Nov. 24, 2011 ed.
Greetings from the Greater NY Chapter of USA Dance!
In this edition:
- Still MIA
- Franco Formica Coming to BDSC in December
- DWTS13 Leading Up to the Final
- Report from DCDI
- NYU Ballroom Hosts 23rd Annual Top Hat & Tails
- Ballroom in the News: New York Times and Saturday Evening Post
- Post-Thanksgiving Dancing
- Reminders of Upcoming Events
- Looking to Improve Your Dancing?
- Looking to Social Dance?
- Looking for a Partner?
Wow, a month has already passed since the last edition of the e-news. That's right, again, you have not missed any issues. Keeping to a weekly schedule on this e-news has been challenging this fall. Hope things lighten up a little over the next few weeks. I'm thankful for the time today to work on this newsletter. On with this edition ….
From our good friends at Brooklyn DanceSport Club we learn that former world latin champion (amateur and pro) Franco Formica will be coming to BDSC next month to give lectures, seminars and private lessons from December 4 through 6. I’m telling you now because BDSC tells us that this is the first time that Franco Formica is doing this in New York and space is limited, so you should register now. Find out more at http://bit.ly/formica_bdsc.
Season 13 of Dancing with the Stars drew to a close on November 22 with the victory of JR Martinez and Karina Smirnoff. Although JR had been my favorite from the beginning, to say that his path to taking the Ghastly Mirrorball Trophy was assured would be far from accurate. His last few outings, including his sketchy cha cha on Monday and his so-so samba on Tuesday did not make JR look like a lock in the finale.
More surprising than the fact that Rob Kardashian made the final was Ricki Lake's third place finish. I thought her dancing had been strong from the beginning and was expecting her to give JR a run for his money. When the announcement was made at the end of the first hour that Ricki would not advance to the instant samba dance-off, my jaw dropped. I guess she just didn't have the popular votes that I thought she did, and I certainly underestimated the voting power of all those Kardashian fans.
The sweetest part of JR's victory for me was that Karina Smirnoff finally reached the top spot. Out of all the pro dancers, she certainly ranks high in my book, and she came close in the past but never quite got there. I'm pleased that she is now a DWTS champion and that she was able to get there with JR, a wonderful dancer, as her partner.
Here's a run-down of the lead-up to the final:
Week 7 fell on Halloween and the dancers got dressed up for the occasion, performing to some ghoulish tunes. Nancy Grace danced an awful jive to “Devil Went Down to Georgia” but the “star” that danced his last was David Arquette. His cha cha to “Abracadabra” apparently failed to cast the right spell with his fan-base.
Week 8 required the contestants to do two dances, including an instant jive. The highlight was two sets of perfect 30s for JR, who was overdue and in need of redemption for his disappointing performances on Halloween. Nancy Grace was not able to hold on and got booted, which meant that Hope Solo advanced to the semi-finals in week 9.
In week 9, the contestants faced three dances: samba or paso doble, Argentine tango and the cha cha relay. Monday night belonged to Rob Kardashian, with his first 10, from Carrie Ann Inaba, in the samba, and an impressive Argentine tango. Rob finished strong, winning the cha cha relay which added 10 points to his score, putting him at the top of the leaderboard. The Dark Horse pulled way ahead of his competition.
During the results show, Rob was declared the first one safe. JR and Hope ended up bathed in the Red Light (“but not necessarily in the bottom two”). I don’t think anyone, least of all Hope and Maks, thought that JR and Karina were in jeopardy of being eliminated. So, at last, we bid farewell to Hope, and wish her all the best in helping the US Women’s Soccer team go for the gold in London in 2012.
The 10 weeks of DWTS13 went by quickly, with its share of surprises. The departure of Chynna Phillips early in the season due to a disastrous tango was unexpected, and the terrific tango she performed on the final show revealed that, had she danced that routine correctly, she probably would have been in the finale. But the longevity of Chaz Bono, Nancy Grace and especially Hope Solo was also hard to foresee. Though short on star power, DWTS13 was long on unpredictability.
Until DWTS14 ... signing off, for now.
At the start of this month, I had the great privilege to serve as MC at one of the biggest competitions on the East Coast, if not the country: DC DanceSport Inferno, presented by Ballroom at Maryland (BAM), the team at University of Maryland, College Park.
This competition gets bigger and better year after year. This year had more than 800 dancers registered, from many states up and down the Eastern seaboard. The newcomer events included some 100 couples. It’s not often that I get to ask the judges to recall 60 from 6 groups in the first round.
The highlights for me were the raucous Team Match that was held on Saturday afternoon, between the morning and afternoon events; the showcases presented by the champions from the latin and standard heats on Saturday evening; and the ever-popular Same Sex Rumba fun dance that closed the entire weekend on Sunday evening, a hallowed DCDI tradition.
For my photos from the event, click on the following links: Saturday morning (rhythm), Team Match, practice room, Saturday afternoon (standard), Saturday evening (open), Sunday morning (smooth), Sunday afternoon (latin).
