Boots and Bling: Recap of the 2019 Calgary Dance Stampede

Howdy y'all! It’s amazing how much dancing you can fit into one weekend. Along with three days of competition, Calgary Dance Stampede filled five different rooms with ongoing workshops. Day or night, there was dancing to be had.

The competition kicked off on Friday evening in the main dance hall. Intermediate and advanced ProAm (Professional-Amateur) and ProPro couples were the first to take the floor. They danced triple two, polka, nightclub, cha cha, waltz, two-step, East Coast swing, and West Coast swing. Phew! Several couples went head-to-head, as some of the events only had two couples entered. Special performances were another feature of Friday night. The JT Swing Team of Calgary and the Alberta Ballroom Company Swing Team each performed a West Coast swing formation. 

Things got even more fun and a little crazy with the Professional “Outlaw” Jack ‘n Jill contest. Eleven leads and eleven follows were randomly paired to dance six different dance styles: polka, waltz, cha cha, two step, line dance, and West Coast swing. Just to make it more interesting, the organizers threw in a few twists. 

Instead of the normal circular shape that line of dance follows around the floor, the couples had to dance their polka following a figure eight line of dance. For their waltz, they danced a few bars and then the music was played backwards and they had to repeat what they just danced, except in reverse. Cha cha was a role reversal dance, with the followers leading. The two step, line dance, and West Coast swing were all danced normally, although they had only about five minutes to learn their line dance choreography before performing it. Like the MC said, these professional dancers inspired and entertained the audience with their talent, but mostly entertained.

The weekend continued with the ProAm Newcomer and Novice events on Saturday morning. These events had more entries, with the ProAm Female Silver Newcomer event having the most entries at seven couples. If you looked closely, you’d note that there were only four teachers! Three out of the four were dancing with two different students in this particular contest (though not at the same time). More dancers mixed it up in country swing and country two-step Jack ‘n Jill contests. Can you imagine being paired up with your dance partner the second before you’re supposed to dance? 

Following the Jack ‘n Jills were the Couples Classic Crown, Line Dance Superstars, Classic Masters, and Showcase Masters contests. These events bring some of the top dancers in country western dancing. Even though superstars Guillaume Richard (from France) and Fiona Murray (from Ireland) were uncontested, they put it all out on the dance floor. Their waltzes were particularly mesmerizing. Their grace, agility, strength, and control kept me glued to the action. Same went for the uncontested Showcase Masters couple, Jeremy and Kelly Bryan. They gave it their all for their audience and you could tell they were having a blast at the same time.

Sloane Hansen and Bernadette Carmichael were the winners of the Classic Masters event, the highest level for country western dancing. They were runners-up at the world championships, and this is their second win for the 2019 season, so keep an eye on this couple! 

Saturday concluded with the famous Campfire Ball. A series of extraordinarily talented dancers performed a broad array of dance styles, including country western, dancesport, contemporary, Argentine tango, and traditional dances from Ukraine and Ireland. It was incredible to witness such variety in one place! 

Couples and line dance events finished off the competition on Sunday. I have to give props to the uncontested line dancers who went out and performed by themselves. Competing is challenging enough, but when you know all eyes are on you because there is no one else out there? I get nervous just thinking about it! These dancers weren’t phased. They danced from a place of joy and fun, so who cares who’s watching?

Even though the Calgary Dance Stampede is Canada’s largest and longest running country, West Coast swing, and line dance event, my impression from watching the livestream is they’ve still managed to maintain a familiar atmosphere that’s warm and welcoming. The MCs did a fantastic job of interacting with the audience and keeping the fun at a maximum and stress at a minimum. No one’s forgotten the main reason we’re all here—because we love to dance!

Congratulations to all of the dancers on such amazing performances this weekend. See y’all next time!

2020 UCWDC Country Dance World Championships Recap

Wow, dancers! What a way to end the week! The 2020 UCWDC Country Dance World Championships started with some wonderful dancing by the ProAm divisions and this year, the competition included over 6,500 entries! It just kept getting better and better as we moved into the Couples and Line Dance events, finally culminating in mind-blowing performances by the Classic Masters group on Saturday evening. 

The Best Time of the Year: 2020 UCWDC World Championships Preview

It’s time again for the UCWDC Country Dance World Championships, friends! Held at the beautiful Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee, next week promises nonstop dancing in the form of workshops, daily competitive events, and nightly social dancing. Dancers, amateur and professional alike, from around the world have been preparing for this event all year. Some will be competing at Worlds for the first time, while others are returning to defend their titles or try for a second title at a new level.

Two-Steppin' Down Santa Claus Lane

The final competition of 2019 is officially complete, which means Worlds is just around the corner! Couples who qualified to dance in Nashville at the UCWDC Country Dance World Championships are surely making their final tweaks and adjustments and preparing to compete on the biggest stage in country western dance.

Dancing in Dixieland

Happy Holidays, everyone! This weekend will mark less than two weeks until we find out if we made it onto Santa's Nice List. Can you believe it? Here at FloDance, we’re taking a break from shopping and gift wrapping to attend Christmas in Dixie, the final UCWDC competition before Worlds! That means it’s sure to be an exciting weekend.

A Dress Rehearsal for Worlds: Recap of 2019 Dallas Dance Festival

One sign of a well-run event is one where a lot can go wrong behind the scenes without anyone attending the event ever noticing. During the awards ceremony at Dallas Dance Festival, one of the organizers, Dave Getty, shared how the dance floor went on a little adventure before finally arriving at the hotel much later than scheduled and how they finished setting up the ballroom with only 30 minutes to spare before the doors opened on the first day! Aside from a few sleep-deprived staff members that morning, you never would have known without him telling the story.

A Dress Rehearsal for Worlds: What to Expect in Dallas

Happy November dance fans! The weather is getting cooler, the days are getting shorter, but the dancing just keeps ongoing. Things are heating up in the dance world as we get closer to the Country Dance World Championships, held in Nashville, Tennessee on December 29, 2019, through January 5, 2020. There are only a few events left where dancers can qualify to compete at Worlds, one of which is the Dallas Dance Festival happening this weekend.

30 Years in ABQ: 2019 New Mexico Dance Fiesta Recap

While most of the country was experiencing cooler fall weather, things were heating up in Albuquerque this past weekend! The 30th anniversary of the New Mexico Dance Fiesta included some amazing dancing and close competitions. 

It's Fiesta Time! - What to Expect at the 2019 New Mexico Dance Fiesta

It’s fiesta time in Albuquerque! The 30th anniversary of the New Mexico Dance Fiesta is happening this weekend. This UCWDC-sanctioned event was started by dance couple Mike Haley and Patti Miller, and ballroom coordinator Steve Stevens in 1989. Though the competition has changed hands a few times over the years, it continues to be a can’t miss event full of dancing and great times with dance friends and family.

2019 UCWDC Nashville Dance Classic Recap

Howdy partners! It was an exciting Labor Day weekend in Nashville. From packed ProAm heats to a close Crown Masters competition, the 2019 UCWDC Nashville Dance Classic kept us hootin’ and hollerin’ for more.

2019 UCWDC Nashville Dance Classic Preview

It’s time for some dancing in the ”The Country Music Capital of the World” - Nashville! Home to the Grand Ole Opry House, the famous “Grand Ole Opry” stage and radio show, and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, it’s obvious why this city would draw a crowd for our next UCWDC competition, the Nashville Dance Classic.