Taking things to the next level.

My son has been dancing competitively at fursuit conventions around the country since 2013.  He is completely self taught in urban and street dancing (never took a dance lesson) and has managed a string of second- and third-place finishes, both solo and in small group performances (that he has choreographed himself).

He’s never won a competition, but having placed second (and third) so often is nothing to sneeze at, since it’s not that easy to make finals at these events and even get to perform on stage, and even then, there are usually at least 20 finalists vying for the top three spots.

We spoke on the phone last night and he’s been working on a group performance involving himself and 4 other dancers since October.   This weekend they’re headed to Atlanta to practice together and get a feel for the actual competition which takes place in April (also in Atlanta).    He thinks — and he says others have told him they think — he’ll win this one.   He seems very confident and has never, ever thought he’d win before.

He says if he wins (or even if he just places second again) that he’ll feel encouraged to start expanding himself and not limit himself to costumed competitions.  He feels like he’s ready to start entering regular dance competitions regionally and eventually, nationally, if luck should take him that far.   He likes the idea of dancing in charity events, both competitively and not.  He told me of one taking place now where the proceeds are being used to help the people of Puerto Rico who were devastated by Hurricane Maria.

Since he’ll be 27 later this year, his best dancing days may be winding down.  But he’s a talented choreographer and good at motivating others.  Choreography is something he’s seriously looking at as a career for himself and can still do no matter how old he gets.

 

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Joyful dancing.

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Credit: Omar Z. Robles photography

I just had had another dream. I feel like this is important too. It started out terrifying and turned positive.

I’m living in a large, unnamed city that seems a lot like 1970s-1980s New York. Dirty and dangerous. I’ve decided to learn how to dance. It’s very important that I learn to dance, in fact, it’s a matter of life and death. I see a newspaper ad for an excellent dance studio and call them to enroll in their program. The only problem is, the studio is in a walkup tenement in the most dangerous part of town.

I’m afraid but know I must make it there. I try to stay on the main avenue, but obstacles on the sidewalk keep getting in my way. Areas with bombed out buildings, ripped up sidewalks, mountains of trash and rubble. The only way past is through a long, dark alley. Cautiously, I enter. I look around and see shadowy figures in the distance. They look male. Probably gang members or rapists or even murderers. I turn around and find another way. The alley is wide and has other openings, like a maze. I go through another alley and see more sinister male figures in the distance.  I feel alone and vulnerable and scared.  I look around frantically, trying not to look too afraid.  The figures are getting closer.  What if they can smell my fear, like wild dogs?  Finally I find another way. I begin to run, determined to make it out of there and back to the avenue.

Somehow I don’t get lost. Soon I’m back on the main avenue. I run past a tenement building with a rusted fire escape. It’s covered with snow, even though there isn’t any snow on the ground. An old black man asks me for assistance climbing it. He says he has to get into his apartment but the steps are too slippery. I stop, hesitate, think about helping him. But I don’t have time. With my foot I kick some of the snow off the first few metal steps, apologize for not being able to do more, and begin to run again.

Soon I realize I’m not just running, I’m floating about two feet off the ground. I become aware all I need to do is will myself to get where I’m going. Without thinking, I begin to dance. Gravity doesn’t seem to exist anymore. I leap and bound and spin and do pirouettes in the air. I bound weightlessly through another long, dark alley. There are gang members there too. They stop and watch me and soon they are dancing too. Everyone who looks my way begins to dance.

I’ve forgotten all about making it to my dance lesson. Everyone is flying through the air, leaping and spinning and throwing our arms in the air. There’s no fear or despair or fatigue or worry. The whole world is dancing, and it began with me.

Dancing in the storm video!

The other day I posted a photo of my son dancing outside during a thunderstorm. Here’s the entire video he made of himself while dancing to two songs.
Dancing in an open space during a thunderstorm probably isn’t the smartest thing to do, but the effect of the lightning in the background is pretty cool.

Dancing in the storm.

Photo of my son dancing during a storm. The white area isn’t sunlight–it’s lightning. This was taken after dark!

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Click to enlarge.

Watch this Incredible 13 year old dancer.

I just saw this on Twitter. K. J. Takahashi is an amazingly talented 13 year old Dubstep dancer from Dallas, Texas. Even if you don’t like dubstep, this boy’s legwork and fluidity is incredible.

ETA: Quixotic Faith (who has an awesome blog) just informed me this type of dancing is called “animating.”
My son does this type of dancing too, but he’s not THIS good.

OMFG. My son won 2nd place in the dance competition!

I can’t believe it. I’m in tears right now. Ethan wanted to make the Top 3 so badly, and he did one better than that (this was out of a group of 50 dancers–he made it to the final ten of the Novice category last night).

He’s been dancing for 3 years and this is the first time he placed in the Top 3.

Here is the tweet he just sent:

2ndplacetweet

I’ll post the video of his dance performance as soon as it’s up on Youtube. In the meantime, here is his performance at another convention he attended in Orlando, Florida in August, where he was a finalist but did not place. The convention he is at in Illinois has more attendees and making the finals in this competition is more difficult and competitive than the one he attended in Florida.

All that practice has really paid off!


Ethan’s performance at Megaplex 2014 in August.

ETA: Someone on Twitter just posted this photo of him competing today.
mwff2014

Hate crime on furries? My son is at the hotel that had a gas leak!!!

chemicalleak
Evacuees standing outside the Hyatt hotel in Rosemont, IL last night.

Last night there was a serious chemical leak at the Hyatt Hotel in Rosemont, IL, outside Chicago, hospitalizing 19 people and causing the entire hotel to be evacuated. Here is the news story:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-19-hospitalized-thousands-evacuated-in-gas-leak-at-rosemont-hotel-20141207-story.html

The article contains a video of the evacuation and news commentary.

At the time this happened, Midwest Fur Fest is having its annual 4-day convention there. My son, who is a furry, attended and is staying at this hotel, but he was lucky and did not have to be hospitalized.

Authorities are looking into the matter, and they do believe there’s foul play involved.

Personally I think it was a deliberate act of hate against furries, who are tragically misunderstood by the media and ignorant people who really haven’t researched what the furry fandom is really all about (hint: they are not sexual perverts.)

I wrote this article about furries a couple of months back, and am linking to it if anyone wants more in depth information about furries and the reasons why I don’t mind that my son is one. This article is still one of my most popular and most shared, and it and still appears in my list of Top Posts (though lately it has been eclipsed by my Sam Vaknin articles, LOL).

Anyway, I am just so grateful my son is okay! 🙂 It could have been bad…

mexnyman
My son in his fursuit “Mex,” the hipster weasel, with some friends. He will be dancing in this suit today.

On a more positive note, my son was one of ten dancers out of 50 who made it to the finals of the dance competition they are holding today. He is going to perform any moment now (he tweeted me that he’s a bag of nerves). The Top 3 dancers win a prize and a trophy (plus it’s a huge honor!). I think he’s good enough to win third place, at least, but even if he doesn’t place in the Top 3, making the Top 10 is awesome and he should be so proud! I’ll post the Youtube video of his performance when it’s up.