For the past couple of months, Allie (my Special Olympics partner in crime) and I have been practicing hard for the S.O Dance competition coming up on November 23rd in Edmonton. We have decided to do a Chip Chop - a self-created combination of Cha Cha and Hip Hop.
The process has been super fun and although I have plenty of experience with living room dance parties, I have never taken formal dance lessons before so this is totally new to me. Allie, on the other hand, is the queen of hip hop and regularly attends classes. Pft. She's kind of a rock star. She had never taken a ballroom lesson though so both of us are newbies to this genre.
I can't think of a better dance partner to share this experience with. Allie is uber talented and a very fast learner. She is full of life and energy. And, as she likes to say, she loves to bust out her swagga'. HA! We have really connected during this process and our lessons have become a highlight of my week. We're like two long lost buddies who are just hanging out and perfecting our dance moves.
Allie possesses many special qualities, but the one that really stands out to me is her ability to see the greatness in everything. I have never left one of our practices feeling tired - I always feel alive and energized! Here's a sneak peak video of Allie and I busting out our Chip Chop.
Special Olympics athletes are athletes of the very best kind. Every S.O. athlete I have ever encountered has been honest, hard working, courteous, generous and above all else, super positive. This positivity is insanely infectious and it leaves you smiling for the rest of your day!
Ian (or @docdance_) from Arthur Murray Studios here in Calgary has been an incredible instructor as well. He has definitely gone above and beyond! He taught us our first Cha Cha step, picked our music, choreographed our routine, tweets and facebook's the heck outta our experience and has been our biggest cheerleader along the way. Both Allie and I are extremely appreciative of the support and energy he's been putting towards this project. If you are reading this and you live in Calgary and you want to learn some new bad ass ballroom dance moves, I highly recommend you go to Arthur Murray and ask for Ian.
I also wanted to put out a special ask. If you have the means and you care about Special Olympics, Allie, myself and all of the athletes at Special Olympics Alberta would greatly appreciate it if you could donate to the organization through Allie and I's fundraising page. Every dollar helps keep the programs running and as I'm sure Allie would tell you, they make a huge difference in the lives of those with a mental disability.
One more week until the big S.O. Dance show. Wish us luck!