Legacy Dance Championships – 2016

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The teens and seniors practicing their production routine.

Last weekend, Lake Area Dance Center participated in its first competition of the year – Legacy Dance Championships. We’ve done this competition before, but something seemed different this year. I’m not sure I can put my finger on what was different.

The competition was at the Ames Center, in Burnsville, MN. This site remains my favorite venue for competitions, though their prices at the concessions stand seem to get more outrageous each year! We are not allowed to bring in any food or beverages, but when they charge $3.50 for a bottle of pop or water, they certainly aren’t encouraging people to purchase things there. At least the relatively low cost of the programs, at $13 for a program and pen/highlighter combo, was reasonable.

Overall, our studio did very well:

*We had many soloists who placed in top places

*Soloists who were runner up for the Title of Miss Legacy at different levels. One of our dancers even took the title of Mini Miss Legacy!

*Most large group dances placed in the Top 10 for their divisions

*Sunday evening, Grace had all 6 of her dances. I was so excited to see them, since I’ve barely even seen any parts of them over the year. Their dances weren’t perfect, but overall, not bad for their first performance of the season. All her dances but one received a platinum score. I did not necessarily agree with the judges this time, and not in the way you would think. I won’t complain though…

*Large group dances took 3rd, 5th, and 8th places in the advanced teen division

*Hip Hop took 3rd in the advanced senior large group division

*Teen/Senior Line took 2nd

*Production took 2nd

*Instructor, Mike Dietz, got a choreography award

*Our studio received the Legacy Award for the Teen Senior Division. I was disappointed the dancers didn’t stick around for a group picture with the trophy!

 

Our seniors were the only groups in the Advanced Senior Division, so they took places 1-4.

Our seniors were the only groups in the Advanced Senior Division, so they took places 1-4.

Some down sides of this competition:

While I can’t pin point what made it feel so different this year (other than it felt much smaller), I did take some notes on things I didn’t like. Some of those things were:

*I feel like I complain about the volume at this competition every year. What I noticed, was that the music was turned up between dances, yet, when the dancers were on stage, the music was turned down. This caused a few mishaps.

*The ends of songs were often cut off. In one case, it was cut off mid-dance. During one solo, the dancer hadn’t even hit her end pose before the music was changed… Whoever was in control of the music should have waited until the dancers exited the stage before changing the song.

* This is no fault of the competition, but our 4 Advanced Senior groups were the only ones in their division. While it’s nice to say they took places 1-4, it would be more awesome if there was some competition!

*There was recognition called “Excellence in…” for each style of dance. The only thing is, there wasn’t just one jazz dance, or one lyrical dance. There were multiple dances in each category. I didn’t quite understand the point of this.

*Before the production dancers went on, they closed the balcony. That meant EVERYONE had to cram into the lower level before dances with 50-100 dancers each went on. It was packed!

*Also not a fault of the competition: people were SO RUDE about finding a seat in the middle of dances. When will people learn the common courtesy of waiting until a dance is over before getting up and leaving, or walking down a row to sit down??? Dances are no more than 3 minutes on average. I don’t understand the inability to respect the other people who are there to see their dancers.

  • My daughter’s hip hop dance has a funny/surprise ending. I didn’t get to see it due to people not only walking in front of me, but also apparently forgetting how to just sit down. When a family started walking in front of me just as their line dance was about to start, I could no longer keep my mouth shut. I asked them to please hurry, as my daughter was about to dance on stage. (Anyone who knows me, knows that I am not normally one to say something, but I was at the edge of my patience with this behavior… maybe I was a little stressed out due to having parent/teacher conferences the following week. I had spent the whole day prepping them in between dances…)

Anyway, to wrap up my post about this year’s Legacy competition, my overall opinion is: meh. If our owner wants to suggest trying a different competition next year besides this one, I will be all for it. It just wasn’t as much fun… it was smaller, the music/volume issues were annoying, and the energy/fun factor just didn’t seem to be there…

Til next time!

 

 

The Time I Got Punked by Fellow Cast Members

This past month, I was in the 70th Annual White Bear Lake Lion’s Club show. I played Lena, the bride in a show called “Ole and Lena’s Wedding.” It was loosely based on “Tony and Tina’s Wedding.”

During one of our rehearsals, on the day we call “Bloody Saturday” (because we run the show, eat lunch, run the show, eat dinner, and then do the show again), two of fellow cast mates, Jen and Dave, and I were talking. I wish I could remember what it was about, but I remember that I said it was a good idea. Jen suggested I use it in my speech.

