Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Ukraine and UK

Dancing in the UK
Scenic Canyons in Ukraine


The wild ride

I wish I could say that our trips were all smooth sailing, but this one certainly didn't start out that way. It was Tuesday, Sept. 1st, around 7 PM and I'm starting to pack for our early morning flight to the Ukraine... Our itinerary was LAX to Chicago, to UK, to Kiev, and finally to Simferopol. Tatiana had just boarded her flight from Seattle to leave with me in the morning out of LAX. As the flight was taking off, she realized she hadn't packed her passport. This was a first. Her mind was spinning out of control. She was able to get online during the flight and tried using SKYPE to call me and let me know. Let's just say with the bad connection, it sounded like Tatiana had been kidnapped and held for ransom. She was in full panic mode, but realized nothing could be done until she landed. She sent me an email filling me in on the situation, which began a night of a thousand phone calls. Around midnight, we realized she would need to same-day Fed-Ex her passport to my house, but it wouldn't arrive until mid-day, so we would not be able to make our original flights. Tatiana spent hours on the phone with American Airlines and our travel agent. The end result was that we both postponed our American Flights to the UK for one day at no charge. This is because we practically live on their airline. There were fees with the other two airlines, but all in all, it worked out. We arrived one day later, but it didn't affect the work schedule. There were still a few more kinks along the way. We arrived in Kiev thinking we had the LAST 3 hour layover. That flight was canceled and now it was a 6 hour layover. In Kiev, if a flight hasn't sold enough seats, they just bump you to the next flight. We were sitting in an outdoor terminal for what seemed like an eternity, but finally we were on our way.

The Russian camp was filled with such wonderful people. Many of them had traveled for two days by train to be there. What an honor. They were very attentive students who were there to learn. They actually held a full Jack & Jill with a prelim and final. I know you'll be seeing some of those dancers coming to the U.S. to dance with all of you.

We had one day off during the week. The pictures represent a part of the Ukraine I wasn't expecting. We saw beaches, mountains, canyons, a castle, and so much more. The beach water was filled with small, non-stinging jelly fish. It took a while for them to convince us to get in, but I actually held them in my hands. The trip to the canyon was in an open air "Indiana Jones" style Jeep. We were flying down that mountain without a road to follow. (See pics) Anyway, we made many new friends, and experienced a whole new world. Tatiana's ancestors were originally from Kiev, so this trip was extra special to her.

Okay, it is now Thursday and we are off to the UK. We were there for Jive Addiction. We've been going to the UK since 2004, and they have improved so much. They hold some of our biggest workshops overseas. This trip went fast and we were very busy. The performance hall looked like the set of American Idol. (See pic on top) It made for a great show, and we were glad to be a part of it. They were such an enthusiastic crowd. Our thanks to everyone for the awesome response. It was now time to return home. We were very excited.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Seeing a Performance From Our Perspective

video

This is a clip of our performance in La Grande Motte, France at Sea Sun & Swing. As we said in one of our earlier entries, the floor was so slick I wore socks and Tat was wearing her socks over her shoes. It was still a fun performance. Take a look!!