I Am Goin' to Nationals!

Just got my plane ticket for Nationals, coming up at the beginning of September, in Orlando, Florida, where I’ve never been! I was actually pondering saving money and not going this year, but my friend, Michele, blasted some sense into me: it’s going to be far too exciting a year to miss. Am now trying to fill out above form to reserve my event tickets — $70 for Saturday night comp and $60 for Thursday and Friday night each — I do wish it wasn’t so expensive, but at least they’ve moved the competition to a cheaper hotel; last year it was in swanky Palm Beach, and the only hotel in the vicinity was the, basically, ten–star one in which the competition was held.

So, no alligators this year 🙂 (Last year, I took a brief excursion from competition madness to visit the Everglades)

Anyway, this is going to be a big year. Because of a couple of important retirements, new champions will be crowned in two events: American Rhythm and American Smooth.

I’m hoping Emmanuel Pierre-Antoine, my former teacher and an excellent dancer, will do well in Rhythm. Well, I know he’ll do WELL, but will he win is my big question?!

Or will the king and queen of rhythm be Emmanuel’s former partner, Joanna Zacharewicz and the super cute Jose deCamps?

We’ll know Thursday, September 6th, late late LATE night (these competitions are definitely for night owls)

The highlight for me though is always the International Latin. It’s always a showdown between these two:

current national champs Andrei Gavriline (my favorite American man) and Elena Kruyshkova, and

my favorite American woman, Yulia Zagoruychenko, and her partner Max Kozhevnikov.

They also have an open-to-the-world category, in which dancers who are not American residents or citizens can compete. Last year I was just in heaven — my two favorite Latin dancers in the world competed in that category: Slavik Kryklyvyy, who is just about my favorite dancer period (excepting this one of course of course:) ) (Slavik’s dancing here with Elena Khvorova)

and Sergey Surkov (parterning Melia).

Oh, I hope so so SO much they compete again this year. I’m thinking Slavik may not, may have only competed last year because he’d just broken up with his old partner, Karina Smirnoff and was testing out a new partnership before the really important world comps, but I really do hope he shows at this one. Otherwise, I’m stuck waiting until next May for Blackpool to see him again…

Two people I’m fairly sure who won’t be there are the couple I always long to see of course: Pasha and Anya, who are, sigh, off to bigger and better things these days… Of course I’m so happy for them, but it is sad knowing I’ll likely not see them compete at one of these events again. I’m thrilled though that so many opportunities are opening up for professional ballroom dancers. The same couples win these competitions year after year after year. And, while it’s always fun for us spectators to watch, I can imagine how frustrating it must be to be a professional dancer knowing you’re likely going to place exactly where you have been for the past umpteenth years.

Anyway, unrelated to the USDSC, here’s some interesting stuff I found on the net:

1) Boris Willis has created a funny little “manly dance” for me, apropos of all my blogging on Bad Boys of Dance and Ted Shawn’s Men Dancers, etc. etc. etc. Thanks Boris!

2) The artist David Michalek, who made those Slow Dancing films I was going on about forever, has linked on his site to a bunch of us bloggers who covered the exhibit. So very cool to see artists taking bloggers so seriously and considering us to be our own little form of press! And, I noticed by reading down his list of bloggers that Alex Ross, classical music critic for the New Yorker, posted a couple of pictures of the event on his blog, one of which intentionally includes both Midsummer Night Swing and Slow Dancing together like many of mine do. I’m glad someone else found the two events coinciding with each other interesting. He describes them, though, as “juxtaposed surreally” with each other in the photo. I’m still interested in why people think it’s odd that an exhibit of filmed dancers should coexist with people actually dancing, that people could enjoy both the physical experience of dancing themselves and of watching dance. To me it seems ideal, not surreal, to have these two events co-occur.

3) Root Magazine, based in San Francisco, is having a little thing on burlesque right now. There’s a write-up on a group that has its origins in Samba, which I found interesting. Root’s editor also deals with the feminist issue, which makes me happy.

4) And, finally, as I’m sure most people already know but I was a bit late to discover (oops 🙂 ), there’s a blog devoted to SYTYCD called, appropriately, Blogging So You Think You Can Dance. It’s really pretty good: they have links to practically everything extant on the internet dealing with the show, and they give detailed, fairly objective write-ups of what happened each night (which is great for me since I’m always out and missing it!) Thanks guys 🙂


  1. Oh! Yay!! I hope Max and Yulia win. They’re my favorites. 🙂 That Yulia is so, so pretty and she’s such a sharp, clean dancer. All her moves are so precise. And Max is great, too, but Yulia’s really the star of that pair (I think).

    I’ve only ever seen them on TV or videos. It must be so awesome to see them perform live!

    Sounds like lots of fun!

  2. Thanks MA! I totally agree about Yulia — her technique is fabulous, but even beyond that she has a style that’s all her own and she makes really interesting shapes with her body. I hope you get to see them live sometime. I think the beauty and magic of ballroom dancing (at least Latin) comes through on film more so than with other kinds of dance fortunately, but it’s still so fun to be there. I will definitely blog from there!

  3. I can’t wait to read your blogs and see your pictures. I hope you get some good ones of Yulia. I wonder if she’ll wear THE PANTS.

    I always say she moves like silk. Her body is so flowy and loose, and yet she’s also technically precise. So she’ll be flowy in a turn and then stop on a dime. It’s amazing to me and almost doesn’t look real. I saw her and Max at some competition (the events run together for me) where they did a paso doble/samba routine. (They’re both in red, I think.) That was just fantastic! They did some sama rolls that looked effortless, and she just twirled and twirled…AND TWIRLED. And then she stopped dead and moved into something else. I’d have fallen over for sure.

  4. You are welcome. It was fun!

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