New Years 2009 (Dec 31, 2008)
I had only planned on selling 184 tickets as in past years, and as expected all tickets were sold out mid November. By the end of December we had some cancellations due to illness & medical emergencies, however I also had numerous requests to make room so more could celebrate with their friends, and in the end I sold 199 tickets, but two more couples had to cancel due to last minute illness's. Some people decided not to join because they thought it was going to be a real cruise! Not at this price! In the end we entertained 194 mostly ballroom dancers.
On the higher end cruise ships, when you board you're offered a glass of wine or orange juice, but on this cruise you also got to greet Captain Ray and 1st Mate Bertha! The Captains jacket is the new Royal Caribbean Cruise lines Officers jacket loaned to me for this occasion! Just behind me you can see part of our BINGO board
Many guests had their pictures taken with the ships officers. Here Robyn Picard & husband Dave do a pose
To set up the room took months of planning, and on the 30th fifteen of us pulled it all together, some of us working from 8:00am till 10:30 at night. As the theme was Cruise ship, we decorated it to look like walking down the side of a ship with a railing on one side and rear wall and white walls with lifeboats on the other long wall and a ballroom floor in-between. Interestingly it took us a little more than an hour to pull it all down. You can also see here one of the sub-themes, that of the Lido Deck. Notice the small Patio Lanterns that were on both walls, and you can see a single large patio lantern that went across the room. My helpers this day were Bertha, Richard & Lynn Nelles, Chris Rasmussen, Debbie Beatty, Mike & Alex, Trevor Lum, Zale & Vicki, Steve & Elaine, and Kathy & Bob. Thanks All!
The "ships Purser" Alex who normally collects the money at the door is a graphics artist and created two fabulous lifeboats to cover up two ugly kitchenettes on the side walls! Above the lifeboat can be seen the other line of patio lanterns, and above them, the "Stardust" sign I made for the Stardust Cabaret Disco/Club portion of the evening. Each table had a ships lantern lit by fiber optic lights which changed colors from green to blue to red. The Stardust sign was a two day project, and Alex again helped design nice letters.
The "Stardust" sign was used with this disco ball and light assembly. You can also see two large round patio lanterns in the foreground and five in the background that we used for the Lido deck (pool deck on a ship). The whole unit was 16 feet across.
Making towel animals was easier than I thought, and in total we made 14 towel animals that we gave away. For our Bingo game that lasted half the night, I made up a couple hundred Bingo cards that everyone got when they arrived. We made a Bingo board and borrowed a Bingo Ball dispenser that Bertha's grandkids got for Christmas. In total we gave away 40 prizes - 14 towel animals and 26 ships lanterns. Behind the towel animals is the "Clothing Optional Deck" where the free 5x7" photo's were taken.
Bingo Board to the left of the stage, and above the right railing was a ships sign "Clothing Optional Deck, NO minors allowed"
In total we set up 25 tables
Nice touch with other cruise ships off the starboard side!
And our scenery wrapped around the back of the ship. Looks like they were served their food out on deck!
Dinner was held on Deck 4 officially, and from there we went up to Deck 5 to the Taj Mahal Theatre for the after dinner show. This is the Mellado Dance Elite "Seniors" performing a Jazz number"Ain't nothin' wrong with that", choreographed by Carla Mellado
I'd seen Lorie Embleton and a previous dance partner at Bill Mckinnon's dances and they'd done a show stopping Argentine Tango. Early in the year Lorie emailed me asking if her and Clarry Smit (both dance teachers in downtown Vancouver), could perform at my New Years. What could I say?!! This dance was a simply beautiful Salon Tango to a gorgeous tune. I had Googled their names and came across a blog written by a previous dance partner Bobbi Lusic. He had written about the showdance this way. "Showtime is so rewarding - the feeling of magic in the dancer's hearts, the "zone" in the dancers' minds, capturing an audience and holding their attention, all contributing to our ultimate satisfaction. Time seems to stop in our minds. The world shrinks to a bubble, containing only the two of us, the music, the crowd around us, the embrace, and the dance. And another dance. And then it's all over, leaving us with a warm fuzzy feeling in our hearts, and reminding us that this is what makes all the practice time and sweat worth our while!" I thought it would be great to incorporate this, so before they came out I turned out all the lights, so just the ships lanterns were lit, then they entered the room as I quoted from Bobbi's lines gradually turning up the Chandelier till on "two of us" the chandelier was fully lit. It was a nice effect.
I'd seen Alberto Gonzalez do an amazing showdance with his previous partner where he flipped her and did air moves. Teresa Szefler is his new partner that he did this great showdance with, and considering that she's been dancing seriously for only a year they were a big crowd favorite with a number that featured Cha Cha, Bachata and Salsa. Hot Hot Hot.
I'd seen the Mellado dancers at Dr. Nima's "Dance to the Top" at The ACT mid 2008. Again this number was a crowd favorite then and I simply loved their music and their routine, so Carla Mellado granted my wish and they performed it again. At The ACT this was the end of the number and they ended up at the end of the stage with the dancer in the middle appearing to stop them from falling off the stage.
Lorie and Clarry in a playful Milonga Tango
And now, Robyn, Dave and Don & the "I-Love-To-Dancers"
The night started off with an hour dancing under the Ballroom Chandelier
Tango Master Carlos Loyola and Queen of WCS Maggie Bretton wowed us with an impromptu Argentine Tango
Hour #2 was on the Lido Poolside deck 10. As cruise ships typically have a Latin/Salsa/Merenge band by the pool, we were to start with Grupo Mania being flowing in from Puerto Rica, but they were late, so we started with one of my favorite songs Kim Mitchell's "Patio Lanterns" a really cute Triple Rhythm Jive. Of course being the Lido deck, we turned the chandelier off and turned the Patio Lanterns on.
And the third hour was in the Stardust Cabaret Deck 14 where we played Club music. Jives, WCS, NC 2-step...
All those lessons and the guys won't dance. No problem, "Girls, let's go dance!"
Singing Auld Lang Syne to the ultimate version of the song done by James Taylor who converted the tired old 4/4 standard into a breath taking 3/4 waltz with understandable English lyrics.
After midnight a couple of group pictures
Unbelievable technique, but later on she got too confident!
The winner with room to spare!
NO, that doesn't count!
Limbo technique #2 - Run at the bar, and slide through at the last minute!
No, you can't use your knees as feet
Limbo technique #3 - Take a chance on splitting your pants, crouch down, and with little foot movements only, inch your way forward Ninja style. Nice shoes Carlos!
The Winner, Trevor Lum who also has tropical island Limbo wear!
Fun setting up
While setting up I thought it would be hilarious to take some pictures as if we were swimming in the waters. Well, with strong arms and a bit of Trevor's editing magic.....