The Texas Hoedown — Scrapbook Scribblings


Welcome to my “Scrapbook Scribbles” for the Texas Hoedown (March 23-25).  You’ll find jottings and photos which, in no particular order, describe all the fun from last weekend at the Texas Hoedown, first stop on the ACDA circuit.

  • I love the Texas Hoedown because it is so very laid back and friendly.  Virginia and Jerry, the event owners are awesome folks and they work overtime to make everyone feel welcome.  And I love being with other folks who love dancing as much as I do; the Hoedown is a “must attend event” for people in the Southwest.  It is the first big event of the year and is something of a family reunion where you get to see friends you haven’t seen since the end of last year’s dance season.  The Hoedown is an awesome experience and lots of fun.
    ..
  • Hoedown Namebadge ©I was on the Line Dance Staff and have a cool name badge that says “Instructor” as a souvenir.  Hey, it’s cool to me!  :-)
    ..
  • OMG!  I almost forgot to mention…!  PANT  <taking deep breaths> !I had one of those “landmark” “rite of passing” moments occur during the weekend.  Not one, but TWO event directors asked me to be on their staff!  Wow!  The reason it is a land mark moment is because up to this point, every time I’ve been added to the staff of an event it has been something like…  “Please Mr/Miss Event Owner, could you please take pity on a poor out of work brand new line dance instructor and put me on your staff so I can get the 3 day pass comped?  Pretty Please?  I’ll even sweep the dance floor too if you need me to do that.”   Can you dearest readers, all four of you reading this, imagine me saying the aforementioned with a pitiful desperate “lost kitten” look upon my face?
    ..
    Truthfully, I felt more as if I was that kid from Dickens who says “Please sir, I’d like some more.”  :-)
    ..
    But this weekend, for the FIRST TIME, I had an event owner, Jim Criger, approach me and ask me to be on his staff.  I would have loved to do it,  unfortunately I had to turn him down.  :-(  Because his event, the Show Me Showdown (www.showmeshowdowndance.com) is on the same weekend that I’m already committed to be on the line staff at another event, the IAGLCWDC Annual.  Bummer!  I would have said yes in a heartbeat otherwise.  But maybe next year!  Woo Hoo!
    ..
    Lone Star InvitationalSo, I was telling my “coming of age” story to Sherry Reynolds, a friend of mine, a Pro dancer, coach, instructor, and an all around sweet lovely lady, not for any ulterior motive, but because I was just so darned giddy with excitement about being “asked to be on staff” with no begging or grovelling involved and…. drum roll please … she says “Well, I am going to be the second event owner to ask you to be on their staff!”  OMG!  Like totally OMG!  (I do “valley” very well sometimes)  But I digress…

    I had forgotten that Sherry owns the Lone Star Invitational event in Austin!  (www.lonestarcountrydance.com) Well, I hadn’t forgotten that but it wasn’t something that I was thinking about at the time,  I was just bubbling over to the first friend that I spotted with my good news.  So… I’ll be teaching at Sherry’s event in August!  Uh-huh, Uh-huh <doing that chair dance circle the hands thingie>!
    ..
  • The three “teaches” or “workshops” I did went over very well.  I lost track of the number of dancers who came up afterward to me and told me how much fun they had in my workshops.  Wow, what a fantastic feeling!  A very big “thank you” to all the wonderful Donna and I ©dancers who made teaching those workshops so much fun.  And thank you for all the kind words…  …you made this here cowboy blush!   A special shout out to the other instructors who also were very complimentary to me on my teaching.
    ..
  • My dance partner and I took 1st place in our Couples Division: Intermediate Bronze.  (Bronze is the 40 and over division.  We will *not* discuss that I’ll soon be eligible for the “over 50 division.”   Yes, my 50th birthday is lurking about like one of those Sci-Fi-Con characters impersonating Darth Vader and breathing heavy down my neck.
    ..

    Hoedown Buckle ©

    Buckle for the gentleman; the lady gets a bracelet.

