Saturday, March 10, 2012

Aria Ballroom: Open House!

Part: Follow, Partner-in-Crime
Dances: Waltz, Viennese Waltz, Tango, Bolero, Nightclub 2-step
(with Jeff, though I danced other dances too)
Hovers: 1

Saturday, March 3rd was the big day. After nearly a year of hard work, and the proverbial blood, sweat, and tears, a dream was coming true. On that day, Aria Ballroom opened its doors and welcomed in at least a couple hundred dancers to see what new playground had been built for them. From the newly renovated lobby and lounge area with fresh paint, new carpet, and relaxing sofas, to the large expanse of solid white oak floor, to the huge flat screen in the ballroom showcasing the dance playlist and promotion slides, to the firey red sign "Aria Ballroom" over the front entrance, to the framed and lighted poster featuring the Aria phoenix hung beneath display lights on the solid wood reception desk, to the changing rooms with lockers and colored drapes dividing the girls and guys' sides, to the little "lead" and "follow" bathroom signs (and I could keep going), Aria could not help but make a grand first impression. Some of the comments I heard were, "professional," "warm and welcoming," "polished," "Well thought-out." How rewarding for those who had worked so hard. The open house was really a huge success.

As for Jeff and I, there were times when it seemed questionable whether the open house deadline would be met. Scrambling to assemble lockers, other furniture, wire the electronics, create playlists, clean the bathrooms (yours truly...but lots more fun with a steamer to help things along!), dust the many things had to happen. Even the day of open house itself, late into the afternoon we were still there, putting away "construction fallout", vacuuming the floors, finishing up the playlists...any number of small tasks that had to be finished. Somehow, it all came together, and when I arrived at 6 PM after going home to change, it looked beautiful.

For the open house portion of the evening, I wandered around and introduced myself to various guests, gave mini tours to anyone who wanted one, and generally shared the excitement of the whole thing. The dance began later in the evening, after Jeff and Simeon and Kora had given away raffle prizes and thanked everyone for coming and for their support.

The playlist for the dance was very well done, and what with the program on the flat screen showing upcoming dances and the current song information as well as a big crowd of dancers, it was bound to be a good time. I danced quite a lot, some with leads I had never met before who came to check out the new place, some with old friends, and a few with Jeff. We hadn't danced since San Francisco, so I didn't expect it to be great, but it turns out that our biggest challenge was the stickiness of the floor. In the last waltz (the Beegie Adair "Moon River," what else?), this brought us to a halt, and Jeff didn't feel up to trying it again. For bolero, however, which we did try, it worked out great. I don't technically know bolero, but I do love it and since Jeff can lead me decently it worked out rather well. I just love the way it feels and the kind of movement and connection you have, like a cross between waltz and rumba. Our Viennese waltzes went pretty well, except that at the end of our second one I majorly screwed up my neck, and I'm not sure how, but it still is bothering me, even today, one week later. Anyhow, it seems like we've really become very in sync with each other in that dance and really move together more than in any other, and as a result can cover more ground and feel a lot more comfortable in many respects. Plus, how can you not love dancing to "The Kingdom Dance" from Tangled?

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