Dancing Near the Stars

Last night, Daniel and I got a special treat: we got to take a master class from Tony Dovolani of Dancing With the Stars fame. He was in Atlanta rehearsing with his DWTS season 18 partner NeNe Leakes (Real Housewives of Atlanta) at Academy Ballroom and decided to offer a class. Being star-struck goofballs and avid DWTS fans, we said yes to the class as soon as we heard about it! Tony is very nice and approachable, very funny, and an excellent teacher. He focused on Latin/Rhythm technique and styling with an emphasis on balance and using energy. Read more

What does a professor look like?

Emily Friedman, a graduate student in English at University of Missouri, has started this great Tumblr called “What a Professor Looks Like.” It examines public perceptions of the professorial image and contrasts them with photos of actual professors, mostly in our after-hours clothing. Let’s just say that most of the professoriate is NOT walking around in tweed jackets with elbow patches, smoking pipes!

Recognize anybody?

Who Is Deanra?

Dancing Stars of Central Georgia just posted photos from Thursday’s cast party on their Facebook page. You can look at the whole album (this link will work if I am lucky) but I wanted to post one pic of Dean and me for those who don’t know him:

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Yesterday I had Daniel stand in for Dean so I could start trying out the choreography. Our routine is going to be so much fun! I can’t wait to start rehearsals.

Introducing Team Deanra

Last night was the cast party for the 2014 edition of Dancing Stars of Central Georgia, the Alzheimer’s Association fundraiser that Daniel and I first participated in back in 2012. This year I was asked to rejoin the cast at the special request of one of the stars. We all convened at the Blacksmith Shop last night to officially meet our partners for the first time. My star is Dean Copelan, a vice-president at SunTrust Bank and the husband of Ashley Copelan with whom Daniel danced in 2012 and won the People’s Choice trophy for top fund-raiser. I am very excited to be partnered with Dean! As soon as I found out he was my star, I knew exactly what I wanted to choreograph for us. He is totally game and up for anything: the ideal partner!

We have already agreed on a no-trash-talking, totally victory-focused approach. Go, Team Deanra!

WGXA is once again serving as a presenting sponsor so we got to appear on their newscast last night:

Professional dance instructors in action in Macon

This past Saturday, USA Dance Greater Macon once again welcomed Josh Jones down from Atlanta with his gorgeous partner Anne-Marie Edwards. They taught us some great lessons in waltz (“Throw your body!”) and foxtrot with introduction to quickstep (“Ah-one two three four five six seven eight slow, quick quick, slow). That evening at the dance they did a beautiful foxtrot exhibition:

And then we harassed them into doing a tango as an encore:

Anne-Marie is so beautiful and sweet, and Josh is just an impeccable technician. Every move he makes on the floor is a balance of control and energy. Just watching them work is so exciting and it was a privilege to learn from them again.

Mercer Ballroom Club Winter Formal

Daniel and I had the dubious but real pleasure of being the oldest people at Mercer University Ballroom Club’s Winter Formal last night. To clarify: being an Old is a dubious pleasure but the dance was genuine fun! The club has really grown in just a few months and the students are already demonstrating everything that’s positive about ballroom dancing as a social activity. We saw them switching partners so everyone got to dance, showing each other steps, joining in all the line dances, and generally being excellent to each other. Plus, everybody looked really nice! I wore a simple black halter dress kindly given to me by CeCe (I want to be her when I grow up) and I was hardly even visible next to the young ladies in bright colors and curled hair. I love it when people love to dress up.

This is obviously a great group that is achieving the elusive goal of every dancer over 35, viz. Getting More Young People Involved. Ballroom dancing was only re-popularized within the last decade so there is still a big age gap. We need more young dancers and these folks are well on their way. Hooray!

Here is a link to some photos on Facebook. I’m not sure if they are publicly visible but hopefully the link will work even for non-FB users. Check it out. We hope to see the Mercer dancers again soon

Update! Mercer Ballroom Club now has its own website! Check it out!

Opportunity for Dance & Stardom

Looking for a chance to show off your swing moves, help promote Macon tourism, and become a video star? The Georgia Sports Hall of Fame brings us this news: On Friday, January 24 the Macon-Bibb Convention and Visitors Bureau is shooting a new video for use in their Visitors’ Center and looking for dancers to appear in it. It will be titled “What’s Shakin’ in Macon” and the dance scene will be a large group dance to Otis Redding’s “Shake,” this song rightchea:

They will be shooting at 5:00 p.m. in Cherry Street Plaza, and anyone can show up and participate. The CVB is offering refreshments and “Macon gifts” to everyone who joins in. You can call 478-743-1074 or email tbush@visitmacon.org with questions. We will definitely be there . . . will you?

USA Dance last weekend, our dance this weekend!

In case you missed it (did you know that’s become an abbreviation? ICYMI.), here’s a great video clip of Minwoo & Anna dancing the cha-cha step that Jim Riley taught us at USA Dance #6059′s monthly chapter dance this past Saturday. Gotta admit, that step was challenging. But it’s very cool once you put it all together. We had a great time that night.

Keeping the fun going, we are hosting our dance this coming weekend, Friday, Jan. 17. It’ll be at the Howard Community Club from 8-10:30 p.m. Casual dress, $5 admission, bring your song requests. We will be continuing our friendly dance competition, so if you would like to take home a Sparkly Trophy for the month, this could be your chance!  Hope to see you then!

Bishops have shuddered!

Stumbled across this great piece from 100 years ago in the International Herald Tribune (until recently the international version of the New York Times). Seeing the scandalous reputation of the tango in its early days of popularity is always fun, especially since the tango dancers I know are some of the most morally upright people you’ll ever meet! We have a great Argentine tango group here in Macon that offers lessons at the Howard Community Club and milongas (practice dances) at a local hotel. I’d recommend joining I Heart Dancing Macon on Facebook if you are interested in checking out this group. We love to dance American-style ballroom tango but haven’t had a chance to immerse ourselves in Argentine tango yet. 

Here is a cool recent news story about American tango competitors if you’d like to see what Argentine tango looks like today. Would it cause your bishop to shudder?

2014 Scheduling Update

For those who are still drafting their New Year’s resolutions, we are delaying our waltz lessons until February. The dates will be Feb. 16 and Feb. 23–two Sundays–4:00 to 5:30. Total cost for this “mini session” of classes is $45 per person.  Meanwhile, we will be hosting our monthly dance at the Howard Community Club on Friday, January 17 and then Friday, February 28 as scheduled.

I’ve got some more interesting dance news for this year but I’m waiting to make sure everything is finalized before I make it public. (teaser teaser teaser!)

By the way, do you like this new layout?