  • I took 1st place overall in the ProAm Male Intermediate Copper division (over 30), dancing with my awesome coach, Natalja Sawal (allballroomdance.com).  I also took 2nd place overall in ProAm Male Intermediate Bronze.  Jack, a buddy of mine took 1st overall.  Yes, I got whupped.  More on that further down….
    ..
  • How dance divisions are organized:  For those folks who may be new to the whole “dance scene” here is how the divisions are set up–Dancers are grouped four ways  (1) by dance category, (2) by skill level, (2) age and (3) by gender.  Division names indicate all four bits of information.  Thus ProAm Male Advanced Open equals a Male “Am” student dancing with his female coach (only the student is judged) in the advanced skill level and in the 18 and over age division.  Dancers can compete in all eligible age divisions so a dancer who is over 50 can dance in the over 40, over 30, and over 18 age divisions as well.  Dance categories are “Couples” where both the dance partners are judged together as a couple;  ProAm where only the “AMateur” is judged, not the “Pro”; Line Dance where every person on the floor represents an individual competitor, and Teams which is a group of people judged as a group.  Teams can dance as couples, in line formations or a combination of both.
    ..
  • Natalja and I ©I had so much fun hanging out with my teammates, Jim David and John who also danced with Natalja, our coach.  Congrats guys on your placements!  Between the three of us guys, and with our most awesome, beautiful, talented, (and 6 1/2 month very pregnant!) coach, we managed to place high enough to win Top Teacher for our instructor, the lovely Natalja.  Woot!  Woot!  Yippee!  Yeeeeeeee Hawwwww!
    ..
    To determine the top teacher, the score totals are added up for each coach and cash awards are given to the top male and female teachers.  Of course this is done to encourage the coaches to bring as many students as possible, so, admittedly, it is something of a numbers game.  HOWEVER, our coach took the top spot with only three guys.  There were other lady coaches there who had more students but who didn’t have as many top finishers.  So, while the award can be won by sheer overwhelming numbers, the quality of the dancing, and thus the coaching does indeed factor into the award!  Congratulations Natalja!
    ..
  • I got to see the debut of a friend of mine, Catherine, who walked onto the floor for the first time as a Pro dancer!  Way to go girl!  She did an awesome job watching out for her “guy”, the student who was dancing with her.  In fact Jack, the student, and Catherine did so well that they whupped up on me!  Just done smacked me down to size they did!  ;-)  That there scoundrel Jack is tha fella who done went and snatched 1st Place from me in the ProAm Intermediate Bronze Division!   Hmmph!  ;-)  In all seriousness, Jack danced great and he looked really good out there.  I was really really happy for him.  Without qualification I can say his West Coast was smokin’!  Wow!  There was no question who took 1st in that dance!  Congrats Jack you did great!  In fact… you could take some time off, not practice or take any more lessons, perhaps “rest on your laurels” even…. <insert image of me trying and failing to look innocent>
    ..
  • Natalja and I dancing ©I was so glad that my new vest from Kelly Kealy Designs (www.dancesportdesigns.com) arrived in time for me to wear it.  I had ordered it back in November when Kelly and I both were at the Dallas Dance Festival.  But this was the first opportunity for me to wear it.  Kelly had it ready for me by Worlds, but I couldn’t wear it at the World Championship in January because my dance partner,  Donna, pulled a hamstring and we had to scratch.  “Scratch” means we had to withdraw from the competition.  Then, I was planning to wear it at my next competition, Big D Bash in February of this year, but I wasn’t ready to compete because I had been spending so much time and energy trying to save my job, now my “ex” job, that there wasn’t enough energy left over to also practice and get ready for Big D.  *sigh*
    ..
    So, this was the very first time I had a chance to wear my new vest.  I didn’t know if was going to arrive in time due to some logistics issues (again not Kelly’s fault but mine) but it did and when I put it on, it fit perfectly.  Wow.
    ..
    Natalja and I dancing ©I have to say that Kelly did an AMAZING, AWESOME, FANTASTIC job.  When I have it on, I can’t feel it, that is how well it fits and moves with me as I dance.  Incredible!   The vest is styled like a tuxedo jacket with no arms and is intended to be used primarily for Night Club, Waltz, and Triple Two-Step.  It has clean lines and presents a more “formal” look suitable for those dances.  It also hangs below the waist making me look slimmer, which friends and neighbors is an awesome thing!  *grin*  It is custom-made from scratch by hand and is beautifully constructed.  Kelly really knows how to design clothing for dancers.  If you go see her, mention that I sent you to her.  (www.dancesportdesigns.com)  I got so many compliments on the vest.  It was well worth every penny of the $285.  When I think of how Photo by Steve Vogel - Used with permissionmany “cheaper” vests I’ve purchased over the years which were “ok”, I cringe.  I should have laid out the money to start with and had an awesome vest from the beginning.  I would have actually saved money if I had done that.  Oh well, live and learn and “Hindsight is always 20/20″
