Sparx 2011, Cleveland

Sparx is hosted by Case Western Reserve University’s swing club.  This year’s event included some excellent instructors for classes during the day, two evening dances, a late night, and a Sunday afternoon farewell dance.  

This was my first time getting to host people for a dance event.  And, boy, did we host — we had fourteen people, including our two selves, in our two bedroom, one bathroom apartment.  Seven folks crashed on air mattresses and the couch in the living room, five people slept on air mattresses in the den, and David and I, of course, were in our room.  Fortunately we are all regular dance event attendees, so everyone did just fine with the crowded quarters.  We had a sign-up sheet for shower-time, and we car-pooled to minimize parking problems. 
The best part of the weekend was breakfast. David and I arranged breakfast for everyone both days.  Saturday was a light breakfast: monkey bread fresh from the local bakery (picked up by the amazing, morning-tastic David), toast, assorted juices, and a tropical dried-fruit salad.  Sunday was the big breakfast: sausage, bacon, rosemary-potato quiche, English muffins, sweet potato homefries with a light dusting of cinnamon, and Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Flapjacks.  The pancakes – in 8 flavors – were David’s brainchild.  We had cinnamon, vanilla, peppermint, lemon, cranberry, chipotle chile, double chocolate, and bacon. The bacon pancakes were made with homemade bacon extract and didn’t come out precisely the way we hoped, but they were fun to make and try.  

Also, we did a lot of dancing that weekend.  The floor in Adelbert gym was full all weekend long. Saturday night the Sparx committee brought in Baby Soda from New York to play for us. The energy on the floor started out a little slow, but soon enough it picked up and everyone had a swingin’ night.  

I also made a point of enjoying my time off the dance floor chatting with follows.  Any dancer will tell you that follows have trouble meeting follows and leads have trouble meeting leads, because follows dance with leads and vice versa.  But while guys are nice and all, it’s definitely good to have girl friends, too.  So I decided at the beginning of the weekend that any time I wasn’t dancing could be put to good use socializing.  It was a fabulous decision, because I had just as wonderful a time chatting with other follows as I had dancing.  I spent some time with good friends, but I also got to know some acquaintances better.  A side effect which I hadn’t anticipated (but which made perfect sense) was that chatting during dance breaks kept my energy and engagement up while I wasn’t dancing.

Photo credits go to Nathaniel Allen and Sara Franklin

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