June 26, 2011 ed.
Greetings from the Greater NY Chapter of USA Dance!
In this edition:
- At the 2011 Gumbo DanceSport Championships
- Midsummer Night Swing Kicks Off on June 27
- NY USA Dance at the Manhattan DanceSport Championships
- The Metropolitan Big Band Dance on July 8
- World-Renowned Coaches Coming to Dance with Me Studios in August
- Karina Smirnoff and Jonathan Roberts of DWTS Coming to Long Island
- Second Annual USA Dance National Dance Cruise in December
- Looking to Improve Your Dancing?
- Looking to Social Dance?
- Looking for a Partner?
Last weekend, I had the pleasure and privilege to be the Master of Ceremonies at the 2011 Gumbo DanceSport Championships (NQE). As in years past, it was a well-run, well-attended event that was a joy to be part of. This year’s in particular will be especially memorable because I had to perform my duties without the benefit of wearing my own clothes. Let me explain.
Last Friday, I was on a 6:30 am flight out of LaGuardia, connecting in Charlotte, North Carolina at 9:21 am, scheduled to arrive at about 10:20 am local time in Baton Rouge. But there were torrential downpours in New York that morning, and I got to Charlotte with only minutes to make my connection. Although I got to the gate while the plane was still on the runway, the agent would not let me on, despite my presentation of a boarding pass for the 9:21 am flight. It seemed that US Airways concluded that I would not be able to make my connection and booked me automatically on the next flight out, which would not be departing until 4:35 pm.
I managed to switch to a flight getting into New Orleans at 12:20 pm, and Ann Durocher, the organizer of the Gumbo, asked one of her volunteers to meet me there to drive me from New Orleans to Baton Rouge. I also asked US Airways about where my luggage was, because it was supposed to be going on the flight to Baton Rouge that I had just been shut out of. The customer service agent issued a request to re-direct the luggage to New Orleans in case it had not gotten on the Baton Rouge flight and told me to check for it at baggage claim in New Orleans. When I got there, I did not see my luggage, so arranged with baggage services to deliver my luggage to the Crowne Plaza in Baton Rouge when US Airways finally located it.
Jim Crowell was the Gumbo volunteer who picked me up in New Orleans, and Jim kindly offered to lend me one of his jackets and ties to tide me over while waiting for my luggage to arrive. Jim, at 6’1” or 6’2”, is a good half-a-foot taller than me but he told me his size is 40 regular, which is what I wear, so I thought, hey, it should work … and it did. (Thanks, Jim!)
We stopped over at his home to pick out the jacket and tie that I would wear over my button-down shirt and jeans, and by the time I arrived in the ballroom of the Crowne Plaza, it was already 3 pm. Jennifer McCalla, who was one of the judges at the comp, had filled in for me up until that time. (Thanks, Jennifer!)
I took the podium for the balance of the afternoon, into the evening, but I felt a bit out of place not MCing in my own suit. All the while, I wondered when my luggage would arrive. It did not arrive on Friday.
For day two of the Gumbo, Nathan Daniels, another of the esteemed judges at the Gumbo, who looked like he was about my height and build, offered one of his suits. It was a sharp-looking black suit with a lavender shirt and matching tie and pocket square. However, Nathan turned out to have longer legs than me, so I did not wear the pants, and instead went back on the podium in my blue jeans. The shirt fit fine but like the jacket, was a bit long in the sleeves. It would have to do … and it did the job. (Thanks, Nathan!)
During the break between the daytime session and the evening session, I checked on the status of my luggage. As of 6 pm Saturday, my luggage still had not arrived. I called US Airways and was told that it was at New Orleans awaiting pick-up by the courier.
The evening session included a banquet, and as nice as the combo that Nathan lent me was, I felt a bit under-dressed, considering that most of the attendees dressed up for the evening. I was still in my jeans.
Saturday night included the championship events. Pasha Pashkov and Daniella Karagach, United States Adult 10-Dance Champions, danced in the Adult Latin and Adult Standard events, and it was a pleasure to see them dancing at the Gumbo. For some strange reason, in the four-couple Adult Standard final, all the women wore white gowns. I commented that I felt like I had stumbled into a bridal shop. Later, I was informed that one of the women, Sandra Timmermans from Houston, Texas, was actually dancing in her wedding gown. Go figure!
The championship events in Senior I Standard, Adult Standard, Adult Latin, Adult Rhythm and Adult Smooth featured excellent dancers from across the country, including California, Connecticut, Kentucky, and New York. The level of dancing was high and the audience responded enthusiastically to the terrific performances. Kudos to the organizers for attracting such a diverse crop of top-notch couples to the Gumbo.
After the awards were announced and given out, the top couples each presented honors dances and the two-day event drew to a close around 10:30 pm. On my way back to my room, I stopped by the front desk to check on my luggage and was relieved to see that it had finally arrived. The front desk staff confirmed that it had just gotten there.
