After intermission there was an awards ceremony where several people, including myself were honored for the completing the Medal Test for Intermediate Bronze to move to the next level, while some completed the full Bronze Test. I felt a tremendous sense of accomplishment standing with several of fellow students knowing everything I went to through to get to this point. Our Stage Manager Bill Bennett, who also happens to own the Best Ever Body training facilities in our studio was also honored, this was truly special because it was also Bill’s Birthday. For all of us who received our certificates this was a shining moment.

The first performance after intermission was Chloe Scot and Louis Perez who did a Salsa to “Under the Sea” from The Little Mermaid with Maxi and Callie. I had the pleasure of having some classes overlap with them and got to watch this piece evolve from the very beginning. There were days I would see them stay after to rehearse to make sure they got every detail right, and it was evident that all of their hard work paid off in spades. This piece showed the fun, playful, side of Ariel, Sebastian, and all of the lovable characters from the ocean. When Cloe was in full hair and make-up dressed in her aqua gown accented with long flowing fringe I was reminded of pictures of Aphrodite rising from the ocean. Likewise Callie had a beautiful yellow dress that seemed to stretch out like the rays of the sun as she danced.  As everyone moved together in perfect joy and unity, the only way to describe Louis and Chloe’s first showcase is the Rihanna song “Diamonds in the Sky”.

This has been a breakout year for Colet Falvey, and watching her star rise has been truly eventful.  Her last showcase was with the stellar student performance group that performed their piece without an instructor, and for her first solo dance she took her performance to the next level. Coming straight off of her win as Best Newcomer from the North Carolina Classic she made the choice of a true champion; to have her first performance be a Viennese Waltz to the song “Le Festin” from Ratatouille with Mario. The Viennese waltz is a dance so difficult that there is a separate medal test for that portion, so the fact she wanted to take it on was truly impressive. Colet was completely glamourous wearing a stunning black and white gown with rhinestone incrusted buttons.  She whirled effortlessly about as if she were in a dream, capturing the whimsical nature and beauty of the song. Colet’s performance was astoundingly beautiful and left you wanting more.

Lynn Ragan performed a second piece with another thoughtful choice, “Let it Go” from Frozen.  Rumba is a dance of love, and while she danced I felt a message of learning to love yourself. She moved confidently with Maxi, Mario, and Antonio in a cerulean gown accented with lace. The powerful words about embracing who you are and not being defined by the thoughts and expectations of anyone were communicated with every self-assured movement.  One of the most powerful moments where Mario Maxi and Antonio lifted Lynn who seemed to be in a state of perfection and calm. This dance ended with Lynn in a pose by herself as Mario, Maxi, and Antonio looked on, which seemed to symbolize finding peace with the person you are.

 The Tango Evolution team of Clint Rauscher and Shelley Brooks always embrace the beauty of Argentine Tango. This time they danced to the suspense filled music from the animated Feature Lorenzo.  Lorenzo is the Tale of a self- absorbed cat who is driven to madness when his tail takes on a life of its own and compels the cat to perpetual Tango. Shelly wore a pale blue dress accented with magenta and a magenta flower in her hair symbolizing the colors and motifs in the film. Capturing the urgency of the song they did several complicated figures, moving effortlessly as the rhythm constantly changed.  They left a memorable impression on the hearts of all who were present.
 Next were Natalia Terekhova and Maxi dancing a Lively East Coast Swing to a remake of an old Elvis classic “Burning Love” from the movie Lilo and Stitch. Natalia wore a pink floral swing dress accented with hot pink satin shoes and a pink floral garland. Natalia and Maxi kept the fast pace of the song from beginning to end adding elements of fun and playfulness.  It’s especially hard to dance to any of Elvis Presley’s signature songs because they are so much a part of the fabric of popular culture, but this performance was excellent! You couldn’t help but get caught up in these beautiful moments and didn’t want them to end.

Regina Davis did a fun-loving foxtrot to “You’ve Got a Friend In Me” from Toy Story with Mario. Regina was dazzling in a red gown dazzling with stones and peacock feather embroidery that reminded me of brightly colored saris from India.  Capturing the fun festive nature her song she danced with elegance and ease and showed the gift of true friendship. Regina’s lighthearted fun-loving spirit was displayed beautifully as Mario expertly led her through this piece. This dance communicated that through life’s constant challenges to have a friend you can count on makes all the difference.

Amber Meyers captured the sweetness and tenderness of the song “River Lullaby” from the Prince of Egypt looking beautiful in her forest green chiffon gown with crystal accents. Her hair was artfully crafted, every detail down to the placement of the stones in her hair connected to the time and place of the song. Her partnership with Maxi was very gentle and compassionate as they danced the song of a mother singing sweetly to her child. As another first time performer Amber truly left her mark on the ballroom floor.

Beverly and Thomas Rogers added their own special touches for their first showcase to a country and western version of “Kiss the Girl” from The Little Mermaid with Mario and Callie. There were unique details like beautiful turquoise pieces of Jewelry that Beverly and Callie wore that was from Beverly’s personal collection. These brilliant statement pieces highlighted their blue lame gowns accented with black lace. Beverly was in her element enjoying the music and displaying her beautiful arms, and Thomas was taking in every moment as he and led both Callie and Beverly. It was evident as I watched that Beverly and Thomas not only had learned the steps, they had absorbed Mario’s excitement and joy for ballroom dance which made the piece even more fun to watch from the first moment of the dance to their special kiss at the end.

Susan Roberson’s dance to “Colors of the Wind” from Pocahontas showed her affinity for Bolero as she took the stage in a satin aqua gown with brilliant stones. Susan is one of the students that has been at Daza Dance the longest, so it was only fitting that she would pick a song that reflects what our studio is all about, learning about different cultures and coming together in love.  Her movements were graceful like the wind as she and Maxi painted a masterpiece in the sky with multifaceted colors of love.

Closing the show with a slot usually reserved for the a dance with two instructors was the one and only team of Eric and Chelsea Petit and Melissa Gibson doing one of the hardest dances in ballroom, a Quickstep to the song “Friend Like Me” from Aladdin. The Quickstep is an advanced dance, so the fact that they were fearless in attempting it and had never learned it before made me very excited, and as I expected they were show stopping! Melissa and Chelsea wore dresses with pale sea foam chiffon draping, and simple headdresses with aquamarine stones in the middle of their foreheads. Maxi and Eric wore baby blue shirts and pants with bright red cumber bunds and bowties. This dynamic team captured the quirky nature of the song with their joyful expressions, and with speed and sheer artistry they nailed their footwork with precision. This bold fearless performance was a perfect way to end the evening.

After the curtain calls we all greeted our friends and family and enjoyed our accomplishments. When all of our guests left we had our usual cast family dinner while watching the playback of the show. Sharing in everyone’s joy once more was truly enlightening, and I feel blessed to be part of such a special group. When the evening ended and we parted ways there were so many beautiful memories. The next time we gather for our Showcase it will be to Celebrate the 10 Year Anniversary of Daza Dance!

By: Kamaria George (12/03/2017)