Friday, September 27, 2013

DCD-CH Speedy, Dean Dog, Tessa, and Maddie!!!

Results for the Dogs Can Dance Challenge Summer Fun event came in several days ago and I am super excited to be able to share that my Dogs Can Dance Challenge team of Speedy, Dean Dog, Tessa, and Maddie earned our Championship!

This has really been a wonderful experience, ever since the day, back in September of 2010 when I received an email from Judy saying that she was considering starting a new Musical Freestyle titling venue and she wanted some input!  I did, in fact, offer input.  Some of my suggestions were actually incorporated into what would become the Dogs Can Dance Challenge, and some were not.  But in the end, I was very happy with the whole concept that Judy came up with.

One thing that I wrote when I sent Judy my suggestions was this . . . 
". . . I am hoping it happens!  It will most likely be too late for Speedy, but I will always appreciate what would have been good for him".
As the different divisions were being developed, I created a routine with Speedy to use as a "sample" for Musical Interpretation.  It was a routine to Waltz from Maskarade and it actually became one of our best routines and we performed it in several different contexts.

 This is a video of a practice version of this routine.  Oh, and I was not really this thin - for some reason the camera "squashed" the picture.

I honestly thought Speedy would not live to see this through and I was pleased beyond words when he and Dean both completed Entry Level and then Speedy performed the Waltz routine as our first Challenge submission in the Musical Interpretation Division!

The routine earned 129 points, so we completed the Opening Act category for Musical Interpretation, and Speedy was awarded the Le-La-Ru award for the highest scoring performance of the event.  That was a HUGE deal!

I am particularly happy that Speedy not only took part in this, but he was able to see it through to the end!  He had an entry in every single event that I entered.  One time he even entered all three divisions himself!

Speedy earned most of the points for our team, taking care of the entire Classical Freestyle division, all three levels!  We started this with a performance to "Waltz of the Flowers" and then went into both Intermediate and Advanced with a modified version of his best routine, "Reunion".
Speedy also earned the points for our second Musical Interpretation category - Polish Polka - which fulfilled the requirement for an International genre).  This was also our personal ode to the Coal Region!

And, with another Le-La-Ru award earning performance, Speedy and I revamped his old "Here Comes the Sun" routine to submit for Feature Presentation in Entertainment.

Speedy officially holds the designation of MVP for this Challenge team!  He did do the bulk of the work, and so I will always think of this Championship as his in a special way.

Maddie was also on the team.  Maddie most certainly was my Agility dog.  We actually started taking Freestyle classes just for fitness and fun.  I knew that it was highly unlikely that Maddie would ever go into a competition ring and compete without food.  We actually tried and it lasted about 20 seconds before she said "see ya!"  The next day we went to an Agility trial and Maddie's whole demeanor clearly stated, "THIS is what I do!"

In spite of that, Maddie would have enjoyed the Honor Class in the Challenge.  She did enjoy dancing - she just did it on her own terms.  Maddie was a beautiful mover.  Her movement showcased her power and elegance.  We were actually working on a routine to perform for the Challenge.  I was going to use it as Classical Freestyle Beginner.  We never got to film it.

I did video one practice performance of the routine, which I submitted as an Audition routine last year.  I got good feedback on it, but, of course, Maddie and I will never perform it.  She was gone before she was ready.  Our practice . . .

However, I did have a video of Maddie that I was able to submit to the Challenge for points!  In February of 2010, Maddie and Dean performed the brace routine that I had choreographed for Speedy and Dean at a fundraiser for canine cancer research.  There just happened to be a video taken!  Because there is no ring space requirement in the Entertainment class, it was eligible for submission.  And because Maddie was a senior dog at the time the performance was filmed, I was able to submit it in the Honor Class!  That submission didn't quite earn the points needed - it wasn't really done with Challenge guidelines in mind, but Maddie was able to earn points and officially become part of our Challenge team!

Maddie will never have the CT-ATCH Title that I had hoped we would work our way up to, but she has a championship to her name now!  She may not have contributed a whole lot points-wise, but she was absolutely a part of this team and it is right that she always be considered a part of it!

Tessa came along as this whole thing was in progress.  I debated quite a bit about whether to add her in as part of the team or to register her as an individual.  I elected to make her part of the team.  She hasn't done a lot of Challenge work yet.  She really is more of a WCFO style dog right now.  But I did have her finish off the Opening Act level of Entertainment with one of her earliest performances of her Scorchio routine.  It was rough - she was definitely a very inexperienced beginner at the time.  But I am pleased that she contributed as a member of the team!

In addition, with Maddie and Dean starting off Opening Act, Tessa finishing Opening Act, and Speedy polishing off Feature Presentation in one fell swoop, all four of the dogs on the team contributed to the Entertainment title!  That makes it extra special!

And Dean.  Dean, Dean, Dean!  We have worked together for such a long time and his dance performance style has been tough to pin down!  And then we struggled for years with his social anxiety that makes live Freestyle competition extremely difficult, and unpleasant, for him, and even made work in front of a camera a challenge that we had to work through.

When I first started this, I thought that Speedy would start it and Dean would finish it.  It didn't happen in exactly the way I had thought, but, indeed, Dean took this home for us.

Dean did the loveliest performance of his Bolero routine that he has ever done.  It was his performance of a lifetime!  And, in so many ways, it was the culmination of all of the work that he and I have done together.  He really showcased the best of himself in this performance.

We earned the highest score I have ever gotten for a Challenge performance - 153 points!!

Our Bolero . . . 

The Dogs Can Dance Challenge was such a fantastic experience.  It's like I have a video "portfolio" now of some of my dog's best work, which is really cool.

There is a lot that I love about this particular incarnation of Freestyle, but I think my absolute favorite part was being able to work toward the title goals with my dogs as a team.  Each of them contributed in unique and fun ways.

So, official congratulations to:




DCD-CH Maddie Lynn CTL-1, CTL3-F, CTL3-R, CTL4-H

I am super proud of all of them! 

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