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Updated Friday, October 23, 2020
Seattle: Small Classes at Century Ballroom
Online: Two Freebies from Pacific Ballroom Dance
Anywhere: Free Dance Music from Randy

Dear Dancin' Friends,

Seattle's CENTURY BALLROOM
reopened The Tin Table Restaurant at the end of May, giving them time to learn the protocols needed to start teaching safely. Now they are ready to offer in person one-shot classes! There's a limit of 10 people per class, and some classes have filled, so don't delay!

PACIFIC BALLROOM DANCE has two virtual freebies for you! Actually they're TOTALLY FREE ... they're just taught virtually. ALEX OLIVARES was one of the first local people to teach online and has got it down to a science!

RANDY LITCH has some FREE BALLROOM DANCE MUSIC for you! He also tells me that he's working on a Christmas CD, so watch for it. His songs are always very danceable!

So what have I been doing lately? I've been writing up a true story called FAMOUS LAST WORDS. I've included the first of six episodes below. I'll add a new episode each week. If nothing else, reading it can be an escape from all the other things going on. I think you'll get some laughs ... and I hope you'll find some inspiration!

Ron Bolin



FAMOUS LAST WORDS, EPISODE 1: AN OLD FRIEND

During my junior year of college, my childhood friend, Bruce, returned to the Seattle area. He had lived next door to me on Bainbridge Island in the third, fourth and fifth grades. Then his family moved first to Spokane, then to Gary, Indiana. Over the years he had made a couple trips back and I had seen him briefly, but it had been several years by this time.

Bruce was studying at the UW to be an oceanographer. My major was physics, a much more basic science, and therefore simpler. As a shy person who had not keep in contact with anyone I had gone to school with, it was great to get reacquainted with a childhood friend. I was living in the UW dormitories and I would sometimes help Bruce with his math, which I was good at, but he struggled with.

Bruce was quite the outdoorsman, which I'm sure had something to do with his choice to study oceanography. I remember him showing me photos of himself "spelunking" in caves in the Midwest. Some of those caves go for miles. In some cases he was literally squeezing his body through a narrow passage of rock in the deep darkness of the Earth. I'm not particularly claustrophobic, but it looked pretty scary to me. What if it rained hard and filled the caverns with water? What if he got stuck? Or what if those rocks were to shift?

During the summer break between our junior and senior years, outdoorsman Bruce planned a hike for us to a small lake in the North Cascades. I had never been to that area before. He had spotted it on a topographical map. It's called 'Round Lake' ... not a particularly exciting name, but very descriptive of the lake because it looked to be a near-perfect circle. It sounded like it would be a fun trip.

There would be four of us on the trip: Bruce, his younger sister Joan, whom I remembered as 'Joanie' when she lived next door, her friend (I can't remember her name, but I'll just call her 'Jean'), and me. We only had the single topographical map, but no trip guides or literature about the area. Of course there was no internet, GPS, iPhones, or anything like that ... it was still the good ol' days!

From the topographical map, we could see it was at a high elevation, about a mile above sea level. It looked like we would need to go over a ridge then descend steeply down to the lake. It would be a pretty good hike just to Round Lake itself. But we wanted to take time to explore the area, including a couple other smaller lakes that were farther out ... or deeper in, however you want to look at it. So we planned a three-day trip. We would camp by Round Lake for a couple nights as our home base, and from there trek out to the other two lakes. We prepared backpacks, sleeping bags, tents, food, water, etc.

We packed our gear into Bruce's car and left Seattle about 8 AM. It was good, clear weather. His car (a green Mercury Comet) was pretty tight for four people plus all our provisions. Bruce and I sat in front and Jean and Joan sat in the back. I was very shy, especially with girls ... it would be another five years until I would have my first date. I didn't talk much except a little to Bruce.

I had never met Jean before. She was slender and fit with straight, shoulder-length, medium-brown hair. Of course to go camping, she wasn't made up fancy, but I found her naturally attractive. Joan was attractive too, but having grown up next door to each other, and with her being my friend's little sister, she seemed kind of like a little sister to me too.

We drove through the tiny town of Concrete. Or was it Granite Falls? I keep getting those two mixed up. We eventually found ourselves on a dirt road that we followed for about fifteen miles along a river. We arrived at the trailhead at about noon. There were two other cars parked there, but we saw no people. Bruce parked the car and we all got out. It was pleasant by the river's babbling water, but we only spent a few minutes there. It was time to lock the car, don our packs, and start hiking!

