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So how was the competition?

7 Mar

We have so many wonderful friends, family and coworkers who follow our dancing and it is always lovely that they remember we had gone off somewhere to dance, though we are rarely 100% comfortable telling them our results. Dancesport is judged and as such, is both predictable – most judges will dislike our height difference – and unpredictable – same judges unexpectedly fall in love with one or two couples that we almost always finish above.

Judged sports are weird. Ask my partner/spouse/design consultant about judged sports and he will give you a serious rant about how awful they are and how they really shouldn’t exist. But don’t ask him to give up competing in the ballroom!

There is a wonderful blog post at Riot and Frolic about this. Kate Bratt is a professional dancer in the US and her blog is great reading all the time. But Why I’m Okay Not Making the Final is especially pertinent to our dancing right now.

It isn’t so much a list of excuses as much as a list of what IS for us right now and an understanding of what our goals for competition need to be. Now – to be fair, she does have the “four little kids with one baby under a year” card to play, which I don’t have, but there are many reasons we didn’t and shouldn’t have placed at our last two competitions.

  1. We have recently moved up to Pre-Championship and Championship levels. This has meant all new choreography, almost completely new steps, many changes to accommodate our skills (or lack thereof) as a couple, etc.
  2. Most of the people in pre-Champ and Champ have been there for a lot longer, are better dancers and will instantly be placed in the top 6 by the judges.
  3. We have been fighting injuries since November, which included a long layoff with no dancing at all. Fitness levels have declined (understatement!)

So really it has been about our personal goals lately and will continue to be for awhile.

  1. Don’t fall down.  This has jokingly been a goal all along and until 2 weeks ago we were great! But Bill slipped on the edge of his heel and went down. Jumped up and finished the round. No injuries! He has earned a badge of honour I have not yet accomplished:-) But this past weekend we managed this goal well.
  2. Get through the new choreo smoothly, especially Quickstep. Mission accomplished there. Not brilliant and not perfectly on time yet, but better.
  3. Recover from crashes and bumps better. About 50-50 there. Sometimes we intuit what the other is thinking and we move easily and others not so much. I admit I have the benefit of the big guy as the elbow blocker for this!
  4. Cope with the cardio aspect better. I think so.  We have only been back to practicing rounds for a couple of weeks, so not adjusting, posing and otherwise delaying the start of our round (aka the Senior III start) too much is good.
  5. Have fun playing with our friends. Always!

Next week is our Clubs Closed competition (more of a demo, really), so another chance to don the garb and glue on the lashes. Then a few weeks before the new and improved Pacifica Ball!

October Dance Fest

11 Oct

Well, for a first time event, October Dance Fest is a big hit! Big thanks to DSBC and all the volunteers who put on this event.  Lovely to be relatively close to home and so inexpensive.Let’s have more of these:-)

As we are new to Pre-Champ and Champ, we are pretty happy to get around the floor without falling down, but we did manage a very respectable 4th place in Senior II Pre-Champ out of 7 couples.

It is amazing that doing 5 events, which is 22 dances and takes maybe a little over 45 minutes of actual time can make my feet so sore and make getting up in the morning so challenging. “Someone” in my room (not me) took a long time getting his shoes on for breakfast. When asked what the holdup was, he replied “I’m just working up the courage to lift up my leg.” LOL! A lot of coffee and conversation with good dance friends helped the pains for awhile, but a few days rest will be needed, for sure.

Links to photos when they are available.

Holiday Classic 2014

21 Dec

Here we are about to dance Championship for the first time!

red carpet Holiday Classic 2014

The photos are a bit blurry – waiting for the professional ones coming soon, I hope.  How cool to be introduced by John DePalma, walking down an actual red carpet in Las Vegas.

Not only did we not fall down (always objective #1 LOL!) but we danced really well, felt fantastic in spite of it being somewhere after 11 pm, and we came third!  Admittedly it was a small field, but we will take it as a victory anyway.

holiday classic awards 2014

The next day activity – zip line over Freemont Street.

vegas 2014 zip line

About time to post some nice results

1 Dec

We had a fantastic time at the Snowball Classic and had some great results.  Unfortunately, we don’t seem to have any good photos, so we will go with some taken at a demo this past weekend.

