome technique, lines, energy

3. Sean and Courtney “Usher” (Nice and Slow remix)

(Here they are a few months ago)

So sexaaaay!  OMG.

Sean is yummy. So hip, dashing, handsome, lithe, a fabulous dancer, just yummy.

And Courtney! Oh man. Those eyes! Those red, red lips! Those body rolls!

The way she looks out – right at YOU! – flirting with YOU!, smiling at you! – turning you into one big twitching, quivering, blob of jello.  It’s all you can do from leaping right out of your seat yelling


(I am so sorry Courtney’s mom, if you’re reading this.)

It’s a gorgeous routine, which I finally noticed by forcing myself to avoid looking into Courtney’s eyes and by taking deep breaths to calm down.

One of those routines that’s much more difficult than it appears when you see it the first time because they dance with such flowy smoothness, transitions so clean (not as much in this video from early March where, as you see, there are a couple of small bumbles, but now, two months later it is PERFECT) that you think oh this is an easy piece of choreography.

That’s an illusion. They’ve gotten to that magic, mysterious place where their dancing – both routines and social – looks easy, you think “Easy peasy. I can do that” and you get inspired and go out on the floor and feel like you’re them. And then you see a video of yourself dancing which is so horrifying you hurl yourself off the 10th floor balcony of the Palm Towers.

But Sean and Courtney’s dancing – oh my goodness. Suuuuu-weeet is the best way to describe it. Sweet sensuous music, sweet choreography, sweet love, like you’re eavesdropping on a very hot conversation.

He’s gorgeous, she’s to die for, the routine is beautiful.  Can’t help loving every single thing about this.

4. David and Kathryn Moody, from Rising Star, “Something’s Wrong” (by Billy D and the Hoodoos) soooo steamy, overtly sexy, flirtatious, funny, a hair-whipping celebration of their hotness for each other and their mind-sync connection.

I love this routine, the sexy blues song, love their faces, her hips and mile-long legs, love the choreography that’s got huge big movements and tiny little subtle ones all mixed together. Just love it.

5. Hugo and Stacy, “Beatbox Harmonica” (by Yuri Lane with all kinds of added beats and music creations from Sean McKeever)

AUGHGHGHGH!!! I LOVE THIS! The music, first of all! You can’t keep your foot still. AWESOME blues harmonica with like a Brasilian Afro-Pop drummy something behind it – CRAZY great.

And the choreography Holy Moly! So complex! Fast slow big small up down everywhere – PERFECT choreography for the music – and for their bodies.

Stunning talent. Her spins! HIS spins! Their lines, curves, stretches, drops, tricks, patterns. They’re QUICK!  So quick, so light on their feet. And so well-matched! They’re the male and female versions of each other, together they’re a thing of beauty.

And talk about looking effortless! I don’t think they break a sweat even though he just did a shag knee-drop up and down so fast you go wait what happened? and even though she just did 10 backwards pirouettes. This is one hard routine – and they NAIL it. Couldn’t be cleaner. Holy shamoly I love this!

6. Shaheed and Rachele, “Crickets” (original and a dance remix)

AUGHGHGHGH!!! OH MY DEAR GOD!!! SO CLEAN SO FAST SO SCARY POWERFUL their absolute COMMAND of the floor! HOLY MACKEREL are these are west coast swing dancers? What are we coming to?!? The level of our dance is OFF THE BALCONY!

Oh my gawd.

Wish I had a video to include here but – if they make finals – you can watch them tonight on the free live stream and I promise you’ll be jumping up and down on your couch cheering and yelling and throwing pillows at your monitor.

7. Ben and Cameo, “The New Kings” (Popeska)

Here they are at the Open last November.

Oh my gosh! How gorgeous are they?!? Their speed! Power! Flexibility!  They are FIERCE!!!

8. John and Alyssa, “Latch” (by Disclosure) Another simply gorgeous couple, style and bodies so well matched, such a great song and choreography.

See what I mean? This division was just crazy!

9. Miguel and Yenni, “Have I Told You I Ache,”

Here they are at the Open

Oh man.  So for this I had to put down my camera because my eyes were filled with tears. Such BEAUTIFUL dancing! The control, the power, the cleanliness, the grace.  Choreography that couldn’t be more perfect.