    ..
    And thank goodness I had paid for the vests ages ago.  Last year in fact.  Whew!  I would not be able to afford them now. Them? I hear my readers asking?  Yes, there is a second vest on its way.  The second vest is cut closer to the torso and stops above the hips, just below the “belt line.”  This vest is suitable for Polka, Cha-Cha, and East Coast Swing.   These dances use cuban motion and/or lilt which involve rolling motions of the hips.  Which means you want the hips to be visible to the judges and spectators.  Betcha didn’t realize how much Scully Gunfighter Embrodered Shirtplanning and thought goes into the clothing for dance?  LOL  :-)
    ..
    As an aside, either vest could be used for Two-Step but my plan (once I lose a few more pounds) is to not wear a vest for Two-Step and only wear a western shirt.  Two-step is the most “country” of the dances and is not danced in any other dance circuit, only Country.  So, I want that pretty western shirt I have to be VERY visible.  :-)..
    ..
  • Donna and I ©My dance partner and I have been working on a lot of things and I feel we’ve really been making progress.  I thought our dances went very well.  There were a couple bobbles here and there, but overall I thought our quality of movement had improved from the last time we had danced in competition.  I haven’t seen the video from the couples contest yet.  The DVD had a flaw so it is being replaced.
    ..
  • I watched my ProAm dances and for the first time I could actually see on the video some of the things that my coach is trying to get me to do or “not do”.  Examples include staying low with bent knees or “soft knees” in the smooth dances; driving forward in Waltz, watching the position and shape of arm lines, etc.  Usually I don’t “see” those things when I watch myself on video, but this time when watching them, they popped out at me like they were highlighted in neon!
    ..
  • Also, when I was watching the Newcomer and Novice divisions, I could see dancers making some of the mistakes that I used to make but have worked to eliminate.  It really gave me a good feeling to know that not only have I mastered those particular skills but that I had done so to a degree that when I see them in other less experienced dancers, I can recognize them, and I know how to fix them!  Woo Hoo!
    ..
  • Since I was on the line dance staff, my “three-day pass” was comped–I got the pass in exchange for teaching the workshops.  Fortunately my dance entry fees were already paid so all I had to spend money on was food.  And since I’m now unemployed, I was very happy that the hotel restaurant had put on a daily $10 special that was “fast” and delicious, and actually was not too bad in terms of healthy choices.  So all in all I did pretty good on the financial front.
    ..
  • There were a LOT of new dancers on the floor which was great to see.  The recession combined with the increased interest in ballroom and swing dancing have been hammering the Country Western dance events for a number of years.  Attendance and competition entries for many events have been falling steadily.  But this year was up 30% for the Hoedown and this event had the largest number of attendees in its history!   Yay!
    ..
    There was a group of new couples who came up from Austin who absolutely captured everyone’s hearts.  They needed hats and boots and the other dancers scrounged and dug through suitcases and closets and got them fixed up.  I was happy that two of my hats were pressed into service!   It was great to see so many new dancers on the floor and the guys and gals from Austin danced great.
    ..
  • Well, I think that just about covers it.  Hmmm…  oh, one last thing.  My feet hurt.  Well, they’ve recovered now, but I danced so much that by the end of the weekend they were red, tired, throbbing aching slabs of bone and muscle that only vaguely resembled the human foot  Yeppers, it was a great weekend!

See ya on the dance floor!

About these ads

About TxCowboyDancer

Eight time Country Dance World Champion. I love to dance. Working hard to transform myself from "unemployed and out-of-shape" to "in-shape full time professional writer, graphic artist, and dance instructor.

Posted on Mon, Apr 2, 2012, in Misc and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. What a wonderful story, Tony…This is just exactly the reason I have always admired you…You are so appreciative and talented…and not arrogant with your talents…Way to go…see you soon…Virginia Rainey

  1. Pingback: UPDATE: Headed to the Oklahoma Dance Rush! « 5-6-7-8! Dancing my way to a Healthy Me!

  2. Pingback: Dancing: How much does it cost? « 5-6-7-8! Dancing my way to a Healthy Me!

  3. Pingback: Travel Tips and Tricks to Competitive Dancing “On the Cheap” « 5-6-7-8! Dancing my way to a Healthy Me!

  4. Pingback: A Disaster or an Opportunity? Glass Half Full or Half Empty? « 5-6-7-8! Dancing my way to a Healthy Me!

  5. Pingback: Music to Dance By: Triple Two Step « 5-6-7-8! Dancing my way to a Healthy Me!

Join the discussion or just say "Howdy"

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,100 other followers

%d bloggers like this: