Let me start off by saying this:
If you are considering running a competition for the first time, call Ily Zislin. The man knows everything there is to know about dance events: competitions, showcases, camps - he does it all, and he does it well. I have been to Independence Day Ball (which greatly pushed my dancing along) and can't wait to attend Dance Legends this spring.
Badger Ballroom was no exception.
This comp had everything you'd want. The right people, the right atmosphere, the right attitude - overall, a solid experience.
BJ Achim, this year's event coordinator,apparently booked the space with Madison's committee before it technically existed. The school's new Union South just opened this year. The place comes equipped with a GORGEOUS venue with a full-sized floor, as well as separate practice space upstairs. There was plenty of seating, separate changing rooms, and an easy space to line-up before taking the floor. Parking was easy and there was a food court downstairs.
Logistics flowed well, the deck captains were professional, the EmCee (Ily himself) was charismatic, and the schedule remained [mostly] accurate. The judging panel was a respectable lineup of experienced dancers/coaches/judges. The event order was once again flawless (Nobody scrambling between Newcomer and Bronze or Silver and Gold) thanks to the registry system (yet another benefit of bringing Ily in). Although judges used paper instead of PDA's or smartphones, the scrutineering remained smooth as well.
The Open events were saved until the end of the competitive portion of the day. There were (if I recall this correctly) 3 Novice standard couples, 1 Prechamp, 2 Novice smooth, 4 Novice latin, 3 Prechamp. Yan and I danced All novice - we ended up taking first in Standard! Standard prechamp and novice ran at the same time but were scored separately [our friends Vincent and Daisy danced prechamp. TECHNICALLY, I get to say we danced on the same floor and still took first :) ]. There were no open Rhythm couples.
After a dinner break and some entertaining fun dances - such as reverse lead, against the line of dance waltz and the infamous same-sex rumba - spectators gathered to see Eugene and Maria perform a 5-dance Latin showcase. I'm still blown away by the incredible precision displayed. I seriously can't describe how COOL this showcase was. After seeing such a performance, showcases are going to start playing a bigger role in decisions concerning which comps I attend.
This was Badger's first shot at a comp, but really, you couldn't tell. It's unfortunate that their attendance was so low - being the weekend before the more established Purdue competition, I can see why they would have a hard time marketing. However, I know this one's already on my calendar for next year.
Also, Congrats to U of M alum Matt Dusenberry for winning Prechamp Standard and placing third in Champ at Yale this weekend. Good luck at DCDI! And good luck to all the competitors at Purdue!
Here's a clip of Prechamp Latin winners Vince And Daisy (FOR THE RECORD, I taught them that dip! [And I won't let them forget it!])