Another Birthday To Be Thankful For
This past weekend, another birthday has gone by. After 40-something years, I am pretty used to the fact that my birthday often coincides with Thanksgiving weekend. For the last 2 years though, not only has it coincided with Thanksgiving, but also the Delta Cup DanceSport Gala!
This year marked the 4th annual Delta Cup competition, organized by George & Wendy Pytlik. The Pytliks have done a fabulous job putting on this event. It attracts dancers from not only Canada, but also from our neighbouring country, the United States. Year after year, I’ve witnessed the Delta Cup grow and secure its own foothold in the competition scene here in the Greater Vancouver area.
For me, some of the things that make the Delta Cup stand out from the rest of the competitions here locally are its hugely popular kids’ events and its dedication to securing meaningful awards for the competitors. Not only do the competitors get medals, but also perpetual trophies, flowers and certificates. It’s always nice to be recognized for your achievements, especially when you put so much time and effort into the preparations for it.
As a professional dance instructor, it is very rare that we get recognized these days. Many of us were used to being in the limelight many moons ago, back when we competed. But nowadays, it’s all about the students; about their goals and accomplishments, not ours.
This weekend, I felt a sense of pride and camaraderie when several teachers were recognized for passing their recent Professional examinations at the Delta Cup. Han Ly & Crystal Li, passed their Associate Latin exams; Kyryl Dudchenko passed his Licentiate Ballroom exam; and Andy Wong passed his Fellowship Ballroom exam. Be assured that these examinations are not easy! They require numerous hours of gruelling practice and preparation. Not only is practical demonstration required, but also a detailed oral presentation of figures. These exams can involve up to 2 examiners and can last for up to 2 hours. Having been there, I know that no matter what your experience, the preparation is gruelling and the examination itself is nerve wracking. Congrats to those of you who passed! It is definitely quite the feat!
I didn’t get recognized for the exam, as I was only assisting this time. However, I did manage to get my moment in the spotlight when George & Wendy Pytlik announced the “BC Legends of Dance award”! Joel & I were the 2018 recipients, in the good company of our distinguished predecessors, Andy & Wendy Wong (2016) and Roland & Ekaterina Michtchenko (2017).
Although we don’t feel old enough to technically be considered “legends“, Joel & I took the opportunity to reflect on our careers… It’s been quite the ride, starting from our humble beginnings at UBC Dance Club dancing with separate partners; partnering up after dating for a year; travelling to Toronto, England & Italy in search of higher dance education; attending our first Blackpool Dance Festival with our University degrees in hand; turning pro in 2006; establishing JC Dance Co.; teaching at Fraser & 41st, Vancouver Ballroom and Grand Ballroom (all of which sadly don’t exist anymore); finally finding our place at the Broadway Ballroom; developing workshops, Rising Star Squad and PEAK, organizing numerous parties, team shows and more recently, over the past 5 years, competitions.
Of course, all of this would not be possible if it weren’t for our incredible passion (or some might say addiction) for dancing, as well as the support of so many people. Thank you to our sponsors and our family (especially my loving mom who crafted and sold ballroom gowns to help us with our travels as amateurs); to our coaches who inspired us to live and breathe our dancing beyond what we could ever imagine; to our students who have placed their trust in our hands and have given us cherished friendships over the years; to our team who help develop our creative side by supporting our crazy ideas; and to our patrons who have shown their commitment to supporting our shows and events throughout the years.
We are so grateful for all that has transpired over the past 20 years. Thank you everyone for your overwhelming support! Thank you to George & Wendy Pytlik for the fantastic birthday present and Thanksgiving moment of gratitude at the Delta Cup this year! May there be more fun and silliness in the years to come! 🙂