I wrote previously that my wife and I were attending the Arthur Murray "Freestyles" event that was held yesterday, so this post is report on that event.
Wow! It has a lot of fun, a whole day of dancing and socializing with our friends from the Arthur Murray dance studio in Montclair. At a Freestyles event, several Arthur Murray studios get together to give students a venue to perform for a judge, in order to receive impartial feedback. It is not a competitive event, and the emphasis for beginning students (like us) is on performing the syllabus figures for your level, either without additional choreography (closed) or with (open).
Yesterday's Freestyles was held at the Bridgewater Marriott, a centrally located venue for the Arthur Murray studios of Montclair, Kenilworth, Whitehouse Station, and Princeton. The event was well organized. The dancing was by 'heats' of several couples at once on the floor, all dancing the same dance, though each couple was dancing their own choice of steps. Each heat also had a variety of skill levels, and while there were no collisions it was clearly the responsibility of the better dancers and instructors to avoid the less skilled.
Blanka and I had chosen to dance four dances (Rumba, Cha-Cha, Foxtrot, and Tango) both together and with our instructors. As a result, we were each on the floor eight times, across twelve different heats. It was very nice that we were not in the same heat while dancing with our instructors, because we got to enjoy watching each other dance.
The actual dancing was wonderful, without much anxiety about forgetting steps, losing timing, or stepping on the dress of the lady next to me. We had practiced so much leading up to the event that it was almost second nature to dance the dances that we had chosen, and we did dance them 'freestyle', without repeating a set sequence.
As the day progressed, it was obvious that we had taken a very cautious approach to participating in the event. Many students danced multiple heats of the same dance, open and closed, for many more than four dances! There were 166 (!!) heats during the day, so we were sitting and cheering our friends on for most of the day. Next time, we'll know to push ourselves to dance more.
The day included lunch, dinner, a pro show by the instructors from each studio, and casual dancing after dinner. We were quite tired by the end of the evening, and I can't imagine where some of the instructors got their energy, dancing heat after heat with their students.
We had a great time.