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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Linton

How I Survived the Florida Sunshine Dance, Symposium & Challenge Competition

At Wednesday night dance class, I asked a friend if she was going to the weekend event. She said something like, "Oh, no, I'm not good enough at ballroom. I can tell that I just frustrate the guys I dance with." Since she is a fantastic country western dancer (much, much better than I am) and I am definitely a beginner at ballroom, I got nervous.

It was a new world for me, as I have been to a lot of Lindy Hop and swing dance events, but this event was sponsored by the Tallahassee chapter of USA Dance, which promotes social and competitive ballroom dancing. USA Dance is the Recognized Sport Organization for DanceSport by the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee. So if you want to dance in the Olympics, you’ll have to compete at some of their events.

On Friday night, the organizers provided an elegant and delicious dinner during which we had dancing, with music provided by a DJ. It was super fun! I danced a lot, and I must admit that the leads were, in general, very patient with me when I told them I was a beginner at ballroom. One of the teachers and judges for the weekend asked me to dance twice and praised my musicality, which thrilled me, of course!

On Saturday during the day, the competitions were held. I didn’t make it in time to see the morning competitions, but I was happy to see some of my friends competing in the afternoon. Robert and Carla took first place in every event they entered, about 6 or so. Honestly, I lost count. They were really fantastic! Robert, as they walked off the floor after one where they were the only couple competing, said to me, “I think we might’ve won that one!” They won them all! It was fun to watch the competition. Here are a few photos.

Robert and Carla sweep the competition!

On Saturday night there was another dinner dance, this time with the Tallahassee Swing Band providing live music. They had about 15 instruments and three vocalists, so it was a rich, big band sound. Although the name of the band includes the word Swing, they play a lot more than swing dance tunes. There were many different styles of dance: waltz, cha cha, salsa, bachata, tango, west coast swing, east coast swing, even polka! I danced a lot and had a great time! If you want more information about Tallahassee Swing Band, here is a link: Tallahassee Swing Band

On Sunday we had four workshops. My goal was to do a workshop with every instructor. I took workshops in tango, waltz and fox trot. I enjoyed them all, but my favorite was a Waltz and Zouk fusion (Wazouka) with Joe Mounts and Jen Giblin. Here is a video:

This event was definitely out of my comfort zone, but I had a great time! I would definitely do it again.

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