There was a sign at the trailhead, but I don't recall any other signs on our entire hike ... including no signs of civilization, other than the sometimes invisible trail. The beginning of the trail was nearly level as it passed through a lush green area, with plenty of sunlight filtering through the trees, mostly deciduous. We were all enjoying the scenery. We could hear the river in the distance, but the sound faded as we continued. We moved along the trail at a moderate pace. "Hi ho, hi ho ... off to the lake we go." Well, we didn't actually sing, but we talked as we hiked. They did most of the talking.

Bruce went first with the map. Then it was Jean and Joan ... and-a who knows who (sorry Carlos, I couldn't help it). I brought up the rear. I'm not sure if that formation was to protect the girls, but it worked for me. I've always been a legs man ... and the girls were wearing shorts! DO WAH DIDDY DIDDY! They weren't exactly short shorts, and they certainly weren't hot pants. In fact ... they were hiking shorts. :( But this is a prime example of the First Law of Survival: When you're out in the wilderness, you make do with what you got.

The noontime temperature under the trees was pleasant. But our backpacks were heavy, and as we continued along, I was starting to get a little winded. We had started out at a moderate pace and had kept that same pace for maybe fifteen minutes. I guess we didn't slow down because we didn't seem to be going uphill. However the trail had started to climb so subtly that none of us had noticed it. Soon I was huffing and puffing. I didn't want to expose myself as unfit, especially in front of the girls, so I tried to huff and puff as quietly as I could. I continued on at the same pace as the others.

Finally Joan blurted out, "I have to slow down!" Everyone stopped ... and suddenly we all broke into laughter! Without the sound of our footsteps, we could all hear each other huffing and puffing. It was clear that we had all been trying to avoid looking unfit. After a moment we continued on at a more realistic pace ... a pace that would slow even more as we started to noticeably climb.

The trees gradually changed from deciduous to evergreens. The trail steepened and eventually we were zig-zagging up switchbacks. Less sunlight made it through the taller fir trees, so it was darker. We took short breaks every once in a while, especially if we could find a log or rock to sit on. We sometimes removed our packs, sometimes not. We all carried water and food, and would take a few sips or bites when we rested.

About half way up, the path crossed a stream small enough to step over. We each carried our own small canteen, and Bruce also carried a larger plastic canteen that we could share. Before leaving Seattle, we had filled our canteens with tap water ... back then people had no problem drinking water from a faucet. I'm not sure that you could even buy bottled water in those days. Anyway, even though we all still had some water left, it seemed like a good idea to fill the canteens to the top while we had this source. Bruce knew that it was hazardous to drink water directly from a stream or lake. So he had brought some little pills to dissolve in the water. You had to give them about a half hour to dissolve and do their work. They would kill anything that might be bad for us ... but they also killed the flavor. :(

It got pretty warm as we came upon the late afternoon ... or did it come upon us? We were sweaty. It would have been much easier if we weren't burdened by our heavy loads ... but we knew we would need the items we carried.

Finally at about 5 PM, we reached the tree line. Now we could see the bright sun and a few rocky peaks, some with patches of snow. A narrow path led us across steeply inclined alpine meadows full of long grasses, colorful flowers, and what I call "Cousin It" plants. The trail eventually led us up to a rocky ridge. Bruce was the first to reach the top and peer down ...

"WOW! MAN! COME SEE THIS!"

When I got to the top, I could see why he was so excited. There it was. Down below us ... far down below us: Round Lake.

Now we finally realized why it was round. We admonished ourselves for not realizing this earlier from the topographical map we had been referring to all along. Seeing it in person, it was clear what it was ... an ancient volcanic crater!

The crater walls were smooth in many parts, like a deep bowl with the lake filling the bottom. On the far side, the crater wall rose up to a high, rocky peak a few hundred feet above the level where we stood. An accumulation of mostly small rocks that had fallen from the peak lined the edge of the lake across from us. The lake bottom was likely covered with similar rubble. To the right of that area, a large white snow bank gently melted into the blue of the lake. To our left, about a quarter of the crater wall was low, allowing the lake to drain. It all made for a pretty picture ... but I don't recall that any of us had a camera. Cameras meant extra bulk and extra weight. They were not essential.

We all enjoyed the view for a couple minutes. Then Bruce proceeded to lead us on the path into the crater with the words:

"Don't worry ... this volcano's extinct!"

