04 April 2011

First Week in March 2011

Monday and Tuesday were boring days, and I stayed home. Wednesday I had dinner with VK. Thursday I went out bowling, and it was nothing to write home about ... no crazy pants or anything.

Preview picture: Our three intrepid explorers!

Friday was the beginning of the mini-vacation to Heartland Swing Festival in Des Moines. I spent the morning getting ready to go. Maggie showed up, we hit the road at around 1430, went to CB and picked up Jillian and hit the road. Maggie and I entertained each other in the back seat with by playing Angry Birds. There isn't any bragging to be done, we both did well. We found the hotel easily enough, we stayed at the Renaissance Savery Hotel downtown. We had two rooms, Merinda (and Verity) took one room, and Maggie, Jillian, and I had the other. The view was not specatular, but the room was super nice, and was less than $75 each for the two night stay. We had two beds and two bathrooms and a daybed/sofa.

Our first move was to go swimming! It turns out that Maggie doesn't own a swim suit, so she did not get in the pool with us, but the other three of us goofed off for quite a while. I guess that I am not observant, because I did not notice the gentleman in the whirlpool with the really nice abs, but the girls did. After this we got dressed, and Maggie, Jillian, and I went out to eat at Court Avenue Brewing Company (thanks for the tip, Larry). We ordered two meals between the three of us, and it was the perfect amount of food. Jill and Maggie got ginger ales and I had two different beers. It was excellent. We then went back to the hotel, and got ready for the dance.

We walked there through Des Moines wonderful skywalk system. I have read in the past that systems like this disconnect the people in them from the city itself, so I was curious about it. I didn't think it was like that at all. It was a nice, warm, safe way around the downtown area, it worked with the streets to get you places. Finding your way around is way easier than finding a map of it online, sheesh.

We got there to find the venue was amazing, Des Moines Temple for the Performing Arts. We went up to the fourth floor, (walking is way faster than the elevator), and found the Omaha people and set ourselves down, for about half a song, then started dancing...

...and taking pictures.

Shortly after we arrived there, the Jack and Jill dance contest started.

I met up with friends from all over the midwest.

About an hour after the first contest occurred, the second, the "Any Swing Goes" partner contest kicked off. You can see our vantage point here.

We danced until midnight or so to the sounds of The Grand Marquis, then we headed over to Java Joe's for late night dancing and, for me beer and ice cream. Then back to the hotel room and sleep.

Saturday morning we got up and went back to the 'Temple' for some classes. The one thing I dislike about Lindy classes is almost invariably you hear something like "forget what you know about Lindy Hop, don't do it that way, do it this way." Yes, I understand that thinking about what your doing is a good thing, but really ... it's a dance, part of it is style and interpretation. All whining aside, there were some really good thoughts in the classes I took.

We came back to the hotel and then over to a local sports bar to eat. In the afternoon I hung out at the hotel, while Jillian and Maggie went to more classes. After they came back to the room, we hung out, ate a 'dinner' of cheese and crackers, fruit, and veggies. Then headed back down for the Saturday dance, we arrived about half way through the team competition.

This is the team from Wichita, the team from New Mexico won.

They had the finals of the dance contests, and plenty of social dancing too.

Around 0030 we headed a few blocks east to the Des Moines Social Club for some late night dancing, food, and the Same Gender Partner Contest, which was a hoot. Finally around 0230 Sunday morning we headed back to the room and went to bed. Maggie was so tired that she lost it, and sat in bed giggling until mercifully she fell asleep.

Sunday morning we got up, packed up, and went over to the 'Temple' for day classes and breakfast at Centro in the same building as the dance venue. Breakfast followed the same theory as the rest of the weekend, a lot of plate sharing. I took one and a half of the classes on Sunday, and I'm actually using one of the moves I learned it. After the last class, we went over to Panera for dinner, and then back to the best part of any dance weekend ... the late night dance.

I nearly fell over myself to get this photo of Rae and Larry with no one in the background.

The playlist was fun and so was the dancing.

I also took some pretty good pictures.

The two most epic parts of the evening were not caught on camera, Corina and I 'inventing' a dip that either was a complete failure or the most epic thing ever, and me throwing Chris at Maggie and Kelley. In case you were wondering, yes I did dance. We rode home then and the weekend was history, but not the memories, or the pictures.

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