First, the results:

Senior III Gold – 3rd out of a quarter final with 15 couples.

Senior II Gold – 5th out of a quarter with 17 couples.

Senior I Gold – 5th out of a quarter with 19 couples.

These are our best Snowball placings ever and in the past we have not even made all the finals, so we are tickled pink.  So happy we are moving right out of Gold into pre-Champ.  Crazy or what?  Lots of reasons, good and not so good for doing this, and it should be interesting.

Photos from our club demo:

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Seattle Star Ball 2014

7 Aug

It was a hot one.   Like really hot, hot, hot.   At least by our feeble West Coast standards.  It was the kind of hot that even though we were in a chilly air conditioned ballroom, the sweat from dancing was still damp after sitting in the chill for over an hour waiting for results.  For those unfamiliar with competition etiquette, it is considered bad form to change out of costume until after the awards are presented, so after basically sprinting indoors off and on for an hour or so, the ladies pull off their shoes, the guys rip off the soaking jackets and we wait.


Then we get really, really cold and start putting (mostly wet) clothes back on and wait some more.

If we are really smart, we take photos before the results.  Especially wise when one is moving up a category for the first time!



We did ok in spite of feeling a bit inadequately warmed up and Bill pulling a calf muscle part way through.  We were not a bit intimidated by the idea of a floor full of faster moving Novice and Pre-Champ dancers.  Perhaps we should have been….

Nevertheless, we came 5th in Senior II Open Novice Standard (not last!) and 6th in Senior I Open Novice Standard.  Last, but with just a few non-last place marks.  This is how one adjusts expectations when moving up.  LOL.  Third in  Senior I Gold Standard which was very close to a 2nd place.  The tie had to be broken by some magical algorithm that, as it is math, I won’t attempt to explain.

Then, we take photos:


Hair – get the hair!


My ballroom sister Candy, also with a new dress and fancy new hair.

And then the silly photos.


The new gown performed really well and I am excited to get working on it again – finalize the way the floats connect, get some rhinestones on the skirt and a few other little details.  should be gorgeous-er in time for The Snowball Classic.

Oh – one more thing!  Since this gown has lovely flowers in the organza over skirt and the rhinestone flowers on the top look more like fireworks, I am naming this one The Butchart Gown after the fabulous Gardens that have amazing flowers and a breathtaking fireworks display every Saturday night throughout the summer.

Portland Rose Festival and River City Ball

22 Jun

One of our all-time favourite competitions for so many reasons!  We met our good friends Terry and Candy there six years ago and we love meeting up with them, dueling on the dance floor and going for beer afterward.  What could be better?


Here we are in the new hall at the Ballroom Dance Company in Tigard, near Portland.  Lovely floors, lots of mirrors to distract us as we put our first Open choreography on the floor (eeeek!) and wonderful people running the comp and cheering us along whether we deserved it or not.

Hair and makeup took 2 full hours.  We heard an interview with Dmitri Zkarkov where he said, “if we have nine hours, it takes nine hours1  If we have 20 minutes, it takes 20 minutes.”   I need to learn the 20 minute kind…..


Front of the hair.  Isn’t the upholstered wall lovely?


Side view.  This was the first time I had a near hair malfunction, but was rescued before the first heat by a fellow competitor who had LOTS of pins to lend me.


Back view.

Results were good!  First in Senior II and Senior III Gold, second in Senior III Novice and third in Senior II Novice.  Gotta love a small field!

Great beer afterward at Max’s Brew Pub.

Pacifica Ball come and gone

2 Jun

So wonderful to have a competition in Victoria again!  The new and improved Pacifica Ball was a fun filled weekend with lots of great dancing.  We came 6th in Senior I Standard and 4th in Senior III. Our friend and fellow competitor Tom Overton even competed in Senior IV!