“Uh… what? What speech?” I asked. Dave chimed in telling me that it was the Lion’s Club Show tradition that at the Bloody Saturday cast dinner, the leads give a speech. This was only my second year in the show, so I didn’t know better. Together, they asked if no one told me, that I might want to start thinking about it, etc….  I was starting to get nervous. I knew nothing about a speech, and had nothing prepared.

They asked Scott (who played the groom in the show) if he had his speech ready. He went along with it, and said “Oh yeah, you betcha.” I looked back at Jen, who as winking at Scott…. it was at this moment that I realized they were messing with me.

The fun and jokes about it continued… I was a good sport about it…

When we were at dinner, Paul, who was the Show Chair, stood up to give his speech. Just as he was about to stand up, I saw Dave lean over and whisper something to him. Oh boy… here it comes…

Paul gave his speech, as did Chuck, the other Show Chair. Then Paul stood up again and announced that I had a speech to give as well. I can’t believe Paul went along with it!!

I stood up and gave a thank you to Katie, a long time friend of mine, writer and co-director of the show… I then thanked Jen for punking me, and sat down (or something like that). I heard I was blushing quite a bit, even though I had a feeling it was coming. Becky, the other director was at my dinner table… she was very confused as to what was happening. I stood up and explained the shenanigans, and said that whoever takes the lead next year is screwed, because I just started a new tradition.:-)

The whole show experience was pretty great, and I’ll write more later, I’m sure… this experience was one that stood out as an example of the fun we had. Now… to plot some paybacks for next year…

Polar Plunge 2016

Next weekend, I’ll be taking the Plunge – again! I’ll be participating for the first time in White Bear Lake’s Polar Plunge.

045Two years ago, I jumped into Lake Calhoun to help raise money for the Special Olympics of Minnesota. We have a small team going this year… I guess we scared away the rest with our bitter cold day last time! It WAS dang cold, and if I wasn’t half crazy, I wouldn’t do it again.

 

Fortunately, (or unfortunately), I AM half crazy, and have a great cause for jumping this year again. I am assisting a very sweet young woman, Lizzy, at Lake Area Dance Center again this year. She is taking a Teen Lyrical class, and I get to work with her! Lizzy is also a multiple sport Special Olympian. When she’s not dancing (or jamming to music), she’s bowling, playing basket ball, and playing floor  hockey with her Special Olympics teams. She also does track and field in the spring, and bocce ball! She is one busy lady!

Here we are at the beginning of the dance season... Elke (a friend), me, Lexie (one of the teachers), and Lizzy.

Here we are at the beginning of the dance season… Elke (a friend), me, Lexie (one of the teachers), and Lizzy.

It is in her honor that I am jumping to raise money for such a great cause. Please consider donating to help me reach my goal of $500! You can donate here. Thank you!

2015 Was a Great Year

All the spouses and friends who came along on SQL Cruise.

All the spouses and friends who came along on SQL Cruise.

At the end of the year, we often reflect back on the year gone by, and dream about what the new year will hold. Overall,2015 was pretty great! We went on a few vacations, participated in new adventures, and made new friends. Here are some of the highlights of the year:

SQL Cruise

My mojito tasting partners on the cruise!

My mojito tasting partners!

In January, Jason and I went on SQL Cruise. We took a Norwegian Cruise to St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and Nassau, Bahamas. During our days at sea, Jason was in class, learning new things about SQL, while I sat on the deck reading in the sun, or “tasting” mojitos with a few of the other wives. We got to spend the week with old friends, and made some new ones.

At a beach side cafe on St. Maarten with Jason. So beautiful!

At a beach side cafe on St. Maarten with my husband, Jason. So beautiful!

My favorite day of the cruise was our day in St. Maarten. I’m pretty sure it’s the most beautiful place I have EVER visited! I did, however, learn that the “nudists” aren’t always as well hidden as I might have expected.

 

WBL Lions’ Club Show – Peter’s Pants

Here are all the Lost Children from the Lions Club Show.

Here are all the Lost Children from the Lions Club Show.

Last year was my first time being a part of the White Bear Lake Lion’s Club Annual Show. The title last year was “Peter’s Pants” (loosely based on “Peter Pan”). Some of my closest friends and their families have been involved with the Lion’s Club’s largest annual fundraiser for years. I have been wanting to be a part of it for many years, and finally made it work! My role was as one of the Lost Children. It was a very fun role with lots of singing and dancing. I made some great new friends being part of this show, and got to spend time with many old friends I don’t get to see very often.

Grace and a few of her Teen Company team mates dancing in the Lions Club Show.

Grace and a few of her Teen Company team mates dancing in the Lions Club Show.

I also got to watch Grace dance in the show with the Lake Area Dance Center dancers for her 2nd year. This time though, I got to watch from backstage.

 

Grace in her solo costume at StarQuest.

Grace in her solo costume at Hall Of Fame.

Grace’s 1st solo – Billie Jean

Grace did her first ever solo last year! She did a tap solo to the Vitamin String Quartet’s version of Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean. It was so amazing to watch her perform all on her own in a group of top competitors in tap! She did very well. While she did not place in any of the competitions, she got a platinum score at two competitions, and high golds at the rest. Doing a solo really helped Grace grow as a tap dancer too. It was a great experience for her.

Participating in my first recital for LADC

Here we were, dancing in the recital!

Here we were, dancing in the recital!

I have been taking the adult tap classes at Lake Area Dance Center for about four years. This past year, we finally participated in the recital! It was both nerve-wracking and exciting! It had been several years since I had been in a recital… I don’t know that I’ll ever not get nervous! I had a lot of fun dancing in the recital with teacher, Miss Maria, and several friends (most of whom were also in the Lion’s Club Show). We danced to Lady Madonna, by the Beatles. In the same shows I danced in, I also got to watch my son dance in his first tap dance, and perform his 3rd hip hop dance.:-)

Being asked to teach summer school

I was asked to co-teach summer school this past year in our district’s Kindergarten Readiness Preschool  (KRP) program. I taught at Evergreen Park World Cultures Community School. KRP is a 4 day program, to which children are bused each day. They ate breakfast, and we had preschool. We had a playground that we got to go on every day (something I miss at my site). It was a lot of fun to teach in a new setting with a teacher I have not yet had the opportunity to teach with. I am hoping to have this opportunity again next summer.

Enjoying the view at Lake Vermillion.

Enjoying the view at Lake Vermillion.

Vermillion

We made our annual trip to Lake Vermillion to Jason’s family’s home on the lake. It’s always a fun long weekend with our family, as well as the in-laws, and all the cousins.

We spent our time playing games (both board games, and card games), fishing, hanging out by the fire, jet skiing, swimming, sitting in the sauna, etc.

The kids spent most of the days catching crayfish, swimming, playing games, and enjoying their time together. At night, when they were not hanging out at the fire, or playing a competitive game of SkipBo, they would play flashlight tag…

 

20 Year High School Reunion

It’s hard to believe, but yes, it’s been 20 years since I graduated high school. We had our 20 year reunion this past summer. I really enjoyed catching up with people I haven’t seen in years. I also got to see many friends I still see on a regular basis, and/or that I keep in touch with via facebook.

Yellowstone

Our family at Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park.

Our family at Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park.

I’ve written quite a bit about our Yellowstone adventure this past summer. You can read some of the highlights here. We went through South Dakota’s Custer State Park, to Devil’s tower, then on to Yellowstone. We had a great trip, despite having all 5 kids packed into an SUV for hours on end!

 

Michael competing, so much improvement! 1st place in both divisions (Fall). Up to Advanced Brown Belt

174I have really enjoyed watching my son, Michael, compete in karate this year. His first tournament of this past year, he took first place in both form and sparring. It was awesome! He also got his Advanced Brown Belt this fall. Next up, black belt – quite the accomplishment!

 

Grace’s first high school musical

Grace was in her first high school musical, Nice Work, If You Can Get It. She played the role of a flapper girl. She discovered that she loves theater as much as she loves dance! I have always known musical theater would be her thing! The show was a lot of fun. The theater did an incredible job putting it on!096

 

Chosen to play the bride in the Lion’s Club Show – loosely based on Tony & Tina’s wedding

Starting tomorrow, we begin rehearsing for this year’s Lion’s Club Show. It is called Ole and Lena’s Wedding. It is loosely based on the show Tony and Tina’s Wedding. I am playing Lena (the bride)! YIKES!!! I’m both nervous and excited, but mostly, I feel completely honored to have been chosen for the role!

It’s going to be a great show. You won’t regret it if you come check it out! The show will be March 3-5. Follow the link above for ticket information.

 

2016 is starting out with a busy rehearsal schedule, followed by show weekend, then competition season, then, who knows… what I do know, is I plan to have just as great a year!

 

2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 37,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 14 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Nice Work, If You Can Get It

My Grace, in her flapper costume. Photo by Patrick Timmons (Cookie McGee in the show).

Grace, in her flapper costume. Photo by Patrick Timmons (Cookie McGee in the show).

My daughter is in her very first high school musical, Nice Work, If You Can Get It. This past weekend was opening weekend. I went twice. It was a great show!

I didn’t realize that White Bear Lake’s Theater Department was well known for being so incredible! Several people (from other districts) have told me that was the case – recognition well deserved!

The casting, costumes, choreography, singing, live music, set, effects… all fantastic! The roles were perfectly cast!

