The ballroom is filled with dancers and onlookers alike. The dance floor is a sight to behold: women sparkling from head to toe with sequins, hair flourishes and embellishments; the men all in black. It's so very impressive at 8:30 in the morning!
It's the American Rhythm Bronze Single Dance Divisions and the dancers are pumped. A swamped up version of Willie Dixon's, I Just Want To Make Love To You is blaring through the speakers. Each couple takes turns performing their best East Coast Swing. They have 45 seconds to wow the judges with the moves they've been faithfully practicing at Fred Astaire Dance Studios over the past year.
This is Cross Country Dance Competition at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Competitors from all over the country come to participate in Fred Astaire Dance Studios' largest national dance competition.
I arrived at the hotel the afternoon before and was able to catch the Solo Exhibition Division. This was more of a theatrical dance showcase, complete with costumed dancers performing to less traditional songs (like Maniac from Flashdance and Warrant's Cherry Pie), in shiny turquoise leg warmers, 'metal hair' wigs and concert tee shirts. It also gave this writer a strong indication that CCDC was also about cheeky fun as well.
This morning as the competition hopefuls milled around the breakfast buffet, I was able to chat with Edward Black, a student at the Clear Lake studio in Texas. This was his second competition, having attended his first Astaire World Championships in San Juan, Puerto Rico last summer. When asked how he was enjoying the challenge he replied with a big grin, "My feet hurt!" Edward started ballroom dancing in January of 2011 and he clearly enjoyed his new pastime.
Obviously, CCDC is off to a magnificent start . . . stay tuned for more updates!