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Today, I woke up around 10:30am, local time, and felt a compulsion to go to Target.  It is the land of Target, after all.  Actually, I went to get some toiletries I’d forgotten to pack, something I could wear in the pool if I go swimming, and to see if there were anything on the way where I could get breakfast.

I GPS’d to the nearby SuperTarget.  When I walked in, I’m pretty sure I was blinded for a moment with divine light as a choir of ethereal voices sang just above and behind my head.  It was Target as far as the eye could see.  Miles and miles of it!  Still a pretty small menswear section, though.  Anyway, since I didn’t spot anything appetizing on the drive over, I had “breakfast” from the Target deli: half an egg salad sandwich on rye and half a southwest veggie wrap.  I saved the other half of the veggie wrap for later; the egg salad only came as a half.  I collected the goods I needed and returned home to blog until it was time to take off for the afternoon Showdown stuff.

I suspect I’m going to miss the history lesson, but I should get there for Hot Swing Combo.  More later…

…the midday Saturday events were fun, but not as fun as last night.  I arrived just as the slow prelims were beginning. The afternoon consisted of the Freedom (slow) prelims, the Liberation (fast) prelims and some social dancing to the three-piece Hot Swing Combo. There was so much in the competitions (at least from when I got there), that there wasn’t a great deal of time for social dancing.

As with all prelims, it’s tough to watch all those couples out there through many heats and try to mentally stack them up against each other unless there is some single outstanding performance.  I couldn’t have judged without some serious note taking.  I could judge that the Hot Swing Combo was freaking fantastic!  They played for both divisions.  I was standing next to Jamie Cameron who commented to me, to my agreement, that the slow music was really well done: great tunes, good tempos, and enough of those little dancer-friendly riffs to give us something to play with.  They included possibly the only version of Nature Boy to which I’d ever want to dance.  As for the fast division, I could have been listening to Django and his American Friends and might not have enjoyed it any more than Hot Swing Combo!

I danced with Krista Haskins, Gina from Seattle,  Anna from Seattle, and this time I have no excuse for not remembering the rest. Just around 5pm, the combo quit for the afternoon and I went off on my dinner adventure.  Before I did, I made sure to find Amy Johnson and tell her to her face just how great I thought her event was.  I try to do this for every Showdown because as the person at the top, I’m sure she’s going to hear the most complaints, no matter what.  I find it’s true everywhere: 80% of people who are dissatisfied will tell you so, but only 20% of people who are happy will do the same.  I always try to edge that bottom number towards at least 21%.

I GPS’d it to Taste of Thailand and got Veggie Pad Thai with a side order of Tofu and a dessert of Mango Sticky Rice. I only ate half of all that. And then, just for a different taste, I had about 1/3 of my leftover veggie wrap. Everything else went back in the fridge and I got ready for the evening…

…Holy moley!   Here it is, 3:30am local time and I just got back from the evening events.  I’m so tired but I wanted to take time to note the wonderful follows with whom I got to dance tonight.  done.  I’ll keep writing up the night when I wake up.  Time to take some AdvilPM…

I couldn’t drag myself out of bed until now, about 1:30pm local time and even now I’m exhausted.  My arms are moving like al dente noodles, and feel quite a bit sore.   I’m hoping this is just due to the *PM in my system.

Last night I got to watch two finals, an endurance contest, and an impromptu tie-breaker contest.

I arrived at the Ballroom around 9:15pm wearing my version of “dressed-up” clothes: dress shoes, going-out-shirt, and a velvety blazer.  People were generally looking pretty good, which is the hallmark of the Saturday night of an event attended by dancers with some experience.  I don’t recall seeing anywhere in the emails or on the website that Saturday night is the night when everyone is expected to get suited up… but dancers in the know realize that even if you’re going to dress casually the rest of the weekend, this night is the night when you should at least show the pretense of class.  Mind you, I don’t generally last long in the cool clothes, because they don’t feel cool; they feel sweltering.  I did pretty well this time around, keeping most of the nice clothes on (with at least two changes) until after 11.

Right from the start, we got to dance to Loose Marbles!  Their awesome female singer was there: the one who occasionally sounds midway between Billie Holiday and Katherine Whalen — except I like these songs more.  After a little social dancing wherein I tried very hard to make my blazer look like a cape without smacking it into anyone’s face, Sean Morris called for an impromptu tie-breaker.  Now, I couldn’t hear exactly what was being said, but since it was a contest between Todd and Kelly and Skye and Frida, my guess is that it was for the Revolution competition.  I think Todd and Kelly did more flash that looked very cool, but there were a few times when it seemed like their connection had gone awry.  Skye and Frida looked pretty consistently amazing and terrificly connected but with fewer flashy moments.

