Wednesday, November 4, 2009

West Coast Swing Debut at the KREMLIN!!

We were honored to be asked to dance at the Kremlin Palace (similar to the White House of Russia). We really didn't know what to expect, but we knew it had to be top notch. We had less than one month to prepare, as well maintain our usual work schedule. We arrived on Thursday night and stayed at the Marriott Aurora. From Friday morning on, every second was well planned. We went sightseeing to the Red Square with a private guide. We were treated to fabulous dinners at the Ritz Carlton, (even tried Russian caviar), and other amazing places. We were taken to the Bolshoi Ballet, where we watched Swan Lake. BEAUTIFUL!! On Saturday we were taken to a private showing of the famous Pushkin Art Museum in Moscow.

Saturday night was the Invitational Latin Competition with the top 32 couples in the world. It was a black-tie event with the men in tuxedos and the women in gowns. There were Russian politicians in attendance, and the entire event was being televised on Eurovision. The dancing was just INCREDIBLE!!! After 2 rounds, they had the top 7. This night made us anxious because we would be returning for the televised show the next day dancing along side the top 7 finalists.

The picture above is 1st and 2nd place at the event. They were very welcoming and showed a lot of respect for our dance. Michael & Joanna even asked which of our numbers that we would be dancing. We were flattered.

Ok...the big night is here. This picture shows Tatiana is with Boyco (Hair Stylist to the Ballroom Stars). You'd think after all our performances, we'd be used to this by now. Tatiana was never as nervous as she was prior to this show. Right before our 8:30 PM performance (around 8 PM) I went down to the ballroom with my friend, Maxim, to double check the order of dance. We hopped in the elevator which came to a screeching halt. The next 15 minutes became the longest 15 minutes of my life. Luckily I was with someone who spoke fluent Russian, because he got on the phone and let them know we were trapped. It still took forever, considering I wasn't completely dressed and knew I only had 30 minutes to begin with. When help arrived, the doors were pried open and the elevator had stopped between floors. We had to slide out on our stomachs and run to the dressing room. Our partners looked at us obviously wondering where we were. I was just happy to be rescued and now the performance seemed easy.

Our first number was "How to Save a Life" and the second was "Viva la Vida." They were so well received, and we are so grateful to experience all of this. At the end of the evening at the after party, the event organizer made a toast to recap the entire event. He mentioned how great it was to have us there, and how bringing West Coast Swing brought a new feel to the event. What a great feeling to hear that.

We want to personally thank Celia (middle) and Maxim (in back) for all they have done for us, and for helping to make all of this possible. They are not only great friends, but very supportive to West Coast Swing. You both make life very exciting for us.