Articles of Interest

Articles of Interest » LA Chapter Community Outreach » Swinging Through a 10K

Swinging Through a 10K

A. Caluen

At the beginning of November 2011, USA Dance LAC was approached regarding "dancers wanted" for a Rose Parade float. This morphed into an opportunity to feature some of our dancers, and to promote USA Dance, before an enormous national audience. It seemed like something we couldn't pass up!

Naturally, the entire process ended up being more difficult, and more work, than any of us anticipated. Immediate past President Herb McGurk and our Communications Director Livia Squires conducted meeting after meeting, setting up media pitches; working out details with the float owners, California Clock Company; and coordinating with USA Dance National to ensure that our organization would be well represented.

Selected to accompany the float were the following: USAD-LAC President Herb McGurk and USAD-Antelope Valley founder Lisa Sandoval; USAD-LAC Volunteer of the Year Jerry Hernandez and past Outreach Director Laura Harvell; USAD-LAC founders Alexandra Caluen and Phil Caluen; USAD-OC Vice President Aydin Aksoy and partner Gaida Paulovska.

The stars of the show were junior championship DanceSport Athletes Aaron Altman and Rashell Khalfin. Aaron and Rashell (and their mothers Caroline and Inna) were on hand for each of the following Parade-related events and press appearances: December 17 test drive; December 26 press day, when KTLA did a 6-minute segment during which Aaron and Rashell danced continuously; December 27 press day; December 30, interview with Mark Kriski; January 1, judging; and January 2, Parade Day.

Also present at the test drive were Herb, Jerry, and Alexandra; present at the judging were Herb, Alexandra, Phil, Aydin, and Gaida. The test drive, and most of the press days, required our members to be present by5:00 or 5:30 a.m. in order to meet television morning broadcast deadlines.

Parade Day itself started at 3:00 a.m. for the float team. We were on site at the staging area by 6:00 a.m. and accompanied the float for its entire 6-mile route (including the half-mile staging area, since the Kit-Cat Clock float was no. 74 in the queue!). Aaron & Rashell were on the float with a team of sisters from Pensacola, FL who won a national contest sponsored by Kit-Cat Clock. They danced over and over again to "Rock Around the Clock," "Come Go with Me," and "Rockin' Robin," proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that our dancers are true athletes!

In addition, volunteers from the chapter came out for the Post-Parade viewing gallery. Adult volunteers Sue Barr, Joan Evans, Wora Rapp, Tony Munoz, and Joe Levy committed to a promotion that, due to excessive heat and other factors, we pulled the plug on early. Also present were the following junior dancers who performed for more than half an hour, drawing considerable attention and doing us (and themselves) proud: Brian King & Nicole Stepantsov; Anthony Gozhak & Teia Shulga; Jason Zorin & Shawna Kasabov; Benjamin Frenkel & Melanie Bezinover; David Gumber & Nicole Kordonsky; and Geramy Laschev & Isabella Kats.

Our sincere thanks go out to all who participated.