Immediately at the end of the tie-breaker, Sean pulled us along into the Freedom finals (slow).  Of course, Todd and Kelly and Skye and Frida were all in that competition, too.  Poor SuperDancers.  Everybody looked good.  I’m still a bad judge.

After the Freedom finals was a short break with nice DJ’d tunes that increased in tempo to get folks warmed up for the Liberation finals, and the band was expected just to jump right in with loads of FAST.  When the DJ’d segment came to an end, and the Liberation finals were about to begin, the lights went low, some rock music started coming over the speakers… and then the finals contestants were announced to come into competition space for the Liberation finals in grand NBA style.  It was kinda hilarious and very fun.  The finals were jam-packed with WOW.  I’m an old cynical dancer and my knee-jerk response is certainly to say that I’ve seen better… but I keep in mind, I don’t think I’ve seen better anywhere BESIDES ULHS.  Not even in those video clips from teh interwebz.  The passion, cleverness, and fancy fast footwork needed for a good fast competition all showed up and tore up the place. Before they all threw down, Sean let us know that the Liberation winners would be invited to be instructors at an upcoming event that’s all about speed.  During the contest, I thought that Oscar and Mikhaila (totally full of misspelling, I apologize) stood out as doing some really memorable stuff.

After the contest, but I’m not sure when, I drove quickly to the nearest convenience store, SuperAmerica, to grab some cash and some electrolyte filled drinks.  I’ve grown fond of the PowerAde Zero drinks.  I’ve been pretty good about not eating outright junk this weekend but I did have a donut from the SuperAmerica.  I couldn’t help it; it was a French Toast flavored Donut!  I have no regrets.

I got back to the Cinema Ballroom and had a blast doing more social dancing in one night than I’ve done in months.  There were so many great follows there that I never had to look too hard to find a partner who was going to be marvelous on the floor.  Man, I even talked to some people at a socially interactive level.  I NEVER do that.

Sometime during the night, Loose Marbles announced that they were having a contest wherein you could put down a dollar and with that dollar choose one of the band members.  You could do that for every band member if you wanted to.  Sometime during the fourth set, all the band members would take a shot of alcohol and one of those shots would be laced with laxative.  And that dollar would be your stake betting that said band member would be the unlucky recipient.  If you bet correctly, you would win one of the band’s CDs that normally sell for $10.  This was a slightly funny concept but it also made me uncomfortable.  Like when a homeless person will come up to me and offer to punch himself in the face for money.  Just uncomfortable.  I opted just to buy one of their CDs instead.

The approximate end of the night for me came with the Endurance Contest.  Everybody was to grab a partner and try to keep Lindy Hopping through a variety of songs: slow, fast, good, bad, etc.  It’s always fun to watch, particularly as weird songs like “The Bird is the Word”? come into the rotation.  Near the end, I thought that Ramona and her lead should have been tapped out before they lasted to third place since they did NOT seem to be on the beat and were not showing off dancing that would be entirely accurate to label as Lindy Hop.  If they had been tapped out, my friend Carolyn from Seattle would have gotten to third with Mark Kihara, instead of fourth.  But I did agree at the end that Joe and Tiff were suited to win.  Certainly I agreed with Sean’s assessment, “1) You were still on the beat, and 2) dude, you never do college shag!”  Yep, the 2nd place dancers had tried to put college shag on the floor to win a Lindy Hop Endurance contest.  I would have joined in the lynching but I guess that didn’t happen.

I lasted until around 3am, mostly to say that I did, and I still got in some more terrific dances.  And when I got back to my hotel room, I decided I’d better finish off the mango and sticky rice before it became a statue of itself.  I was just being responsible.

This night, I danced with Sandy Yin, Carolyn Palma, Cole Allen, Jes Kolongowski, Soo Clark, Rhonda (sp?) from Michigan, Michelle Searle, Daniella from Barcelona (much better than Manuel), Ann Mony, Megan Adair, Chelsea from Chicago, Frances from ?, Lauren from Minnesota, Deen from NYC (expat from Australia) and maybe some more.  This may not sound like a lot to you, considering how long I was at the dance, but it felt like I was constantly either dancing or watching a competition, until after the Endurance Contest when I finally actually chatted with some folks.

It was a very good night.

About Paul Roth

A vegetarian, agnostic, lindy-hopping, dog-loving tv-watcher who likes to read his own words.
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