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WINDY CITY (and it sure was the day we arrived!) And FREEZING the day we left, but oh, what a great time we had inside! We learned fabulous dances with so many of the true stars of the dance world.

Being on the dance floor with these amazing choreographers just makes you hope it lasts forever!

I have my favorites of the weekend, and took lots of classes, but also missed some of those great ones that others will write about.

For me, seeing Jo Thompson again after all these years, was surely a highlight, especially since she IS our Winter Workshop in Ocala on January 23, 2010. She is just as beautiful, graceful, talented and exciting as when we first met in the early 90’s. I will be teaching her newest dance, SHOES OF ANOTHER MAN, at the Tampa Bay Line Dance Classic in just a couple of weeks. It’s a keeper!!

My second class in Tampa will be Carol Dougherty and Frank Cooper’s cool new one called SWING BY MY WAY, Advanced West Coast. Just can’t get the song out of my mind. Both these step sheets are on my website under Tampa Bay Line Dance Classic.

Dances I’m crazy about:
Rachael – She Will Be Loved and an old one from 2003, How Come the World Won’t Stop Turning.
Neville Fitzgerald - Can’t Get Involved – too cool!
Michele Perron – Stuff You Gotta Watch – This week’s teach at Midnight Rodeo. Fun, fun, fun, just like Michele!
Scott – Hey Mama – his brand new dance that filled the place! A contra dance to “island” type music, had everyone smiling!
Hell If I – the Kinsers and Mark Furnell – this is a terrific dance.
Bad Influence by them is also one we’re already doing.
Under a Spell – Kate Sala – taught by Maurice. Another one we are already doing and do take a look. Great music.
Guyton – Miami – I’ll nail this one if it kills me – and soon!

These are only the ones I remember taking myself, but the schedule is FULL of wonderful dances. Check out all of them and I think you will agree!

The SHOW! Ruben Luna took the spotlight winning Heat 1of the choreography contest with If I Could Change, which is one of the prettiest dances I’ve seen. The music is Change the World by Eric Clapton, which I love. Our own Florida gal, Lindy Bowers took 2nd in her division with Time That it Would Take. First place went to Heather Frye with Double Dog Dare Me. Congratulation to all of you for such a great accomplishment!

The USA gal team of Jo, Judy and Jackie won the Pro Choreography Contest, but the guy team of Paul, Peter and Neville was terrific too.
All of them are true PROS in everyone’s mind for sure.

The show itself was the best ever! Jo T. and Guyton had an Old School vs. New School routine. We could all relate to the story line and it was both innovative and so true that it kept the whole place laughing! The gorgeous Rachael followed with her performance of Speechless, and we were speechless too, just watching her dance. I hope you are able to see this performance somewhere, because it is just breathtaking. Scott then joined her for an exciting west coast swing. Paul McAdams’ creative choreography to Black and Gold was fabulous. The whole combination provided a wonderful evening of entertainment followed by hours of dance in both Louie’s ballroom and Jill’s, right next door (which was SO convenient). And dinner before all that was delicious too! Loved the chocolate cheesecake!

We see people here that we may not see in other venues. Chicago itself and it’s location in the states draws many Canadians and Californians along with those in the North, East Midwest and Southern states. There always seems to be different blend of dancers in Chicago, and many from other countries too. The fabulous UK instructors are always special to us and it’s a real treat to dance with them. Kathy and Graham were also there, Peter from Kickit, (a debt of gratitude from all of us for being an incredible resource all these years), and many others that I just did not get to chat with, but appreciate their contributions to our dance world. Add all of our awesome USA instructors on staff, plus other choreographers, event directors, and the rest of us who were there just to participate, and you’ve got a a great party!

Congrats to Eve, Mark & Glenn for another successful event and thanks for an exhausting weekend of pure enjoyment! We’re in the air as I write this and won’t arrive home until around 2am, so I’ll post my own local news and information early this week. Thank goodness we have Carol Craven who gives us all the opportunity to share our news with everyone else! Safe travels to all heading home, and hope to see many of you in Tampa in November!

Marilyn McNeal,

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