Blackpool Pics Up!

I’ve now posted many of my pictures from Blackpool on the photo page. I’m a Latin girl, so most of them are of the Latin comps. Plus, the Brits take their Standard VERY seriously and I couldn’t find a good, ground floor seat for basically any part of the pro Standard comp, so my photos of Standard are from the balcony. Unfortunately, I stupidly forgot to set my camera to PC mode for the first day, so my pictures from the beginning of the festival are going to have to be Photoshopped down in size and may take a while to post — those photos were mainly of the team match. Each of the four teams — Italy, Japan, the U.S., and the U.K. preceded their dancing with these cheesy little playletts. Italy did a futuristic vignette, I forgot what Japan did, and the U.K. had the team ride out onto the dance floor in a double-decker bus driven by a drunk driver in his underpants. Apparently, there must have been something in the tabloids recently about a drunk bus driver in his underwear because the crowd went wild over this. And we did this corny but fun Disneyland theme where all of the dancers dressed as various Disney characters. Andrei Gavriline played Donald Duck. And then the team captains played George Bush and Dick Cheney; once Cheney saw Donald he whipped out a rifle and began chasing him around stage, and of course when he took a shot he missed Andrei and got the president. So that’s what is missing from my first day pics — the U.S. national Latin champion waddling around stage in a giant duck costume.

So, highlights from the last day were definitely the Underdogs of Standard, and hence my favorites since I am an underdog-rooting sort of person: the U.S. couple Victor Fung and Anna Mikhed. Anna wore this very sweet green dress with a black cape and matching hat. It was truly original, very 1920s and very sweet. She was the queen of class in that dress! They’re such a charismatic couple to me — I know nothing about Standard so can’t judge anyone’s actual dancing, but I just can’t take my eyes off them when they are on the floor. They made it to the semi-finals. And Jonathan and Katusha from the U.S. (U.S. national Standard champs), placed third. Katusha wore two beautiful gowns — a gorgeous white one for the first several rounds, and a sleek black for the finals. (How expensive it must be to be a female Standard dancer — yikes!) I was somewhat disappointed because my second favorite Standard dance is Viennese waltz and they didn’t have it in this competition — the dancers competed only in the other four. Why is that — why no Viennese waltz in Blackpool??? My second favorite is Quickstep and it was worth it to watch the whole comp just for that — the way the big beautiful ballgowns bounce around the floor is such an amazing sight. Timonthy Hawkins and Joanna Bolton from the U.K, in my opinion, have the best Quickstep (they placed 2nd overall, but I think 1st in Quickstep) and they do this really fun step that I think he called a slide, which is a kind of combination jump and skid that precedes a run. It looks like so much fun, but so hard because you both have to jump the same distance and at exactly the same time and you’re in such a close embrace, you really have to move as one or you’re going to go down. And he always gets this excited English schoolboy look on his face when he does that step — so cute!

Also on the last day was the Latin formation team competition, which one of the two Chinese teams won. They did a lot of lifts and complicated tricks, which I know from being on a swing team myself, even just doing easy things is hard when you have to have everyone moving in exactly the same way at precisely the same time — particularly hard for partner-dancing — for it to look decent. Still, as amazing as such precision was, this competition didn’t do much for me. I think I’d seen so much incredible Latin body movement to be impressed with people just dancing in unison. And I was getting really tired toward the end. I don’t think I could have walked into that Winter Garden one more day!

My flight out of Manchester was delayed on Saturday, and I didn’t get in until Saturday evening. And then I had a ticket to the ABT, which of course I couldn’t miss because Marcelo was dancing! Even being half asleep from basically not sleeping for 8 days and then being jet-lagged on top of it, I loved their new version of Cinderella. It was great fun — Erica Cornejo was a riot as the dorky stepsister. She had a funny part to begin with, but she took it to the extreme and it was really her show. It’s seriously worth it to see this ballet if just for her! And Carmen Corella was the other, wannabe seductress but sweetly goofy stepsister. She was very good too. I think she’s really so beautiful. Her face is so interesting and she has the ideal female dancer body. And of course Marcelo is the perfect prince :) The ABT spoiled first-time subscribers by letting us sit in the orchestra for relatively cheap — so I felt like they were all dancing right in front of me!

Anyway, tonight I have my lesson with Luis, and am so tired. And, I am just now realizing I didn’t think at all about overcoming my fears of doing overhead lifts during Blackpool, like I was supposed to have done. Ugh. Not that we’re going to be doing any such thing right now though because, on top of not having stretched for over a week (on my first day in Blackpool, I tried to use the top of the dresser in the B&B as a barre and almost broke it — oops!), I have definitely definitely gained from all of those English breakfasts and Cadbury bars!

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