Today I worked from home. All I had left to do was practice my presentation, and I didn’t really want the people at the school to think I was crazy when they heard me talking to myself :). In the afternoon, I met Johnathan, Jessica, and Matt at their house. We had another adventure with public transportation (somehow it gets less scary every time I do it :]). One Georgia Tech shuttle, lots of walking, and a significant amount of heated discussion later, we made it to the World of Coke.
That was really cool….although I got the impression on more than one occasion that I was engulfed in a shrine to coke. They had a working bottling / production line, a museum showing coke through the centuries, a coke in pop culture and art exhibit, a running loop of old coke commercials, a tasting area in which you could try over 80 coke products from all over the world, and an interactive 3D movie in which a lab worker tries to find the “secret formula” (she finally figured out that the secret ingredient to what makes coke so good is us, the people who buy it!! Ya, way sappy, I agree… :]). The coke taste tests were good, but my stomach was a little angry with me after drinking all that soda – of course I had to try all of them :). I must say that pretty much all of the ones from Africa were pretty atrocious :(.
So we met Julia after the World of Coke at my apartment and made pasta – both garlic alfredo and pesto. I have lots of food that I have to eat before I leave :). After that, Julia and Matt came with me to the swing dance at Georgia Tech, and Jonathan and Jessica went home. The music was kinda slow, but I got to dance with alot of friends I haven’t seen in a while, plus some fun new guys, so it was all good. I taught Julia and Matt some moves, too, that was fun :). Julia had to leave early, but Matt stayed til the end. After the dance, we got some mint chocolate chip milkshakes from Steak ‘n shake and talked for a while before I took him home.
Today was insane!! I went to day 1 (of 2 days) of a West Coast Workshop. It started at 2:00, so I was able to get some stuff done in the morning before I went there. I wrote some in my journal, polished my project and presentation that I have to give on Monday, and other such sundry things.
But once the workshop started, nothing else happened except dancing :). I learned some awesome starter moves, foot syncopations, and big flashy moves. I also got a video of the couple that taught the workshop (Jake and Taletha) doing all of the moves they taught. It’s pretty amazing…I look forward to watching it in slow motion and breaking it apart to perfect my technique after the workshop has ended :).
So we got a 2-hour break between the end of the workshop and the beginning of the evening dance. But my friend David and I decided to keep dancing. We grabbed a quick bite to eat at a really good chicken place called Roasters, and then found an empty Wachovia parking lot and danced some more. The humidity and heat was suffocating, and it was difficult to move on the concrete ground in sneakers, but we made do :).
Then we went back to the place where they had the workshop for the evening dance. It was soooo much fun!!!! I got to dance with so many good dancers! I also got alot of practice with the moves we had just learned; everyone who had attended the workshop kept using the moves we had learned :). At one point, Jake (the male instructor) asked me to dance. I was sooo nervous and intimidated, but I wasn’t about to turn him down!!! So we danced, and it was a blast!!
Towards the end of the night, they had a “snowball dance”. They started off with just Jake and Taletha dancing….which was quite mesmerizing. But then someone yelled “snowball!”, and they stopped dancing and both went and grabbed another random partner from the crowd. Every time they snowballed, the number of couples doubled. Pretty soon, everyone in the room was dancing. It was a blast :).
As I was getting ready to leave, the guy I had just danced with, Chad, asked me to wait for a few minutes. So I did, sneaking in one last dance with someone else before I took off. When he came back, he said that he had just asked Jake for a private lesson, but he needed a partner…would I do it? He also offered to cover the cost of the lesson. So tomorrow I’m going to get a private lesson with an incredible, in addition to a workshop and free dance!!! I can’t wait!!!!
The only sad part of the night is that my silver dance shoes, my faithful shoes that have served me without fail for over 4 years, that have gotten my feet through the hundreds of hours of punishment I make them endure, broke. I have to admit, I may have sniffled once or twice over their loss. The clip that holds the strap in place snapped completely in half. It’s not repairable; those shoes have been retired :(. Rest in peace, dear dancesport shoes, you have served me well….
So, since my favorite shoes were broken, I had to revert to my backup shoes. There’s a reason they are my backups. They don’t fit nearly as well. After the workshop, I went on a scavenger hunt to find moleskin to try to protect my feet during the dance. Even so, I have quite a list of injuries. They include: quarter-sized blisters on the balls of both of my feet, raw patches of skin in three separate places on each of my feet, four broken nails from getting stepped on or kicked, a popped blister on one of my toes, a burn of some sort on my left shoulder, and a fist-sized bruise on the back of my left arm….plus add to that the fact that I can barely put weight on my feet, they’re so sore. And tomorrow, I get to do it all again!! It’s gonna be great!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂
Well, today started off much earlier than I was anticipating. I didn’t get back from the dance last night and showered and in bed until after 1:00, so I was hoping to sleep in. But I got a call from Jonathan at 7:30, asking me to come jump Matt’s car, which was completely dead. So I hurried up and got ready for church, and then went to the early service at Buckhead after jumping their car. After church, I went back and took a nap before the workshop started. I’m so glad I did, because I never would have made it through the day if I hadn’t.
So anyway, the workshop started at 12:30. It was amazing, just like yesterday. There were 3 classes back-to-back, which ended around 4:30. I wore my jazz shoes the whole time; I couldn’t handle my backup shoes again. Then I went straight from there to the private lesson with Chad and Jake. That was great! Not nearly as intimidating as I thought it would be (Jake is an reallyyyyy good teacher), and I learned soooo many good technique tips. After the private lesson, I went straight to Nemoe’s for the social dance. This weekend has been an amazing combination of instruction. I got the group classes, which taught me some big, fun moves to augment my style; videos of the group classes, which will help me remember how to do them; private lessons, which helped my technique immensely; and social dancing, which helped me practice what I had learned with lots of different people. Apparently I actually did learn something – I had several people comment on new moves I had learned, and one guy asked me if I was using things I had learned during my private lesson (which I was), because my style seemed alot better and more fluid. And this was even after I had switched to my dancing shoes! Of course, I was wearing socks with them to try to protect my feet….oh yeah, I was rocking it out with the white socks and black heels :). But hey, it worked! The only additional injury I found was a palm-sized bruise on my arm from when a guy caught me wrong in a move we were learning.
By the end of the night, I was soooo tired. I tried leaving several times, but just couldn’t make myself leave. So I stayed til the end of the dance, and talked for a while with Alan and Barbara (coordinators of the event), Jake and Taletha (instructors), and several other regulars. When I started saying my goodbyes, I finally started tearing up. It may sound silly to you guys, but I’ve grown really close to these people over the past few months. They’ve made me feel so welcome, and have been so helpful in teaching me this dance that I love so much. Atlanta in general, but specifically the dance crowd that I interacted with, has had a profound impact on me that I will miss immensely. The tears were what finally made me leave; I escaped just in time, before I actually started crying.
And that’s this weekend! All dancing, pretty much. But it’s my passion, and I loved it, and seeing all of these wonderful people and dancing such great dances with them one last time was definitely the way I would have chosen to end my summer in Atlanta. I did the math, and figured out that I danced about 20 hours in the span of 30 hours!! 🙂 (oh, and as a side note, if any of you want to be super generous, I would love a pair of shoes that don’t murder my feet!! ;]) Well, as Looney Tunes says, that’s all, folks! 🙂