No hair and makeup pictures this go around but some goofy stuff on out way out for post competition beer. Pretty cool to have our friends David and Denise as the poster “kids” for the event.  Well done Victoria!

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Vancouver Challenge Cup. The New Comp in Town.

19 Jan

The Vancouver Challenge Cup  is the newest ballroom competition in the BC, Washington, Oregon area and oh so welcome since we no longer have the Grand Ballroom for hosting local events.  (Glad to see the videos are still up though!)  The venue is lovely and I have to say I was pretty comfortable with the Ladies Dressing Room being in the preschool classroom!  Felt right at home:-)

Though Bill is struggling with some foot issues, which may be plantar fasciitis, we managed some good placings.  do we count the first place in a solo foxtrot?  well, why not!

Though I am still having a sewing block and not managed to get a new gown ready, the hair department has been busy.  Two new hairpieces made their debuts this weekend.  And a good thing I took both, as the first one got hopelessly tangled in hair net and glued into the ornament.  The photos from Friday are a bit dark.  Must remember to get daylight shots!  Also, never do a chin-down photo ever again.


Love the back view.  The ornament there is a corkscrew type little gem that just winds into the hair and stays. Love them!


The matching ornament comb that became hopelessly tangled when I tried to get it out in the evening.  Lesson learned!


The head turn.


Day Two: a little blurry, but you can sorta see the crystals stuck on the bun.  I cut up a bracelet that snagged on EVERYthing and used the sparkle for the hair.


Back view:


Side view – ack!  No chin down!


Side view done right:  fuzzy focus is almost as good as botox.


Tango face.  Lashes thanks to Anne-Marie


Now smile, he says, as he moves the camera…


Now the only question is which hairpiece to tidy up and take to the Southwest Regionals?

Good hair day? New hair day!

25 Nov

Still pretty much nothing happening in the sewing room here.  It became a dumping ground when I cleaned up for Thanksgiving (the “real” one in October 🙂  ) and there has been no time at all to clean it up.  But good news on the hair front!

I bought two new hairpieces from The Head Shop some time ago and spent a loooong time working on them to get the look I was hoping for.  The first one looks like this and the second one is this one.  I didn’t take photos while doing the work, but will get some the next time I do the process.

They are really cool pieces because they come with several ways of putting them on.  There is a mesh wig “cap”  that is maybe 5 or 6″ across when fully opened, elastic drawstrings around the edge so you can make it bigger or cinch it up and tie the elastics around your own ponytail or bun.  Then there are flexible metal hair combs that you can use to secure it plus a big claw clip, which is removable.

The simplest way to use them is to do your own bun, pop the piece on top putting the claw clip over your bun and tie up the elastics.  It would likely be secure enough for a typical evening out.  Of course, our evening of dancing is not quite  a classy dine and dance to a softly playing jazz band!  And aside from one of the top amateur ballroom ladies, who has inexplicably started wearing her hair in a low ponytail, ballroom hair must be secured, smooth and seriously styled.

After a couple of failed attempts and some creative thinking, here is the result:

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These were taken after our club’s closed competition and you can see that it is held at our local recreation centre, which also has a lovely pool complex!  We took first place in Waltz, Tango and Quickstep, second in Foxtrot, which is fun in spite of it being a very small field of competitors.  Many thanks to the top couples who stayed home!  LOL!


Pro-Am Fiesta results

25 Jun

So happy with our results this past weekend!  We came 2nd in Senior III Gold, only one mark by one judge behind our good friends, Terry and Candy.  Here we are getting our medal.  I am pretty sure that judge, coach and all around great person, Beth Knoll is standing behind the judge’s table describing my height.  Just kidding!

But the result we are extra excited about was 4th in Senior I Gold, where we had to dance with youngsters of 35 and over and also dance through quarter and semi finals.  I don’t know if this photo shows action from one of those heats or not, but it is pretty nice.

Now a bit of a break in the competition schedule until Seattle Star Ball so time to work on the gowns, hair and, oh yes…the dancing!  We are pretty sure the coach will have one or two things to fix up between now and then.

...Then Came Dance

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