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This weekend, hold onto your hat and point your dancing shoes towards Chicago for the 32nd annual Chicagoland Country and Swing Dance Festival. This event has it all - qualifying events for the United Country Western Dance Council’s World Championships, points events for the World Swing Dance Council Jack & Jill swing dance registry, and it’s a part of the original Hustle Dance Tour.
For those wanting to start with a more relaxed viewing experience, both Friday and Saturday nights feature social dancing, warm-ups, and the preliminary rounds of Jack & Jill dancers. This start to the competition is scheduled alongside workshops on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. If you're in attendance, you can also take advantage of the unique-to-Chicagoland pizza party hosted by Swing ‘n’ Country on Friday. It is sure to kick off the event with a bang! Pizza and dancing..what more could you ask for?
The Chicagoland Festival has attracted a ton of big names. The Couples' Classic Crown event includes the current Classic Crown World Champions, Bobby Pritchard and Carla Romine. Last year's champions will be joined by two of the Worlds’ runner-up couples, including dancers Kelly and Denise Strouse, who will be sure to showcase their skill, particularly in the East Coast swing portion of the competition.
Mike Wagner and Satu Ketellapper will be the team to watch during Classic Masters, as they show their dominance in Triple Two, Polka, and Waltz, among others. The top Masters couples will have eight different dances to get through as they navigate the Triple Two, Polka, NightClub, Cha Cha, Waltz, 2-Step, East Coast Swing, West Coast Swing, as well as a Show Dance. That’s a lot of dancing!
The floor will also be busy for the Pro-Am and Pro-Pro events happening Friday and Saturday, with several events showing up to ten couples entered! If Swing or Hustle is more your style, the field of Newcomer, Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, and Masters couples facing off during the Jack & Jill events on Friday and Saturday evenings are sure to entertain. Jack & Jill adds another level of excitement to the competition because the dancers are paired up right there on the dance floor. They don’t know who they’ll be dancing with until we do! This results in some amazing (and sometimes amusing) improvised routines.
The Chicagoland Festival will conclude with Couples, Strictly Swing, Pro-Am Swing and Hustle awards on Sunday afternoon so double-check the event schedule provided by UCWDC, order a Chicago-style, deep-dish pizza and mark your calendars to catch all of the Windy City excitement.