US Open: A Few Lessons Learned

1 12 2010

The US Open Swing Dance Championship was this past weekend in Burbank, CA.  As Yair mentioned, we scored free tickets to the event (including performances, social dances and workshops) for putting in volunteer hours.  The event wasn’t quite as much fun as I thought it would be, but there were some spectacular performances (that Schwimmer family is GOOD!), Yair and I goofed around on the dance floor and it was particularly cool to be behind the scenes, for example in the competitor green room where the scores were posted.  (Several junior dancers got points deducted for inappropriate dress.  What sticklers!)  Here are a few of my lessons learned:

1.  Swing dancing can mean a lot of different things.  I dance East Coast Swing and a bit of Lindy Hop, but the US Open was 95% West Coast swing, which is an entirely different dance.  There’s also hustle, balboa, Carolina shag and hand dancing.  My gosh.  I will definitely ask in advance of attending the event next time!

2.  We each put in twelve hours of volunteering at the event.  I requested that we volunteer before or after the weekend so that we didn’t have to miss out on anything.  Big mistake!  There was tons of downtime during the convention and a lot of things that I wouldn’t have minded missing.  Volunteering during the event meant being an usher and watching the performances from the doorway.  Volunteering before and after the event meant intense manual labor setting up and tearing down.  Oops.  At least we felt useful.

3.  We had the choice of getting reserved seating for $50 each plus volunteer hours or opting for open seating/standing room only for free.  Per Yair’s request, we went for the reserved seats only to realize that the open seating area was about 20 feet away and almost never full!  After some back and forth, we were able to switch to open seating and get a refund at the beginning of the weekend, but next time I’ll do my homework with that seating chart!

posted by ayo

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