Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Partying at QSRV

Spent the weekend in Quebec City at QSRV (Quebec Swing Rendez-Vous). Had a mixed experience there.

I was blessed with a fabulous host - Eric's brother and his fiancee are fabulous people who welcomed me and Rob into their home and fed us well and had exceedingly comfortable beds to sleep in. Couldn't ask for a better situation in that regard.

The classes were pretty good - some were fantastic and some were just okay, as I like some of the instructors better than others. It was a bit tricky due to the combination of having different levels and having different types of dances. If you focus on one dance, then making people register for a particular level has meaning. When you add a couple of other dances into the mix, you've got pretty good odds that not all of your "intermediate 2 Lindy Hop dancers" are actually going to be intermediate balboa dancers, or intermediate shag dancers. The result was that I didn't really get much new in Bal or Shag, and that was disappointing to me.

I have mixed feelings about the parties too. It seems a bit unfair to design a party where you dont' get to really start social dancing until 2 in the morning, and then schedule the classes for 10am. The Imperial was a beautiful venue, but didn't really seem to have enough dance space for all of the people who were attending, and I didn't like the effect of having the dance space divided onto three levels (especially since one level abutted onto the bar, making it an exceedingly uncomfortable place to dance, with all of the people wandering by). There was plenty of space to leave your drinks and sweaters and shirts and breathmints and whatnots up on the balcony... but that meant you had to climb a set of stairs every time you wanted one of those things.

And the bands! They were accomplished bands, but they played 6 minute songs! All the time! No instrumental song is interesting enough to last 6 minutes - and especially not when it is at a very fast tempo - which the vast majority of them were! How can I dance with all the people at the party when each song lasts 6 minutes? Not to mention the discomfort when I realize I've selected someone to dance with that I'm having trouble following, or who seems not to be having fun dancing with me...

And the competitions took up a large portion of both evenings. I'm proud of myself for having competed in the fast strictly (just for the experience - I just wanted to get over the nerves of doing it for the first time), but they took too much time.

The sad thing is that a large part of these problems could have been solved by opening up the lounge first thing in the evening. Have the lounge be the short songs, medium paced, DJ'd environment for the medium dancers in the crowd, and let there be more floor space for those who wanted to dance at the insane pace of the band. Once the lounge opened with blues music at 2am, the dance got to be a lot more enjoyable.

Not that it bothered me, but it would have been nice to have a place to buy snacks - if you are going to keep going until 5am you need some calories outside of alcohol to fuel that activity.

However, I had good company the whole weekend, and had lots of good food at various Quebec City restaurants, so that was nice.

Would I go back? I'm not sure. If I did, I'd have to plan it differently. I can't even remotely survive on four hours of sleep a night, so I'd have to plan to skip some classes, or not bother showing up to the dance until midnight, or some such, so that I could get enough sleep. I think for next year I'll be checking the band and the venue, to see if it looks like things'll be different, before I make my decision.

The Battle of the Plains by itself was almost worth the price of admission - they had three teams battling it off for the "championship" - from Ottawa, Montreal, and Quebec City - and it was a great spectacle, with lots of aerials and formations, and attitude back and forth between the teams. Well worth watching, and enough to make me want to learn more aerials!!!!

So that was my weekend. Of course, I got back and was very sick on Monday - too much stress from the weekend getting my immune system down, I think. I'm going to have to learn to plan vacation days after travelling weekends. Or at least vacation mornings.


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