March 14, 2012

Dancing with the Carnival Magic Cast

I have saved the best of our cruise posts for last!  In this post, I will share perhaps the most exciting (for me at least) part of the cruise!  So what's the big news?!  Well...

I was selected to be a part of the dance cast in the cruise's finale show!

This might not seem like a big deal to you, but it was exhilarating and exceptionally exciting for me!  

For those of you that have known me for ten years or more, you know that I grew up dancing.  As I explained in this post, my mom is a ballet teacher.  Therefore, I grew up in the dance studio learning the various techniques of ballet/pointe, tap, jazz, and modern dance.  From the ages of 3 to eighteen I danced approximately 5 days a week, competed in dance competitions, performed in full-length ballets and recitals, and ultimately graduated from the Alabama School of Fine Arts' (ASFA) Dance Department.

However, after graduating from ASFA, I decided to leave dancing and pursue other academic pursuits.  In the end this turned out well.  I obtained both my B.A. and M.Ed. degrees, and used both in the professional and legislative realms for a number of years.  Regardless, I do find it interesting that I eventually found my way to yoga.  In many ways, the things that I loved most about dancing I know find in my yoga practice (i.e. feeling in tune with my body, feeling strong AND flexible, and having a very personal physical experience while being in a group environment).

Nonetheless, I am straying a bit from the topic at hand.  My point in giving you a page from my past is to exemplify my love of dance, and my past experience with it.  Therefore, when the Cruise Director announced a "Dancing with the Cast" segment on the third evening of our cruise, I was all over it!

The "Dancing with the Cast" class took place in the main theater of the ship.  In our daily activity brochure, it was explained as an opportunity to learn short routines in various ballroom styles, including the:

  • Cha-Cha;
  • Tango; and
  • Samba.

I was quite surprised to see that over 100 people showed up for the class!  To begin, we each chose a dance partner.  I paired up with Jillian, a sweet 11 year-old girl from Iowa who had been taking dance classes for a couple of years.  After looking around the stage I quickly realized that Jillian and I were one of the best couples on the dance floor!  Let's just say that there were a LOT of left feet in the room...hehehe!

I apologize for the poor picture quality.  Bo was in charge of photography, and it looks like he couldn't quite figure out the flash.  Oh well! :(

After learning short routines in all three styles, the dance cast announced that they would be holding a "dance-off" for participants 18 years and older that would like to perform in the finale show: Carnival Legends.  Initially, two individuals in each style would be chosen by a member of the dance cast.  Afterwards, the two finalists would square-off in a final dance-off to be decided by the about nerve-wracking!  By this point the theater was COMPLETELY full (I'm talking over 1,500 people here)!

Regardless, I was all in!  Almost all of the participants (around 120 by this point) stayed on stage to audition.

First came the Cha-Cha...

We danced.

I waited.

I wasn't chosen.

Second came the Tango... 

We danced.

I waited.

I wasn't chosen.

Finally, it was time for the Samba.

We danced.

I waited.

A girl nearby was chosen.


WHO-HOOOO!  I was SO excited!  But then again, I couldn't be too excited because I still had a dance-off to win!  So, off the stage to wait our turn we went.  After agonizing my through the Cha-Cha and Tango rounds, it was finally my turn to take the stage with my fellow competitor.

The music started.

I danced.

Then the emcee held her hand over my fellow dancer's head and asked for the audience's was loud.  "Bummer"..."Oh well"..."I had a good time at least"...(these were all things that went through my mind in that moment).

And then...

...the emcee held her hand over my hand and asked for the audience's applause.  It was LOUD

I couldn't believe it! 

 I WON!  

I was going to be in the finale show!  Bo was SO proud of me too!  Little did I know, but he had been asking everyone in the theater around him to cheer for me!  He was so excited for me that I thought he would burst!  I can't imagine what he will be like when it comes to our childrens' ballet recitals/ballgames/etc...

Afterwards, I was led back stage to learn about the rehearsals, costume fittings(!), dress rehearsal, and show time.  It all felt a little surreal, but very exhilarating at the same time!

My first rehearsal with my partner (Tiago, from Portugal) was on Thursday afternoon.

Since the show wasn't to be held until Saturday evening, this would give me enough time to learn the routine, become comfortable with it, and prepare for Saturday's dress rehearsal and finale show.

The only bummer was that I was still feeling a little under the weather from the food poisoning I had contracted the day before in Jamaica.  Regardless, I still gave it my all; and in about thirty minutes time, I had learned the whole routine!

In the end, I left the rehearsal feeling confident and excited about Saturday night!

So why aren't there any pictures from my big debut performance?!

Well, sadly, Saturday was the only day on our whole cruise that we didn't experience perfect weather.  On the contrary, as we followed a cold front back up to Galveston, the ship rocked steadily and extremely throughout the entire day.  Not only did I not get to perform in the finale show: Carnival Legends, but the entire show was cancelled.  It was quite the disappointment, I must say.  I was pretty bummed about it, and I think that Bo was equally let down.

Oh well, maybe we should go on another cruise so that I can live out my dream of performing on a cruise ship!  After this experience, it is on my bucket list!

Next up - a powerful and protein-packed salad that will keep you energized and full for hours!

Question of the Day:

Have you ever been a star for a day?!  If so, tell me all about it in the "Comments" section below!

Ally and Bo


  1. YOU Have always been my 'star'

    1. Thanks, Mom! That means a lot to a daughter.