MADjam 2016

Hi everyone, happy Wednesday.

Time to talk about my eventful weekend. I wish I had better news.


So this weekend Steve and I drove down to Baltimore for MADjam, one of the larger West Coast Swing competitions in the country. I’ve never been to Baltimore before, and I had imagined it a dingy, run-down place–not unlike Detroit or my current home, Syracuse.

Yes, I went there. Yes, it’s true. As a city, you should know you have a problem when people go “well at least it’s not Detroit! Or Utica!” [eye twitch]

Instead, I was confronted with tall buildings, clean sidewalks, and path by the harbor. There was an aquarium a few blocks down that I wish I had had time to visit.

Granted, I only saw about two blocks of the upscale down-town area, but it was still nicer than expected. The weather stayed gloomy and grey, but at least it was warmer than home and not snowing.

(Gawd my standards for weather are so low. If I were to move to California or Hawaii, I think my brain would overload from the nice.)


Saturday was fun–I attended a bunch of workshops and danced with all sorts of people. I am by no means the best social West Coast dancer, but there’s always this moment where, after doing some kind of spin, a light bulb goes on in the leader’s eyes, as if to say “oh! She can turn.” And then the difficulty suddenly ramps up, usually prompting the leaders to do more tricks, dips, and complicated turns.

There was one point where I was dancing with some fellow, and he did a couple illusion turns in a row, paused, and then did like six more. The glee on his face when I came back to face him was palpable and adorable. And yes, of course it’s an ego trip.  I don’t dance high-level WCS often, since my local area only includes a couple solidly good leaders, so I’m mostly accustomed to this phenomenon in salsa, the first social dance I learned on the floor. It’s fantastic to see the same thought-process happens in swing.

We also watched the professional performances Saturday night, which of course were phenomenal and fantastic. Reader, do yourself a favor and google that stuff–it’s so fun.


The fabulous Maria Ford dancing in the All-Star J&J finals!

Sunday was rough. I got up and immediately started feeling…weird. I assumed it was just nerves–which is perhaps silly given my track record for lack of stage fright–but it got worse, and by the time we were supposed to compete, the world was spinning around me and my stomach was making a solid threat toward discharging its contents. Needless to say the routine did not go smoothly, and immediately after I spent some quality time in the bathroom.

I was going to put up the video, but I assume most readers have already seen the routine, so just find it in another blog post and watch, imagining me wobbling all over the place like an unbalanced top. That’ll about do it. It’s hard enough to do 16 turns in a row, say nothing of when reality is a blur standing still. Obviously we didn’t place.

I’m honestly not sure what caused it, though I am sometimes prone to bouts of nausea if I haven’t eaten enough or have eaten too much or have traveled. The weekend included all of those conditions, at various times, sooooooo…..[sigh]

But let’s end on a positive note, as despite the disappointment I refuse to admit the experience was all bad. The highlights of my mornings, both Saturday and Sunday, were yoga classes I took, courtesy of Dana Simonetti, a swing dancer and yoga instructor. It’s been a long time since I’ve taken a pure yoga class, and I had forgotten how much I enjoy it. I don’t have a ton of patience for the spiritual trappings at times, but it was still lovely to pause every morning, stretch, strengthen, and relax before a whirlwind day.

Till next time.


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