Chandelier Night
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Chandelier Ballroom

Indika First Chandelier Event Chapelwood August SSQQ Ballroom Class

Chandelier Night

Story and Pictures by Rick Archer

The SSQQ Ballroom Club had a turnout of 75 people for our visit to the Chandelier Ballroom on Saturday, August 6.  When you add the people who dropped by to visit from the other tables, that number came close to 100.  It was quite an evening.

The festivities began at 5 pm here at our house in the Heights. 

With Marla's help, I offered two free "Review Classes" for the students in my Sunday Ballroom class

The idea was to review the material from my August Ballroom classes to give my students a fighting chance out on the dance floor later in the evening. 

These classes seemed to be very well-received.  The Beginners class at 5 pm had 8 people and the Intermediate class at 6 pm had 25 people.  I thought the group did well. 

Laury and Brent.  They were one of the first couples to arrive.

Interestingly enough, 25 people were able to dance all at the same time.  I had no idea my dance room of 450 square feet could hold this many people.

I wanted to teach these review classes for a couple of reasons.  One of the great disappointments of my dance career was my first night of Ballroom Dancing at Melody Lane in 1975. 

I have NEVER been so set up for failure as I was that night.  I showed up hoping to impress a pretty girl in my class only to discover I didn't have a clue what I was doing. 

For starters, I couldn't tell a Waltz from a Foxtrot, a Tango from a Cha Cha.  I couldn't remember which pattern went to which dance and I couldn't remember the leads either.

Meanwhile the instructor stole my girl.  It was a crushing defeat.

Ballroom Dancing can be very complicated.  Based on my own miseries of the past, I knew that a Review class might at least give some of my students a fighting chance at the Chandelier Ballroom later on, especially the guys.

I don't know how much the class helped, but everyone seemed to enjoy the class. We had a fun time.

Clark and Nancy, Alan, Al (blue shirt), Lila and Dave hiding in the back, Teresa pretty in pink, newlyweds Pattie and Rick in front, Lynda and Jim all the way in the back, newlyweds Phyllis and Larry in front of the window, Jill and Sam in back, Joan and Ken in front, Mel and Al, Lynwood and Susan. 

Where's Judy?  Where's Lolita?  Where's Marla?  We are missing at least 5 people.

Tim and Penney

Yvonne from my Chapelwood class & her friend

The Blue Danube mural at SPJST 88


Mike and Joyce Peters.  Our tables are just beginning to fill

Ray and Jan from my Chapelwood class

I was surprised that our group quickly filled up our three tables.  Since there were 3 more empty tables next to our group, at 9 pm I went up to the front desk to get permission to appropriate the empty tables for the deluge of guests.  On the way back, I passed this lavishly decorated table.

A pretty lady was having a birthday party.  The gentleman was so nice to me, I asked if I could take a picture.  Later I discovered he too is a Ballroom instructor.  I believe his name is Carl Rentz.  Carl teaches at the Bellaire Recreation Center.

On my way back to our tables, I stopped to take a couple pictures of the people dancing.  Right now the floor is half full, but later in the evening there were many more people out there. There were at least 30 tables, probably more.

Assuming most tables sat 12 people and there were no empty tables, I guess the room holds 400 people.  After our SSQQ Ballroom Club contributed 75 extra people to the mix, I would have to say we nearly maxed out their space.  Ballroom Dancing is more popular than I realized!

The dance floor at the Chandelier Ballroom filled up quickly. 

Someday I need to walk the floor and get the dimensions.  However I can safely say that this is the largest dance floor in Houston that I know of.  Very spacious.

Who's that pretty girl?  Just before I got back to our tables, look who I found out on the dance floor. 

Marla and Sam look terrific while dancing a Waltz.

Larry and Bette hiding (she is in a witness protection program), Judy, Jim and Lynda, Bill and Sharon, Pattie waving, Rick standing, Sam sitting, Peggy and Marla.

Judy wore my favorite dress of the evening. This picture doesn't do it justice, but it is a good start.

Nick and Ann.  Ann wore a very pretty dress.   

