WEST COAST SWINGHeart of the Dancer

by Robin Urhig

I wanted to entitle this article "And then we all remembered why we’re here!" As I write this, please forgive me, I write it from a competitors viewpoint. Mine is probably different from someone who attends to have fun and see some good dancing.

As a competitor your day starts at 7:00 a.m. for floor practice, followed by breakfast that you can’t eat because you are too nervous, followed by a nap where you can’t sleep because you are too nervous, followed by more practice that probably won’t go well because you are tired and nervous, followed by a good cry because you are too tired and practice didn’t go well, followed by reassurance from your friends that you don’t believe because you are too nervous, followed by a long hot shower to relax which doesn’t work because now you’re trying to dance your routine in the shower. AAAAHHHH!!!!

Do you get the idea that sometimes its not very much fun? It’s all work and it’s all for three BIG minutes in "the pit." Many times during the weekend I sat back and said, "Why do we do this?" I’m sure every competitor has said this at some point. The applause and trophies and accolades must sustain us. Because it is so much WORK!!

But getting back to "And then we remembered why we’re here" and the most incredible event of the weekend. Sunday night after all of the competitions were over and the last award had been given out, many of the competitors headed over to the Neon Cactus Bar for some drinking and dancing. It’s time to relax! What happened next was a sight to behold.

As people trickled in and the dance floor got more crowded, people started looking for any available space to dance. Before you knew it, there were 100 people packed into this little bar dancing in doorways, between tables, and in every aisle they could find. They tried to close at 1:00 a.m. but everybody protested, making such a racket that management conceded to give us another 20 minutes.

As I watched everybody dancing, I remembered why we were all here! We love to dance! Such a profound thought!! It was such a blast to see the joy on all these competitor’s faces now that the work was all over. There were broken hearts and ecstatic souls all in the same place, dancing for the sheer joy of dancing. I would have thought that after an entire weekend of working on dancing, nobody would want to dance another step. WRONG!! It was just the opposite, because all the work was over, nobody could get enough of dancing just for the fun of it!

When the Neon Cactus finally kicked us out, we were determined that all we needed was a boombox and some CD’s and we could just break into the Ballroom. Brilliant, HUH? The heart of the dancer! Even though we never made it back into the Ballroom, that still did not stop us. We had music and we had dancers so carpet didn’t stop us. People were still dancing at 4:00 a.m.

I am probably more guilty than most at forgetting that all this work started out as fun. But now I have a renewed appreciation for "The Heart of a Dancer" and the joy that this dance has brought to all of us . . . and that all too soon we will once again be preparing to see everyone at the ‘98 U.S. Open!