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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!

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Done enough to wear day!

14 Feb

Well, this gown and the yellow studio do not play well together, but here it is. There will be another float on my right elbow, proper hair (the real fake hair – this is the fake fake hair), makeup, earrings and, as always, a strong possibility of more rhinestones, but this is the general picture.

Fingers crossed for an injury free practice today, so there is a possibility of competition next weekend.

Decrystalization

5 Dec

Figuring out how to get rhinestones off an old gown is an interesting challenge.  There don’t seem to be any instructions anywhere on how to remove jewel glue and no ideas even for a solvent that would work.  The only person I knew who had tried to de-jewel a gown had soaked pieces of the dress in water and laboriously picked them off.  Sounds too hard to me!

But as I slowly cut the Disney Princess into strips of stones, I noticed that small stones would almost fall off if the fabric was pulled tightly. It only works well for stones under 20 ss. Larger ones will come off, but the foil backing almost always pulls away.  Fine if you want clear stones, but keeping the AB effect is nice.

So here is the strip of fabric with small stones:

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Give the strip a bit of stretch:

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And a bit more:

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And more:

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Be careful not to break it (but sometimes it will anyway):

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If you are lucky, the stones will just pop right off the fabric:

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But even if they don’t, you can now run a thumbnail along the strip and the rest will tumble off.

I did this in front of the TV with the strips in a giant plastic mixing bowl to catch the stones.  They do tend to fly around, so the bowl worked well as a catching device. Perfect for watching ballroom videos on YouTube.  I recommend some Strictly Come Dancing – the UK version (original) of Dancing With the Stars.

The process with larger stones will be coming along soon.

Watching Snowball is better than no Snowball at all.

11 Nov

After a mad dash to finish the new dress, it was deemed last Thursday to be definitely not ready. Problem #1. Back into the sewing room for it and back into the dress bag for the magenta dress.

Off to Vancouver – walking on the 5 pm ferry so we don’t have to drive and park in downtown.  Problem #2. Guess what? There are now so many walk-ons that we barely made it on to the ferry.  They actually threatened to cut off walk-on passengers! While dining sensibly in the buffet with ballroom friends we found there, we realized that the city buses might be clogged and backed up and running late. Since we really wanted to see the Under 21 World Champ Standard event, we bit the bullet and got tickets for the cushy coach line bus, which would take us downtown in style. They even have free on-board wi-fi now!

The Under 21s were fabulous of course, and we stayed late to soak up all of the atmosphere, as well as connecting with  dance friends.  This meant a minimum 6 am start for me for hair and makeup, but this is what a comp weekend is all about, right? I do hate it when my ipad alarm tells me it will go at 6 am “today” though! Oh yes, Problem #3 we discovered when we heaved (hove?) ourselves into bed that there was a serious problem, which, not wanting to investigate at 1 am, we didn’t find out until Saturday morning was a broken off leg on the bed.

The preparations went smoothly in spite of a weirdly slanted sleep, we got to the venue and warmed up. As many of our first rounds go, it was bumpy and kinda crappy. I was so relieved after a collision near the end of the Quickstep that my fearless leader went straight to basic quarter-turn plus chassez so I could catch my breath. Sadly, right after I said a quick “thank you,” he announced his calf had done its thing again. We don’t really know if it is torn, knotted or what, but when that calf gets tight, we know it is in imminent danger of “blowing” and it did. No more dancing for us! Problem #4. And we didn’t make the next round anyway….

After that the weekend went splendidly for the most part! The dancing was magnificent, the friends and acquaintances were great fun and we had a couple of memorable meals. We were surprised Sunday night however, to find that Vancouver does indeed roll up the streets on a Sunday night. A beautiful clear, warm night on Robson Street is usually a good opportunity to party and have fun, but since it was all of 11 pm, we had a heck of a time finding somewhere to eat and have our celebratory beers.  Happy to say that after attempting several of our usual haunts and being turned away, the Cactus Club on Robson not only let us in and fed us, they have a late night happy hour! Whoopee! It would make a great SNL skit – 10 Seniors out on the town.  Among us we have at least 3 heart conditions, one artificial knee, glaucoma, 3 asthmatics and Bill hobbling along on his sore leg. All so we can go crazy and paint the town red on our 1 or 2 beers each and just share the appy please, since we don’t want to eat too much before bed. We really are that old now, folks.

So many new ideas for the dress that I now have time to finish. Next projected date of completion will be Quest for the Best in Seattle in January. Stay tuned.

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.

A little something each day.

8 Oct

If I want this gown to be done for Snowball, I have to keep plugging away at it, even if I only have ten minutes to do some small thing.  Thursday is not a day I have ANY time at all to do even the smallest thing, so this is my “work on the dress” time, squeezed in to the brief few minutes allotted to coffee and internet.

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Decommissioning Disney Princess will include stone removal, so I have tested a few solvents to make the job easier.  Alcohol and both non-acetone and acetone nail polish removers do the trick, but the nicest to work with and leaves the least residue is Goo Gone. It dissolves the glue and allows the stones to be picked off quite easily, so the dress can be cut up, soaked in Goo Gone and stones removed, then washed and it looks like it will be quite easy. This only works if you are completely discarding a dress that is totally worn out, ripped beyond repair or just hate too much to even sell to someone.

I will do more testing to see how well it works to remove glue boo-boos another time.

Off for a full day and night of work, lesson, workshop and late night birthday part for our coach!

Farewell Disney Princess!

4 Oct

The Winter Sky dress, better known as Disney Princess, has sacrificed herself for the greater good.  The underskirts are detached, unruffled and crin removed to become the underpinning of Gown #10. Double digits!

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One white underskirt remains more or less intact, though closer inspection revealed a tear in a seam that needs repair. The crin should work just fine, but the heavily gathered effect made the old dress move awkwardly, so new pieces will be cut and sewed. Basically, the old underskirts are now just a source for fabric.

The crystals on the old dress will be harvested by a technique still to be discovered.  I will tackle that another time. The small blob of pink and white is thread that was pulled off the gathered top of the underskirts and the crin. That’s a lotta thread!

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