Monday, 13 April 2009

Bluesin' Baby!

As many of you already know, I am an avid swing dancer. I do several different styles: Lindy Hop, Balboa, some Charleston (which can be danced solo or in pairs), and Blues. This weekend was the Mile High Blues Exchange in Denver, Colorado. And boy was it smokin'!!!! Now, I'm a good dancer, but I'm not exceptional. There were some truly exceptional specimens this weekend.

What is an Exchange, I hear you ask? Well, originally it was when a group of Lindy dancers from city A invited dancers from city B to come spend the weekend. Then city B reciprocated . . . thus the 'Exchange'. Nowadays it's more of a roving party. Different cities host it throughout the year. So there's a Portland Exchange, Denver Exchange, St Louise Exchange . . . . and even abroad: Moscow Exchange, London Exchange, Munich Exchange . . . . The local dancers all pitch in and help run the event (free of charge) and everyone pays a small (larger if there's teaching going on, but there often isn't. Just loads of social dancing) fee to pay for the venues, teaching, food . . . . Mostly it's just a lot of fun. People travel from all over the country, and even all over the world for the best exchanges, to come dance for the weekend. It's typically a Friday Night + Late Night, Saturday Afternoon (sometimes, not always) + Night + Late Night, and Sunday Afternoon (again, sometimes, but not always) + Night + Late Night (though there's not always a Late Night Sunday because of people leaving). Sometimes there's a pre and a post dance the night before/after the exchange, as well. Sometimes there are classes on Saturday/Sunday, sometimes there are activities (like the Utah Exchange they went sledding) . . . every exchange is different.

So, the schedule for this exchange?

Friday 7.00 am -- Leave for Denver (8 hour drive!)
6.30 pm -- Arrival/Registration/Auditions for upper level classes.
8.00 pm -- Dance
12.00 am -- Late Night
Now, the Late Night finished at 4.00 am, but I'd had a massive headache all day, so we called it quits around 3.00 am, and the 4 of us (Utah Dancers) went back to the hotel room we'd rented near the venues.

Saturday 8.30 am -- Up. (I know . . . I couldn't believe it either)
11.00 am -- Class (really good)
12.00 pm -- Class (really good)
1.00 pm -- Class (really good)
2.00 pm -- Lunch (didn't get any, too rushed)
3.00 pm -- Class (missed half of the class, but no problem because knew the stuff from the 1st half. 2nd class was good, though!)
4.00 pm -- Class (skipped)
5.00 pm -- NAP!
8.00 pm -- Dance
12.30 pm -- Late Night (no headache . . . . . got swept out the door at 4.00 am!)

Sunday 9.30 am -- Up.
10.00 am -- Class (missed the 1st 10 minutes)
11.00 am -- Class (fun, but not fabulous)
12.00 pm -- Class (I skipped the rest of the classes and did marking instead. *sigh*)
5.00 pm -- Easter Dinner with new Denver Dance Friends. Ooooooh so yummy!
9.00 pm -- Dance
12.00 am -- Late Night
3.30 am -- Jumped in the car to head back to Utah. I slept the first 2 hours, then swapped to be the driver. Will and I swapped back and forth most of the rest of the trip (8 hours) back.

Monday 2.30 pm -- Arrival to Salt Lake
4.00 pm -- Picked up Jane and Naomi from the Airport (Jane had been at an interview earlier in the week, so she flew to Denver, and Naomi had been visiting her friends in Seattle.)

So, it's 8.00 pm now, and I still haven't been to sleep (car sleep doesn't count. It just takes the edge off.) And the plan for the evening? Will, Naomi and I (and maybe Jane) are going to Keys on Main to see a live Jazz Band. We live by this motto:

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming...
Damn, What a ride!!

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