The competition was Saturday. For those who don't know, Warren and I volunteer our time to help coach the MIT Ballroom Dance Team. We teach American Style Ballroom (Smooth) to the rookies. Harvard Beginner is the first competition of the year and the first competition ever for the rookies in out class.
The morning of the competition we held the traditional hair and makeup session. The other Elizabeth came, and brought her baby daughter Dorothy along. This was key because there is no way I could do both hair and makeup for all the rookies. Elizabeth Nugent is also one of the few people I can trust to do a good job on hair besides myself, and she's better than I am when it comes to the fine details of makeup, like applying false eyelashes to reluctant beginners.
Most of the Rookie ladies did show up and get done. I don't remember how many hairdos I did exactly, but there were at least 4 french twists, 1 short do, and several buns. Not bad for 2.5 hours. I think I'm getting faster.
As is usual once we showed up at the (new!) venue there were a few ladies who hadn't made it to the session. One had a good excuse (she went to a charity walk), and I fixed her in short order. The other was a disaster of a braided bun with bits sticking out everywhere. She had a less good excuse, lack of faith in our ability to deal with long, thick Chinese hair. Silly girl, I specialize in the stuff. She realized from looking around her that she'd made a mistake in not going, though, and I got her into a competition style fast enough to impress her.
The new twist to this was that it didn't end with the rookies. I seem to have won the approval of Armin, the pro who coaches the team in latin, and he sent me all his problem cases. Anyone who dances standard or smooth knows my reputation for hair and makeup, but the latin-only contingent seems to be just now catching on, mostly thanks to Armin. He was sitting next to me at the competion, and he had several requests for me to do the hair and makeup of people, including hair on two men. One amusing exchange:
(I get out an shocking shade of blue eyeshadow)
girl: "Not that colour!"
me: "Armin, do you approve of this colour?"
Armin: "That's a fabulous colour!"
girl: "I don't want to look like a hooker!"
me: "You're dancing latin, you're supposed to look like a hooker."
Armin: "Honey, you're out there to sell your body, and I want you to close the deal."
I'm really gratified to have Armin's confidence in the whole grooming matter, even if it did mean I missed one of the rounds that the rookies danced.
As for the dancing, our rookies did extrememly well. Everyone made at least two cuts, and of the seven couples in the final, six were MIT couples. The couples that I like best from our classes didn't win, but that's a good thing. No Harvard Beginner Curse for them! There was one girl I felt a little badly for. She only made two cuts, but it wasn't her fault. She shows up to class every week and is turning into a great dancer, but her partner has skipped most of the classes, so its no surprise that he didn't do so well. I hope she dumps him and gets together with one of the more dedicated guys, someone more deserving of her, but I've been keeping my mouth shut because this is the sort of thing she needs to figure out for herself.
One thing about Harvard Beginner is very certain though, as usual everything will look different by Spring term.