Each year in early summer, Cranford and Hillsborough travel up the coast with a team of students to attend the Boston Dance-O-Rama. This year’s team included: Eric Adams, Jerry and Jennifer Cerulli, Jim and Debbie Ford, Kerry Francis, Wedlyne Pluviose, and Lynn Rabadeau. Located in Quincy, BDOR entices Arthur Murray studios from across the North American continent for four days full of camaraderie, spirited cheering, sparkles galore – and plenty of dancing.
This year, BDOR kicked off with a Grease themed early arrival party on Thursday. The Cranford Pink Ladies and T-Birds met up with other studios for a night full of crooners, hand jives, and hula hoops. They dined in true 50’s fashion on burgers and root beer floats (though some of us really just wanted the ice cream). A live band belted out some of the most popular hits of the era – and we were only too happy to add our voices.
The dancing started early the next day with the closed category freestyles. This refers to the type of material danced. Closed material is Arthur Murray syllabus steps – and some variations – only. Dancing in this category helps the student create strong muscle memory in the basic steps and technique. Dancers are given a proficiency score, not a ranked number, to help their teacher recognize where they are within their current level.
Dancers of all talents and levels joined the Cranford team this year. Gold Bar dancer Kerry Francis, a very strong competitor, said everyone in team Cranford did amazingly well. This year, she wanted to have fun at a competition. Kerry said of her instructor, Danila, “Not sure how you put up with me but I really achieved my goal of having fun at a competition again. I could not ask for a better partner. You continually inspire me to get better.”
Jim Ford, a seasoned BDOR veteran, observed the level of dancing this year was extremely high, which motivated him to do better. This was the first year Jim performed a solo Argentine Tango with his teacher, Valerie. “I really went out of my comfort zone. We are constantly being challenged to do better. My stamina has increased tremendously along with muscle memory and my mental capability to remembering all the steps in a dance.” Jim attributes this to the level of preparation leading up to the event.