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Gotham Swing Club Novice West Coast Swing Jack and Jill Competition

by Anonymous
August 1, 2007
You Should Be Dancing dance center & Club 412
412 Eighth Avenue
New York, NY 10001
212-244-0011
Gotham Swing Club
www.gothamswingclub.org
Getting out on the competition floor takes courage. Even veteran dancers get butterflies. That being so, it's even harder for a first time competitor to not only enter a competition but to actually walk out onto the dance floor.

On June 20th, 2007, Gotham Swing Club hosted their first Novice WCS Jack & Jill at their Wednesday night dance. With Liberty Swing Dance Championships just around the corner, this mini competition helped introduce new dancers to the competition process.

The idea to host the competition came about thanks to Dance Manhattan instructor, Joe Palmer. Many of Joe's students were interested in attending and possibly entering the Novice competition at Liberty Swing. However, many had never been to a competition weekend before. Some were unsure if their skill level was where it needed to be in order to enter a competition. Most had no clue how a Jack & Jill worked. Joe encouraged his students to attend the weekend and enter the competitions and thought a pre-event Jack & Jill would be a great way to calm their fears and get the students acclimated to how Jack & Jills work.

For those who have never seen one, a Jack & Jill is a social competition. It is set-up so that all dancers interested can compete in divisions according to their skill level. Dancers enter the competition as an individual. Followers are lined-up across from the Leaders and a random process such as rolled dice allows dancers to rotate to a random partner. Because they do not previously know who their partner will be, they also do not know what the song will be. In the preliminary and semi-final rounds, dancers are judged on their individual skills. For finals they are judged as a couple, teamwork being a large part of partner dancing.

Prior to the competition, a few brave souls signed-up to participate. On the day of, new dancers flocked to sign-in, making for a total of 20 entrants, 10 couples even. They warmed up with a few dances, pinned their numbers on and were ready to go.

MC John Lindo introduced the competition judges: Erica Berg (MN), Tatiana Mollman (CA), Donna Roesel (NJ), John Festa (NY), and Brian Faust (NJ). In the interest of time, the competition was condensed with an un-judged practice round/prelim; which lasted one song. Competitors got a feel for the rotation process through this round and a second rotation before the judged finals.

With their final partner, the competitors danced to two songs as the judges conferred on placements. After the last song, the couples were lined up and the winners announced. In third place were Brian King & Brooke Ciquera, in second place were Adam Schenck & Pam Marshall. First place winners Kyoji and Miho received free entry into a future dance.

The feedback after the competition was great. Many of the entrants appreciated the opportunity to get comfortable with being watched and judged before going to a major event. Quite a few of the participants entered the Novice Jack & Jill at Liberty Swing as well.
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