For the past 2 years we’ve being going to Dance Camp Las Vegas. It had been held at the Paris Hotel when we went before but this year it was at The Gold Coast. This is across the freeway from the Strip where we’ve always stayed before in Vegas.
Man, it’s a dump! Well, maybe it’s not that bad. It is kinda old and shabby but it’s not Motel 6 or anything. I thought that maybe I was just being a snob because we’ve been to Caesar’s, Paris, and Bellagio over on the Strip. One problem was that they didn’t handle the smoke as well as other places – it stank of cigarette and cigar smoke. If the stink of smoke wasn’t overpowering, that’s because the smell of Subway was winning out. There was also a Chinese restaurant adding to the assault. Not the good Chinese food smell, the one that smells like rotting garbage.
If I was mildly distressed, Pam was pissed. “This isn’t any cheaper than the good places on the Strip. And they’ve got a sliding door on the bathroom instead of a real one!”
Apparently, bathroom doors need to seal shut and sliding doors don’t seal shut. I’ve gotta admit that there are some things that you don’t wanna hear from your partner.
Pam went to the front desk only to find out that a) all rooms have sliding doors on their bathrooms and b) we already were in the best available room.
On Sunday, we wanted to have breakfast over on the Strip. We were trying to find out about the shuttle to get there when a security guard told us that the shuttle wouldn’t start until 9:00am. We said that we didn’t want to wait over an hour. He suggested the fine dining available at the Gold Coast and that was getting annoying to me. Then he said that I had a beautiful wife, that I was a lucky man to be with such a woman and shook my hand. That was less annoying. We wound up walking the two miles to the strip.
Later that day, at 7:00pm, we had the Dance Camp orientation/dinner. We met a bunch of folks who’d been coming to this thing for years. Apparently, this dance camp has always been at the Gold Coast except for the two years that we’d been going. For these folks, “It’s like coming home. In fact, the Gold Coast is much nicer now than it was.”
It’s still a dump.
On Monday, we got up at 6:00am so that we’d be on time for the 8:00am lesson.
Things went pretty much OK…
…but this one woman who I was dancing with (not Pam) kept insisting that I do the wrong steps. She was adamant that we had to do another open break instead of a spot turn. (My dancing friends know what this means.) Pam was thinking “No! He’s confused enough! Don’t mess him up more.” This woman wasn’t deterred by the fact that everyone else was doing spot turns. After a few more times, she finally listened to the instructor, agreed, and we did the routine OK.
We had lessons thru 11:00pm. OMFG.
Toward the end of the week, in between classes, they played a very romantic song. I asked Pam to dance and she agreed despite some grumbling about her sore feet. It was nice. All week long, we’d been trying to learn new dances and dance steps. Now we finally had a chance to do something that we’d already mastered. Plus I got to rub up against Pam.
All week, we’d been preparing for dance routines for Cha Cha and Tango that were to be performed Thursday night. We were pretty nervous at the beginning of the week. We were terrified Tuesday and Wednesday. We were feeling a bit better about it Thursday morning. We kept practicing and that seemed to help.
In the Cha Cha lesson, the instructor said that he’d be reviewing the couples in the front row, which included Pam and me. He said that the rest of the group would be depending upon the folks in the front row for what to do and timing. I didn’t feel qualified – My timing is fine but I’d been constantly doing the wrong move and correcting. After the instructor moved one couple off the front line, he seemed happy with us being there. I couldn’t take the pressure – I asked him if he felt committed to having us on the front line and he graciously replaced us with another couple. Pam tells me that I’m wrong to have done this.
The Tango lesson went well. Everyone, including us, seemed to be able to do the right things at the right time.
We practiced some more and were feeling pretty confident.
Thursday night was performance night.
We did the Cha Cha first. I did the first 3 steps – one, two, three – then nothing. I had no f*cking clue what to do next. I saw what everyone else was doing and caught up. I felt vindicated for weaseling out of the front row. There were a number of other almost mess-ups but Pam’s back-leading helped. (Our regular instructor, Patty, says “Never, never back-lead” but this avoided a lot of extra embarrassment.) One minute and forty seconds later, we got to leave the floor.
The Tango went better. I never blanked out and almost felt like I knew what I was doing.
Post Script: Pam tells me that the Gold Coast is worse than Motel 6.