When Susanne and I first started hosting dances in the Annapolis area, we would always get a few midshipmen from the Naval Academy at our events. They would always go in to the jams, and I would hold my breath (and sometimes my tongue). The guys at the academy are all pretty muscular, and the girls are very athletic as well. Without any sense of technique, the guys would throw the girls through some aerials and lifts, set her down, and then continue with some awful basic six-count, arms flailing.
That was then, and this is now. About a year ago, I started working with the midshipmen, mentoring Max Desens who taught beginner classes at the academy this past fall. Since January, I’ve been working with the mids on a routine for the International Ball which was this past Saturday. When I think back to the dearth of knowledge and skill a year ago, I am astounded by how far these kids have come. Here’s the video of the routine.
Working with the midshipmen is an incredible joy. They don’t complain. They never say I can’t. They are always willing to try something out, and to try again until the get it. One of them was dancing the routine on a bum ankle that night. At the end of a long day, they were always willing to go one more time, and give it 100%. The best part for me is that most of them will be around for a few more years. This is just the start of something that I see has so much potential.
A big thank you to all twelve of the midshipmen in the routine. You all worked very hard, and deserve to be proud of what you accomplished. Hold your heads up high, and walk around proud. You totally killed it.