Friday, April 9, 2010

Southern States DanceSport Championships by David Easa.

March 31st - April 4, 2010
By: David Easa

On my way back from the Southern States DanceSport Championship in New Orleans, Loosiana… (the way the locals pronounce it), where the Divino Ritmo Dance Studio was aptly represented. This was a really fun experience, held at the JW Marriott Hotel one block from famous Bourbon Street. The event was intimate, friendly, powerfully organized, with excellent judges, professional competition and exhibitions, a wonderful Masquerade Party, loads of social dancing, and the usual assortment of dance competition heats for the young and old, the beginner and the experienced dancer.

I won’t go into the boring details that readers care less about (…how many heats, whether we placed, showed or came in first, etc….), but overall the Divino Ritmo Dance Studio thrived and excelled in this mainland competition, thanks to the excellent instruction and mentoring of Yanna Samkova and Lucas Jaime. (Blogger note: anyone interested in the actual results can find them

We even won the Masquerade Party costume contest, razzle-dazzling the crowd in flapper costumes and zoot suits, complete with feather boas for the ladies and Tommy guns for the guys! It was hilariously fun as we paraded ourselves and strutted before the judges!

More serious accolades came our way when we won both male and female best student awards, best solos, best medium size dance studio, and best teacher.

And for all of us, it was a good experience to compete in a mainland venue outside of Hawaii, to face the challenge of navigating a different dance floor (speaking from a dance leader's perspective), to practice new routines in a different dance environment, and to enjoy the evening’s offerings…dinners, professional competitions and exhibitions, as well as the bonding of our dance family, meeting new friends from other dance clubs, and venturing off to decadent Bourbon Street, where beer and the famous assortment of toxic mixed drinks in flashy plastic containers are legally displayed as part of the dress code for visitors, where music is so loud and glaring it is painful, and where a hodgepodge of scantily clad women were there to greet and lure their potential clientele into bars and strip clubs with body gyrations and explicit poses graphically displayed for all to see including children, families walking the street and vulnerable old men like myself (but I managed to resist temptation).
Everyone has their story to tell. I am beginning to feel more at home at these events, something that comes with time and experience. So the morning dread of the upcoming competition is tempered by the repetitive nature and predictability of the event. It is obviously not possible to dance well with confidence if you are fretting, nervous and look like you are walking barefoot on hot coals. I think this was also true for the rest of our dance family who have progressively gained confidence and skill from these mainland competitions.

Furthermore, the 3 solo presentations our students performed were really excellent - 2 out of the three tied for Top solo!

We also had our fill of decent food, lots of booze to calm the nerves after the day’s comp, and an assortment of social dancing. I even scored points with a few tall elegant blond amateurs from a Florida dance studio that was competing in the same event - who were happily sitting at the adjacent table.

The organizer and owners of the event, Larry and Dianne Dean, were gracious and friendly and always there to be found schmoozing with the participants and making sure everyone was content and issue free. It was comforting to have such attention to our needs which set the stage for the friendly and comfortable atmosphere.

Finally, the last two evenings' events were lovely sit down dinners (the rest were served buffet style). The last evening was kicked off by a young attractive couple singing opera while the female member was simultaneously tantalizing the crowd by meandering around the tables and flirting with the male participants. This set the stage for the final professional competition and a wonderful professional show by World-Cup Showdance & Latin Dance Champions "Delyan & Boriana".

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