Novice Invitational 2017

There are some competition weekends where a song will just stand out to me for some reason. Like, when I think back about the weekend, that specific song comes to mind. At least for a week or two after I get home, cause give me enough time and I’ll forget pretty much everything. For Novice Invitational this past weekend that song was ‘Chunky’ by Bruno Mars. If you listen to it you’ll probably go “ugh, why did it have to be THAT one?” because thats what I’m saying, buttt, if you can ignore the lyrics, the music is that head-bobbin, bouncin’ kind of sound that captures you. Least, it does me..

After my forced 7 month sabbatical from the competition dance floor, it was sooo nice to be back out there. And a cozy Texas event with some good friends I don’t get to see that often was the perfect place to start.  It even felt like I hadn’t been away as long as I actually had been. Like riding a bike, or driving a standard trans, you just fall right back into the swing of it. #punintended

There were only 6 leaders and about a dozen follows in jack and jill prelims. Needless to say, all 6 leaders made finals. Just before they seated the leaders and called back the 6 follows that made the cut, Mike Topel, emcee for the weekend, called the leaders to the podium. Just after answering Mike’s summons, Chris comes around to where I was sitting, gives me a hug then just stays squatted down next to my chair, arm still resting on my shoulders.  His behavior made me think maybe Mike had them draw names for their finals partner and he drew mine, so I asked him what was up.  “No, they had us draw for dance order. I would love to draw you, but I also kind of don’t want to.” Since we would already be dancing together in strictly later that night, I totally understood.

Pretty soon after that they had all the leaders take their seats in the chairs lined up on the far end of the dance floor, then called back 6 follows. I made the call back list 🙂

They ran finals as spotlights, as I figured they would, making it only my second time dancing a spotlight.  My first one was 2 years ago at this very event. I was a brand newIMG_2859 competitor, quaking in my dance shoes at the thought of my partner and I being the only couple the judges were watching.  This time around was much less nerve wracking, and I was even kind of looking forward to it. My draw was Chris Singley. I knew his name because I had seen it float around Facebook a few times, but I hd never met or danced with him before that moment. Our spotlight dance was great, but the best moment was when the DJ played Frank Sinatra’s Fly Me to the Moon for the finals allskate. It was hands down one of my favorite dances of the weekend. And we finished in 3rd place

IMG_3177Next up was Advanced Strictly Swing. Due to my schedule, Chris and I only had enough time for 2 warm up dances before it all got started, but we went out there and put a good dance on the floor. Talking about it after the fact, we were both really happy with what we put out there. We took home 2nd place! Couldn’t have asked for better 🙂

IMG_5845The next of my three favorite moments of the weekend was getting to meetmy nephew-in-law, Sawyer Layne Stahl. Sad our visit had to be cut short, but I’m so glad we squeezed it in. Motherhood looks real good on you, Mars. He is absolutely precious.

Sadly, I thought the music played for both nights of social dancing was kinda meh. That’s not to say that I didn’t have any good dances, I got some pretty great ones, but overall I just didn’t think the music was fantastic. Not a huge deal, mostly just an observation.

My third and final favorite moment of the entire weekend was late Saturday, sitting on the floor tucked up under Mama Gayle’s chair. I had leaned my head over onto her knee and she was gently playing with my hair, effectively lulling me into sleep mode. Had I not gotten asked to dance, I might have actually fallen asleep.

As I write this, she is recovering from hip replacement surgery. I pray that God continues to bless that sweet woman. I have nothing but love for her and what she means to the dance community we’re both apart of.

Next stop, Swingapalooza, Lord willing.

Alright. Meg, signing off.



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