Sweet US Open Dreams Are Made Of These

Impossible. FREAKIN’ Impossible to put into words how magical and fantastical The 2014 US Open Swing Dance Championship (aka the Superbowl/Olympics of West Coast Swing) truly was. Classic and Showcase routines, mind blowing. Crazy good J&Js and Strictlys from every level. Amazing social dancing music (which i’m ripping for my next DJ gig fyi) from awesome DJs like Jumpin’ Jack Smith, Louis St. George, John Lindo, John Festa, Helen Tocco, and Cher Peadon. The hosting was unmatched from the start with Ben Morris. The charming and moving Grace Killelea gave it every ounce on the floor and made each division she hosted flawless. The voice of the Open Mr. Robert “I’m SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPILADOCIOUS AWESOME” Royston brought it home with spotless comedic timing, westie history, and heartfelt stories. The US Open was a marvelous dream you never want to wake up from.

Before I get into the real meat and potatoes of this post, I have to send some love to the US OPEN FB Texas (and friends) watch party! Thank you all so much for inviting me into your lovely group. Hearing your quips and witty commentary was so fun. I’m glad we could laugh, cry, scream, jump, and yell together. No matter how many miles a part we are… the enthusiasm and passion we all share for this dance unites us. I am so very thankful you guys allowed me to share this special momentous occasion with you all.

One moment defined the US Open for me… It wasn’t a outstanding routine… it was not a J&J or Strictly, but a moment on the microphone from Grace.

“I remember thinking, ‘no one’s going to ask me to dance ’cause I don’t look like a dancer’ and dancers don’t have a look, dancers have a feel and dancing is about your heart; not about your body, and I remember sitting in the side of the ballroom and waiting for someone to ask me to dance (I’m tearing up as I say this) and, um, this really nice man I had never seen before came up to me and said, ‘Would you like to dance with me?’ and I felt my heart just start racing, you know that feeling, like, I’m not gonna like, and I said ‘I’m really new’ and he said, ‘it’s okay, Honey, I’m just a beginner.’ and that was Mr. Carlito Rofoli, ladies and gentlemen. And I have never forgotten that moment, not one time…thank you for giving me a really magical ride; it’s been a lovely time.” – Grace Killelea Thanks Amy Raden for transcribing!

Dance is a feeling, not a look. I know a there is a lot of stereotypes out there that dancers have to be a certain, height, weight, build, etc… (don’t we wish we all could dance and look like Jessica Cox). When I started West Coast Swing, I was afraid I was going to be an outcast. I’m this petite Asian which my whole body could probably equal the height of one of Sean McKeever’s leg. My walks from the start were like duck wobbles and my tripples were horse trots. All of my inhibitions went away the more I got involved. This community has to be one of the most warm and welcoming dance scenes in the world. If any event was a testimony to that it’s the US Open.

Sonya White’s Question on WDOTD today was spot on for the last day of the Open. Dance bucket list. The US Open certainly is on there for me. Seeing those “make you wanna cry” routines in person… to dance on that legendary floor… to share the love with fellow dancers. It will happen someday. I hope you all are there with me. To my coaches, peers, and dancers… you guys are the reason why I dance… Always keep a dance and a dream in your heart. – Steph Pham

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