Nick is a veteran of several of SSQQ dance cruises.  Like many of the men, his coat and tie disappeared early in the evening.  All I can say is Nick looked a lot more comfortable than I did.

The Moonglow Orchestra did a great job.  One of the men in the band came over and flirted with Kristy Fuzzball. 

Kristy Fuzzball and Peggy Sue wore matching dresses.  Aren't they pretty together?   That's Kristy boyfriend Joseph. Joseph didn't seem to mind that Kristy flirted shamelessly with the Boys in the Band.  I admire a guy who is that secure.

Bert and Edith are longtime friends from the days of SSQQ-Bissonnet.  They were sitting at another table, but were thrilled to come over and say hi to all their friends. 

Mel (short for Imelda) and Al (short for Al).  Like Bert and Edith, Al and Mel are also Filipino.  I have a hunch that Ballroom dancing is popular in the Philippines. 

Newlyweds Bob and Ana Graham were sitting at another table.  However, once they noticed our group, they came over several times to say hi to everyone.  They were very excited to see all their friends from the studio.  There were hugs and smooches everywhere!

I deeply regret not remembering to take their picture because Ana was stunning in her red dress.  Ana was clearly the alpha hussy in the room.  Naturally Bob also had the best red tie of the night, a fact he pointed out to me repeatedly.

Now that I think of it, I probably didn't take their picture out of meanness.  Back at SSQQ-Bissonnet, these guys always drove me crazy by wearing FORBIDDEN matching outfits.  Now at SSQQ-Jester, they have started doing the same thing.  It is such an obnoxious habit and I know they do it just to irritate me. And it works. They are both rotten rotten rotten.  I don't know why I like them.  Maybe I don't... but I do.

Here we see Wayne, Mike, Trenton, and Karen.  That is Lyn (short for Lynwood) standing while talking to Mike.

This picture doesn't completely capture the size of our group, but it helps.  Every table you see is ours.  Plus the table behind me as I take this picture is ours as well. 

We started out with three tables and ended up expanding to three other empty tables.  Since each table had 12 chairs, I estimate the size of our group at 75 (the rest are out dancing).  

In addition we had well-wishers from other parts of the room like Bert and Edith and Bob and Ana drop by all night long to say hello.  When you count all the SSQQ "Diaspora" as someone referred to them (someone with a better vocabulary than me, I might add), our extended family came close to 100.

Ray and Jan again plus Susan to the right. I think they all agree my tie is ugly. Ray and Jan are currently taking my Rumba class over at Chapelwood Methodist Church on Mondays.  There were seven members of that class who joined us for the evening. 

Vivacious Ann and her handsome son Tyler.  Like Ray and Jan, Tyler and Ann are taking my Chapelwood Rumba class.  It was Ann's idea in the first place to put Chandelier on the schedule for August.  That turned out to be a great idea indeed.

Joan and Ken.  I liked Joan's tasteful dress a lot.  Both Ken and Joan have been polishing up on their dancing recently because Ken and Joan's only child Rachel is getting married soon and they want to look good at the wedding.  

Ken is planning to dance synchronized polka with his daughter Rachel at her wedding.  Rachel is a very good dancer.

From what I gather, the prospective son-in-law has forsaken dance lessons for the big "First Dance", a fact that drives Joan a little crazy.  I am curious how that turns out.

Marla took a look at the pictures the next day.  She said, "Oh, look, I am smiling in that picture.  Wow, I am smiling in that picture too.  Hey, I am smiling in another picture.  I must have had fun last night!"

It's pretty sad when you have to review the pictures to know whether you had fun or not, but then Marla is different from most people. 

Hey look, I am smiling too.  Imagine that.  Gee, I must have fun too!  Actually, we both had fun.  This was a great party.

I can't believe I forgot to take Sharon and Bill's picture at the Chandelier.  Sharon probably isn't surprised.  She will tell you I am forgetting all kinds of things these days.

Sharon and Bill were kind to host our dining event at Barnaby's.  This took place after our Review dance class and before our trip to the Chandelier.  I hope to make this dining experience a part of every Chandelier event. 

Unfortunately at first Barnaby's didn't have enough seats for our group.  However, they were able to accommodate the people by seating them at different tables.  