I was glad to have my own clothes back, and the next day, for the Louisiana DanceSport Challenge, a pro-am competition that occupied the same ballroom, I was able to wear my own suit. I no longer felt so naked as I had for the first two days.
Despite my sartorial misadventures last weekend, the Gumbo was a great event. The organizers, the Louisiana Gumbo Chapter and Louisiana DanceSport, did a fantastic job putting it all together. The organizers raised nearly $21,000, with $8,500 of that amount going to fund scholarships at the event, so hats off to them on their fundraising success.
I had a wonderful time and am already looking forward to next year’s Gumbo, scheduled for June 29 through 30, 2012. Here are my photos from Friday and here are photos from Saturday. All the results have been posted to o2cm.com.
Thanks to Ann Durocher and everyone involved with the Gumbo of Ballroom for a marvelous weekend of dancing, friendship and Southern hospitality.
New York’s longest running and most popular outdoor dance event, Midsummer Night Swing, launches its 2011 season tomorrow night at Damrosch Park with the Jonathan Stout Orchestra featuring Hilary Alexander. It will be Big Band Swing. Lessons are given at 6:30 pm, music starts at 7:30 pm.
This inaugural week will be the only one that has dancing from Monday through Saturday. The other two weeks run from Tuesday through Saturday. Here’s what else is on tap for this week:
- Tuesday, June 28: Soul Train, with live sets by Pee Wee Ellis and Fred Wesley and extended DJ set by Biz Markie. The music will feature R&B, Funk and Soul.
- Wednesday, June 29: Swingtime Big Band, with music for swing and ballroom.
- Thursday, June 30: Hector del Curto’s Eternal Tango Orchestra plays music suitable for polka. Just kidding, it’s tango, of course; Argentine, if you please.
- Friday, July 1: Diogo Nogueira, making his New York debut, playing music for samba and choro.
- Saturday, July 2: Aurora y Zon del Barrio, playing music for salsa, plena and boogaloo.
For full details about the bands, tickets and general information, visit the Midsummer Night Swing website.
The Manhattan DanceSport Championships, one of the biggest and best dance competitions in North America, will be taking place at the Brooklyn Marriott from June 29 through July 3, 2011. Some great dancers, both professional and amateur, are expected to be competing, not just from the Greater New York area, but from all over the United States and the world.
NY USA Dance has reserved a table for Friday evening and Saturday daytime and evening. Friday night includes the Open Professional Latin and Open Professional Smooth events. Saturday night includes the Open Professional Ballroom and Open Professional Rhythm events. We have a few seats available at our table. If you are interested in sitting with us, please contact Daphna Locker at email@example.com to let us know. Day session tickets are $25 per person, and evening session tickets are $55 per person.
The next Metropolitan Big Band Dance will take place on Friday, July 8, starting at 7 pm in Glen Cove, Long Island. For just $20 per person you get to dance to the sounds of the Long Island Sound 19-piece Big Band led by Bill Wilkinson, playing the sounds of Sinatra, Glenn Miller, Ballroom, Swing, Pop, Latin and more. Click here for the flyer with more details.
We have received word from Dance with Me Studios that world-renowned coach and former UK Professional Latin Champion Graham Oswick will be available for coaching from August 6 through 9. Former UK Professional Latin Champions and world finalists Shirley Ballas and Sammy Stopford will be available for coaching from August 14 through 17. For booking inquiries, please contact the studio at (201) 941-7797.click here.
If you missed the first USA Dance National Dance Cruise last year, now’s your chance to take part in the second annual USA Dance National Dance Cruise, taking place from December 4 through 11, 2011. Here’s more from the National Ballroom Dance Cruise website:
Join USA Dance members, families and friends for the Second Annual USA Dance National Dance Cruise, December 4-11, 2011, aboard Holland America's elegant ms Westerdam for seven days of fun, food and nearly non-stop dance activities.
Departing from Ft. Lauderdale, the cruise-sponsored by USA Dance and Holland America—brings social dancers together from around the country and supports the organization's national programs. With exciting visits to Grand Turk (Turks and Caicos), San Juan (Puerto Rico), Philipsburg (St. Maarten) and Half Moon Cay (Bahamas), the cruise includes a full program of ballroom, latin and club-style dance classes taught by the country's top professional instructors (to be announced shortly).
The cruise sold out last year so if you don’t want to miss this one, you may want to make your reservations now. Visit the National Ballroom Dance Cruise today.