Everyone involved worked so hard. The cast alone was practicing every day after school from about 3:30-anywhere from 9-10:30 at night. I can’t imagine all the hours the directors, crew, costume moms, music directors, set construction crew, etc. put in on top of that!

Here is a group shot, taken by Kathy Burnham.

Here is a group shot, taken by Kathy Burnham.

I went to both shows on Saturday, and heard several comments that are a huge congratulations to everyone involved! Here are some of the things I heard: “The costumes are fantastic!” “Where did they get those great costumes?” “How did they find so many kids who could dance?” “I can’t believe these are high school kids.” “They make it look so fun!” “Great singing!” “Wow, all the colors really pop off the stage!”

What impressed me about the show (on top of all that), was that even when things went less than perfect, the cast and crew continued on without a hitch.

Nice Work If You Can Get It is a prohibition era, boy meets girl comedy. There is a lot of singing and dancing with bootleggers, flappers, and a clueless pretty boy. It is a hilarious show, and SO MUCH FUN!! I am looking forward to seeing it one more time before it closes. I’d recommend you do the same.

Another fun shot of the cast taken by Kathy Burnham.

Another fun shot of the cast taken by Kathy Burnham.

There are still three shows left: Thursday, 11/19; Friday 11/20 and Saturday 11/21. All shows are at 7 PM. You can purchase tickets at the following link: https://apps.vendini.com.

 

Side note:

088

This was probably my favorite of the headpieces I made. This one was for my daughters flapper costume.

While I was not as involved as I would have liked to have been (due to lack of time) in this production, I did get to help with headpieces. I had a lot of fun being creative with the miscellaneous supplies that were offered to us! The moms were pretty great too. That was definitely something I would do again!

Our Western Adventure – Cowboy Dinner

Some of the kids and I on the semi-covered wagon, heading out to the Cowboy Cookout.

Some of the kids and I on the semi-covered wagon, heading out to the Cowboy Cookout.

Our last evening in Yellowstone, we went to the Cowboy Cookout.

There were two options available; we could either ride horses to the cookout, or take a wagon ride. A couple of the kids didn’t want to do the horseback rides, so we went on the wagon ride. It was a lot of fun!

We got there plenty early to get checked in, go to the bathroom, etc. This was a good idea, since the line was quite long for the bathrooms. Then, we waited while they got all the horses hooked up, etc. One of the wranglers gave us some important info (such as “DON’T RUN!! It attracts bears”) that we needed to know before heading out. Then, they told us which wagons to go to, and we were off for a 25 minute or so wagon ride out to the cookout site.

Our fantastic story-teller of a wrangler.

Our fantastic story-teller of a wrangler.

Our wrangler was awesome! The whole way to the cookout, he entertained us/gave us a history lesson us with the story of Truman Everts, a man who was stranded in the park for 37 days, before Yellowstone was a National Park, or was fully explored. He got about halfway through the story on the way there, and finished on the way back. He was a great story-teller. So great, that after dinner on the cookout, he was telling “cowboy stories” around the campfire until it was time to go back.

The cookout food was delicious! It was a buffet with steak and all sorts of side dishes. My favorite was the apple cobbler. YUM! After a week of eating sandwiches for lunch every day, it was a welcome meal, and oh, so good! There were several choices of pop, lemonade, and “cowboy coffee.” The coffee was made over the campfire. Not sure how they did it, or what was different, but it was my first real coffee all week, and it was good!

I love that Grace is laughing so hard at this cowboy story!

I love that Grace is laughing so hard at this cowboy story!

During dinner, there was a man and woman playing guitar, singing cowboy songs. After dinner, the entertainment moved around the huge fire pit, for more songs, and the cowboy stories I referred to earlier.

Overall, this was a really fun time. The whole family enjoyed it. I would definitely go again, though, next time, I want to do the horseback ride!

Side note

On the way to the cookout, we drove up Mt. Washburn. The road going up was treacherous. I was glad I wasn’t driving. I’m sure Jason wished I was! Despite the extremely poor road going up, it was a gorgeous view at the top. I’d say it was worth it!

The petrified tree

The petrified tree

We also stopped to see the petrified tree. It was cool to see, only because we had never seen one before. Other than that, it was kind of sad. It was fenced off so people wouldn’t steal parts of it…

AMAZING!!

On the way back to our campsite, we saw the most amazing double rainbow any of us had ever seen. The entire sky was purple. The rainbow made a complete arc across the sky from end to end, with the brightest, most amazing colors ever! I kind of understand where the guy in that famous internet video was coming from… I think we all sounded about the same. It was a perfect way to end our awesome Yellowstone vacation!

This picture does not do the beautiful rainbow justice, but it gives an idea.

This picture does not do the beautiful rainbow justice, but it gives an idea.

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