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WOW! Yes, it was a memorable event in all ways! Judy Chen is the ultimate hostess and always exceeds our expectations. This was our first time at WOW and we enjoyed every moment of the weekend. A fabulous array of instructors taught over 100 dances in 4 continuous rooms. The Marriott hotel is right across from the airport with easy transportation to New York. I have to tell you about our trips to the city first!

Ray and I traveled with Carol, Jan, Brenda, Diane, Barbara, and Darlene and arrived Wednesday afternoon. We hired our driver, Larry, to take us to Manhattan for the evening. He was perfect for our group! We had a GREAT dinner at Carmine’s and saw HAIR. After a few of Larry’s “detours” we got back to the hotel around 1AM.

But did we rest? NO! At 5AM we got up again to go BACK to the city. WHY? These girls had a plan to get Ocala on the TODAY show! We took the shuttle to the airport, then the train to Penn Station, and didn’t notice the subway right there (DUH – it was too early) so we WALKED 20 blocks to Rockefeller Center. Everyone but “my honey” who was our chaperone, had on pink flamingo T-Shirts that said WOW, Wild Ocala Women, a huge banner with our pictures and “Dancin’ with Marilyn in Ocala, Florida” on it, and springy “I love NY” heart headbands. Needless to say, they noticed us! Cute cameraman Dave saw us first and promised to interview us at the break. Weather Girl Leslie came right over to us and on the spot asked us to show her a line dance –ON LIVE TV! No time to think about it, we volunteered Darlene and tossed her in front of the camera! Smart girl, did the Cupid Shuffle! Leslie said she’d rather hang out with us than go back to work!

It was all over in 30 seconds, but the memory will last a lifetime! Best of all, Meredith came out after the show, hugged each of us, autographed our banner and posed with us for pictures. After it aired, all our cell phones were ringing from family and friends all over the states. They SAW us on the TODAY show! WOW!

We then ate breakfast at a local NY deli to end a perfect morning. The girls toured the city all day, while Ray and I headed back to the hotel on the trains (the subway this time) for the evening plans. Gary and Maria drove to the event and joined us on Thursday, along with Kathy G. from Miami. The weekend was just starting.

THANKS girls, for planning these extra days that added so much fun to our trip. We love y’all and will remember it always. Pictures will be on my website, and hopefully the live video of that day!

Judy welcomed all dancers with an incredible dinner on Thursday night, including SHUSHI! (Rachael was happy.) There was a wonderful array of food presented.
We danced then tried to get some rest for a couple of hours.

I was truly honored to be on staff at this event with top instructors that I admire and respect for their talents. My own classes were:

FOR THE FIRST TIME – Niels Poulsen – a most beautiful NC2. (my favorite)
LET ME LOVE YOU – Classic MIL from 2002 making a great comeback.
RUMBA BREEZE – Michele Perron and Michele Burton – VERY pretty!
INCLINATION FOR SYNCOPATION – Paul McAdams – Michael Jackson’s Remember the Time. Cool dance.
DAYLIGHT – Dee Musk – nice west coast.
MAN IN THE MIRROR – Clair Pulpher – Masters in Line Choreography Overall Winner in UK last month to great Michael Jackson music. Check it out, VERY cool.
SCOOBY DOO – Robbie McGowan Hickey – Easy Intermediate to Alex Swings and Oscar Sings.
SWINGIN’ IN THE RAIN – Larry Hayden – B/I This is a fun, local favorite.
AY AMOR – Ria Vos – B/I Slow cha cha, popular dance.

The complete dance schedule is on the WOW website for your review. No time to take many classes but a few that I did take were Rachael’s SHE WILL BE LOVED, not so easy but wonderful. Loved it. She taught many other cool ones too. HELL IF I (Kinsers) taught by Scott. Loved it along with his current hits. Didn’t take STRENGTH IN NUMBES by Peter and Alison, but it looked beautiful and they had many more. Debbie taught a new one called SPANISH FLY, very cool. Cato’s included FAIRY TALES and SWINGIN’ R’s. John‘s included CHAMPAGHE ON ICE (Dornsteds), which I regret missing in the past! Roy Verdonk was one hilarious bunch of energy! DO THE HOEDOWN and ISN’T SHE LOVELY were two mentioned by many dancers. Kate Sala taught UNDER A SPELL, Judy taught LA SECRET and Barry SMASH IT was a hit. Kathy brought back EVERGREEN, an old favorite. Over 100 dances were on the schedule and provided an excellent variety of music on style for all dancers. Barry was our MC too, a real professional, and it was great seeing him again.

Stompin’ Sue provided a huge array of beginner dances and most of the instructors also included easy ones. Mentioned as favorites by others were I LIED, taught by Dean, GO NOW, taught by Max, LAY IT ON THE LINE & BAD INFLUENCE, taught by Rosie. Sue was DJ in the beginner room and Louie was at his best in our main ballroom. He played a great mix of old and new, teaches and requests. There are so many good dances, but he always keeps the floor full and varied. CJ’s videos will be out in no time – he’s the best!

The event was first class. Judy’s hospitality shines and we all feel special, whether on staff or as a registered participant. The menu she chose for the Saturday night dinner and welcome party was outstanding. The dance schedule was packed. The whole weekend atmosphere was relaxed, pleasant and professional. Judy raised over $1200 for the victims of the typhoon in Taiwan in a 50/50 drawing and the winner Anne, also donated her share to this cause.

Thank you Judy, for the opportunity to teach for you. Ray and I and our Ocala dancers had a wonderful time, as I’m sure everyone else did!

WOW will return in 2011 to this hotel. Next year, Judy is taking it to Shanghai, with the opportunity to tour China afterwards if you stay a few days. Save up and expand your dancing adventures!

I’ll post again tomorrow with Midnight Rodeo information and a surprise for you too!

Marilyn McNeal,

  Drum Trumpet Piano
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