- At Brooklyn DanceSport Club, Maria and Eugene will be teaching Open Junior/Youth Seminars on Mondays from 7:00 to 8:30 pm, and Open Adult Seminars on Tuesdays from 7:00 to 8:30 pm. They will also hold regular run-through Latin rounds on Tuesdays from 8:30 to 10:00 pm and Thursdays from 8:00 to 9:30 pm. There will also be Standard run-throughs on Fridays from 8:30 to 10:00 pm. The studio is easily accessible by subway, via the N train, 18 Avenue stop. From there, it’s a short walk to the studio.
- Stepping Out holds an International Standard and American Smooth Practice session on Tuesdays from 9:30 to 10:30 pm, and the cost is just $3 per person or $5 per couple. On Saturdays, they hold a Standard pratice session from 5 pm to 6 pm, at the same cost. Just show the front desk your USA Dance membership card to take advantage of these great rates, and ask them what other USA Dance discounts are available for their other programs and events.
- Become the best ballroom dancer you can be for your partner by working on yourself first. ISTD Fellow Michael Choi shows you how with his Ballroom Barre, at Chelsea Studios, every Wednesday, starting at 8:30 pm. Just $25 per person for USA Dance members. The classes are non-sequential so drop in any time; no partner required, all levels welcome. For more information, contact Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Manhattan Ballroom Dance studio runs Standard rounds on Thursday , from 9:30 to 10:30 pm and Latin Rounds on Friday nights from 8:30 to 9:30 pm.
- Basic Ballroom holds a Competition Run-through Class supervised by former World Professional Latin finalists Paul and Olga Richardson on Friday nights from 8 pm to 9:30 pm. Just $20 for USA Dance members.
- Check out the special rates for USA Dance members at Basic Ballroom: just $79 for a 10 session card and $90 for their unlimited monthly card.
- DanceSport offers a $100 monthly floor fee card for amateur dancers: Unlimited practice space Monday to Friday 10 am to 5 pm, Saturdays 10 am to 2 pm, and Sundays 11 am to 7 pm for 30 days.
- Dance with Me Soho can no longer host practice sessions on weekdays due to space constraints. Dancers are welcome to practice on weekends for $15 per hour per couple. Also, you may want to try their practice parties on Wednesdays at 9:20 to 10:10 pm (salsa theme) and Thursdays same time that covers all styles.
- WayGee Ho teaches a weekly beginner salsa lesson on Wednesday evenings starting at 6:30 pm at the New York Chinese Cultural Center, 390 Broadway, just one block from the N/R Canal Street Station. The 4-week cycle began on June 1. For just $45 you get four weeks of salsa lessons and a party. What a deal! To find out about the July cycle, visit chinatownsalsa.com.
- Monday, June 27, Salsa at Taj, with live band and special performances. Arrive before 7 pm and get in for $6 (admission price doubles after 7 pm).
- Tuesday, June 28, mixed ballroom dancing at the Saloon, on York Ave., between 83rd and 84th street, from 8 pm (free lesson at 7:30 pm).
- Tuesday, June 28, Hot Salsa, West Coast Swing and Hustle Tuesdays at Club 56, in Farmingdale, LI. Wonderful buffet, friendly dancers, reasonably-priced cash bar, dance lesson. Best of all: just $10 for USA Dance members!
- Thursday, June 30, Sunset Salsa at the Chelsea Triangle, 14th Street and 9th Avenue. Lessons at 6:30 pm, dancing from 7:30 pm.
- Thursday, June 30, Thursday Night Dance Club at Mirelle's, in Westbury, featuring Latin, Hustle and West Coast Swing. Lesson at 7:30 pm, dancing starts at 8:15 pm. Admission just $10 per person for USA Dance members (present your card at the entrance to get the discount).
- Friday, July 1, Hot Salsa Friday at the VIP Lounge at the Iguana. Doors open at 6 pm.
- Saturday, July 2, mixed ballroom dancing at Manhattan Ballroom Dance studio, starting at 7:30 pm with a free lesson, dancing from 8:00 pm to midnight.
- Sunday, July 3, Sunday Tea Party at Manhattan Ballroom Dance, mixed ballroom dancing starting at 3 pm.
We have a Youth leader seeking a dedicated follower. To see this post or to post your own, take a look here. If your post has expired and you're still looking for a partner, feel free to re-post. It’s free, it’s easy. Do it today!
That does it for this week. Enjoy the rest of June with some outdoor dancing in Lincoln Center or the Chelsea Triangle!
(NY USA Dance)
General disclaimer: Please note that, other than events organized by NY USA Dance, the listing of events in this newsletter is purely for informational purposes and does not carry with it any endorsement, sanction or seal of approval, express or implied. If you have any questions about an event other than one organized by NY USA Dance, you should direct them to the organizer of that event. NY USA Dance has no control over any of the events listed herein, other than those events which NY USA Dance itself organizes. NY USA Dance bears no responsibility for the content, conduct, quality, management or operation of any of the events listed in this newsletter, other than those events organized directly by NY USA Dance.