10. Kris and Rebecca

Here they are in Denver a few months ago …

Omgosh, they just keep getting better! Their shapes! Their lines! You could stop them at any moment and find beauty.

Love their soaring flights across the floor, the energy, force, drive of their movement. Love her neck, the speed and grace of her spins, how she opens up so wide to prep for those fouettés, how that leg goes up so high, so effortlessly, how she smiles out at us each turn. And his spins!  His arm wrapping around like a flag whipped around a flagpole.

Their transitions are looking different, too, so smooth! I hadn’t even noticed or thought about transitions until I saw this routine  and thought wow, so they felt they needed to work on their transitions and sheesh what an improvement! I love watching how Kris and Rebecca progress from one routine to the next, especially because I know how hard they work, their grit and determination.

Aren’t we LUCKY? To be included in the journeys of all these couples? From all around the world? It’s such an honor to watch them grow, learn, unfold. I can’t believe how lucky we are, just sheer luck, that life lead us to discover this dance, these people, this community.

11. Peter and Michele, from Rising Star, and man this has improved too, so much! Their command and confidence.

How they hit a line or shape so fast and clear, stop for a millisecond so we can see it, then they’re out again.  It’s like distinct words in a sentence as opposed to “mumbling” with the words mushed together. I have no dance background so always struggle to describe what I see – but maybe this is what I’m noticing when I say a dance looks “clean?”

And Michelle – cute cute cute! That tiny little body, teeny tiny waist, flinging her sexy hair all over the place, eying Peter – and us – like a lioness. Love how fast she spins, too, and how she seems to start slow then instantly speeds up, sort of bah BOOM and bah BOOM I don’t know whatever it is she’s doing with her spins it feels right somehow, like the way a thing would spin in nature. Very pleasing to the eye.

12. PJ and Tashina, “I Feel Again” (One Republic)

Here they are last August …

Wow! So FAST! So clean! So difficult! Such crazy great technique! So fun!

An absolute joyous EXPLOSION of a dance! To a great song which, since the first time I saw it (at Liberty last year?) I have not been able to get out of my head, a blue and white PJ and Tashina blur zooming across my mind’s eye even in my sleep.

And today – nine months after the video you see here – this routine is not only gangbusters powerful, clean, fast, explosive – not only have they both improved their dancing by 400% – but – PJ has lost so much weight that you almost don’t recognize him, and he’s worked so hard on his dance that his posture, quality of movement, his whole demeanor and feel is so improved it’s astonishing. PJ is a model for what one can do – what any of us can do – if we’re just willing to work hard enough.

Today Tashina had her hair up (instead of down like in this video) and I love it up! So elegant – you can see her beautiful neck and the grace and cleanliness of her head movements.

What can I say, this routine ROCKS! Big time.

13. Clint and MacKenzie, “Feeding My Flame” (Av Young Blaze) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dnzz9U91wM And finally, this stunning couple and their quiet, powerful, stunning piece.

What a division!

Who will make Classic Finals?!? AUGHGHGH!!! I want all of them in Finals. There’s not a single couple here who doesn’t belong.

It’s 3pm as I write this … Jack and Jill prelims are on right now – watch them here and text your friends to cheer them on or give them a hard time –

Oh … and Robert is telling us to rate this hotel on TripAdvisor and who knows, we might, maybe, be able to influence the managers of the hotel – Town and Country Resort  – to give us some “bennies” somehow next year, maybe …

I dunno, maybe they’ll make their dilapidated breakfast buffet a little better. Or maybe they’ll leave their restaurants open late so all 2,000 of us don’t have to descend in a herd, all together, the moment Classic is over on Saturday night, in a frantic, famished mob, pushing into the tiny little Charlie’s Bar in a panic to get a burger before the kitchen closes once again shocking and annoying the staff, as if they didn’t know from the last 17 years this is gonna happen.

Or maybe they’ll just reduce our room rates, which is always nice. Although the room rates here are not higher than rates everywhere else.

Who knows.

But Robert’s saying do this: Go click on the SwingDiego Facebook page where you’ll see the picture of our pool without us in it – click on that picture to rate the hotel at TripAdvisor.

And now – Jack and Jills!

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