Marla and I were hesitant to join due to the seating problem.  The last time Marla and I were late to the Chandelier, we found other people had taken one of our tables.  We were determined not to let that happen again.  Thank goodness Sharon and Bill were there to pinch hit for us at the first dining event.

Bette and Larry.  They met at their law firm.  I think at the time Bette and Larry met, Sharon Shaw was working there as well.  Sharon got them ready to dance at their wedding.

Larry inadvertently gave me my biggest squelch of the summer.  He and Bette took a private lesson from me one day.  Larry said he and Bette wanted to brush up on their dancing a little to prepare for a cruise.  I blurted out, "Oh, you must be taking a cruise out of Galveston to Jamaica!"

Larry replied, "Uh no, not exactly.  We are flying to Sydney, Australia, for a South Pacific cruise that ends in Shanghai."

Talk about a dream trip!  I am fortunate a large bug didn't fly into my gaping mouth.  I know people are envious at times of the trips Marla and I take, but we have never come close to a WOW Trip like this one.  I have been plagued with envy ever since.


Welcome Back, Jack and Jo!  

The hit of the evening was the appearance of Jack and Jo Myers. 

Jack became mysteriously ill after our Bahamas cruise trip over Labor Day 2010 with some sort of intestinal problem.  For the next year, Jack was in and out of the hospital.  However, no one could figure out what was wrong with him.  It took almost a year, but one day Jack magically got better.  Whatever was ailing him just disappeared.  Pretty strange indeed. 

Jack's trip to the Chandelier was the first time his friends had seen him in all that time.  I cannot completely describe the constant flow of friends and well-wishers who flocked to his table to greet him.  They couldn't wait to tell Jack how much they had missed him...and Jo too.  It was very touching indeed. 

Let me add Jack and Jo were beaming.  This was a happy evening indeed for both.  They missed their friends just as much as we missed them.

Come Together

Our first Chandelier Event was a powerful experience.  There was a veritable explosion of warmth and camaraderie.

I had many impressions of the night, but my overriding sense was just how happy everyone was to see one another. 

It was definitely an "Auld Lang Syne" type of evening.  There were a lot of people who were excited to see old acquaintances just as the song goes. 

Ever since the closing of SSQQ-Bissonnet, there has been a sense of nostalgia for our old stomping ground.  The Chandelier of all places was the first decent opportunity since "The Last Waltz" for this huge circle of friends to reconnect.  It was a joy to behold. The reunion energy was crackling all night long.

To be honest, I don't recall dancing very much.  Just like everybody else, I was too busy visiting.  As one couple after another came in, I couldn't wait to sit down and chat.  I had so much catching up to do! 

In fact, I got so involved in conversations that for a while there I forgot to take pictures.  I am so mad at myself for missing out on Sharon and Bill's picture as well as Carl and Margaux, Larry and Phyllis, Jim and Lynda, Mark and Lisa, Carl and Nancy... and so on.  The list of missing pictures is endless. 

I am the worst host ever.  I didn't go to dinner with my friends, I missed taking half their pictures, I didn't get around to speaking with many of our guests and I barely danced with anybody.  But nobody seemed to care.  Why not? 

Because it was such an amazing experience being around so much enthusiasm.  This group of people spent years getting to know one other from the cruise trips and from SSQQ-Bissonnet.  And then suddenly their playground was torn down.

It turns out I am not the only person who has been wandering around for a year now trying to figure out where I belong.  You could sense how hungry we all were to see the members of our former studio family rise up and come together again. 

It was a reincarnation of sorts. The circle is complete.

We're back.

Rick and Pattie, SSQQ newly-weds.  Rick and Pattie are joining Marla and me on the upcoming Labor Day Dance Cruise.  They are practicing their Ballroom Dancing every chance they can get to prepare for all the Ballroom Dancing during the cruise. 

There are 51 people in this picture, but I estimate our total group at 75 people.  We had quite an evening together.

By the way, just a quick reminder that we are having another Ballroom Event at Chapelwood Methodist Church on Friday, August 26.  The Goodfellas Band will be playing Swing music and more all night long.


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