Then he saw the perfect opportunity to add one of his favorite expressions:

"... Huh ... famous last words!"

TO BE CONTINUED ...



SMALL CLASSES AT CENTURY BALLROOM
These are one-shot, one-hour classes, so there's no need to commit to several weeks at a time. HALLIE, ALISON & BARB (Line Dancing) will be your instructors. Here's the current schedule.

Wednesdays, October 21, 28 or November 4
5:30 - 6:30 PM Beginning Bachata
6:45 - 7:45 PM Intermediate Bachata

Thursdays, October 22, 29 or November 5
5:30 - 6:30 PM Intermediate Salsa
6:45 - 7:45 PM Advanced Salsa


Fridays, October 23, 30 or November 6
5:30 - 6:30 PM Beginning Line Dancing
6:45 - 7:45 PM Intermediate Line Dancing


Saturdays, October 24, 31 or November 7
4:00 - 5:00 PM Beginning Solo Latin Footwork
5:30 - 6:30 PM Intermediate Salsa


Sundays, October 25, November 9 or November 8
11:00 AM - Noon Intermediate Solo Latin Footwork
12:15 - 1:15 PM Beginning Salsa
1:30 - 2:30 PM Beginning Swing


Pricing: $50/couple per class or $25/solo per class. Students receive 10% off their bill when dining in The Tin Table the day of class (dine-in or take-out; sorry we’re not open on Wednesdays).
To register: Go to https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSedqq_WFQ0M_GUl8_xI-0zp2kARSUCL1dlTIcurgitFWSxCYQ/viewform and scroll down.
Location: Century Ballroom, 915 East Pine Street, Seattle
For more info: Visit www.CenturyBallroom.com, email Office@CenturyBallroom.com, or call 206-324-7263.




TWO FREEBIES FROM PACIFIC BALLROOM DANCE


FREE EAST COAST SWING VIRTUAL WORKSHOP
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 30, 6:00 PM. Instructor ALEX OLIVARES is an expert in virtual ballroom instruction. Interact with him live as he teaches a variety of basic and advanced steps in East Coast Swing. Learn to dance right in your living room! This FREE workshop is perfect for a date night or family activity at home. Grab your partner off the couch and get moving together!

Here is the registration link: https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07ehcfj88xf7b22ab5&oseq=&c=&ch=
Upon registering, you will receive an email with the link to access the free class via ZOOM.

TRY BALLROOM DANCE FOR FREE
Current options include Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday evenings. We will contact you via phone or email within 48 hours to schedule your free class. Thank you for dancing with us!

Here is the registration link for the free class: https://lp.constantcontactpages.com/su/Mqmz4FJ
This offer is for students not currently enrolled in classes at PBD.

Remember, these are both FREE ... so invite your friends!

For More Info:
Call Alex at 832-388-8141, email olivaresalex@me.com, or visit www.PacificBallroom.org.




FREE DANCE MUSIC FROM RANDY
Dance or practice at home! RANDY LITCH has six of his ballroom dance CD's on Soundcloud where you can listen for FREE! Each song includes the type of dance you can do to it and the beats per minute (BPM). You'll find songs for Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango, East and West Coast Swing, Cha Cha, Rumba, Samba, and Nightclub Two-Step.

Check out my Ballroom Dance Recordings! Links below to Ballroom CD"s 1-6.
Randy Litch Ballroom #1: https://soundcloud.com/user-367971581/sets/ballroom-1
Randy Litch Ballroom #2: https://soundcloud.com/user-367971581/sets/ballroom-2
Randy Litch Ballroom #3: https://soundcloud.com/user-367971581/sets/ballroom-3
Randy Litch Ballroom #4: https://soundcloud.com/user-367971581/sets/ballroom-4
Randy Litch Ballroom #5: https://soundcloud.com/user-367971581/sets/ballroom-5
Randy Litch Ballroom #6: https://soundcloud.com/user-367971581/sets/ballroom-6

Randy misses you! All his regular dances have been cancelled. He will be available for private parties when we reach Phase 4.
Contact Randy at 253-530-6185 or randylitch@comcast.net or check out his website www.RandyLitch.net.



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If you know someone who might like to receive this email, please forward it to them. If you received this as a forward, or are reading it online, just email me at Ron@SeattleDanceInfo.com and I'd be happy to add you to the dance email list.

Sincerely,

Ron Bolin
Ron@SeattleDanceInfo.com
www.SeattleDanceInfo.com