AVS will always hold a special place in my heart — after all, it is the event which inspired me to start swing dancing. As such, I tend to return to AVS every year a little nostalgic…but also frequently disappointed. This year, however, I was incredibly satisfied. The advanced classes were stimulating despite being composed of an upper-intermediate crowd; the band was spectacular; the space was good and seemed surprisingly full despite its large size (I mean, it’s GT — it has the potential to be severely under-attended), which led to high energy and lots of space to move around in.
All in all, it was a successful event. There are two things, though, which I found to its detriment. First, while most of the advanced classes were fantastic, there were two or three which I found to be so uninspiring that I wanted to sleep (and in fact, on Saturday afternoon, I did). However, I think every workshop event has its share of uninspiring classes, so for this to be one of the two main problems actually speaks even more for AVS, which has had its share of bigger problems in the past.
Second, I was not a big fan of the competition structure. I’m sure it happens, but I’ve never attended an event where you have to choose between competing in the Strictly or in the Jack and Jill. I think this was a detriment to the energy, which could have been even higher had the advanced dancers been able to compete in all the dances they chose. At the same time, I understand the motivation to get more people signed up to compete by eliminating some of the advanced dancers as an intimidation factor…but I don’t think that would have been a problem, in most cases.
Moreover, I did not appreciate the battle-style structure of the Strictly (which I chose to compete in with MQ — love you, MQ!). While I do approve of battle-style competitions, I believe the music was too fast (more than 200bpm) to really encourage playing off our direct opposition. The speed was a detriment to the energy of that specific competition, which could have been an absolute hilarity if it had been slowed down just a tad. In fact, a friend who had not attended the event asked me what was up, because when she watched the video, it just looked like a “clusterfuck.” Her word, not mine.
Regardless, I absolutely loved competing, and it was a really good learning experience. The videos are on facebook, so its hard to link to them — but I will be watching them for quite a while trying to look at what I can do better next time.
A friend sent me some interesting stuff on her thoughts about competitions, and I think she should post more about it on her own blog (hint, hint); however, I understand it’s not necessarily the purpose of her blog, so it might not happen. It has given me food for thought, however, on how I might approach competitions in the future and, if I run an event, what my thoughts for competitions for others might be.
I’m also going to post some personal goals and thoughts about dancing. I’ve attended a lot of really good workshops this year, but I haven’t been able to act on everything I want to — partially because some of my goals are genuinely difficult, and partially because I haven’t had the focus I wanted. Maybe blogging will help.