DCDI 2012 will take place on Nov. 2-4. Save the dates!
On Sunday afternoon, November 20, the NYU Latin and Ballroom Club hosted the 23rd Annual Top Hat & Tails social dance and contest. Having danced at the first Top Hat & Tails way back in 1988, this event holds a special place in my heart and memories. To think that more than two decades later, I would continue to be involved as the MC and DJ is truly gratifying.
Top Hat & Tails is a semi-formal (black and white attire, not necessarily formal, is encouraged) with a dance contest open to all NYU students, staff, alumni and friends. The emphasis is on fun and enthusiasm, and all the participants, from beginners to advanced, displayed plenty of both.
The afternoon closed with a Jack and Jill event in which everyone, not just those formally registered for the dance contest, could participate, partnered up randomly with a partner. The first round was a cha cha, followed by a semi-final in polka and a final round with ... what else? ... paso doble. You didn't even have to know paso to dance it; it's about fun, remember?
Congrats to Meagan O'Toole, the club's adviser, for putting it all together and continuing the venerable tradition that is Top Hat & Tails. Check out my photos from the event at http://on.fb.me/tophat_11
Ballroom makes the news again. First, in the New York Times, on November 1, in an article about declining civility in the South and how teaching social graces to children through ballroom dancing is one possible solution being tried.
Next, in the November/December issue of The Saturday Evening Post (it's still being published – who knew?), the cover story entitled “America Goes Dance Crazy!” talks about the resurgence in popularity of ballroom dance across the country and across all age levels, and its attendant physical and psychological benefits. National Publicity Director Angela Prince is quoted extensively in the article. Here's one: “Music is great therapy, and dancing gives people the opportunity to come together.” Well said, Angela! To read the article on-line go to http://bit.ly/tauliK.
- Sat. Nov. 26, starting at 1 pm, at Koenig's in Floral Park: Long Island Sound 19-piece big band playing your favorite tunes for dancing, including Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Glenn Miller, latin, pop and more! Just $25 per person or $30 for optional grand buffet. More details at http://bit.ly/holiday_bigband
- Sat. Nov. 26, starting at 8 pm: Thanksgiving Social at Manhattan Ballroom Dance studio, turkey dinner and show plus plenty of social dancing to help you work off those pounds: $58 per person. Details here: http://bit.ly/mbd_thanksgiv.
- 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.
- The 22nd Annual Manhattan Amateur Classic takes place in less than four months, from January 13-15, 2012, at the Grand Ballroom of the Manhattan Center. Registration now open. Questions? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Save the dates! Hope to see you there.
- USA Dance National DanceSport Championships takes place on March 30 through April 1, 2012, at the Renaissance Harborplace Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland. On-line registration closes on March 6.
- “Dance Legends” is coming to the Hammerstein Ballroom at the Manhattan Center next April. It will be a two-day event set to take place on April 13 and 14, 2012, and it will feature past and present champions in ballroom and latin, performing in multiple showcases. Tickets are now on sale. To learn more, visit the website or follow Dance Legends on Facebook or Twitter.
- 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. Blackpool Professional Rising Star Ballroom Champions Marat Gimaev and Alina Basyuk have now joined the studio as Directors of the Ballroom Department and they will be teaching the Open Standard Seminar on Wednesdays at 7 PM, starting July 6th. They will also run regular Standard Run-through Practices on Wednesdays at 8:30 PM and on Fridays at 7 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 email@example.com.
- 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.
- Friday, Nov. 25, Hot Salsa Friday at the VIP Lounge at the Iguana. Doors open at 6 pm.
- Friday, Nov. 25, Friday Night with Abakuá at YSBD/Club 412, hosted by Frankie Martinez and Manny Blackett, featuring salsa/mambo and cha cha, starting at 9:00 pm.
- Saturday, Nov. 26, Swing 'n Salsa Saturday at YSBD/Club 412, with two live bands in separate rooms. Lessons at 7 pm, dancing starts at 8 pm.
- Sunday, Nov. 27, Sunday Tea Party at Manhattan Ballroom Dance, mixed ballroom dancing starting at 3 pm.
- Monday, Nov. 28, 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, Nov. 29, mixed ballroom dancing at the Saloon, on York Ave., between 83rd and 84th street, from 8 pm (free lesson at 7:30 pm).
- Tuesday, Nov. 29, Hot Club 56 in Farmingdale with DJ Cody. Doors open and dancing starts at 7 pm, lessons begin at 7:30 pm. This week's lesson: Salsa. Just $10 for USA Dance members (present you card)!
- Thursday, Dec. 1, Dance Times Square Social. Free latin group class at 8 pm, followed by a social from 9 pm to 11 pm. Admission is $10 per person but free if you bring a friend or if you are new to the studio. For more info call the studio at 212-994-9500.
- Thursday, Dec. 1, 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).
If you are looking for a partner, use our Partner Search page to let others know. It's free, it's easy. Do it today!
That does it for this week. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
(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.