2011 Ft. Wayne Dance For All
Some came to dance in the evenings, just to take workshops all day long, to enter new choreography and learn/dance, to teach/dance/entertain, AND some came, aparently, just to watch the all cast variety show on Saturday night.
600 + were watching the 50+ dancers in the Saturday evening show. This is a couples/line dance event.

Thursday evening began at 8 with ALL demos for the weekend workshops both line and couples.
JP = DJ in the main ballroom. He started with Chill Factor ...the floor had a comfortable capacity for 300 and Chill Factor JAMMED that floor! Burlesque (Number ONE dance on the Weekly Survey and "was very popular in particular" (quote from UK DJ Big Dave) last weekend at the 2011 Newline Danish event where some mainstream hits are played) was next ...Norm Gifford's dance was played all 3 nites, increasing each nite to near capacity. Third = HELLO DOLLY! Box It Up, Shanghai Surprise, CanAM Tango, Johnny Got a Boom Boom & Wonderland Waltz were the newest floor jammers that I can think of all 3 nites. After Midnight, Chill Factor, Dizzy, MMM-Bop, Now or Never, Suds In The Bucket were the oldie jammers when played. Under the Sun, Bobbi With An I, Quarter After One, Hands Up, Playing With Fire, Mama Maria, Mojo Rhythm, Jumpin' the Gun, I Run to You, Hey Soul Sister, Snap Your Fingers, Smooth Operator, American Cowboy, Jesse James filled the floor each time played. Full floor til quiting time at the midnight hour. (A dancer was documenting each dance; BUT he did NOT post on newsletter for all to see.) JP did a GREAT job of keeping the floor full playing a good mix of oldie, newer & brand new floor fillers on Thursday and Saturday nite.

Friday at 2 - Ohh I Like That (Rachael McEnaney's circle partner dance) The Saturday circle was LARGE & smilin' faces were executing the dance perfectly. So FUN to watch.

Frank Trace brings his ENERGY. He sprinted to the floor on Saturday nite w/mic in hand saying "this is an easy one, come to the floor & I will call a few rounds." Capacity came for Cooler Than Me. It was taught Friday 9:30 AM.

You're Amazing (Guyton Mundy) filled the floor Saturday nite. It was taught at 3 on Friday. AND for sure, It is NOT a one teach and you got it dance. If it played Friday after midnight ...I was not there.

Saturday energy til near 2 AM ending time ...announced Drip Droppin' (Kate Sala advanced) Nothin' Better (Neville & Julie intermedate) and something else hard that I didn't know. After 2 hours of clogging (11-1), brain drain from 1-2 (Scott Blevins - Always Gold), and observing Junior's 2 o'clock packed Love is Your Color; My feet were tired anyway.
I was in the Saturday ballroom til closing w/few breaks ...

2011 Ft. Wayne Dance For All: My Highlights

Experiencing the FUN of dancing my favorites with 300+ on a jammed floor.

4 total hours of clogging FUN w/Junior Willis. The 2011 'performance' is now on youtube.
This DUDE works so hard getting us ready for our 'performance' and this year he really poured on the challege. 50ish were in his classes and at least 4 were brand new cloggers. Carol really ENJOYED the learning class. She said we were all looking up and smiling during the routine ...we were having fun for the 4 minute song but we were looking up so as to hear Junior call the ques and I was watching his feet to keep in rhythm! The cloggers were NOT in the show, we were just 50 dancers perfoming a clog dance at 10:30. AND wouldn't you know it ...just prior to our routine, JP played Rachael's Everything I Do. Off came those clogging shoes and I danced in my socks. I was last in line to join my group but made it before the walk on! MORE cloggers on the floor than dancers for Everything I Do ...

Last year Faith & Desire (Johanna Barnes) was one of my FAVORITE dances. I was going to the floor to try and remember when I JUST stopped. Frank Cooper (Home) was on the floor and I decided to watch his beautiful dancing. THEN on FRIDAY nite Swing Your Chains (Soares/Maguire 2003) played. Again a past FAVORITE but Frank was on the full floor. He dances as if his feet are floating on air which makes his body appear to become one with the music. It is just spiritual for ME to see him ENJOY a dance. The teary highlight of the event for ME, for sure!

I met the Londan Ladies who took lessons from Peter Metelnick in London ON Canada BEFORE he became famous! Their FUN is to take lessons ALL DAY LONG and just chill and watch during the evening. We first met at the Sports Bar at the alternate hotel ..the Marriott. Now that I have stayed at both event hotels, hands down, the Marriott wins. The Sports BAR has drink specials each night ...Long Island iced tea on Thursdays. The food was good, lots of it, & at a VERY reasonable price. All Marriott staff were exceptional at customer service. The room was HUGE & new. Just a walk across the street to the Convention Center OR there was an inside cross over on the THIRD floor (our floor) to the convention center ...but that was the long way around.

2011 Ft. Wayne Dance For All: My Comments

NOW I know who steels the rhythmn at event evening dances ...

NOT the DJ ...their job is to fill the floor on Thursday nite and I have NEVER been to an event where that didn't happen. Saturday nite with JP in the main ballroom was a complete turn around from Friday nite. 200 were up on the floor til past midnight. I didn't even need to roam to the 'alternate' ballroom the energy was so high. The 'flush' the floor w/all the teach dances was in full force on Friday nite and I left early just like many did, BUT for some reason JP, aparently, was in full charge on Saturday nite. When I returned from my clogging ~45 minute rehearsal at 10:15ish ..my friends were so JAZZED ..."WE have danced almost EVERY dance!"

My thoughts: The INSTRUCTORS on staff ARE in control of the evening energy.

They have the power to tell the DJ ..."skip my teach" or only play 'this one' when the DJ calls them to the booth. I have had TWO event experiences in a row now when VERY famous choreographers have chosen NOT to have their workshop dances played in the evening. It does HAPPEN!
Does it irk just ME? to watch a dozen or so dancers follow feet/cues just to dance some event teach? It breaks the energy. IF JUST a dozen or so KNOW the dance, fine. I have no issue and I do watch. BUT it still breaks the energy and it is a HARD job for the DJ to bring energy back to the main ballroom floor when this happens time after time. JUST because this is how it always is Friday & Saturday nites ... is NOT the way it has to be?

I have always wondered about the glowing reports, from staff instructors in particular, who say it just gets better and better each year. What does that mean?
Hopefully NOT more dances per hour? 3 to 4 is more than enough FOR ME to chose from.
This event was capacity in most workshop rooms and certainly the main ballroom.
At this event, Mainstream Dancers RUN for the floor when 'their' dance is called.
I can't wait to see who is on staff next year ...